Take a close look at your fingernails. Are they strong and healthy looking? Or do you see ridges, dents, or areas of unusual color or shape? Many less than desirable nail conditions can be avoided through proper fingernail care. Others might indicate an underlying condition that needs attention.

Your fingernails, which are composed of laminated layers of a protein called keratin, grow from the area at the base of the nail under your cuticle. Healthy fingernails are smooth, without pits or grooves. They’re uniform in color and consistency and free of spots or discoloration.

Sometimes, fingernails develop harmless vertical ridges that run from the cuticle to the tip of the nail. Vertical ridges tend to become more prominent with age. Fingernails can also develop white lines or spots due to injury, but these eventually grow out with the nail.

Not all nail conditions are normal, however. You may want to talk to your doctor or dermatologist if you see:

  • Changes in nail color, such as discoloration of the entire nail or a dark streak under the nail
  • Changes in nail shape, such as curled nails
  • Thinning or thickening of the nails
  • Separation of the nail from the surrounding skin
  • Bleeding around the nails
  • Swelling or pain around the nails

Now for the Do’s and Don’ts of caring for your fingernails!

To keep your fingernails looking their best you’ll want to keep fingernails dry and clean. This prevents bacteria from growing under your fingernails. Repeated or prolonged contact with water can contribute to split fingernails. Wear cotton-lined rubber gloves when washing dishes, cleaning or using harsh chemicals. Practice good nail hygiene. Use a sharp manicure scissors or clippers. Trim your nails straight across, then round the tips in a gentle curve. You can also use moisturizer. When you use hand lotion, rub the lotion into your fingernails and cuticles, too. Apply a protective layer, a nail hardener might help strengthen nails! Ask your doctor about biotin. Some research suggests that the nutritional supplement biotin might help strengthen weak or brittle fingernails.

To prevent nail damage, don’t bite your fingernails or pick at your cuticles. These habits can damage the nail bed. Even a minor cut alongside your fingernail can allow bacteria or fungi to enter and cause an infection. You also don’t want to pull off hangnails. You might rip live tissue along with the hangnail. Instead, carefully clip off hangnails. Avoid using harsh nail care products. Limit your use of nail polish remover. When using nail polish remover, opt for an acetone-free formula. Lastly, don’t ignore problems. If you have a nail problem that doesn’t seem to go away on its own or seems to be associated with other signs and symptoms, consult your doctor or dermatologist for an evaluation.

One final note, this time about manicures and pedicures!

If you rely on manicures or pedicures for healthy looking nails, keep a few things in mind. Stick to salons that display a current state license, and work only with technicians also licensed by the state board. Do not, I repeat, do not have your cuticles removed, it can lead to nail infection. Also, make sure your nail technician properly sterilizes all tools used during your procedure to prevent the spread of infection. You might also ask how the footbaths are cleaned. Ideally, a bleach solution is used between clients and the filters are cleaned regularly.

It’s easy to neglect your nails, but taking some basic steps can keep your fingernails healthy and strong.

The path to becoming a beautician is not an easy one, if it isn’t your passion, that is. Did you have someone in your family work or own a beauty salon when you were younger? Or were you just very interested in all things beauty? Well, I’m going to give you some steps on how to become a licensed beautician and start your career!

First, what is a beautician? Obviously they deal with “beauty”, right? Well, beauty is very much a word that is up for many interpretations. To sum the career up in a simple sentence, a beautician is someone who is trained in providing hair care, beauty treatments, and gives out plenty of information to their clients (namely ways to enhance their routine, etc.) Let’s not forget they are also competent with makeup, massages, waxing, and giving manicures/pedicures!

Now, you’re going to want to start the fun part first, and that is one of the more important steps: Research! If you want to be a beautician, you have to see that they are trained in all the areas mentioned above. Now, this does not mean you have to be a Jack-of-all-trades when it comes to that, most beauticians will focus on one special skill such as hair, nails, or makeup.

