Smith and Davis Salon Smith and Davis Salon

A Word on Education; A Letter to Hairdressers By: Alicia Asuncion


As a stylist who has been in the biz for nearly 13 years, I began to feel the telltale signs of occupation-induced restlessness. It didn’t come on all at once, but in waves. Everything on the surface was ideal though; I love the salon I work for and adore my coworkers and clients like family. Yet, an unrelenting feeling of boredom permeated everything I put my hand to. So, I needed to shake things up. At times it felt like I needed a total career change. I tried many new outlets to explore and ultimately quell this curiosity; everything from going back to school, traveling, moving out of state, and tapping into my spirituality. In the end, the kind of connection and creativity that cutting hair brings was something that I always circle back to. Returning to Smith and Davis once again, Michael and Stevie offered to send me to a 4 day workshop led by the great Stephen Moody. 

The course was a revisitation of cutting fundamentals which is an essential experience for even the most seasoned stylists. Working in a small group of hairdressers overseen by Stephen is in itself a special experience. Stephen’s approach bridges technical methods with organic ones; he allows hair to exist and live in its natural state without styling it into submission. He doesn’t let the hair overwhelm or dictate his creative decisions. Taking a class as special as this is a luxury in stepping back. As a stylist, working behind the chair one can enter ‘auto-pilot’, a condition of making the same haircuts, utilizing the same chitchat, and quickly drifting away from a curious discipline that asks you to learn new techniques, ask better questions, and be more present. Upon returning to the salon and the space of my chair, the atmosphere feels altered. Every maneuver I make has a purpose and doesn’t feel like a tired machine. As stylists it is crucial to suggest changes to our clients, encouraging length or shape change; or even a new approach to styling. But this goes beyond the client; it’s for you, too. Its like taking a different commute every day to work, rather than the same road day after day. Education is something humans require to grow and feel fulfillment in this life. In our creative field, it’s a crucial component of squashing autopilot syndrome and being the most confident stylists for our clients and ourselves.