Your hair is your personal fashion statement. The sum of its strands can be the difference between looking like you just rolled out of bed to being the belle of the ball. Whether you choose to let it flow or do it up, whether you have a little or a lot, we pay attention to our mane more than most other parts of our body on a daily basis.
People like Global Connections Executive Assistant and part-time hairstylist Ashley R. are observant to how one wears his or her hair. She started taking cosmetology classes in high school while working as a receptionist at a salon in Virginia. After her three-year program, she passed her state boards, received a cosmetology license and continued cutting, styling and coloring hair for the next eight years.
“When you’re 18 and don’t have a college degree, it’s not a bad way to make money,” Ashley said. “Once I stopped doing hair as a profession, I still made more money on the side than at my actual job.”
She did hair for eight to 10 people per week in those days, many of whom were clients from the salon where she started. All the while, she was attending Virginia Tech seeking a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management.
“I felt like it would be a good field for me seeing as I was a people person,” Ashley said. “I love to travel and experience new cultures, and I assumed it would never be boring.”
She worked as an event coordinator for a couple of years before moving to Kansas for a change of scenery. In doing so, she no longer had her normal clientele and had to scale back on her hairstyling. Ashley’s second job interview in Kansas was at a place called Global Connections, where she now works. With a couple of friendships she made through the company and her best friend’s family, who also lives here, she has a handful of people who benefit from her cosmetology background.
And for now, Ashley is content with that set-up. They aren’t so much her clients and these aren’t so much hair appointments. They are all just friends hanging out, having dinner and getting a trim or highlights. Even if she isn’t cutting your hair, Ashley can be a great resource if you’re looking for some hairstyling tips and product recommendations.
“When you ask your hair stylist for their opinion, you expect them to be honest,” she said. “You don’t want them doing something that they don’t think will work. So if you asked me for style advice, I would give you my honest opinion,” she said.
We could all use that around the office: someone who will tell you like it is. Someone with hairacter.
Hair Care 101
- Comb hair when it’s wet, brush when it’s dry. This will help prevent breakage.
- Too much water damages hair, especially when it’s too hot or cold, because it removes natural oils that keep your hair healthy and conditioned.
- Likewise, a blow-dryer dries out hair and removes moisture. If you do use one, hold it away from your hair and only focus on hitting the strands, not the roots.
- Find a stylist that you love and stick with them. “When you do something that’s as personal as styling your hair, it’s hard to find a client’s exact preference,” Ashley says. “Everyone has a place or person that they go to that does their hair. When they change stylists, it’s hard to match what they were getting.”
- If you love your hair, learn to love Pinterest. It keeps you up-to-date on hair trends. “For example, balayage, a highlighting technique, is becoming very popular,” Ashley says. Bring it to the stylist to start a discussion and have realistic expectations on what you’re able to do.
- Your hair needs occasional breaks from heavy cleaning, coloring, heat and chemicals. If you are in need for a rejuvenation, find the right products and styles to look good without putting your hair through an intense regimen.