So You Want to Learn Microblading – Nail Techs

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT – To all Nail Techs who want to “learn MicroBlading”– Get your $10,000.00 ready! (and a beverage–this is going to be a long one!)  If you are not a nail technician, just substitute your discipline into the story–for example if you’re an esthetician, think about someone taking a 2-day peel class and thinking “hey I could do some great facials.” Or if you’re a stylist, think about a 2-day balayage training. You get the idea.

There are gobs of videos going around showing how great MicroBlading is…it’s talked about in salons across the nation. It looks really easy to do! Just draw in better brows than they have!

Nail techs have a good eye for symmetry, and we have good eye-hand

Karen Hodges at PMU Training Jan, 2016.

coordination. And we work with color all the time! Right? “I bet I could totally rock this” you think. “And my clients are asking about it, so why not? Hey! there are even a TON of trainers in my state! I could easily take a 2-day course and then I could do some bangin’ brows!” HOLD THE PRESS!

First of all, how would you feel if a lot of oh—I don’t know—tattoo artists started saying they could take a 2-day Pink & White Sculpture course and whip up some excellent nails? You’d laugh them out the door, right? Well guess what? Tattoo artists are not laughing at nailtechs who think they can take a couple days at learning an advanced technique and capitalize on a high-ticket item for which they’ve spent years investing in training to do! They are angry at all the botch jobs that people come crying to them for any kind of improvement (some are “unfixable!) If you think MB is a good idea for you, then here’s what you need to know.

1. Microblading (MB) is NOT a salon service–Boards of Cosmetology in most states won’t touch it because you break the skin. It is a para-medical procedure governed by the Board of Health in most states under the Tattoo Licensing. The BoH is MUCH more stringent about what they will and will not allow…and guess what? They don’t allow tattooing in a place where there is airborne hair and particulates–like nail dust! Sounds like a salon, right?

2. MB is NOT appropriate for many people–skin type, health considerations and a dozen other informed decisions must be made before the service is ever booked!

3. MB is an ADVANCED technique of implanting pigment in the skin–it is a direct application of the ancient art of hand tattooing. There are many considerations that must be made for successful implantation of pigment 1) must be in the correct layers of the skin–can you easily determine which skin cell separates the “correct” layer from the “incorrect ones? NO! It takes much skill! 2) pigment color choices–yes you may have an excellent understanding of color theory and a good eye for color matching, but do you understand that you will be viewing the pigment THROUGH the skin! Not on top of it! You need to understand what blood and skin cells and oxidation and UV exposure will do to the pigments. 3) Proper after care is vital. Do you know when you should recommend “dry healing” versus a treatment of some sort? No? Because you need training in skin/wound care. There are many more considerations: what about pregnancies? what about medications? what about health conditions? What about lifestyle? and so on.

4. SADLY there is a wave of shysty 2-day trainers popping up everywhere. They charge about $1000 a day for wretched “training” that is actually illegal in many cases–did you know that trainers are required by law to license every training venue as a legal and inspected “tattoo establishment” in order to train? Many states allow for this to be done on a temporary basis…but it does need to be done! These “hotel is not announced until a couple of days before” the training…or the location is changed AFTER you pay…is a clear indication that the venue is not legal. Many times, the training is a “demo” of you watching the trainer…and no foundation work to build upon.

There are more concerns. If you would like to read the story of one person who was totally ripped off by her so-called “training” here is a link that will help you avoid her mistakes: 13 Tips to Avoid Wasting Money on PMU /Microblading Training

If after this, you still think MB might be a good path for your career–here’s what you need to do.

1. Save up about $10K to get a good quality training. You’ll need about 100 hours of “core” education in permanent cosmetics/tattooing before you venture into advanced technique specialties.

2. Research the trainers – there are organizations which certify trainers– the Society of Permanent Cosmetics Professionals, the American Academy of Micropigmentation and the American Institute of Intradermal Cosmetics. Once you find one of their trainers in your area, ask to see their students’ HEALED work…it makes a big difference! Many, many have tried MBing, only to find it looks great immediately after, but in 6 weeks, it’s jacked up.

3. Plan on opening a new space to perform MB in. Your tattooing area will need to be completely closed off from salon contaminates.

If after all that, you still think MB is for you, please feel free to contact me…I will be glad to refer you to some REPUTABLE groups on FB (there are many that allow “back yarders”.)

This has been a public service announcement. You may now return to your regular programming!

Why We Need to Change our Minds about Gloves

Why I Advocate for Gloves During All Services…Even Massage.

-Karen Hodges

I know… I know!  Immediately the heads are thrown back and the umbrage begins! But just for a couple of minutes, open your minds to allow some new thoughts…ok?

