What I Wish I Knew in Beauty School: Jon Reyman

Reyman during his “beauty school days” (left) and today’s Reyman (right).

It’s easy to think that every big-name stylist walked into beauty school loving every moment of their education. That might be true for many of them, but it wasn’t true for Jon Reyman, (@jonreymanhair) Aveda Guest Artist and Owner of Spoke & Weal, Los Angeles. Here, Reyman gives his younger self some “tough love” advice about his attitude, education and future mentors. Let his letter be the words of wisdom that help guide an up-and-coming stylist just like he was.

Hey J,

I know that you hate hair school right now. You think what you’re learning is dumb, and you can’t stand most of your instructors. You’re struggling to understand what you’re learning and how to do it and why you have to do it a specific way. And, when you do ask why, you always get the same answer: “Because I said so.” This will frustrate you, and you’ll start to turn the “why” on yourself and question if hair school is even worth it.

So, here’s what I need you to do: Kill the attitude and make it your mission to learn as much as you can from everyone you can. Learn what not to do from instructors who force you to do things their way and refuse to give your questions real answers. Give them room to be who they are, and don’t be so hard on them. Instead, channel your energy into finding stylists and educators who do amazing work and make room for you to discover your own way of doing things. 

You’re going to meet a lot of these people along the way, but here are a few to watch out for. Spend time with Joe, Jackie, and Cathy at the Aveda Institute, who will spot your raw talent and work hard to fuel it. You’ll be awestruck when you meet Eugene Souleiman, and he’ll be one of the greatest gifts to your career. He’ll move through hair with the grace and precision of a Samurai warrior and inspire you to do the same. 

When you fail to do a proper French Twist at your Aveda Purefessional training, Antoinette Beenders will march over and say that you can do it better. She’ll make you skip lunch to prove her point, but she’ll skip lunch too, and coach you until you get it right. 

Gina Derry will let you be your authentic self in a way no other hairdresser ever has, and you’ll be forever grateful. David Wagner will create an environment where you can learn and be celebrated, and David Adams will hire you as Artistic Director of the Aveda Advanced Academy because he’ll see something in you that you can’t see in yourself.

Even with all these great mentors in your corner, you’ll still have moments of doubt, second-guessing, and yes—failure. And that’s okay, as long as you fail forward. Give yourself room to be messy on your journey and know that you can fail horribly and still succeed when you learn from your mistakes. Spoiler alert: You’re going to make a lot of them. 

Right now, you might be thinking that hair school is one of those mistakes. But trust me: You’re good at this, and someday you will be great. Your journey to excellence will be a bumpy one, but it’s going to be an amazing ride. 

Love you forever,

Jon

Have some invaluable advice that you wish you knew in beauty school? Share it with others in a “What I wish I knew in beauty school” online letter. To be considered, please email your “Dear Beauty School self” letter to our Executive Editor, Andrea Dawn Clark, at: [email protected] And, send a “vintage” and current photo of yourself via Wetransfer, Dropbox or Google Drive. Use “What I wish I knew in beauty school” as your email subject. Students, and even seasoned pros, will appreciate your perspective and salon experiences.