Hair today, a new style tomorrow

MULTISKILLED AND UP TO DATE: Lorinda Janse Van Vuuren, Hairstylist.  Pic. MARIANNE SCHWANKHART. 03.09.09. © Sunday Times.
MULTISKILLED AND UP TO DATE: Lorinda Janse Van Vuuren, Hairstylist. Pic. MARIANNE SCHWANKHART. 03.09.09. © Sunday Times.

WHAT does a day in the life of a hairstylist entail?

WHAT does a day in the life of a hairstylist entail?

Depending on how busy you are, your day can start at 8am and finish at 6pm, with a client demanding your time and expertise every 30 minutes. It can range between cutting, perming, relaxing, styling and colouring.

Why did you decide on this career?

To be creative and passionate about changing somebody and putting a smile on her face is the biggest reward of all.

The client becomes more than just a client so, in a way, you become their confidant and friend for a short while.

You have the ability to improve their self-image and that is what makes my career worthwhile.

How did you get into this career?

It was by accident and I have never looked back very far from the (job as a) geologist that was my goal after school.

What is the most challenging aspect of this job?

Keeping up with trends and constantly educating yourself in new cutting trends and styles, colour techniques and perming techniques With access to the Internet your guests are in touch with trends, so don't be left in the dark.

What do you enjoy most about being a hairstylist?

Hair cutting and colouring is where my passion lies, designing a cut and colour for a guest's individual needs.

What type of person will make it in this industry?

A very open personality, a go-getter who is not afraid of challenges, a strong person since some guests can be forceful and you have to stand your ground.

You must remember that your guest is your best advert and you, as the specialist, know what will (or won't) suit her style and that is one of the golden rules. You have to have an open and enquiring mind to enable you to learn new ways and techniques.

What subjects do you need to pass in high school to be able to study towards this career?

Matric or grade 12. The subjects that will help you are biology, science, maths, English and accountancy.

What does one study at tertiary level to be able to get into this career?

You need to understand hair and chemistry. There is a course called Haircare. For more information you could call the Services Seta to find an accredited school near you.

What career opportunities exist for a hairstylist?

The opportunities are boundless. You could work in an upmarket salon where every day is different, designing hairstyles to suit the client with designer colouring to enhance the cut.

You could do a course in make-up and become a stylist for magazines and shoots or for television, the theatre or movie productions.

You could become an educator for a hair product house, teaching product knowledge or styling and so on,

You could become an international stylist for an company such as Pivot Point, where you train with DVDs; as a colourist where you specialise in colour, which is still very new to South Africa; as a representative for a product house selling products to the salons, retail or professional. In the bridal market you could specialise in weddings and make-up; and on wigs and wig design.

What is the starting salary for a hairstylist?

This would depend on whether you are working on basic pay plus commission or commission only.

It all works according to bargaining council rules with the basic salary and commission. The commission structure would be negotiated directly with your employer. Earning potential can range from R4500 to R2500, depending on how busy and how good you are.