While cosmetology school is essential for licensure, it’s not without its problems. Oftentimes, education surrounding the styling of textured hair or even new techniques tends to be lacking in the curriculums of many beauty schools. The good news is that even after you receive your license, the learning doesn’t end. After all, the hair industry is constantly changing so there are always new skills to be gained.
Here, Cosmo Prof Artistic Team Members Jon Carlos De La Cruz and Brenda Espinosa reflect on their experiences with cosmetology school, sharing what they learned, what they wished they learned, and how school is the beginning of a lifelong journey. Considering that De La Cruz and Espinosa have both been able to build successful careers post-cosmetology school, you’ll definitely want to take note of what they have to say. Read on for their insights!
Jon Carlos De La Cruz, (@joncarlosdelacruz)
Color, Cutting, and Style Transformations Expert
On Why He Believes Cosmetology School Was Beneficial: “In cosmetology school, I learned to trust the process and knew that I wouldn’t be the greatest right off the bat. Most of my cutting and foiling techniques I learned in my own time (outside of school), but I still follow the basics from school and learned how to make them my own over time. For example, every foil I do, I think about how I learned this in school. There isn’t one day when I don’t think about my instructor Stella’s education on the bob, and apply the tips she shared in the classroom.
On What He Wishes He Learned in Cosmetology School: “I wish I had learned more about how to customize a cut to meet clients’ needs, because I feel like that skill was not fully developed until I was on the job, and it would have been beneficial to know more about personalization practices. For instance, a haircut like the bob requires a different approach depending on the person in the chair, so it would have been nice to have a better grasp on how to customize certain cuts ahead of working full-time.”
On Going to Cosmetology School Full-Time: “I’d recommend industry professionals consider going to cosmetology school full-time vs. part-time. While the flexible options are great, for me, it was helpful to immerse myself in the training full-time and set a goal to finish within 10 concentrated months instead of over a longer period of time.”
On His Suggestions for How to Continue Your Education Past Cosmetology School: “Always be up to date with education — for students just graduating, don’t get into booth rental. Be okay with being an assistant and look for a salon that offers continuous education. Surround yourself with people who are always learning and growing. You have to make sure you’re at a salon that’s committed to your growth and continued education opportunities.
In starting out, I used to look at Cosmo Prof’s social media channels and attend their educational events to be inspired by other professionals (example: virtual events like Color the World 2023) to receive advanced training from top leaders in the industry. Once I started following the channel and watching other industry professionals, I started envisioning my future as an educator, which led me to where I am today.”
Brenda Espinosa, (@brendacurlstylist)
Curly Hair and Cutting Expert
On What She Wishes She Learned in Cosmetology School: “They only give the basic knowledge, so I wish they provided more intel on the trends and more specialized ways to do things. They definitely kept it basic, but I think it would have been nice if they went more into detail about newer techniques. For haircuts, I wish they would have shared more robust information on newer trends and techniques, along with trend forecasting. For instance, pixie cuts are more complex and complicated, so it would have been helpful to receive some more in-depth training on how to approach more intricate cuts such as these.”
On Her Suggestions for How to Continue Your Education Past Cosmetology School: “Going to a class is a great idea for a visual learner. No matter how someone prefers to learn, it’s best to cater to your educational style (ex: if you want hands-on, maybe try a DIY online training course). No matter how advanced you get, definitely keep learning and be open to constructive feedback and new ways of doing things. For visual hands-on learning, I would go to classes and work on a mannequin, and then on a model. It helped me to perfect the craft and those haircuts in a way that made sense to me. For anyone that’s just starting out, stay open minded, and with cosmetology, you can do multiple things, so be open to learning and going down unexpected paths.”