What kind of education you need? Well, you need training that generally is not offered at your typical 4-year school. Enter trade/vocational schools and beauty schools, even some community colleges offer beauty programs! The curriculum can either specialize in one field of study, like hairdressing, or it can deal with all the different cosmetology programs such as nail care, skin care, hair cutting, and more! It generally takes about nine months for a full-time student to complete their training.

What next, you ask? Once training is finished, time to saddle up in a good, ol’ apprenticeship. This allows a beautician to get more hands-on training in different beauty specialties. This time can last anywhere from one to three years. You will have to stay up to date with your techniques, trends, and products, though. Attending seminars, beauty shows, and training programs helps ensure of that.

After your apprenticeship, you may want to look in to taking a business management course. The majority of beauticians own their own business, so this will help you out in the long run with your career. You can take these classes at a community college or technical school, and you may even find ones relating to your career field!

Now, you have reached the end step… getting that license! Anyone who works as a beautician must be licensed by the state that they plan to work in. This involves taking and passing a practical and written exam. Licenses need to be renewed usually every few years to keep up to date with new regulations.

“Whoa, that’s a lot!” Yep, beauticians are very, very knowledgeable professionals! They go through a lot of schooling and training to get where they are. So if you want to join their ranks, definitely research and find the best fit for you in the cosmetology world. Work hard, and you can succeed!

You’ve graduated from beauty school, and are now a licensed beautician. What is your career move now? Many who attend trade schools have the idea to one day own their own business, and you may be one of those people. That’s awesome! Owning a business can be rewarding, but do you know where to begin?

First and foremost, you’ll want to work as a licensed beautician, or partner up with someone who has owned a beauty salon to learn the inside and out of running a salon.  You can also check out small business workshops, or beauty salon workshops. There are plenty of ways to get the knowledge you need to begin the process of becoming a business owner.

Next, you’ll want to check out financing for your salon. This step is crucial, and you’ll want to look in to this before finding a location for your salon. Make sure to look in to your state requirements for financing, and with the regulations the banks have for loans as well. The banks will want to possibly look at previous tax forms and what kind of assets you have.

Approved for financing? Great! Now you’ve got to find a spot to fit that salon in to. Analyze and research this location, find out if this spot can get you the kind of business you want. Luckily, you can gain clients from previous customers you assisted and word-of-mouth. You can also get new clients from walk-ins just from the location itself. Now, if you are looking at a salon downtown, prepare to pay a premium.

Now that you’ve found a place, let’s talk about the innards of the salon. That’s right, the equipment and supplies! You’re going to need items for your stylists and clients. Creating a list that includes the basic supplies and equipment like shampoo bowls, scissors, chairs, etc., is going to be your first thought. Maybe you’ll want to partner up with some salon suppliers? Just definitely get what you need so that your salon is ready for beauticians to come in and work their magic. Also, make sure to avoid purchasing unknown equipment and supplies, that way it isn’t unsanitary and potential health issue for not only your clients, but employees, too.

Speaking of employees, you’ll need to staff your salon. Since you are the owner, look for an experienced manager. Create a job description, and post it on different job sites. Salon managers need to know the ins-and-outs of different procedures in the salon. Make sure to spend a good bit of time with each person you interview, and find your best candidate. Afterwards, the search for hair stylists, nail technicians, and a receptionist begins.

The final step is upon you, and the time to open you salon is here. Make sure to have everything ready for the big opening day. Ensure your salon has been inspected and meets the standards of regulators, and put out a press release in the local paper to show you are now open. Get yourself a website created by yourself or a expert website designer, and get your social media presence up and running. You are now an owner of a salon!

Need more help on getting started? Check out more articles here!

Marketing and Your Salon

When you are feeling down, what helps cheer you up? Maybe a bit of pampering, or treating yourself to a day at the spa, even going to a salon and seeing your favorite stylist, perhaps? When deciding what sort of marketing strategy to use for your salon, think of what a salon can do for people on an emotional level, just as much as you think of the more simple needs like products and services you offer. People want to feel good as much as they want to look good, so cater to both.

