Who wouldn’t love a chance to work at Gina Norris’s salon in the movie Beauty Shop? The 2005 Queen Latifah film created a world where women (and some men) spoke frankly about issues of love and sex, race and gender, and everything in-between. It was a place where a black salon owner would style the hair of a white woman, and where a white stylist could demonstrate her skills at caring for multicultural, textured hair.
Beauty schools are close to making that dream a reality. In the past, many teachers and students noted a “racial divide” in the beauty and haircare industry, and there have always been specialized beauty schools that train only in ethnic hair.
But beauty schools and their students don’t want that anymore. They want to learn the skills and techniques that will help anyone who sits in their chair feel more beautiful and confident.
The State Determines Training
One of the problems is that state licensing exams don’t often include many questions about the care of ethnic hair. Kari Williams, a member of the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, said, “most beauty schools focus on salon safety and sanitation, and the use of heat styling tools and chemicals for straightening, coloring, perming and relaxing.”
But that’s only because state licensing exams focus on those issues. As a result, beauty schools of the past have had to focus most of their training on such content, with little time left over for more specialized training.
But there’s good news: As greater appreciation for beauty across all cultures is growing, more students want to learn as much as they can about how to care for everyone’s hair. Students have asked for more training, and schools have responded. One way that schools have responded is to make sure that they provide students with mannequins with a variety of hair textures.
A New Appreciation for Beauty Across All Cultures
Today, more and more beauty schools are demonstrating a new interest in training all students in the care of many kinds of hair and skin, and a new commitment to appreciating beauty across all cultures. Our Academy has always been sensitive to the need for multicultural and diversity when it comes to our educational planning, product lines and hands-on experience for our guests and students.