Really, Why Don’t We Talk About It?

Really, Why Don’t We Talk About It?


Besides the lack of self-care in the beauty industry, there is yet another beauty industry secret that sits in the room like a huge elephant in the room, and really, why don’t we talk about it? It is easy to understand why your parents quite possibly told you not, and surely you don’t want your peers to know, because you barely can let yourself know. The shame is huge. You can’t let your clients know, as you want to appear successful. You won’t let your parents know, as they would say, “I told you so.” So you suffer silently. Read on before you once again say, “I’ll deal with it later.”


We are part of an amazing industry; that is one side of the story. At its core, the industry is about keeping the fantasy going for your clients. However, the fantasy bleeds over into your personal lives so that you actually believe you are a rock star and can live like one too. Maybe you are, maybe you are not. But really, why aren’t we talking about it? And yet to keep the fantasy going of “looking the part” and opening bigger, better salons, carrying the newest, latest product, wearing the best clothes, taking the best education, to name a few, can easily lead you further and further into debt. As a whole, the industry turned and looked the other way at how many beauty professionals are exploited.



A bit ago, I reposted an article in the Atlantic titled, The Secret Shame Of Middle-Class America, by Neal Gabler. He stated,
“The Fed asked respondents how they would pay for a $400 emergency. The answer: 47 percent. Four hundred dollars! Who knew?”

The author goes on to say, “Well, I knew. I knew because I am in that 47 percent.”

I’m here to say I knew too because I am in that 47%. No, I don’t feel I can talk about this openly to clients nor my peers. But I fear if this is not discussed, then the fantasy continues to blind you as a young stylist trying to carve out a living in a salon. The idea of retiring may seem far off in the future, and quite impossible to think about it, given maybe you can’t even pay your rent on time. Maybe this is a new reality for many of us. But it doesn’t end here.

What about our assistants who are paid an indecent minimum wage, and therefore dependent on tips, and still need to find the dignity and where with all to dress, to bring themselves up to face the demands of the salon. What about you advanced stylists who cannot ever imagine owning a home or who are worried about not being able to pay medical bills. You love your career and dedicate your life to it, and yet, sometimes, you may feel it doesn’t give back to you. It can pay back tenfold, but you must be aware and seek help with finances if this is not your strength, which for many artists, it is not.


“We have to be willing to face the demons in our industry and in our own lives to move forward.”




My reveal, I have not gone to college. I come from the middle class; most of my family lives in the lower class. My mother attended school till 3rd grade, and my father till 10th, then quit. He worked till his retirement from a career as a merchant seaman. He put himself through advanced courses to become a Chief Engineer. However, let’s be clear, he had seven children at home, and my mother did not work outside our home. College was not discussed as a possibility, nor was money. For me, my career as a hairstylist was something I fell into but did not plan for, and I certainly did not go to business school. I’ve always learned the hard way.

Being self-taught is a more challenging road, I admit. But I love what I do, am I rich? No. Do I struggle times to pay bills at times? Yes. Do I still deliver the best I can with all my heart? Yes. Because I care, and the rest are choices that I have no one to blame but myself and am dedicated to transforming. Bravo to those of you who figured it out early, for you who have to learn by doing as I did, listen up, good news will follow.

The article by Rex Nutting, The Typical American couple has only $5000. Saved For Retirement is another sobering account of what most of us live with and will need to take a look at, at some point. Nutting says,

The plan that’s never panned out

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The introduction of 401(k) plans, IRAs, and similar tax-sheltering savings plans was supposed to ensure that everyone would have adequate retirement resources. In theory, retirees would rely less upon Social Security and more upon their own savings.

It didn’t work out. The percentage of families covered by some pension — either defined-benefit or defined-contribution — has declined since 1989. Then, about 58% of working-age Americans had some retirement plan or pension; as of 2013, coverage had dropped to 53%. Just 21% of families had a traditional defined-benefit pension in 2013, down from 41% in 1989.

Among younger workers, traditional pensions are almost non-existent, yet few younger workers have more than a few hundred dollars saved. No wonder 40% of millennials say they have no idea how they’ll pay for retirement and another 20% say they’ll keep working.”

To schedule your budget session with Rebecca, click here.


Here are some mind-boggling statistics about our industry.

According to Toni & Guy in an article, 39 Hairdressing Career Statistics You Have To See To Believe – See more at:

– Washington, D.C.: $22.85/hr
– Hawaii: $17.16/hr
– Washington: $16.52/hr
– Connecticut: $14.39/hr
– Vermont: $14.23/hr

And in that same graph, they state by 2022; there will be this kind of growth:

Highest Annual Job Openings By State

– Texas: 1,800
– California: 1,580
– New York: 1,480
– Florida: 1,260
– Pennsylvania: 1,100

(This is an incredible opportunity!)


According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics in their section for, Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmologists,

Quick Facts: Barbers, Hairdressers, and Cosmetologists
2015 Median Pay $23,710 per year
$11.40 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Postsecondary nondegree award
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2014 656,400
Job Outlook, 2014-24 10% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 64,400


One way to process this information is that, yes, we are growing as an industry, and there will be more jobs than ever. But the pay will be as it always has; the tipping culture will more than likely be the same and keep you dependent. The potential for earning as a seasoned stylist goes up; however, there is a cap depending on where you live and what the market will handle. And women charge what the men are charging. There still are major discrepancies in this industry. You also need to SAVE. SAVE. SAVE.

Talk about these issues with your coworkers, with your salon owners. Decide for yourself the path you will take and what conditions you will work under; we need to keep our employers honest and keep yourself honest with how you are progressing. You cannot afford to be lazy. Then, it is up to you to, guess? Save, Save, Save. It’s what my parents said, and yours too, more than likely. Set up strategies to support your earning power and savings plan, or you, too, will be finding yourself with nothing to show for your hard labor, aching back, and nothing to fall back on.

We are united because we are part of an amazing industry, amongst amazing talent and unfettered creativity. Now please think about your future and what you want to create for yourself and your families. Decide how you will do it. Hold yourself accountable. Do not take a new job unless you get a raise. Speak up for yourself, and take care of yourself. And women, according to the CNN Money article, Why Women Pay More Than Men For The Same Stuff, by Clare Sebastian,

“In 1995, California became the first state to ban gender-based price differences for services like hair salons and dry cleaners.” Stop charging less for men for the same service.

To save, Salon Today suggests the following in their article, The Importance of a Retirement Plan for the Salon Professional:

– Open an IRA and individual retirement account. Work for employers who offer this as an incentive for their stylists.
– Put Together a Plan for Retirement:
– Open a savings account
– Open an IRA
– Set up a direct deposit with your new employer for a portion of your check to go into savings.
– Speak to a financial advisor about a savings plan and retirement


Keep track of your monthly expenses, and pay yourself first! Which means your savings, not your new Prada shoes.


Watch Rachel Cruze in her video about, How To Do A Monthly Budget!



If you need help in setting up monthly income and expense tracking, click here.


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