Times have changed. Maybe it was acceptable to do things a certain way in the last millennium, but just as so many things have evolved over the last couple of decades…so have certain health considerations:

1. We have new “super bugs” that have evolved and are dangerous, even deadly:

  • MRSA used to be known as HA-MRSA = Hospital Acquired, but it has left the hospital and is colonized by carriers walking around with no symptoms and is now CA-MRSA = Community Associated.
  • C. difficil is much more prevalent AND much more virulent in the last decade.
  • Influenza (flu) strains are evolving – there is a new strain every year HxNx is the nomenclature by which they are identified = H1N1 is swine flu, avian or bird flu is H5N1… and so on.

There are more, but we simply have to conduct ourselves differently.

2. Our demographics have changed and the majority of our population is at risk:

  • The “Baby Boomers” have hit the threshold of “elderly” (over 65) and it’s a fact that as we age we simply are not able to resist and bounce back from attacks on our health.
  • More people are health compromised than ever. When the CDC started tracking diabetes in 1934, they estimated 3.8% of Americans were diabetic. Decades pass and in 2000 the estimates were 4.3% but as of 2012 that had more than doubled to 9.3%
  • More than half – 52% – of Americans have been diagnosed with at least 1 chronic illness – 25% have more than one. Examples of chronic diseases are diabetes and a variety of immuno-deficiencies

We have an aging population with more health issues than ever before…and the diseases are evolving to become harder to treat. Times really have changed and the immediate knee jerk reaction of “I’ve always done things this way for xx years and haven’t had any problems is 1) close minded 2) dangerous 3) possibly untrue – who’s to say you haven’t transferred viable microbes from body to body — I bet you have.


A myth that is often quickly thrown up “I need to touch my Massage is safer with glovesclients — I can’t work effectively with gloves”. Maybe that used to be true before there were so many varieties, shapes and sizes of gloves, but now it’s possible to find well fitting gloves that glide along the skin smoothly and silently.

Another myth — “I can’t feel what I need to feel.” I personally can state that I have worn gloves the entire facial for 18 years and with the right gloves, I can feel a milium or even a hair lying across the skin.

Myth — “My clients won’t like it.” Maybe a couple decades ago it seemed strange but not these days. Clients are used to being seen and touched by persons wearing gloves. And, our clients like what we tell them to like! They take their cues from us. They trust us and follow our recommendations and our lead. All the time I have worn gloves in services I never heard/saw/witnessed the least objection to my donning gloves. I have had multiple clients remark they were happy I wore gloves – it helped them relax because they felt safe.

Myth “Gloves interfere with the flow of energy when I touch my clients.” Again, this has not been my experience. I put a great deal of energy into my work … my services are massage-centric and at the end of them, both my clients and I have felt the transfer of my intent.

So think about being open to new thinking and new ways of doing things. Don’t push back so fast. Experiment a little. Order several samples of gloves and give them an honest, open trial.

13 Tips to Avoid Wasting Money on PMU/Microblading Training

thuy-tranDon’t Waste Your Money on  Sketchy Training!

By Thuy T Tran

Due to the explosive popularity of Microblading, trainers from all over the world are now finally getting to showcase their talent and inspire others. Unfortunately, like all great things this comes with a price. The industry has fallen prey to some rather dubious characters and even more questionable “fast-food” training sessions. If you ask any notable, well respected trainers, they are now offering more fundamental courses than ever to accommodate the frantic students who paid anywhere from $2,500-$5,500 only to find upon completion of the course that the only thing they have to show for it, is a fancy kit with no real grasp on the basic fundamentals.

It’s even more unfortunate that there is no single law, state or nationwide which governs/regulates this ‘grey’ area of the industry. I’ve heard and seen everything from trainers coming to class hung-over, improper handling and disposal of hazardous materials, to sisters who took training only 3 months prior turning around and teaching full-on courses, using google during class to answer basic sanitation questions (you know who you are). After talking to veterans of the field who are both experts in PMU and microblading, there seems to be a consensus that when choosing a trainer, there is more peace-of-mind to choose someone domestic. Local trainers have a greater level of accountability for who complete their course, and the training those students receive.

If it’s more convenient for you to go with a lesser known trainer coming to an area near you, with the plethora of options out there, it would be wise to go with someone who is considered an industry leader. Yes, you may pay a little more for the two options above, but it’s much cheaper than paying for another course to makeup for the education you didn’t receive the first go around.

1. Beware of trainers who will not reveal location of training to you until after you make the deposit. Even after the fact, get it in writing where the training will take place. I once had a trainer advise every one of us to book at the $500 a night hotel she was staying at, only to change the location 5 blocks down the street because it turned out to be a smaller class, she didn’t want to pay for the conference room at the hotel.

