Mobile Hairdressing

Let’s face it, not everyone is a 9 to 5 kind of person, some people thrive on being their own boss and setting and achieving their own goals. One of the biggest benefits of becoming a mobile hairdresser is that you will have the freedom to set your own hours and work as little or as much as you want to. Gaining a good amount of experience is advised before venturing out on your own, at a minimum we recommend two years salon experience to give you a good start to developing your people skills as well as building relationships with clients.

Being a mobile hairdresser you are your own boss, you can schedule your clients at times mutually suitable and you are not limited to opening and closing times of a salon. This is one of the huge advantages you have over a regular salon and clients will love you for it. Not only that you can spend that little bit of extra time with them if the need arises and your schedule allows.

But to keep those regular clients coming back you need to be on hand to take their calls or if you can’t be prepared to get back to them pretty sharp to retain their business. Organisation will be key, remember when you are out and about or in the middle of a blow wave there is no one around to take your calls and get back to potentials clients on your behalf. So staying focused and being overly organised will keep you and your business ticking along nicely. Also ensuring that you have a working and reliable mode of transport and that’s its fully stocked with all your equipment and supplies, you don’t want to get to an appointment and be asked to do something with you didn’t bring the right tools for.

A major part of working for yourself is being able to sell and promoting your business. The best place to start is ensuring you keep a strong presence on social media, keeping for example your Facebook, twitter and Instagram pages up to date on current trends and posting your latest styles will be sure to keep your followers interested.
You may not have a bricks and mortar salon to show of your flair and style but getting yourself online with a website will be how you really show off your personal style and accomplishments, not only is this the façade of your brand but you can use it to build your clientele using search engine optimisation (SEO) to gain traction on google and other search engines and set you apart from your competition.

These days websites don’t need to cost you an arm and a leg, places such as Wix lets you build your own beautiful website at a fraction of the cost, however if you are serious about promoting your business online, engaging a professional web design studio will really make a big difference to your brand. Not sure where to start? Read our article on easily creating an online portfolio for your business.

And let’s not forget the most the power of who you know, word of mouth can be a hugely effective tool for marketing your business, keep yourself open to networking and meeting new people and not being afraid to self-promote when the opportunity arises.

Owning your own business and stepping into the world of entrepreneurship is daunting to say the least so don’t be afraid to go back and further your studies with a course such as Certificate IV in Small Business Management, being a wiz at styling hair is one thing but running a business can be a whole other ball game, so don’t be afraid to hit the books and get ahead of the game.

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Male Hairdressers

It’s no surprise that hairdressing is a rapidly growing career choice. In fact employment for Hairdressers has risen by 5.8% over the past 5 years and is expected to remain relatively steady through 2017.

However for men sometimes there can be a moment of uncertainty when it comes to deciding whether they should take the first step toward becoming a Hair Dresser. Statistically speaking, men account for just under 15% of hairdressers in Australia, so at a glance appears that men are underrepresented when it comes to a voice in the industry.

In a way it’s like when we are very young, we have dreams of what we will be when we grow up. Then as we begin to grow up, our dreams change. Sometimes it’s because we’ve changed, or sometimes because the world made us feel we need to change them.

Despite the relative percentage of Men in the industry, men have a very strong voice as stylists. In fact men have had some of the strongest influence in shaping the industry that we love.

Just cast you eyes across any “Most Influential Hair Stylists”, Top Hair Stylists”, or “Most Successful Hairstylists” articles and you’ll see that a lot of the top stylists in the world today are men. They have founded some of the biggest brands, the most well known studios, and styled the most famous of people.

It almost goes without saying that when you look at the history of the industry, Male Hairdressers and stylists have been some of the greatest innovators, bravest pioneers, most creative visionaries.

So don’t give up the dream.  “If you have a sense of style and purpose and will you don’t want to compromise.” — Vidal Sassoon

You can take the first step here.

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Occupational Risks for Hairdressers

To many the hairdressing salon does not immediately seem like a dangerous place, nor does hairdressing appear to be a dangerous job. However it is important to consider the common types of occupational risks common among hairdressers, in order to have a safe and happy hairdressing career.

Some of the more commonly found issues affecting hairdressers include:

Chemical Irritation
While working in the salon you are may be directly or indirectly exposed to chemicals for example colour treatments, straightening products, style products, shampoo and conditioner, continuous hand washing etc. This can cause anywhere from mild eye and skin irritations or rashes, to more serious allergic reactions. This irritation of the skin caused by repeated contact with irritants or allergens is known as contact dermatitis

The extent and severity of these reactions deepening your own sensitivity and the or how strong the product strength or concentration. Sometimes the symptoms of these irritations can go often unnoticed and but can be seen as a rash or redness and swelling of the skin on the hands.