In order to find the client you really want to secure, you’re going to want to check out the demographics in your community. If you have younger clients, you may be focusing your marketing on them by promoting the latest styles and trends. Have an older clientele? They will be more focused on beauty regimens that can de-age someone and make them look as young as possible. Holding educational workshops at your business that discuss health practices and treatments that can help someone appear younger could also be a great marketing method. Products tend to provide the most profit in a salon, while the special services come next in line when it comes to profit.

What is one word that can snag you when seeing an advertisement or brochure? I bet you thought the word “free.”

This isn’t a new and exciting thought when it comes to marketing, but it is a tried-and-true method. Only the word “discount” comes close to being just as powerful. Both words imply something they must act on quickly, and it can get them in the door. The trick is to turn those customers who are lured by the idea of a discounted service in to loyal clients. If you offer a comforting, welcoming atmosphere in your salon, as well as a few freebies like tea, or healthy snacks, the client may be inclined to return due to the calming nature of your place of business.

Now comes the time to look at online marketing, and by that, I mean creating a social media presence for your business. Build a business Facebook page for your salon, and create a Twitter as well. Use Twitter to post about upcoming sales and potential demonstrations by reps from the big beauty brands.  Make sure to promote your Twitter and Facebook in any ads you create, on your website, and on business cards and the window of your salon. Use social media to your advantage, and get business rolling.

Use of these marketing ideas can help your business grow and be successful. Learn from your customers and use their lifestyle preferences as a marketing tool. Get out in to your community to spread your name and business by giving back and being a part of it. Being successful at marketing is creating a bond of trust between yourself and your clients, that way they remain loyal to you and your brand

Want to check out more information on starting your own salon business? Check out our “Getting Started” section!

It’s All in the Skin

Our skin is one of the most important organs of our body, and yes, it is an organ believe it or not. With that knowledge, we know we have to take care of it. When it comes to beauty, one of the first things people see is how our skin looks, and to ensure you have some of the healthiest skin around, you’ll want to follow some of these tips!

First and foremost, how much do you love going outside? As people, we love to go outdoors on an awesome day, with a cool breeze and the heat from the sun… wait, that heat from the sun is bad, isn’t it? Well, partially. While it is great to soak up some vitamin D from the rays, we also can damage our skin by not protecting it from the more harmful aspects. Sunscreen is essential when you’re going to be outdoors for a prolonged period, so make sure to wear some and keep the skin healthy and not burned and peeling. Ouch.

We’re almost to April, so that means it is almost summer, and that means it is almost time to start tanning if you like to do that. Tanning can be harmful for your skin, however, whether you do it indoors using a tanning bed, or the old fashioned way of letting the sun darken your skin. This ages your skin prematurely, which can lead to wrinkles along with potential skin cancer. Using a self-tanning oil however can give you the results you wish for, while keeping your skin healthy. Just make sure to protect your skin from the sun when using a self-tanner.

If you’re looking at skin care products, make sure to grab ones that match what your skin may need. What kind of skin do you have? Is it dry, oily, have sensitivities, or is it a combination of a little bit of everything? What about a skin condition? You’ll want to use products that align with the composition of your skin. This not only will help your skin out in the long run, but you will feel great about it as well!

A good thing to add to your daily routine is washing your face. You’ll want to do this when you wake up in the morning, before you go to bed, and after anytime you sweat profusely. Washing your face after sleeping helps remove any dirt and bacteria that make a home on your face while you sleep, while doing so before bed removes any of the grime or make up you may have on your face from the day. Make sure to gently wash your face when you do so, though. Do not scrub too hard, and use lukewarm water. You can use a cleanser if you like, and rub it in to your face with gentle, circular motions. Once you have completely rinsed your face of any dirt or any cleanser, pat it dry with a nice, fresh towel.

