Here's a simple fact: The demographics of our country are changing. Some of the fastest growing populations tend to have wavy, curly or kinky hair textures. But stylists are graduating from cosmetology school with limited exposure, understanding or appreciation of textured hair, be it wavy, curly or extremely coily. To fill in that beauty education gap, Melissa Taylor, owner of Beauty Lounge in Minneapolis, MN, created the Texture Academy, a 16-hour, hands-on training session for professional hair stylists and cosmetology students that want a deeper education on naturally curly hair.
"Many stylists avoid servicing clientele with extremely curly or coily hair due to a lack of understanding. But as the demographics of our country change, all stylists need to be equipped for a wider range of textures. The makeup of our families are changing and it's our responsibility to be able to service anyone who sits in our chair," says Taylor.
At the Texture Academy participants learn how to care for and style various natural hair textures, and they leave confident and equipped to service clientele with any curl type.
Here, Taylor breaks down why she thinks filling this education gap is so important, and why every stylist could benefit from the Texture Academy.
Q. Why do you think so many students come out of cosmetology school without an understanding of how to work with highly textured hair?
A. The cosmetology education system hasn't evolved quick enough to keep up with the times. Typically, the only information we get about highly textured hair is a brief overview of relaxers, which people aren't wearing as much as they used to. Textured hair—especially African-American hair—is often viewed as intimidating, which is mainly due to a lack of information and hands-on practice.
Q. What are the most important techniques you’re teaching at the Texture Academy? Why are these techniques so valuable for a stylist’s education?
A. Understanding expectations of the client, proper washing, conditioning, finishing and product selection. I also think there is an information gap in understanding how a client wants to look when they leave the salon. Stylists need to learn to choose the appropriate products for the service requested, in order to get the client's desired results.
Q. In terms of revenue, what can a student at the Texture Academy expect after graduating? How should a student let future clientele know that they now specialize in textured hair?
A. It all depends on how they market themselves after the course—be it with social media, word of mouth, new imagery around the salon or special promotions for textured hair. With this additional texture-focused education, stylists will be able to accept all clientele that walks through the door, whether the client's hair is wavy, curly or extremely coily. The bottom line is: The bigger your clientele pool, the more likely you'll have a boost in revenue.
Q. What would surprise people the most about your Texture Academy?
A. The most surprising thing is how much there is to learn. Many students believe that styling textured hair doesn't really differ that much from styling straight hair, or that they already have a basic understanding of textured hair and that's enough. Once they dive deep into the vast world of textured hair, they're shocked at how much there is to learn.
Q. What would you say to an experienced stylist that doesn't think they need go back to school?
A. You can never have too many skills in your bag of tricks. Understanding a different hair type will only make you better at styling your current clientele.
The Texture Academy classes will be held at The Beauty Lounge in Minneapolis, MN. Register in advance at Textureacademy.eventbrite.com. Offsite classes are also available, contact The Beauty Lounge ([email protected]) for details.
Texture Academy is a 16-hour, hands-on training for professional hair stylists and cosmetology students. The Beauty Lounge will celebrate the relaunch of their brand and the debut of this innovative class on Thursday June 29, from 6-8pm. For more information, visit www.mplsbeautylounge.com