Chemical exposure can also cause respiratory complications. You may experience pain or difficulty breathing, or other episodes. It is important to limit exposure and understand the dangers of various hair-related products from cleansers to sanitation chemicals.

Ongoing exposure to these chemicals can have even have life threating effects if symptoms are ignored or undiagnosed. Some of these conditions are common and while nuisance level, are not life-threatening. It is important to read the warnings on all labels, wear gloves where etc., and limit exposure to new or harsher products until you understand the safety implications.

Latex Sensitivity
Latex gloves are the most widely available and cost effective of all disposable gloves. They also work very well. This is why they are so common in hairdressing salons. Unfortunately many hairdressers regularly use latex gloves can develop sensitivity to latex after a period of time. Latex gloves are often lined with corn starch powder, which helps to make them easier to put on. The problem is that the corn-starch powder absorbs the Latex proteins. This causes the skin to become irritated, and over time can lead to an allergic reaction. When the gloves are removed the powder can be released into the air sometimes inhaled.

Prolonged us of Latex gloves can lead to dry, raw skin, sustained dermatitis with blisters and even respiratory symptoms.

Low allergen, powder free gloves are available and are worth the investment to reduce the chance of a reaction to latex.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is defined as “injury to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that may be caused by repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibrations, mechanical compression, or sustained or awkward positions.”

As a hairdresser, you may experience times where your tendons can become irritated and inflamed by awkward postures or repetitive hand movements.

A good example of RSI among hairdressers is carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful disorder of the hand caused by pressure on nerves that run through the wrist. Symptoms include numbness, pins and needles, and pain.

If any of the symptoms above are observed or you or, it is important to take a break and perform an ergonomic assessment of you the way you work. It may be an early warning of something more painful and serious.

Burns and Shocks
Hair is primarily made up of Keratin, a fibrous protein that forms both the structure of hair and protects it from stress. Keratin is held together by hydrogen bonds, that if broken or weakened, will allow the hair to be rearranged. This can be done by applying water, however works best with heat. Once cooled the hair will remain in that position.

This is the theory behind the techniques hairdressers use to straighten and curl hair. It is also the reason why hairdressers are required to use electrical appliances, such as hair dryers and curling tongs, even in seemingly dangerous work areas where water may be present.

According to GHD Australia the optimal temperature for styling hair is 185oC. Anything lower will require too many passes to achieve the style, drying out the hair. Think about it, this is just a few degrees hotter than the average heated oven and poses a high burn risk to both hairdressers and clients. Burns from straighteners and curlers are very common price to pay for well styled hair.

Blow dryers and other electrical tools can cause shocks and electrocution if not used properly. They can also cause injuries if they are damaged and not repaired in a timely manner. Always check for frayed cords and other signs that electrical appliances are unsafe. Hairdressers should also avoid getting electrical appliances wet, as this increases the risk of electrocution.

Fatigue
Hairdressing roles usually involve being on your feet for up to eight hours a day and this can take its toll on your body and wellbeing. But there are some things you and your employer can do to combat this.

When the task permits use an adjustable or agronomical stool or chair to sit on. Perhaps the chair your client is sitting on is adjustable, ensure you take the time to adjust it so that you can comfortably reach your client without leaning over, twisting or straining yourself in any way.

Although a lot of women love to wear fashionable heeled shoes, in reality they are not that practical for a role like this when you are on your feet all day. Be kind to your feet and invest in a pair of low heeled comfortable shoes.

Ensure you take allocated breaks and lunch hours, you may want o work through to get the job done but these breaks are important for your mental and physical wellbeing. Also vary your tasks, doing the same task repetitively can cause strain on your body so break it up with other small tasks in between.

Poor Ventilation
Poor ventilation poses a big threat to the safety risk to hairdressers. Adequate ventilation is required to control fumes and odours from chemical substances used in the salon. A good ventilation system can be as simple as open windows or, combination air conditioning system and extraction fans. Ventilation is also useful for controlling the salon temperature to create a more comfortable working environment. A good example of this is the prolonged use of hair dryers and other heating equipment will generate heat in the work area, causing discomfort to both hairdressers and their clients.