Finally, one of the biggest things you can do for your skin, and I know this can be a difficult one, is to stress less! If you can find any sort of way to de-stress yourself, your skin will thank you. Stress can cause you to have flare-ups of acne, and even some skin diseases like psoriasis and eczema. Make sure to see a dermatologist if you have a flare up of any skin disease as they can prescribe the right treatment for you while you work towards living a more stress-free lifestyle.

Your skin is extremely important, and if it is taken care of correctly, it will grace you with a healthy look in return. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Want to know more skin care tips? Head on over to the Skin Care section of our blog for more!

How About a Little SWOT?

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats; this is what SWOT is, or SWOT Analysis. It is a tool used to help businesses find out where they are doing well, and where there is room for much needed improvement. In a competitive industry like hair salons and spas, the SWOT analysis could be used to greatly improve the problem areas of a business, and to boost the real positive aspects as well. The beauty industry changes so much, it’s good to have a strategy in place to keep up and get over on your competition.

Finding out the strengths of your salon can sometimes be one of the easier parts. At times, you can just look at your clients. If you’ve been doing well with your marketing, and how you operate your business and really keep up with that client book and see you are running out of room, you’ve been doing well for yourself. You will see why the strengths of having a group of expert beauticians and having a great location can also be core strengths.

Sometimes, you can look at the cash drawer to begin finding the weaknesses in your salon. This is not always the case, but your salon’s income can start being eaten in to when there is not as much customer care, or there is no structured training for a stylist. You want to be able to identify the weaknesses within your salon, as this is the beginning of improving your business and growing it even further. When looking at weaknesses in your business, do try and look at it from an outside perspective. It is not beneficial to view anything with a biased eye when it comes to weakness, it can lead to potential problems not being addressed. It could be something as simple as not having enough products, or maybe you chose a location originally that was not suited for your clientele’s needs.

We are now looking at the opportunities portion of the SWOT analysis. The previous two portions dealt more with the inside mechanics of your salon and business, now we begin to shift to the outside, seeing all the external factors. Hair and beauty trends are always changing and evolving. Each year and each season within have their own trends, leaving beauty companies to market and sell the hottest new color or hairstyle. Keeping up with these trends is crucial to the success of your salon business. Showcasing new hairstyles and styling methods can be a real hit in your market. Also, don’t forget to change up brands and products you carry in order to attract new clients.

Your business can be threatened from several outside factors. This can be on a long line from new competition opening up next door, to the out-of-your-hand’s changes in industry laws and regulations. There will be many threats that cannot be changed, but this is where you develop a strategy to adapt to any sudden changes. Say a new salon opened up close to you, threatening your clientele base. You won’t be able to shut them down, but you can definitely adapt your marketing strategy to ensure you still have a piece of that pie. Adapt to any incoming threat, and your business can thrive!

For more articles like these, check out our “Getting Started” section!

In the previous blog post, we went over the issues those pesky UV rays cause for the hair on our head, and why it is important to protect your hair the same way you do your skin. For this new post, I’m going to go over some methods of keeping your hair healthy and protected for the summer!

As we went over in the last post, your hair can get dried out during the summer, depending on your hair type of course. However, this can make your hair weak and brittle, so you’ll want to avoid using any sort of chemicals in your hair when summer really gets cooking. This is for any sort of straightening or curling product, and even coloring. If you do still want that rainbow hair, make sure to put the color in a month or so before the sun really heats things up.

What is one thing you hear all the time during the summer? Is it “stay hydrated”? While most people think this is just to avoid any negative issues from sweating, and potentially getting sick from getting overheated, drinking plenty of fluids also help with your hair and skin! You can do all sorts of stuff to protect your hair, but if you’re not drinking enough water, it will not matter. So make sure to drink up!

