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Monday, May 12, 2008

Your easy guide to hair modeling!

(Check me out, looking all glam with bleach in my hair. Or not.)

So when I posted about going blonde last week, Joanna asked in the comments why I didn't choose to go red. Well, because I went blonde as part of being a hair model, and so I didn't get to pick my color.

My beloved cousin S. is an apprentice colorist at a swanky salon here in San Francisco, and as part of her program, she needs to do at least one head o' hair every week. Since I'm always willing to help her out, I've gone in and been her model four separate times now: a beauty school final exam where she cut my hair, gave it a fingerwave, and then a full blow out; a full tint, where I went from mousy and old-highlight-y to a gorgeous warm chocolate; warm highlights in my short hair; then going blondeblondeblonde. It's a great way to spend time with my cousin and to get to try new things with my hair for super-cheap. I just have to be flexible and open-minded about what she wants to do with my hair, and that's fine with me!

S. is almost done with her apprenticeship, and she's getting ready for a final hair/fashion show. She asked me back in February if I wanted to be one of her models, and that she had an idea for me: "Have you seen Breathless?" Thus, this blonde turn is a test run: I'll be getting my hair cut Seberg-style again (it is pretty grown out now, but it's usually that short) before the show later this summer, and she'll touch up my blonde before the show as well. Then, after her show, S. will be a full-time (and full-price!) colorist!

So this last time, I asked S. what she feels are the best attributes in a hair model, and how we can make things easier for the apprentices who need to find models on a regular basis. Thus, here's a guide to some of the things you should know if you're considering being a hair model for a salon.

- Have what they're looking for. In other words, if you're going in for coloring, you should have virgin hair -- that is, no pre-existing color treatment. S. said, even if it's four months old, that's still no good. S. posts on Craigslist looking for hair models, and she'll get people who are interested... but already have treated hair. Also, there are salons like Bumble & bumble who have an application process and consult where they determine if your hair is suitable for what they're looking for.

- Don't wash your hair the day of your appointment. As much as you may cringe at the idea of someone running their hands through your unwashed hair, it's important to keep the natural oils on your hair, which makes it easier to work with and helps with the color process. If you come into a bleach-and-tone with clean hair, they will send you home. (You probably already know this if you're used to going in for coloring, but if you've got virgin hair (see point above), you might not!)

- SHOW UP TO YOUR APPOINTMENT. When you're coming in to see an apprentice, they're counting on you -- this is part of their learning experience, and they need you to show up and be there. Otherwise they're forced to run around and find someone else on super-short notice, which sucks. That, and you'll probably wind up being put on the "no-schedule" list for that apprentice. Which also sucks. For you.

- Be flexible. An apprentice will often be working on one certain technique at a time, then will "graduate" up to a different technique. Thus, S. and I have gone from tint to highlight to bleach-and-tone over the past two years. I couldn't have gone blonde or red when she was doing tints (we could only go darker), and obviously a bleach-and-tone is going to be lighter. So if you have a very established idea of what you want to do with your hair, what color/length it needs to be, and you aren't willing to try something new, then hair modeling isn't right for you.

- Tip! Honestly, you are getting a full salon service for very, very little (if not free!) when you go in as a hair model. And, of course, with that comes a bit of risk -- you are going into the hands of a newbie, and you're going in for something that may end up a, well, surprise. (See above note re: being flexible!) But at the same time, since the apprentices aren't yet fully trained, they don't get the perks (read: wages) that the full-time employees receive. And you'd tip your regular colorist or stylist anyway, right? (RIGHT?) So be kind, and do tip.

Have you ever been a hair model? Do you think this is something you'd want to try, or are you already established in your style/relationship with your stylist/colorist? And if you're in the SF area and you'd like to work with S., drop me a comment and I'll send you her way!

image from periodicstyle.blogspot.com


Crunchy Carpets said...

Hey..I worked at a hair salon and did the hair model bit for some of them..it was fun...I was the 'dummy' in some competitions too...

MOSTLY turned out just great...

Anonymous said...

Totally sound advice, but you may want to add the following addendum: the hair virgin thing is not always the rule.

I get actively scouted to be a hair model more often when I have fresh coloring. The fresher the color, the more I get scouted (conversely, these days, nobody comes courtin' my massive virgin roots). I've gotten scouted literally 5 days after having my hair done before. The downtown colorists are a fiesty folk.

The only difference is that when you get scouted with color, you will get the same color family in a different tone (so that the student can "flip" you like a house or a used car). When you are a redhead with roots, you will be a redhead again, but you may go from ginger to cherry or something.

I think it's just that S.'s salon has a stricter requirement than their neighbors.

Jeanne said...

Hi! Thanks for your comments!

CC, I've gone in for a model cut before, and since they'd forgotten I was there (oops), they already had one of the other apprentices in a chair. Plus S. always has a new color/cut whenever I see her, too! (And yes, mostly great -- that haircut was no good, but the coloring's been great!)

And L., that's also true. Thus why it's important to have what they're looking for, too. Everyone's requirements are different -- I'm lucky in that my hair's so short I can be "back to virgin" within a couple of months and keep going back, but yeah. And thanks for sharing your experience, too -- I know you and I are probably some of the most frequent repeat customers of the Powell salon apprentices.

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