Cuts
Hairdressing scissors are purpose built precision instruments. They are sharp and effective and spend more hours in the hands of a hairdresser than any other tool. This puts hairdressers at a high risk for cuts and puncture wounds. The most important thing is to be aware of this danger at all times when in the salon. Ensure that when carrying sharp objects such as scissors, they are carried with the appropriate care and where possible the sharp end should be pointed toward the ground. This will greatly reduce the risk of cuts and punctures if the person carrying a sharp object should fall or bump into another person.

Infections
A far cry from the fashion and glamour that usually surrounds hairdressers is the reality of undesirable transmission of infections from clients. As a hairdresser you will be in situations that require contact with the skin, scalp and hair of many different clients.

Failure to understand the risk lead to increased exposure various infections of the skin and hair. These kinds of infections can be fungal, viral or bacterial, all of which are very common and easily transmitted when awareness in a salon is low.

Most of the time these fungal and bacterial infections can be visible on the client, however if you are not able to recognise the symptoms or are to relaxed when it comes to safety protocols, you are at risk of being exposing yourself and others to the infection as well. It is extremely important to ensure all tools improperly cleaned and sanitized to prevent any outbreaks within the salon from occurring.

Viral infections are not be visible in many cases and be extremely serious. Examples of virus infections include herpes, Hepatitis C and even HIV. It may be a good idea to visit your doctor about for advice on any precautionary vaccinations available.

If you are concerned or worried in any way it is important to ask your clients upfront about infections or illnesses they may have. Don’t be afraid to seem forward or worry about creating an awkward situation. It is always better to be safe than sorry, especially when you are putting yourself at risk.

As always you must always make sure all tools are sterilised. Politely and gently remind others in the salon if you observe any potential risks. Even the most seasoned and talented hair professionals can become complacent. If it comes from a place of genuine concern for their wellbeing, you will not get any argument regarding this.

If there is ever an incident where broken skin is involved, your first priority is to ensure you are safe and clear from any risk. If it can affect others in the salon, advise that person right ways to be extremely cautious. Next sterilise all tools. Do not take any chances, regardless of what you think you know about the situation.

Allergies
As per the previously described many of the products used in a salon can cause an allergic reaction. Many products used in hairdressing are strong and can be dangerous if used incorrectly so ensure you read the directions and guidelines on each products and adhere to the instructions, if the products advises that you wear gloves to apply, then ensure you follow this protocol and wear the gloves. A person who is particularly sensitive can have a reaction that can lead to external as well as internal problems such as breathing difficulties and other respiratory distress.

Trip and Slip Hazards
Most salon tend to have a smooth slick finish on the floor, usually for durability and aesthetics reasons but add a days’ worth of cut hair and spray in products and you could have yourself a nasty accident. Combat this by ensuring that the floor is swept at every opportunity and definitely between each client. Also wearing sensible non slip shoes is a must to avoid a mishap.

Stay safe and ensure you:

  • Never use a damaged appliance or one that has impaired cords and never attempt to use a broken power point
  • Always keep electrical cords elevated and off of the floor
  • Switch your appliance off at the wall before you pull out the plug
  • Don’t piggy back appliances by using multiple appliances on one power point
  • Always disconnect broken appliances immediately and report them so no one else accidently uses them
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Cert II in Hairdressing

Certificate II in hairdressing is designed as a pre-vocational qualification to provide the basic skills to becoming a salon assistant for people who have the necessary skills to interact and engage in the workforce with colleagues and clients alike. This course will provide you with an overall representation of the role of a hairdresser as well as some real-world aptitudes in hairdressing.

Certificate II can act as a pathway to gaining an apprenticeship to Certificate III in Hairdressing, although cert II is beneficial to some it is not a necessity for everyone. Completing a pre-apprenticeship can show that you’re a dedicated individual and that you are serious about pursuing your career as a hairdresser.

During the course you will participate in workshops and work on mannequins and clients alike as well as participate in written work and group discussions. You will be trained in practical skills such as writing your resume, preparing for an interview and enhancing your communication skills as well as practical tasks such as:

  • Applying Shampoo and treatments.
  • Blow drying.
  • Styling.
  • Applying colour.
  • Braiding.
  • Massage.

The duration of this course varies for different institutes but generally can be completed in three months and you may also be able to apply have some of these units credited towards your certificate III Apprenticeship.

Certificate II is known as a Traineeship or Pre-Apprenticeship.

Click here to read about cert III in hairdressing via an Australian apprenticeship.
Click here to read about cert III in hairdressing via full time study.
Click here to read about cert IV in hairdressing.

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