Are you paying enough for your services?

The economy has been bad for a few years now, everyone is looking to save a buck any way they can and often this means fewer visits to your beauty professionals. In response to this some beauty professionals have dropped prices or created bundling specials, others have stopped raising their prices, while others have held steady and are waiting the recession out.

What determines the price for your service:

For every kind of service there is a standard cost. This cost is determined by the cost of the supplies, labor/time, and the experience/education of the service provider.

The cost of the supplies can make a huge difference in price for some services. Extensions come to my mind first- the better quality the hair the more expensive the service, specially if the procedure of installing the hair requires expensive specialty tools.

Labor/time can make a big difference in the cost of a service, and labor/time costs can vary from stylist to stylist. Some stylists set their prices based on how long it takes them to complete the service. For example a perm might not have expensive supply costs, but if it is not a service the stylist does on a regular basis it will take them much longer to complete- so they will charge more. Even if a service is fast to complete but labor intensive for the beauty professional the price can be affected- pedicures often cost more than a manicure because the body position of the nail professional is crouched down and more taxing on the body than a manicure.

Most commonly a factor in the cost of hair services, experience/education can be a huge cost factor. A study was recently done by a morning news show that compared hair cuts at varied costs- one was a low end cut at around $15, another around $40, then one at $80 and a fourth at nearly $200. When strangers were asked which cut looked more expensive or better the $40 look won. This is not to say that big price tags are not worth the investment. Like I said there are a lot of factors that create prices for services, many salons impose pricing standards and dictate when, and how much a stylist can raise their prices. Sometimes the criteria for raising prices is how long the stylist has been with the company, how many classes/training courses they have attended, or how many clients they have. I feel this $40 cut won the popular vote because of the finishing this stylist put into their cut.

This stylists passion for their work out shined the other cuts, it is passion that greatly determines the outcome of any service. Everyone has a budget but take a stylists passion into account. Talk to the stylists before getting a service and find the one who you feel best understands what you’re looking for or the one you feel asks the right questions. These ‘right’ questions will be different for every one but they should all be a variation of ‘what do you want from your hair?’. Whether its about how much time youll spend on styling, your lifestyle, it should be more than just the basics of how long or short you want it.

Tipping

The industry ‘standard’ is between 15-20% of the cost of the service but is all too often skipped or under done. Even if you are not 100% satisfied with the results there is a reason a stylist stops the service. It could be any number of reasons but always make sure you talk with them to find out why they finished their service the way they did.

For example, I read a lot about women being unsatisfied with a coloring service. Most often I hear of them having dyed black hair but now want it blonde and are unsatisfied with the reddish brown hair they leave with. As a cosmetologist 3 things come to my mind that justify this move by their stylists 1) Their hair would have become fried if the stylist tried to bleach the hair up that much and 2) Predicting how long it will take for hair to lift is a tricky thing to estimate- everyone’s hair is different and the stylist did not have enough time scheduled to complete the service to the clients desires 3) the labor of the service is more than they can handle in one sitting-it takes about 3 hours to bleach my hair up and while I might feel a little stiff at the end of it I know my stylist is exhausted by the end of the service from constantly moving.

There is a huge difference between a professional who is plain lazy and another who is taking the well being of your hair into consideration- this should be your basis for tipping!

Lashes

Eyelashes

Eyelashes (Photo credit: ftphotostudio)

There are a lot of things we do to make ourselves look prettier and one of the biggest ways involves your lashes. Some girls pack on the make up and use every kind of product on the market while others will only use a little mascara and lip gloss, in either case its obvious that enhancing eyelashes in a big ticket for just about any woman.

There are many routes for enhancing your lashes.

