Class of ’87
Last weekend I hosted a college reunion for nine beauty therapists – some who are still in the trade and others who are now doing other things. Our course was a three year hairdressing and beauty therapy course, back in the day when the only college you could train in was Weston-Super-Mare. We started with 14 girls and one boy – Richard Page, really wanted to be a make up artist, and left after the first term, leaving 14 girls, who, through the recent powers of Face Book, have managed to find each other and get in touch. There are only a couple who have fallen through the net and Richard has ended up being a very well known make up artist now living in New York!
We met in 1984 and were together for three years, some living in the digs, others travelling to college on a daily basis. This was back in the 80s when shoulder pads and puff ball skirts were in. White stilettos, and hairspray. Well before mobile phones, internet and gel nails. There were no spray tans or non-surgical face lifts. No laser hair removal, or eyelash extensions, or semi-permanent make up. The industry has grown very fast in the past 20 years, and a few of us who are still in the trade have seen these new things come in to salons over the years, and have grown with them. Extra training. More knowledge…. and that doesn’t even begin to cover the explosion into the field of holistic therapies!
It was interesting over our tea, cake and Prosecco, to hear how many of the girls used facial wipes! I nearly had heart failure. They were probably tempted in by all the marketing in magazines and TV just like any other consumer. Salons must find it more difficult to explain the issues behind using these disposable, germ harbouring, skin stripping, facial wipes. (They just move the dirt and make up around the face, containing preservatives to stop bacteria and fungi growing when the packet is opened, which aren’t good for your skin. Many also contain alcohols which dry the skin, and no ones tells you that if you do have to use them – for emergencies – the skin should still be washed afterwards to remove this chemical residue). I doubt many salons actually take the time to explain the pros and cons nor do they retail any alternatives. I do! I sell the Jane Iredale Magic mitt. A micro fibre cloth just needing water. It removes all make up and it’s perfect for travel, festivals, and lazy teens! Although for me I am a bit old school and still like to feel a cleanser on my face, this little gem is salon top seller.
We were then talking about retail ranges in salons – and remember that only two of us are still practising in the field – one mentioned that isn’t it seen as pushy if a therapist tries to sell something to a client. Errrrr no. It’s professional. If a client comes to me with a skin issue, be it congestion, dryness, eczema or more commonly nowadays, Rosacea, then it is my JOB to recommend home care. What is the point of a client coming to me, asking for help, having a great treatment and then going home to use the products that are causing the issues in the first place. Retailing products comes so naturally to me. A client is at home more than they are with me in the salon, so realistically they need to look at their home care if they want things to improve, just as these days all therapists should be looking at water consumption, diet, lifestyle etc, in order to treat the clients skin as effectively as possible. It was quite apparent by talking to the girls, that in the ‘old days’ we were never taught this. For me this evolved and is the most natural thing to do. Besides the fact that if I did a great facial, why would I give my profits away and send a client to Boots for their home care. I am the professional, not the girl on the check out.
Our lovely afternoon gathering brought back some very fond memories and it doesn’t seem like 28 years ago that we left. It really doesn’t. Many, have had children, different jobs, and some have had to deal with quite dramatic health issues too. We had no idea that when we left college in our early twenties that we would be sitting in the sunshine nearly 30 years later eying up each others skin, no doubt checking who was more wrinkled than the others, and discussing the menopause! That was a very interesting subject too. Very enlightening to hear different accounts and different symptoms. I shall leave that for the next blog post, as my symptoms – mainly the hip aches – have dramatically reduced since I have been taking the Sizzling Minerals and together with the Tazeka Wise Woman oil and regular massage, I feel I have turned a corner!