How Cosmetology School Shaped A Professional Hairstylist’s Life
BeautySchools.com had the pleasure of sitting down with professional hairstylist, Meg Jessup, to talk everything beauty related. Meg, a licensed cosmetologist in Kansas, Missouri, and Texas for ten years, thrives off the fast paced environment that the cosmetology field offers. She currently is behind the chair at Simply Red Salonspa, in Branson, Missouri, where she specializes in color techniques.
When did you become interested in cosmetology and what inspired your decision to enroll in cosmetology school?
Born with strawberry blonde, fine curls, I was never EVER happy with my hair. Like many people, I had some heinous hairdos and atrocious dye jobs, and never clapped with glee because I loved my hair, ever! However, at the time, I did not feel I had the natural ability to do hair for ‘a living’. It was during college that I began experimenting with my own color and haircutting, developed some admirers who wanted me to (and I did, not well mind you) do their hair in my kitchen. I was absolutely encouraged by friends and family to go to ‘beauty’ school.
What did you look for while comparing different cosmetology programs and why did you choose the one you did?
There were several local programs to choose from but I wanted to know which had the smallest one-on-one class size with a reputation for being “good”- I really didn’t know what that meant- but I knew I needed to learn by people who knew what the heck they were teaching, so I chose a program that had been open for some 50 years and the instructors knew their stuff through and through. I also had met successful stylists who recommended the program.
Which programs did you take, full cosmetology or did you specialize?
While in beauty school, I received an offer to train as a color technician with Toni & Guy in Dallas, TX and five years into my career moved to complete that intense training. If I could go back to when I first received that offer, I would have started RIGHT out of cosmetology school! I had developed so many lazy and sloppy shortcuts that I didn’t realize even mattered. Thankfully I was retrained to do things correctly and accurately. I now specialize in color and I know without a doubt that training was a pivotal point of my career.
What is the most rewarding part of working in the cosmetology and beauty industry?
My clientele are absolutely the most rewarding part of my job. It feels so awesome to make someone feel outstanding about themselves. Clients want fantastic ‘hair commercial’ hair, they want to feel pampered and they want to know they can sit down in your chair, forget all their nerves, about heinous hairdos of the past, and I am the the one who gets to give them that. The gratitude that they share with me and the loyalty they have expressed over the years keep me fulfilled. I make men and women feel worthy, sexy, and powerful! I have to remind myself daily that I have the BEST profession.
What is one thing that has stuck with you from cosmetology school that you still to this day remember?
In beauty school, my instructors instilled that people want a expert not a technician. People value your up-to-date opinion on colors and trends, not to be rushed through but with an individualized approach and be taught how to replicate the look that you create for them so they can have not just one good hair day. To not get discouraged but to just keep learning from your mistakes. Toni & Guy taught me to really slow down and put quality over quantity. Also, just to continue learning and evolving as our profession makes advancements to better serve an ever changing trend driven market.
What is your favorite cosmetology service to offer your clients?
My favorite service to offer is a total makeover, of course! There is no better feeling as an artist to know your client has released all of their control and trust anything you want to do. I almost always hold myself back from what I really want to do on a client because they are afraid it’s ‘not going to look good on them’. I KNOW what’s going to flatter them, it’s what I do. So when I am able to evaluate their lifestyle, coloring, and the amount of time they want to spend on getting ready and customize a full look for them, I am totally in my element. Sometimes it requires radical change. Then when I am able to turn them around to see their full potential actualized is completely gratifying. I love seeing how someone’s attitude changes when they know they look good and they walk out with new confidence and empowerment. I know I have done my job when my clients can’t even wait to leave my chair before they share their new look on social media.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering enrolling in beauty school?
Cosmetology as a profession, requires a thorough well-rounded basic knowledge, first and foremost. Choose an institution with cutting edge techniques with tried and true principles of classic hairdressing. Cosmetology is for people-people highly passionate creative individuals who really want to do some hair, not for the meek. I recommend enrolling somewhere you will be treated like the future professional that you are and be provided with a hands on approach to really LEARN and not be SHOWN. Go to institutions and observe class, research all different programs they offer and pick a school where questions are being encouraged and mistakes are opportunities for growth. When you find the right program for your goals and complete it, remember you still have more to learn! In this profession you learn every day.