More to their jobs than meets the eye, they say

Walk into Logix Hair Salon and you’ll immediately feel the energy. The décor is thoughtful, bright and vibrant. At one of the chairs, Christine Stapleton chats and laughs as she fastens foils into a client’s hair.

 After working as a hairdresser for over 32 years, she makes it appear effortless.

For some people, working in the beauty industry might seem like a walk in the park compared to the more “high-ranked” jobs, but in truth, there is more to this industry than meets the eye.

Becoming a hairdresser was not always what Stapleton wanted to do. Originally she wanted to go to university to become a doctor, but lacking funds, she had to find a way to pay for her schooling.

Hairdressing seemed like the perfect option for her. She said the plan was to temporarily cut hair until she could afford to pay for medical school. In a way that she said she did not expect, she was just beginning to find her place in the world.

“A lot of people respect more professional careers and not so much people who are in alternative trades,” Stapleton said.

She said that people don’t give enough credit to the work and talent that goes into hairdressing, and that it’s not a job for people who aren’t smart.

Stapleton said that when her mom was disappointed when she found out about her change in career plans.

People don’t take into account that you have to try to co-ordinate chemistry of the hair products and artistic skill and apply those skills to people with different styles and tastes.

“You’re always learning in this business. That’s what I love about it,” Stapleton said.

Aside from having to be thinking about the right products and colours all the time, Stapleton also works long hours and is on her feet all day. But she said it’s all worth it when she sees the smiles on her clients’ faces.Christine Stapleton finds her job as a hairdresser a very challenging and rewarding career.
Photo by:Lisa Taylor

“This industry goes far beyond vanity and egos,” she said. “It’s about helping people really feel better about who they are, and if that helps put a smile on their face, then I know I’ve done my job.” Stapleton laughs and adds, “There are no pretty or ugly people, just people with good hairdressers.”

Working next to Stapleton is 20-year-old Tasha Lee who is a recent hair-school graduate. For her, the beauty industry has been anything but a free ride.

“School is a lot of hard work,” Lee said. “It’s a lot of bookwork and theory.”

She added that on top of all the hard work and cost of her education, the first year working in the industry was extremely challenging — with low pay and long hours.

“Honestly, people don’t realize how hard it is,” Lee said. “It’s definitely not easy.”

Tony Borhot, salon owner, agrees with Lee. He said there is a lot of training, but the hard work comes once you get into the industry.

“You have to love it,” Borhot said. “If people don’t love it and they’re only in it because they don’t want to go to school, they’re not going to make it.”

Another successful beauty industry professional is Lizanne Viljoen. She has a degree in nursing and is the founder of Elle Vit Advanced Esthetic Institute.

Her students undergo a very challenging program where they learn everything from laser hair removal to waxing to chemical peels. “Usually people who take this program are very enthusiastic, with a definite goal in mind,” Viljoen said.

Viljoen said that working in the beauty industry has nothing to do with being superficial; it’s about helping people.

“It’s not all about beauty; it’s about self-esteem,” she said. “If your skin looks great, you feel better. If you look younger than your stated age, you do better in your job.

“Once people have proper beauty care. They have a much more positive attitude — especially when it comes to acne treatments,” Viljoen said. “We give people treatments and their skin gets better until you can see them actually start to hold their heads up at school. It’s absolutely amazing!”

Viljoen said that in today’s world there is so much pressure for people to look a certain way, and that she expects her students to come to school looking good. “Your image not only projects that of yourself, but of the business you’re in as well.”

ltaylor@cjournal.ca