MASCARA:

This is an industry of its own, there are choices between waterproof or not, thickening formulas or extending formulas, black-brown-red-blue-rainbow, its nearly endless with the claims each product has. Mascara is the most basic tool in making your eyes pop and at times the most confusing. Finding the right mascara for you is all about trial and error. Most product claims are exaggerated, and application technique can vary greatly product to product. All I can say is I’m glad mascara has evolved from its early beginnings (pictured below).

earlymascara

FAKE EYELASHES:

A standard for those who favor a more dramatic look are falsies. These bad boys can create anything from a natural but full look to a bold and wild fantasy.  I personally love these for a night out or for a theatrical show but proper application can be a hard thing to master.

Technique is everything for false lashes and everyone has their own set of tricks. The important thing with these is to practice, practice, practice. Once you get the muscle memory you’ll have no problem getting them perfect every time.

Experimenting with glue application is also very important. My personal favorite is Duo glue and I will apply the glue to the lashes and wait for the glue to become a little tacky before applying it to my lash line. I find that this technique creates less mess and has a stronger hold.

SEMI-PERMANENT/ ‘PERMANENT’ EXTENSIONS:

Eyelash extensions are a pricey investment but can be beneficial if you feel that your lashes are an important part of your look. I personally have never had them, as I am lucky enough to be blessed with wonderful natural lashes, but they are a great option! If you only wear them once I feel that your wedding is the best time for it! I know many brides who splurged on their lashes and loved it. For many, their lashes even lasted all through their honeymoon and helped them look ravishing on the beach with no make up!

A full set can take about 2 hours so it is also the most time consuming option. Do your research when choosing a lash specialist, price should not be your only concern when considering lash extensions. What products they are using will make a huge difference in the outcome of the service and can mean the difference between a good experience and a bad one. There are a lot of different companies who manufacture the products for eyelash extensions so make sure your ‘lash expert’ is the real deal- they should have a training certificate from the company or at least their boss should. Obviously the person who attended the class should be your first choice but don’t disregard someone with hands on experience either.

The most important factor is to make sure they have a license with your state in either cosmetology or esthetics. People without this license might have an understanding of how to apply lashes but they do not understand the rules and regulations of sanitation that are required by your state! Licensed people will have more concern about health and safety (in theory), if you feel that any one who is licensed disregards any kind of health and safety standards it is fully in your rights as a consumer to report them to the state board. They could potentially pay a hefty fine or loose their license if they are found to not follow health and safety standards.

PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION LIKE LATTICE:

The newest form of lash enhancement is Lattice, a topical medication that stimulates hair growth originally created for cancer patients. This can be prescribed by your doctor, but unless you suffer/suffered from cancer it is unlikely that it would be covered by your insurance (but major kudos to you if it is!). There are a few over the counter products that claim to work like Lattice but I wouldn’t hold my breath for it. I have heard mixed reviews about some working from some of my clients while others say they didn’t so if you find something that works for a friend it might work for you too.

*BEWARE OF LASH PERMING/ PERMANENT LASH CURLING*

In California this procedure is ILLEGAL. That being said there are still places who offer it and advertise it- research is the most important thing about any service, if you couldn’t tell already by how often I encourage it! Lash perming if done incorrectly can leave you blind, it is a serious risk to consider and that is why it is illegal in many states. If you still feel that you can’t live without it then make sure you are seeing an experienced, licensed person for these services.

CONCLUSION

I hope this has helped educate you about all the choices for getting the lashes you desire! Don’t be afraid to experiment with new things- just make sure its done right!

Decoding Cat Behavior

cat

cat (Photo credit: Kenny Teo (zoompict))

Cats can be the most confusing creatures. But I hope that this can help shed some light on your cat’s curious antics.

Play Time Biting-

They want to play but end up attacking your hand. I believer there are 2 reasons for this: 1) they are over stimulated by your method of playing and see it as an attack, 2) they are responding to your hand with their natural instinct to play ‘kill the prey’ it’s the kind of playing you would see between two young siblings and is not intended to cause any damage to the playmate.

I think more often then not people think they are playing gently with their cat, in a way that would get the soft bite response when in reality their methods are most often in the first category. I see my husband doing this a lot with our fur children, one of whom tolerates his rough play and the other attacks or runs off faster than a bullet.

