2017 MODERN SALON 100: Karina Kotok (@updosbykarina)
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2017 MODERN SALON 100: Karina Kotok (@updosbykarina)

Her Instagram name says it all: @updosbykarina. Karina Kotok, 24, of European Elegance Beauty Studio, Ephrata, Pennsylvania, offers private classes to teach her amazing updo tricks.  She was a finalist in MODERN's "Braids & Brides" competition and has earned a deserved spot in the 2017 MODERN SALON 100.


Best known for: special occasion up-styling  

Most viral post: a video of big soft curls that was reposted by Modernsalon when it won first place in a #weddingpartywednesday contest Nov 9, 2016

Favorite apps: Instagram, YouTube, sometimes Facebook 

Favorite hashtags: #modernsalon #cosmoprofbeauty #licensedtocreate #kenraprofessional #unitehairoftheday #beyondtheponytail #braidinglife

Who I’m following: @mustafaavci @elstile @tonyastylist @annette_updo_artist @wb_upstyles @styles_by_reneemarie @KayleyMelissa to name a few!

Tip to get best results on a post: Lighting is everything in a picture. Make sure nothing is cluttering the background. Post early in the morning or towards the evening because you know that everyone wakes up and falls asleep with their phone these days!

Favorite professional beauty products: UNITE: Texturiza, Expanda Dust, Tricky Lite. Kenra Volume 25 Spray is hands down the most amazing hairspray and Hot Spray. Batiste Dry Shampoo. 

How social media changed my life: I'll keep this as short as I can. I graduated from ELCO High School in 2011 as valedictorian of my class (even though I immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine in 1999 at the age of 6).  I loved playing with hair my whole life but felt pressured to go to college (because I felt the need to live up to my "top of her class" title).  I was afraid of that "beauty school dropout" stereotype. I started college in the fall of 2011 with an Actuarial Science major. After a few months, I knew that it wasn't for me. I wasn't passionate about my future career as an actuary. I found myself running late for class because I was too busy doing my hair and makeup! After talking to my parents and asking God for wisdom, I found the courage to quit college and enroll at Empire Beauty School the following year (September 2012). After completing beauty school, I started working at European Elegance Beauty Studio (where I still work) in July 2013. After constant nagging (or encouragement if you will) from my clients, I opened up my Instagram handle and I could not believe how quickly my clientele grew! In 2 years my whole book was filled. Now I have to schedule people 1-2 months out. When I became more acquainted with the social media world, I found big pages like Modernsalon and started dreaming of the day that my work would be reposted. Modernsalon made that happen for me and I am forever grateful!! Recently a salon in my area called and asked me to teach an updo class in their salon after they saw me in the Modernsalon magazine!! It was one of the coolest moments of my career! Social media is the best marketing tool out there. And the best part is, IT'S FREE! In a way, social media is constantly reminding me that my choice to quit college (and be ridiculed for it) and pursue my love and passion for the world of hair, was definitely the right choice!!

The first time I was featured on MODERN SALON was….: October 26, 2016 I got second place in a #weddingpartywednesday contest



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