Are you going to be outside for a long period of time? On top of sunscreen for your skin, look for something to protect your hair as well. A hat or scarfs are great ways to protect your hair without using any sort of chemical or product, but if you have neither of those available, there’s ways of protection that are not bad for your hair. Look for a leave-in conditioner that has sunscreens in them, or other products that have an SPF rating. Make sure to wash your hair once you are back inside for the day.

Who doesn’t love a day at the pool or the beach on a hot, summer day? Just make sure you take the right precautions before heading on out. Do not, I repeat, do not wash your hair before going swimming. This takes all the proper nutrients out of your hair and makes it susceptible to any harsh chemicals like chlorine, or even the salt in the ocean. Once you’ve had your fun, make sure to shower and wash out the chemicals or salt from your hair. You also may want to use a special shampoo that has ethylene tetra-acetic acid. It helps to get rid of any harmful effects that chlorine may cause.

Summer is a great time to get a haircut and freshen up your hair, as the heat can do a number on the tips of your hair. As your hair gets dried out from the sun, it causes your ends to split and your hair can look really dry and unhealthy. Taking this time to get a haircut really helps freshen up your look, and gets the extremely dead ends out of your hair, leaving the more healthy looking stuff behind. Also, the less hair during the summer, the better, in my opinion! Too hot for all that extra stuff.

These are just a few tips to help you out as summer approaches, and to help you keep your hair on point and looking as good as possible, while you also feel good about how you look during the hot, humid days. Follow some of these tips, and be aware of the issues the sun can cause, and you should be just fine to enjoy this coming summer!

Summer is fast approaching, as spring is officially in full bloom. Soon, those cooler nights and amazing days will become hot, humid days, with the humidity lasting well in to the evenings. Your hair will definitely feel that difference as well.

We love to go outside when it is warm out, get some awesome sun. What do you normally do when you’re going to be outside a lot on a hot, summer day? You put on sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays that can cause all sorts of damage. Do you put sunscreen on your hair though? No, is probably what you are thinking. “Why would I?” Well, the sun can damage your hair just as bad as it damages your skin!

In this two-part article, I’ll first go in to detail about what kind of damage the summer season can do to your hair, and follow-up in the second part with what you can do to lessen the impact and keep your hair and scalp healthy throughout the warmest months of the year!

I touched on humidity earlier, but have you ever stepped outside and just felt you could cut the air with a knife? What about the feeling of your shirt feeling like it is stuck to your body because of all the moisture in the air? Well, humidity can also go crazy on your hair. My own hair is naturally heavy, but during the summer it becomes a lot less easy to manage, especially when I have it longer than normal.  Depending on your hair, the high humidity either weighs it down, or can cause that awesome frizz that I’m sure you love.

When it’s hot, we sweat, really no getting around that. Sweat can cause problems for your hair and scalp, as well. It can lead to issues like dandruff, split ends, and an increase in hair fall, or shedding. Speaking of hot, so are those rays of sun. They dry out anything in their path, including what’s on your head. You’ll want to avoid using blow dryers, straighteners, and other items that can subject your hair to heat as much as possible during the summer months.

Your scalp is also not immune to the summer, as it can become dry, and also sunburned! Yep, even if you have a full head of hair, your scalp can still get that lovely red color and be a real pain, both figuratively and literally. Not only can it itch and cause dandruff, but also it can damage the roots of your hair, causing issues with hair falling out.

Does your hair feel super greasy from either sweat or all that sunscreen you’ve been putting on? Or maybe it feels super dried out from the heat? Do not immediately reach for that shampoo and conditioner! It’s super alluring to want to wash your hair every day during the summer, you feel gross cause of how your hair looks and feels, but you don’t want to do that. Over washing  and over conditioning is very much a real mistake, and you want to avoid doing that. Though this does not mean stop washing or conditioning your hair during those hot months! As stated before, a build up of sweat can cause your hair to fall out quicker.

Summer is a great time to be outdoors and soak up the sun, just make sure you know the risks of sun exposure on your hair. Next, I will be talking about the stuff you can do to prevent your hair from getting damaged by the sun. Stay tuned!