2. If the training advertises work on live models, and f you’re not already a PMU artist, unlikely your business insurance will cover any liability issues should the model seek legal action for any reason. Even if you are, your insurance will unlikely cover a procedure you do not have certification in. In the unlikely event something should go horribly wrong, with a model ie, anaphylactic allergic reaction, accidents with the blade you do not want to be caught uninsured. This is why I strongly suggest you train with someone who will either show you proof of their own business insurance which will cover not only their training but also their students. This should be a separate form for the students fill out, to guarantee you are protected in the event of legal or safety related complications. (Liability waivers are not iron clad, trust me, especially if the other party ‘model’ can prove negligence).

3. Ask for a contract or written agreement–and I cannot stress this enough–prior to committing any money that the training you’re interested in is registered with the state, and has met all other requirements necessary to be considered legal and sanctioned. This goes hand-in-hand with RUN if a trainer will not reveal exact location of training. No matter what excuse they give you, this is a bad sign.

4. Ask for an information package detailing the course. Beware! Prior to committing any deposit ask make sure that the language in the information package is precise not just for what you expect to learn, but what you should bring. Such as lamps, mag lights, or any special tools you are required to furnish on your own. Some courses promise support after training, be sure to specifically ask what forms of support you will receive and for how long.

5. Get it in writing that the course will not be cancelled for any reason other than weather related delays, death in the family, or denial of Visa. Especially if you’re traveling to a different state for the training. This is not part of most, if any, of the contracts I’ve seen, however it SHOULD be. Proof should also be provided in the event this occurs. Yes, they will offer to refund the course, but what about the money you’ve paid for what is most likely a non-refundable ticket plane ticket, hotels need 24-48 advance notice. What about the time you took off work, the clients your booked next week to make it to this training? I strongly believe that if these questions are asked enough, industry professionals who want your business will start including it.

6. Do not be misled by the happy group pic advertisements. Even when I was visibly annoyed with my trainer for wasting most of our time on resolving issues she should’ve taken care of prior to our training, I politely took the group pic, and duo pic with her. Bottom line, most people are polite and will follow suit especially in group settings. A happy group pic, does not a happy group make.

7. Beware of anyone who disables ‘comments’ for their advertisement. You will see that you cannot comment on the ad or video. This is a HUGE RED FLAG. Don’t walk, run from this person like your aunt’s creepy boyfriend. If for any reason someone doesn’t want comments for their training to be visible, it’s most likely for good reason i.e. Lots of disgruntled students trying to warn others of the scam.

8. Beware be trainer who gives you reason for lack of transparency by stating that fellow trainers are ‘jealous’ of the ‘competition’. If you take time to do your due diligence most trainers who are industry veterans (international and domestic) are very supportive of each other’s events often teaming up in one way or another to show support.

9. NEVER send PayPal payment as ‘personal gift’ no matter what excuse someone gives you. This is the PMU/Microblading equivalent of sending money to the Nigerian prince you met online two weeks ago who promised to make his princess if you send him some money for the homeless shelter he’s building. If they show up to the training, no matter how poor or “significantly different than advertised” it was, your money will NEVER be refundable. In truth you should avoid PayPal all together when possible. After multiple conversations with PayPal personnel, it is almost nearly impossible to recoup monies paid for ‘services’. I still can’t wrap my head around the student being asked to pay the PayPal transaction fee. This is rather questionable because training is a ‘business’, you are the customer. Imagine going down to your local Walmart paying a business transaction fee to purchase a stick of gum. Credit card processing fees are a pain, so I can understand avoiding those. But not paying taxes and sticking you with the PayPal fees is another definitely a red flag. Lesson here, when possible pay with credit card.

10. Learn to be discerning regarding good reviews. Often times these are not hard to fake. I’ve been contacted multiple times by underground companies claiming to ‘boost’ my business if I paid for yelp and Facebook reviews. Even when reviews are legitimate, you need to consider the source. If you’re a foodie like me, you’ve learned that yelp reviews are only as good as the person who writes them. A first time ‘sushi’ eater will tell you that the half-off Buffett sushi they had was the best sushi they’ve ever eaten. While I’d rather see my own father naked, claw out my eyes with hot prongs, than take one bite of that E.coli on rice.

11. Run if a trainer sets their privacy and security settings on high, and you cannot see their friends list or other pertinent information about their business. It’s less likely for privacy of their friends, its more likely they do not want their previous students contacted for real-time reviews.

12. Be cautious of videos posted on live student work during ‘3 days of training’ unless it’s accompanied with before pictures of the models. This is one of the most misleading advertisements. The trainer I trained with specifically chose models with near perfect brows, this is unrealistic and lazy. A high number of clients will not have brows with nearly 90% of natural hair. Secondly, if you’re new to Microblading, after the 2nd mask, most eyebrows will look perfect to naked eye. You should look for pictures of their students healed results. If a student is properly trained and educated, with enough time and practice, they will be proud to tag both their trainers and healed results on Facebook forums.

