Meet Faith: Faith is the Director of Education here at Prose and has been working as a professional stylist for over 15 years. In 2015, she stepped from behind the chair into salon management and quickly dove into the business side of salons – always leading from the viewpoint of the stylist. This unique transition launched her into working with beauty start-ups as a consultant to help kick-start their brands. Prior to her position at Prose, Faith worked alongside celebrity stylist Jen Atkin as Sales and Education specialist at OUAI haircare. Here, she speaks about what makes being a stylist unique, the steps she took to establish herself in the industry, tips, and more.
When did you first know you wanted to become a hairstylist?
When I actually started doing hair on people I was in preschool. I would play with my friends’ hair during nap time and was obsessed with playing with dolls. During my senior year of high school I wanted to major in science and for whatever reason I thought, ‘What if I could learn the science behind hair?’ I wanted to be a colorist and apply that chemistry to hair. In the middle of my senior year of high school I told my guidance counselor that I wasn’t going to be applying for college. She tried to discourage me and told me that I was never going to make any real money and that I was wasting my brain and grades.
What steps did you take to establish yourself as hairstylist?
I attended beauty school at 17 years old right after graduating high school, and I was lucky enough to land a salon job in the middle of hair school. By the time I graduated I had a good amount of time already invested in salon work. I started assisting for two years and was on the floor by year one. By the time I was 18 I was already taking clients and charging $40 a haircut, which was absurd at the time because that was expensive for someone so young. My age was the reason I was so determined to do well. I became obsessed with taking classes and training, because I had so much to learn and I felt like I had a really early start. I used to take classes every single weekend. I’d go to school during the week, work at night, and then during the weekends I would take advanced classes in color, cutting, hair extensions, and anything that my job would offer. The salon was able to offer that because it had accrued a lot of points with the brands they had partnered with and they would host classes when you cashed in on their points. I asked my boss if I could use them because no one else cared to take those classes. They were like ‘absolutely’ so I cashed in on thousands and thousands, and they were totally free for me.
What is the best advice you can give to stylists starting out in this industry?
I would say, do not focus on anybody else. Every stylist has an idea of who they want to become and why they’re in this industry. It could be a way to support yourself creatively, maybe it is a career change or maybe you’ve been working at an office a long time and you want a different move in life. Whatever the reason is that you’ve chosen this lane, I would 100% say to stay true to that. You’ll never forget the reason why you started and if you focus on other people and what they’re doing, it will be easy to get off track and to compare yourself and to think, ‘Well, I'm not doing celebrities or I'm not in this magazine,’ or what have you. Stay true to why you started and don’t let other people deter you.
What keeps you motivated?
At this point now, it’s the amount of time I’ve invested. I am really proud at how long I have stuck with it. Hair is probably the one thing I’ve been doing forever and I'm still like, ‘Wow I'm still doing this?’ Of course I am not in the salon anymore, but it doesn’t matter. It’s like muscle memory to me at this point. I personally stay motivated by continuing to hang out with people who are working in the industry. I also follow a lot of hair accounts on instagram because I love seeing what's happening and what my friends are up to. There are things that could take me away from this industry, but for myself personally, moving to New York has definitely played a huge part in keeping me motivated and inspired. I mean, it’s New York City - you see things all the time on the street and you’re like, ‘Omg I want to do that and that!’ I’ve been here since 2007 - I may have given up a long time ago if I wasn't in such a creative environment.
What are three styling tools you couldn’t live without?
The concentrator nozzle on a blow dryer - that's number one. I wouldn’t even blow dry anyone’s hair without it. A heat resistant comb – because it could be used for various reasons like smoothing people’s hair lines. The third, I would say is a flatiron, because with a flatiron you can do so much. You can straighten, curl, crimp, wave, and the list goes on. If I was stuck on an island and had to use just these three tools, I could probably do any hairstyle.
What do you think is the biggest hair mistake people make?
