A young stylist thinks about the advice she'd give her younger self as she works on a client's hair.

What Would You Tell Your First-Year Stylist Self Now? 
A Look Back on the Advice You'd Give Younger You

No matter how long you’ve been in the cosmetology game–for one year or ten years­­­–there are probably at least a few things you wish you’d known from the start, right?

You know what we’re talking about–things you wish you hadn’t had to learn the hard way?

Whether it’s the knowledge that an all-black uniform is actually an economical idea and not just a chic look that stylists opt for or the fact that you’re going to be covered in hair every single day that mostly is not yours, we’re willing to bet if you could go back in time, you’d tell your young stylist self a little somethin’-somethin’, huh?

So, let’s do that.

Seriously, for a hot minute, let’s straight-up pretend we have a way to go back and tell ourselves the things we wish we knew before we ever started our careers.

Not to deter ourselves, of course, but to give us a little head start on that massive learning curve that’s coming our way.

Why should we do this?

Well, it’s too late for that heads-up stylist advice for ourselves, but it’s not too late for the cosmetologists and stylists who are on the come-up.

Let’s share that knowledge with those who are coming after us so we can help them learn the lessons we did–but, you know, faster.

So, let’s chat about the things we wish we could tell our stylist selves that the first year in the biz–trust us, your newbie brothers and sisters are definitely gonna thank you for this one.

Cosmetology & Stylist Advice You Wish You’d Known When You First Started Your Beauty Career 

Start Setting Boundaries from Day 1

Don’t wait until you’re an overworked, under-appreciated, seasoned pro before you stake your claim and set your boundaries.

If you can establish these guidelines from the first day on the job, you’re going to set yourself up for a healthy work-life balance and probably a lot more sanity.

Separate your work from your life, don’t make it your whole identity, and try to remember there’s so much more to you than just being a badass stylist! You’re a whole person aside from your career, folks–try to keep this in check from the start of your career.

Don’t Smirk at Being an Assistant First

Sure, you’re eager to get out there on your own and make a ton of cash–but being an assistant can help you expedite your career for the long haul if you play the game right.

We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with getting out there and hustling as a stylist that does their own thing ASAP– but being an assistant can help you learn lessons faster, give you the opportunity to hone your technical skills, and teach you how to run a business.


A stylist contemplates the styling advice she'd give to her younger self.

Because you’re getting direction from a pro, who’s literally doing that in real-time right in front of you. All we’re saying is don’t hate on the assistant game and consider the value it could offer you.

Never Stop Learning

It sounds like pretty common advice, but there’s so much value in focusing on continuing education.

Your career is so unique because there’s simply no ceiling to reach–there’s no stopping your potential and what you can do. But you can’t get to those heights if you’re not reaching for them and reaching for them always looks like continuing your education and improving your skills.

Never settle for what you know, and don’t ever take a break from learning new things–these are the qualities that are going to set you (and your career) apart from the rest.

Consider NOT Dealing in a Year of Discounts

We know, we know, sometimes to get your biz going, you actually need to offer discounted services to get the gossip going about your skills.

But that doesn’t mean you need to do this for as long as you might think you do.

It’s tempting to think that as a new stylist, you need to negotiate with your clients–but this couldn’t be further from the truth!

Charge what your services are actually worth (and be honest with yourself about this) from the very start. Then, as you progress, raise those prices accordingly.

Focus on Your Health

It’s all about the grind, right? Nope.

If you could go back and tell your younger self something, we’d be willing to bet you’d remind yourself to take better care of your health (body and mind).

It’s so easy to slip into a routine of neglecting your health when you’re just starting out, but if you do take this route, you’re setting yourself up for long-term failure.

It’s important to prioritize your health from the very start of your career. If you can make this a big part of how you do things, you’ll be in good shape when your career gets hectic.

Don’t tell us–we missed one of your pieces of stylist advice?

Don’t fret–just drop it in the comments. We’re always looking to expand on the advice we give to the newbies (and the not-so newbies, too). Share your knowledge for the younger generation right here!

And, of course, we’re dropping all the good knowledge for seasoned pros, too–every week, in fact! Make sure you subscribe to Elite Beauty Society for a weekly drop of the hottest knowledge, latest trends, and must-know career advice to take you further than ever.