13. Trust your gut. The money you’re paying is money you’ve worked very hard for, don’t invest it lightly. If from the start you feel that somethings a little ‘off’ trust your gut. Do as much research as you can on the person you wish to train with, look outside of social media if possible. If someone has a bad reputation in the industry, they will often fly under the radar for some time, but if you value your money, get creative with your approach to finding out more about them beyond what they advertise. Forums are the best way, read as many comments as you can for the particular trainer you’re interested in. Try not to read it on their page but the independent PMU/Microblading forums.

Author’s note: I was inspired to write this post after myself and a fellow student were both put through the ringer by the trainer we chose. The blatant lying, and lack of communication after the deposit (non-refundable) was placed, I felt compelled speak out. When I wrote this post, I knew two things, one, many people might disagree with me, that maybe what I’m asking is unreasonable. I feel strongly that as a business which generates very high revenue, trainers who are not doing their best to ensure a high-quality-learning experience should not financial benefit from it. Second, for someone looking to enter the PMU/Microblading industry, it can be a daunting task when selecting from the stream of flashy advertisements on Facebook. I hope this post has helped you, and that you share it someone you feel might benefit from it. I will repost this periodically with new-updates added to the list. Please share any tips you might have with me and I’ll be happy to mention it in my next post. Thank you for reading. Thuy Tran


OSHA 101 – Understanding OSHA in the Beauty Industry

OSHA regulations apply to ALL workers in all industries in the United States…including salons and spas.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act was first conceived in the 1960’s and was signed into existence(1) by President Nixon in 1970. Along with it came the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC). Like any legislation, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 is a living document…over the years there have been revisions and additional powers and roles defined. For example in 1972 the first OSHA Standards were created to provide a baseline for safety and health protection for American workplaces.  Over the subsequent years, there have been many “Standards” issued—the first being the Asbestos Standard, followed by things like the Construction Safety  Standard, the Coke-Oven Standard and the Diving Standard.

One such standard that was created is the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard in 1991, directly relevant to the AIDS outbreak and specifically applied to health care workers. In this standard, several terms were adopted—one which also has real meaning to salon workers is the term Other Potentially Infectious Materials or OPIM which are basically any bodily secretion (except sweat) that has the potential to carry pathogens as well as differentiating intact skin. Parenteral is another term which relates to salon workers:  “Parenteral means piercing mucous membranes or the skin barrier through such events as needlesticks, human bites, cuts, and abrasions.”(2) A further term which was coined “Universal Precautions, is an approach to infection control. According to the concept of Universal Precautions, all human blood and certain human body fluids are treated as if known to be infectious for HIV, HBV, and other bloodborne pathogens.”

Over the years, additional rules were put into place and in 2001, the Universal Precautions set forth were revised, yet again, and became known as Standard Precautions(3) Two particularly noteworthy and relevant expansions include the anticipation of exposure….and no longer are limited to blood, but include skin contact

  • Standard precautions includes the use of: hand washing, appropriate personal protective equipment such as gloves, gowns, masks, whenever touching or exposure to patients’ body fluids is anticipated.
  • Contact Precautions used for infections spread by skin to skin contact or contact with other surfaces such as herpes simplex virus.

A further effect of the 2001 revisions are extending these Standard Precautions to every worker; no longer applicable solely to health care workers, but every worker who has the potential of risk of exposure to BBP or OPIM. In addition, Section C, paragraph 6 states “Gloves must be worn when reasonably anticipated that employee may have hand contact with blood or OPIM when handling contaminated items or surfaces.” The difference here is that the original rules listed needle sticks and sharps as the vector of contamination, while this revision is expanded to include any source of contamination. Contaminated skin would be one such surface, for example, if Herpes, MRSA or other pathogens are present.  Since these pathogens remain viable outside bodily secretions, it’s reasonable to stipulate the potential for exposure is present.

If it can be reasonably expected that a worker could have hand contact with blood, OPIM, or contaminated surfaces or items, the employer must ensure that the worker wears gloves.(8)

To put this into place for salon workers, yes we are included under the oversight of OSHA as of 2001. We must take Standard Precautions against BBPs and OPIM when risk of exposure is anticipated. Standard Precautions include the use of PPEs such as protective eyewear, protective clothing and the much debated gloves. Gloves are mandated when the salon worker may have hand contact when handling contaminated surfaces. Skin that is colonized with pathogens is considered a contaminated surface. It is impossible to “look” at skin and see if it is colonized, and with today’s numbers of colonized persons walking around with no symptoms,(5) it’s highly probable. Therefore the risk of exposure is anticipated and precautions should be taken.