I think that people generally throw their styling tools on the highest setting and it’s not necessary. I think that if people were more knowledgeable on what each temperature does and where the danger range actually is, then they would be less harsh on their hair and their hair would probably be a lot healthier. If you have straight hair that is trying to hold a curl, the higher the heat, the less the curl will last. If you curl your hair and pin it right away with a pin curl clip, letting it cool down is the trick.
What is your go-to hairstyle when you don’t have much time to do your hair?
I pull my hair back because my hair is super curly, so anything that is going to keep my hair looking neat is what I try to do. I jump in the shower, get my hair wet and I’ll put a conditioning treatment on the ends and brush it through with a Wet Brush. Then I brush it down, twist it back from my temples, and put it in a bun in the back. Sometimes I add little accessories in there and make it look cute. For my texture hair this works because it keeps it together. It’s pretty easy and if I really have time I like to take thread or gold string and weave it in.
Do you have a secret tip or trick you’ve learned firsthand as a stylist that you think women & other stylists could benefit from knowing?
If you have bleach blonde hair and want your hair to look really shiny, I would suggest using a boar bristle brush while blow drying your hair. It is a natural bristle brush that is going to help smooth the hair cuticle while you blow dry it. Bleach blonde hair can get damaged easily and also doesn’t reflect light that well, so this is the best way to get a naturally shiny blowout. Using a boar bristle brush is going to help keep the moisture in the hair and isn't going to dry it out the way a metal brush would. If you think of a metal brush it works like a curling iron, and when you are using it in conjunction with a blow dryer it’s heating up the barrel making it very hot. Sometimes it makes the hair look dull when you're finished. So a boar bristle helps.
What tips do you share with clients who want to maintain their hair as healthy as possible?
It doesn’t matter what your hair type is make sure to mask at least once a week, get regular trims, always use heat protection, and know the right temperature for your tools. I would recommend sleeping with your hair up in a soft scrunchie and on a silk pillowcase if you can. You want to make sure you are not causing any friction to your hair strands. During the winter months make sure to pull your hair back until you get to your destination to protect your hair from rubbing against anything with a lot of friction such as sweaters or wool scarves. This is going to eliminate a lot of those split ends and breakage and will help you grow out your hair long if you wanted to. Plus, it’ll help keep your hair static-free.
Who are your celebrity hair icons?
I love Zendaya, Yara Shahiri, and Kim Kardashian because their hair is always on point and looks amazing. Tracee Ellis Ross is my idol in life, I’ve always been obsessed with her. She was on a show in the 90's called Girlfriends and she had this crazy, wild curly hair that you weren’t seeing on TV at that time. She’s always had a beautiful head of curly hair and does different things with it.
Do you think that there is a universal haircut anyone can pull of?
I think that anybody can pull off a bob and people will always argue that with me, but it really just depends on the length of your face. I’m not saying that everyone can pull off a blunt bob, but anyone can pull off a bob. I also think that anybody can rock a pixie cut. The secret is that you have to cut it to fit your head and your face. If you have a round face, then your cut should be longer at the top and shorter at the sides. If you have a slimmer face you'll want your cut to be more round. It’s all about how the shape of the cut fits your head in order to help compliment you. I think that if more women understood face and head shapes then less would have longer hair, because sometimes it can drag your face down.
What do you think makes being a stylist unique?
Being a stylist is unique because you can give someone a different perspective on themselves. I miss having that connection with people in the chair. I’ve had many clients start crying and say, “I never knew I could look this beautiful.” That’s a lot to take in. I think that being able to listen to your clients is the beauty of being a really good stylist. I’ve had clients come to me and say, “I want bangs,” knowing they can't manage them at home, and I tell them ‘I’m not giving you these bangs but I will give you something that will make you feel fresh and new.' I always tell my clients why a cut or style wouldn’t work for them and their lifestyle and I explain what I can do for them instead.