Watching a woman’s hair move in the wind is an eye gauging experience, especially when the hairstyle is just right. Hair that compliments the facial features and persona of someone is key. Women love their hair being that it’s a part of them. Hair is part of what helps bring out the beauty in someone.
Besides how amazing hair can be, it’s also about the sheer amount of potential it really has. One can craft hair into an extraordinary work of art that can formally appeal to many. Hairstylists know this, and they play an important role. They help people to find out who they are as a person while helping them to become confident, beautiful, and sexy inside and out. They can help bring out the ambition and courage in a person, which is why they choose to do it through hair services.
Hairstylists are really capable of changing the lives and personas of their clients in a positive manner. But it also means they themselves must allow their skills and strengths to evolve continuously to then strive to achieve to a high level of greatness seen amongst the eyes of their peers and upcoming talent in the industry. Passion is the driving force that fuels a person’s eagerness to find their skills and strengths, and to exploit them for the end result of benefiting the client, and further progressing their career in hairstyling.
There are many skills that a professional behind the hair or educating others on stage can wield, but what should be the most important skill one can possess? For Michael Esse, a National Educator for John Paul Mitchell Systems, the one skill/strength he believes is the backbone of what brings out the quality of services from the hairstylist is “Style.” That is what he believes brings out the creativity and artistic abilities of a person to develop and form hair into something truly magnificent.
What makes ‘Style’ such an important skill? We talk with Michael to hear from him what makes it an element every stylist should have and implement.
Sheldon Alexander: Define what "Style" is and its importance for a hairstylist.
Michael Esse: When I look at style, I think of something like unique, the anticipation of the movement of hair. It's dynamic to work with hair because it has the ability to create a shape, to give form and structure. It’s great to give hair something that makes it look very amazing to, for example, compliment a model, and the wardrobe that the model is wearing. It depends on the photo shoot, like a photographic competition. When you think about haircutting, coloring, and moving hair to the person's liking, it all comes down to style. It's about making the hair really come to life. If you do a haircut or a color, for example, you cannot find the true potential or polish of the hair without styling it.
SA: What have you done to craft your own unique style?
ME: I'm a bit of a rebel when it comes to doing hair. There are times that you really need to set yourself apart. The thing is, what do you want people to say about you? A certain style I want that can define me. It's about taking a look at the shape to see what you can do with hair, like putting pieces of hair in, taking pieces of hair out, and creating the end result.
SA: What challenges did you have along the way of developing your style?
ME: I think the challenges that I had in developing my own style was doing things at my own terms. It's more about doing things from within. Sometimes self-doubt comes in where you do not believe in your confidence or your craft. You must believe in your potential and not doubt your capabilities. For me it was more about dealing with the inside forces than the outside forces. We cannot let ourselves become our own worst critic, which I gained revelation of early on. You’ve got to look forward ten years on in, which means looking into fashion, magazines, and events. You have to sit down and look into your skill, and work on developing those skills.
SA: How does this particular skill show in the quality of your work?
ME: It sets apart everything that I do. It does really bring clients in to a whole new level. Every one of my guests and colleagues are really intrigued by the quality of work that I have. They see the passion and drive that I have in the transcendence when styling, shaping, and forming the structure of hair.
SA: Out of the strengths and skills a hairstylist must have, what makes having style so important?
ME: The thing that makes style so important is that the client can see the true form. Whether after the styling or blow-drying, it all really does transcend the work. It's about really laying the style in, how the client stands out, and how different they look from others that make you really stand out from other hairstylists.
SA: In your experience, have you seen other hairstylists pick up on this skill very well?
ME: There are really people who excel in styling, people who possess those skills, and others that don't. Hairstylists have to have a passion and really love it in order to work on possessing the style. Hairstylists around me have excelled in developing and crafting this skill through the love of styling. There are standards to be had, but then you have to raise the bar.
SA: Who are some of the veteran stylists in the industry that inspire you through their work?
ME: I have a lot of them, but the main people that really brought my work to a whole new level with style included Vivienne MacKinder, Robert Cromeans and Stephanie Kocielski, whom I worked for. Kocielski for one pushes hair really well, and helped push me to go above and beyond. However, they all have helped create that site for me. I've had the chance to see their work, and see how passionate and caring they were of styling hair. They provided me that mentorship and training that really helped me get the site to seeing hair in a different capacity. There's a vision to hair, and giving it a foundation is an amazing thing. It takes a little imagination, and they helped me to see that.
SA: What made their style of doing hair appealing to you?
ME: It was seeing the ability they had in making hair come alive, watching them using every tool and product that hair can handle, and seeing how they helped transcend hair into a great structure. I was involved with Paul Mitchell Systems and its directors because of their approach when it comes to styling hair.
SA: In what ways can hairstylists stand out from the rest?
ME: It's the passion and commitment when it comes to their work. Word of mouth really then speaks for itself. The hairstyle of the client, when truly developed, is going to walk down the street. It's not going to be placed on the wall. Other people will really get to see how the hair bounces, sways, and how beautiful it looks overall. When people see the hair you've done on the clients, you hope they will compliment the hair, ask where they got the service from, and if they have an extra business card.
SA: What other skills/strengths are very important for hairstylists to have? How do they work in line with having style?
ME: Having the ability to understand the client while having the haircutting ability, that comes to mind with style. It’s about understanding color, haircutting, while having the ability of being a texture specialist. It still matters when giving that hair a polishing finish through styling the hair. There has to be great coloring, great hair cutting, and great texture. Every skill eventually needs to be strong. I believe these are skill sets that work in line with style 100%.
SA: What will you do to continuously improve your "Style" of hairstyling?
ME: Keep working with doll heads while utilizing every tool/product that I have. I will continue to make sure that the hair will have polish. So whenever I mess up, I'll redo and make sure that it looks great to standards. If you don't look good, we don't look good. I think staying self-motivated will make you the true artist that you want to be. Stay committed and you can achieve anything. Whether in the salon, on the chair, or on stage, you can achieve the level of success you like to have if you’re motivated and committed. Believe in your potential, as there are no limits to your potential.
Find out more about Michael Esse, review his portfolio and experience as a national educator/hairstylist, visit www.michaelesse.webs.com
Darlene Alexander is a licensed cosmetologist for 31 years, is an author, and is a manufacturer of professional hair products. She helps salon professionals provide healthy hair solutions for their clients to give them beautiful, healthy, sensational hair! You can contact her at her email firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.heavenlyessence.net for the latest hair care and salon business tips.
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