It’s not just BBPs that workers need to avoid. OSHA also stipulates protective barriers in the presence of chemical substances which can have an adverse effect on the health of the worker. There have been many studies documenting the accretion of toxins (defined as any substance which has a poisonous effect on a living organism) can be slow and seemingly harmless products can have a cumulative effect over time.(6)

It is sometimes argued by those resistant to embracing safer protocols, that employers must have PPEs in place and available but the employee can choose not to use them. This is incorrect. OSHA was put into place to ensure employers provided safe working conditions to protect employees. However, if an employee fails to follow mandated Standard Precautions, it is a violation and OSHA enforcement and penalties will apply. In fact, OSHA expects the employer to take disciplinary actions against the non-compliant worker.(7)

If it can be reasonably expected that a worker could have hand contact with blood, OPIM, or contaminated surfaces or items, the employer must ensure that the worker wears gloves.(8) Other protective gear is equally important, of course.

Summary: OSHA Standards must be maintained in beauty industry facilities…just like any other workplace.

These OSHA standards were put into place to protect employees from the great risks some take in their daily jobs. The full scope of the legislation has evolved over time, just as the circumstances in which it exists have changed. It’s a new world….we needed new rules, and the OSHA board is continually working to maintain safe standards for workers. Today’s super bugs were not in the picture when these regulations were first penned employers and workers alike need to update their knowledge and understanding of the revisions to the original Act from 1970. OSHA regulations mandate the minimum standards for safety in the work place. We should do even better. Setting aside these standards “just because I’ve never had a problem” or “I’ve always done it this way” is foolish beyond comprehension. Is it true they care about your safety more than you do?







(6) A Critique of Assumptions About Selecting Chemical-Resistant Gloves: A Case for Workplace Evaluation of Glove Efficacy. Thomas D. KlingnerMark F. Boeniger, Pages 360-367. Published online: 30 Nov 2010

Glove permeation by organic solvents. G.O. NELSONB.Y. LUMG.J. CARLSONC.M. WONG & J.S. JOHNSON Pages 217-225. Published online: 04 Jun 2010

Chemical Resistance of Disposable Nitrile Gloves Exposed to Simulated Movement. Robert N. Phalen & Weng Kee Wong Pages 630-639. Published online: 25 Sep 2012

Personal Protective Equipment and Dermal Exposure. Paul G. EvansJohn J. McAlinden & Peter Griffin Pages 334-337. Published online: 30 Nov 2010



Successfully Build A Sustainable Career in The Salon Industry

Part 1 of a Series

Explore Your Unlimited Possibilities ~ Salon Gurus Provides Online Courses, Guidance &Wisdom for Beauty Professionals


Janet McCormick & Karen Hodges

Fort Myers, FL – Whether you are a full-service salon and spa owner or an independent beauty professional, you need to think long term about how to build a sustainable career. Most owners and independent professionals do not have a sustainable business model or a long term strategy which creates extra daily stress and financial worries. Karen Hodges and Janet McCormick started Salon Gurus as a valuable new online resource for advanced education and industry advice for how to be successful in the business of beauty.  They regularly counsel beauty professionals on the importance of building a rewarding career that will be both profitable and enjoyable.

Examine Your Business Model: Hodges shares, “The biggest issue we are seeing with salons and spas is that they do not create a business model that separates employees versus independent contractors. In order to be profitable, salons should keep their commissions at around 35%. The smaller salons have bumped their commissions to be competitive, paying 50% or more to entice workers. Yet, that high commission structure is not sustainable and they end up needing to cut corners in other ways.”

sglogoThe first thing being cut is holidays and vacations. Then, owners often institute back bar charges, credit card processing fees, receptionist costs and more. Salon owners simply cannot fulfill the obligations of an employer, if they are paying too much commission. Another vital issue is payroll taxes. “If a salon owner is not deducting payroll taxes, then they do not have employees at all. They then have contractors.  If they are treating contractors as employees, there will be a problem if they are audited. The IRS has discovered what a cash cow auditing salons is. They can immediately charge owners for back payroll taxes plus penalties and interest.  For example, an employee who earns around $1,000 a week will have annual gross wages of around $50K. The employment taxes alone on that is 15.3% or $7,650 due to the IRS for one year. Imagine if you had ten employees and were audited! Keep in mind the IRS can audit you for the three previous years. The numbers would be devastating to any business.”