Look for cues from your cat to determine where they are emotionally. Pinned back ears, dilated eyes, hunched body are indicators that your cat is being overstimulated. Instead approach them calmly, point your finger at their nose and allow them to rub your finger first. Some cats are also easily over stimulated when they are rubbed from head to tail so only go about half way down their back while petting.

‘Chirping’ Meows-

Have you ever heard your cat make repeated quick small meows? That’s actually a cat’s natural response when they are hunting birds! My cats so this quite often from their cat condos in front of our living room window and even in response to a feathered toy! They do this to mimic bird sounds, which is believed to trick real birds into coming close enough for them to pounce on. It’s quite adorable and one of my favorite cat behaviors.

Cat Grudges-

With a dog you can rub their nose in the carpet with they poop in the house but if you do this to a cat you will have a lifetime of poop on your bed ahead of you. Cats process memories differently from dogs. A dog remembers that pooping the the house makes their owner upset but a cat remembers the same action as their owner is mean to them. Sometimes they will develop a grudge just because someone smells different!

There is a new wave of animal training that fully believes in positive reinforcement, specifically in regard to dogs but I feel this kind of technique is even more important with cats to avoid ruining animal-human relationships. So when that friend your cat hates comes over, have them feed your cat treats, little by little they will begin to like this person.

 

Cat do all kinds of odd behavior that seem nearly impossible to understand (like running in circles- sideways) some are just hilarious and others are bothersome, regardless cats are hard to ignore.

How To Use Your Tools

irons

 

All too often I see some ladies admire a picture for the styling and think a hair cut is what will make their hair look like the model’s. That might be a part of getting the style you desire but most often how you use your tools is much more important.

CURLING IRONS

The type of curl or wave pattern is determined by the angle that the hair is wrapped around the iron, how you hold your iron, and how it cools.

By taking a flat section of your hair and flatly wrapping it around your curling iron you will get a softer look when it is brushed out, its great for an old Hollywood look or beach waves. Another option is to twist the hair as your wrap it around the iron, this makes the sections stay more divided and more like a curled rather than wavy texture.

The angle you hold your iron is also very important for the final results. For an old Hollywood wave I use my iron in a vertical fashion, with a slight tilt (almost parallel to the outer half of my eyebrow) in the front sections. When I want more of a Marilyn Monroe type of curl I hold the iron horizontally.

Finally, the cooling position of the hair is the most under used and highly important step of the whole service. If you’re hair is notorious for loosing its curl completely or not holding the shape you want for more than an hour this is the step that will change your life. For old Hollywood waves I don’t pin my hair, but I will hold a curl for about 30 seconds after removing the iron. The Marilyn look needs to be pinned to the roots until it goes ice cold. If you have extremely difficult hair this will take some practice before it looks perfect. You not only have to train your hands to do what they need to do but your hair needs to learn how to hold the shape as well. Ask a naturally curly friend of yours who straightens their hair daily- they’ll tell you that their hair isn’t as curly or as hard to keep straightened as it used to be. It’s because their hair and their hands have learned to do what they practiced doing!

FLAT IRONS

Sectioning is important for all kinds of styling but I really feel that with straightening it can make or break a styling. The angle of the sections and their size are the most important things to keep in mind.

When I had my hair in a forward bob, longer in the front and short in the back, I found diagonal sections with the hair directed towards my face worked best.

As far as sizing goes, it should be proportionate to the size of the iron. If you use a mini iron your sections will be much shorter than if you use a larger iron, however the thickness of each section should never be more than one inch! Taking sections larger than an inch are not evenly distributing heat to your hair, and if your hair is curly you’ll spend more time going over your hair again and again to get every bit of it straight than if you just take smaller sections to begin with. By taking less hair in each section you’re going to get more control of how each section looks.

Some styles can be done multiple ways so try things out and find what works best for you.

FINAL THOUGHTS

For more styling guidance please also read my other post What Tools You Should Be Using.