3 Reasons Why “Kitchen Hair” Is Bad For Your Career

November 23, 2015

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When professionalism literally goes down the drain.

Let’s be honest, we’ve all done it at one point or another.  You know, it’s that favor you promised for a friend, or that time when you were in cosmetology school and needed someone to “practice on”.  “Kitchen Hair” is the practice of cutting and coloring hair on friends or family members in your home or theirs.  In this blog post, I share three reasons why “Kitchen Hair” just isn’t a good idea.  This goes for anyone.  It doesn’t really matter if you’re a booth renter, working in a commission-based salon, or a salaried position.  What I’m about to share applies to anyone in our industry.
1. It’s Illegal
This one is pretty plain and simple.  In most, if not all states, cosmetology is a regulated industry, meaning not only does the salon have to be licensed, but so does the stylist.  This also means that the stylist is required to enroll in sanitation classes annually in order to renew his or her license.  Doing hair in one’s home is illegal. Period.  Additionally, it’s unsanitary and just plain gross.  Remember, the same sink where you just shampooed your best friend’s hair is the same sink you use to prepare dinner.  Yuck!
2. It’s Unprofessional
Let’s face it, do you really think having someone stand over your kitchen sink while you rinse out their hair is professional?  To be brutally frank, it’s downright ghetto.  If you want people to respect you as a professional, then provide your services in a professional environment and charge what you’re worth.  I’ll confess. I’ve busted some of my own team members doing “kitchen hair” on the weekend.  I’m not that naive.  What bothers me most about this is the idea of people taking advantage of our stylists’ skill.  Some stylists might say, “I providing services as a gift.” or “They’re my friend, I owe them a favor.”  To which I reply, “Stop doing their hair for a discount at home and see what happens.”  (In case you’re wondering, the answer is that they probably won’t come in during regular salon hours and pay full price because all they were really interested in was the discount from the beginning.)  And as far as favors, do you really have to sell yourself short on the very thing that provides you your livelihood and pays your bills?  If your friends and family respect you as a professional, they should support you in your profession and pay full price for your skill.  They should visit you at your salon or booth.  Even if they are paying you full price, it simply projects an image of unprofessionalism doing hair in someone’s home.
3. Burnout
At some point, it all catches up.  I see it happen all the time.  As stylists mature, they become protective of their time off.  I mean, after putting in a full week at work, do you really want to spend your days off doing more hair, and in some cases at an extreme discount or for free?  What are you thinking? If you really want to put in 50+ hours a week doing hair, then go for it (not really).  If I were a stylist, I’d rather have a life outside of work.
Your turn. Do you do “kitchen hair”? Why do you do it and for what benefit?

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Located in Austin, Texas.

Chris Murphy