Create Self Awareness: The first step owners and independent practitioners need to do for a sustainable plan is do an analysis of their business model and to create self-awareness. Hodges says, “You can’t fix something that you do not know is broken.  Not having enough clients is not a problem, it is a symptom.  Are you marketing, are you getting sufficient new clients, are you retaining these new clients and are you getting positive referrals? Get some self-awareness and then once you have a feel for your issues and challenges, we can talk about the specific things to target.”  The most common issue for employers is staff and client retention. Owners often do not recognize that if they have recurring retainment problems, it may be them!  Hodges says, “People will stay where their self-interests are being served. So, put your ego aside and consider why employees should want to work with you and what you offer.”  For salon and spa practitioners, the issue is usually commission or whether they are expected to do the duties of an employee versus a contractor, such as folding towels in downtime. Next, take a look at what is going well.  “When you knock the wind out of someone’s sails, then you have to give them a little puff!  What are your strengths and what makes you unique? Once we know what we can highlight about you we can move forward and build a solid and sustainable plan around that.”

Change Your Mindset:  Salon owners and professional beautycare practitioners should recognize their value and the worth of their time. “We have to wedge in the brain the fact that you have a career. If you do something every day for a number of years, that is a career and you need to treat it as such.” Hodges and McCormick teach time management skills and productive scheduling to positively affect success. They advise scheduling clients back-to-back in either the morning or afternoon and using the rest of the day for telephone calls, planning referrals or going out to market yourself. “When clients are scheduled together, it is more efficient and gives the impression you are booked solid!  When you have openings, call clients you haven’t seen lately and tell them you have an opening that would be perfect for them.  People will love that you thought enough of them to call and provide a personal touch!”

Elevate Your Career & Grow Your Business:  For more information about Salon Gurus and their online certification programs for independent estheticians and nail technicians, as well as for spas and cosmetology school education programs, visit, contact Janet McCormick at [email protected] or call 863-273-9134.

Salon Gurus Teams with Nailcare Academy

Co-Founders Janet McCormick and Karen Hodges are excited to share their class agendas for the upcoming Premiere Orlando Beauty Show. McCormick states, “We are so thrilled with our class offerings and our team of educators! We’re offering four different topics, and for the first time, we are offering a course for Instructors.”

Premiere 2016 ScheduleSalon Gurus is offering two classes this year, “Lash Artist Boot Camp” taught by Hodges. “This is an excellent fundamentals class for those who have only had rudimentary or no training, she shares.”

“Nail Tech Burnout: The Fix” taught by McCormick, will offer some excellent “turn your career around” advice and ideas.

Hodges notes, “We are excited to have Denise Baich and Stephanie Allen joining us with classes offered by Nailcare Academy.” Baich is going to be talking about her experience setting up the nation’s first “Foot Spa” and how working with physicians changed her career path.

Allen, an instructor at the prestigious International School of Skin, Nailcare & Massage Therapy, will be speaking on how she found new inspiration as an Instructor — both for herself and her students.

All classes are free of charge – we look forward to seeing you there!

How to Make Money as an Esthetician – Part 2


More words of wisdom from waxing Guru, Amber Henson. Look for Part 1 posted on May 12.

Boundaries! Set boundaries from the get-go with clients. ALL NEW CLIENTS should get an email in regards to policies that covers everything from cancelations, reschedules, sick cancelations etc. Are children allowed in your business and if so in what capacity? If not put it in your policies email.

Enforce your policies. Use an online scheduling system so that you can actually follow through and charge the person if they break your rules!! Don’t complain about no-shows/late cancels if you don’t have a security net to back yourself up. Remember this is your business not a hobby. Business is business and nobody messes with my money!

Set the tone for your business from the first interaction. If a new client shows up 15 minutes late and they are booked for 30 minutes are you going to still get them in??? My answer is NO! On principal alone I am not taking this client! They don’t respect my time or my pre-appointment email that clearly states “If you are running late you need to call in order to see if I can get you in late or if you need to reschedule. I book a certain amount of time for your specific appointment and if you aren’t on time it would cut into the next client’s appointment” which, by the way, I refuse to do. I refuse to be late for clients because someone earlier in the day was late! This client may actually be someone who is usually prompt and being late it’s a once-in-a-blue-moon situation, but that one time—the first time—sets the tone for the entire working relation.

DON’T FEEL BAD ABOUT CHARGING FOR YOUR SERVICES! If you turn out an amazing brow don’t charge $10 for it! Charge $20+ and have pics to back up your awesome brow-worthiness. If your Brazilians are amazing and clients love having them done with you, stop charging $40! If you pay for education to become amazing at a service you need to recoup that money and charging what you are worth is important! If you are putting out amazing results and you want clients to respect you and pay you what you are worth, you want to put that out into the universe! Wealth attracts wealth! When I increased my brow prices, I started getting more brow clients who were totally fine paying the $25 for brows and they book out in advance. My facials range $110$-200 (I recently increased again) and clients don’t bat an eye at my prices because they actually see results and find the worth in my treatments!

Do not look to other businesses for your pricing. You need to price based on your skills, your education, your products, etc. You have bills to pay and families to support. You aren’t going to get very far charging $8 brow waxes working like a crazy person. Work smarter not harder. I charge 15-100% more than any business in my area and I am booked. You need to stop the thoughts of “oh I want clients to be able to afford me” and “my work is not good enough.” Thoughts like these actually push wealth away from you and prevent you from making money. Try positive affirmations! How can you expect clients to love you and your work and pay you $175 for a facial if you aren’t 100% sure of yourself or your work?

Learn to set realistic expectations for the services from first interaction. If you don’t, you will regret it. If you’re sick of doing treatments and clients going home, using drugstore crap and complaining you aren’t fixing their skin, then stop offering services to clients who refuse to purchase your products and/or follow other recommended advice! Same thing with hair removal. Deny clients who won’t purchase products to prevent ingrown hairs yet complain they have ingrown hairs. Require new clients to purchase products. Simple! If clients go home and use random crap on their skin post-hair removal it’s a recipe for disaster and it’s your ass on the line. Why allow this to happen?

Remember—boundaries! Stop treating your business like a hobby. Learn the business, work the business. Your business, your rules! And re-read all of the above until you get it!

Amber Henson-Billings, Brazilian Waxing Educator and Acne Specialist can be found in these FB Groups:
Waxaholics Unite
Moon Cycle Manifesting
ASH Aesthetics Mentoring and Training
Look for more wisdom from Amber in Part 1!


How to Make Money as an Esthetician – Part 1

by Amber Henson, Licensed Master Aesthetician, who shares some insights and tools she utilizes in her successful esthetics practice.

Continuing education. You need to spend money to make money. However if your main focus is on Brazilian waxing or acne skin care don’t waste money taking lash or brow extension classes. Take classes that will further you along the path you are on. Become amazing at those services.

Keep your rent/lease overhead low. Easy-to-get-to location, well lit, easy and free parking a huge plus; a location clients will feel comfortable coming to.

Don’t immediately jump into product lines that have high buy-ins. Try different lines by sampling and purchase based on the type of skin and clientele you want to focus on. Lines that offer free or discounted continuing education are a huge plus.

Learn to sell retail. Retail sales will be a very large % of your income. If you’re wanting to focus on corrective treatments and have loyal regular clients require an initial consult where you examine the clients skin, talk with the client about their concerns and then make product recommendations based on current skin condition and goals. Require clients to be on your prescribed homecare in order to have treatments done.

Find products that work and that you love. Once you find them, it will be easy to sell them. You know what can happen if clients don’t do anything for ingrown prevention, so education the client on that aspect will help. I tell clients, “Why would you spend $70 on a Brazilian wax and then not take care of your skin properly? You will end up with inflamed ingrown hairs that look ugly. Leaving the hair there would be prettier than ugly ingrown hairs.”

Learn to build your own website through web hosting companies. I personally have used VistaPrint since 2009. The annual cost is a tax write off and allows me to not have to depend on a tech to change things or depend on them for web ranking and SEO.

Make yourself easy to find. List yourself on major search engines like Google and yahoo and link to your website.

Sign up for Yelp and add a check in coupon. Prior to new client appointments in either an email or text message remind them that they can save (for example) $10 off their appointment by signing up for a yelp account and checking in. This will also help limit filtered reviews should these clients write reviews. Also for clients who have come in a few times and who obviously love their services, ask if they will write you a review. Reviews will be the best free advertising a small business owner could ever have.

Scheduling that requires credit card capture for appointments. This will discourage late cancelations and no-shows. Online options allow potential clients and clients to book appointments when it is convenient. Many clients who have been new to me have booked after midnight after researching and reading reviews for the services they are wanting to have done.

Post before and after pictures of the work you have done on clients. Use all your social media—your website, Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp, too. If you love doing brows or lashes post them and tag everything in your area and surrounding cities. If you specialize in corrective facials with clients permission post before and after pictures. Great results and picture proof will drive clients your way.

Electronic consent forms. Sent upon booking, this will save you time and money and create zero clutter. It’s also easier to weed out clients who have contraindications to services if you are able to read over their forms 24 hours before they come in.

Solid cancelation/reschedule/no show policy. Give it to all new clients (I email it along with my new client pre-appointment email tailored to the services they are having done). Always enforce it (it’s only fair.) Change it as needed and make sure to always send updated policies as they change.

Don’t undersell yourself! If you are amazing with brows than charge for them! If you are amazing at Brazilians than don’t be charging $40! If you are good and have amazing reviews to back you up, clients will pay. My most popular facial is $175 and clients pay it and they come in every 4-6 weeks.

Do not offer services you are not educated and proficient in performing. I am a brazilian waxing educator and hear horror stories on a daily basis either from esties or from clients who have been subjected to a Brazilian performed by someone who didn’t have proper education.

Do your research-and then some-before paying for education or mentoring. Make sure the person offering the education or mentoring has reviews to back up what they selling. If someone is telling you they can help you make tons of money if you buy XYZ yet have no reviews for a business they have supposedly been successful at then ask around for reviews. There are Facebook groups where you can write posts asking for reviews on products and education.

Have a positive outlook and attitude. Think “Law of Attraction”– whatever energy you are putting out you, will get back in return. So if you are complaining about not having enough clients and not having enough money you are putting that “I’m not enough and I don’t deserve” energy out into the universe.

Set healthy boundaries. Not every client who walks through our door is going to be a healthy fit. Set healthy boundaries and respect yourself, and you will attract clients who respect and honor you.

Don’t focus negative thoughts. When you have slow times or gaps in your schedule, look at it as the universe giving you time to work on yourself and other aspects of your business or other things that might be neglected.

Self-care is important. Stay healthy, eat well, take care of your skin—practice what you preach! We are in the business of making others look and feel good so we should look the part. If you wear scrubs make sure they are pressed and tidy, if you wear workout clothes make sure they are nice workout clothes (no baggy oversized sloppy stuff). Dress the part and look the part. Like attracts like.

Client follow ups are important. Every contact makes the client feel more comfortable seeing you. Doing a follow up for new clients (or existing clients having new treatments) helps ward off potential issues or reassure what they are experiencing is normal and par for the course.

Purchase supplies wisely. For basic esthetic supplies like gauze, headbands, waxing sticks etc. do not purchase from beauty suppliers or stores. The markups can be 500% or more! Look for deals on Amazon, eBay or medical and dental supply companies. Free or Low cost shipping is always a plus.
For example the average cost of gloves from waxing and esthetic companies is $10-$12, but the same gloves at a medical supply is usually $4-$6 per box. Always shop around.

Set realistic expectations for clients before they even walk through the door. For example for waxing or sugaring clients, an email the day before their appointments explaining the process, explaining hair growth cycles and why they won’t be smooth the first couple of times, explaining expectations for home sending clients home without products to properly care for their skin is negligent, and for those clients prone to in-growns, sets them up for a bad outcome/experience.
Remember this is your business and you set the rules! Don’t let clients tell you how to run your business! And beyond all of these things … Never stop learning, never say never. Be humble, be open minded and be the best you!

Amber Henson-Billings, Brazilian Waxing Educator and Acne Specialist can be found in these FB Groups:
Waxaholics Unite
Moon Cycle Manifesting
ASH Aesthetics Mentoring and Training
Look for more wisdom from Amber in Part 2!

Minnesota Modernizes Cosmetology Rules

In a much-needed revamping process, Minnesota is one of the states looking to bring Cosmetology rules and regulations up to speed. As of 2015 the hours needed to achieve a license were increased to:

  • COSMETOLOGY INSTRUCTOR LICENSE: Cosmetology Lic. + 1400 Hours Work Exp. + 38 Training Hours + 3 Exams
  • HAIR BRAIDER LICENSE: 30 Hours (Sanitation Course)
  • BARBER COURSE: Contact MM Barbering Board

And finally, MN is one of the few states to include PMU in the Board of Cosmetology purview (most states oversee permanent  makeup under “tattoo” regulation by the state’s medical board.)


They are just getting started, however; as of August 2017 MN’s inspections resources will be doubled and a new, more stringent schedule of violation penalties will be put into place.

This is a much needed move to bring cosmetology regulations into alignment with the real-world issues the inadequate inspection staff deals with. One official said it was quite common to walk into a salon only to have workers flee the premises, leaving clients with half done services. Or to observe them throwing “things” into the trash. At present, only about 40% of all MN salons are inspected, but officials hope doubling the number of inspectors on the street will give adequate coverage for annual inspections.

One of the best things to come from this revision is clear, concise language describing exactly what is meant by the new regulations; for example, what is infection control, precisely, and which implements are illegal (razors, rasps and other “cutting” tools). This is an excellent change in the Minnesota salon environment, and those who embrace these changes and make them a positive selling point will find clients are happy to patronize these establishments.

To read more about this story in Minnesota, follow the link here.

Mobile vs. Concierge

Up your Game! Re-packaNASN-PRO-Atlantage your off-site  beauty service offerings as elite “concierge services.”  Some states allow you to go to your client…maybe this is something your practice needs?

As published in NASN PRO, April, 2016.


Click here to read the full story: Mobile vs. Concierge Beauty


Click here to download the State Board Chart for Mobile/Off-Site Services