2019 MODERN SALON 100: Erin Cheney (@hairbyerinc)
2019 MODERN SALON 100: Erin Cheney (@hairbyerinc)

Erin Cheney, a stylist and colorist out of Huntington Beach, California, is an incredible braider and balayager, and she also shares weekly hair tips and tricks on her Instagram Stories to help share her skills with the world. When she placed in a recent MODERN SALON styling contest, Cheney says it helped amplify her exposure and boost her motivation to keep pushing herself in the hair universe.

Erin Cheney


Huntington Beach, California

Opal Hair Studio

Specialty: Balayage, boho braids, textured bobs

Top-performing post: My most engaged post was a styled, vibrant look. I used Pulpriot colors in a few of their purple shades and styled a “festival” inspired look. The look included braids, twists and small silver hoops. I utilized my neighbor’s cactus for the background of the post since my inspiration was the boho-desert vibe.

Favorite apps: Snapseed because I love the ability to whiten and brighten my photo’s background, which makes the unedited, unfiltered hair pop; Instasize is great for sizing within the Instagram frame if the picture isn’t “Instagram” sized.

I follow: @michellehair, @kellynaso, @heatherchapmanhair, @lo_wheelerdavis, @georgecolorboygeo

Pro tip: Hashtagging should be specific to your end goal. If your goal is to get new clients in your chair, hashtag accordingly to your city and surrounding cities. If your goal is to engage with other hair stylists and industry professionals, hashtag specific techniques such as #warmbalayage.

Hidden talent: I love cutting pixies and shorter hair, but I always forget to photograph them.

Fun fact: I can sing.

My audience follows me because: I try to post a variety of hair content between cuts, colors and styling. I post weekly hair tips and tricks on my Instagram Stories, which I hope are helpful and useful.

How social media changed my life: In 2009, I remember our instructors telling us it was going to be tough to build a clientele in the current economy. They were right, it was tough, but I persevered. Facebook was a game changer because I posted every opening I had available just to fill empty spots in my chair. My Facebook friends started to tag their friends and family who started booking appointments with me and the domino effect eventually happened. Facebook had become the new “word of mouth.” Instagram’s popularity came to surface a few years after Facebook and I created my @hairbyerinc account. I began using Instagram to post client photos as often as I could. I studied the patterns of hashtags and photography styling until I found the right ones that worked for me. Once I figured out the hashtag game, numerous appointment requests came in saying, “I found you on Instagram…” I realized just how many people were coming to me solely from my posting on Instagram! I am so thankful for both Facebook and Instagram. I truly feel building my clientele would have been difficult without their platforms. The social media world has revolutionized the hair industry and I am glad to be a part of the movement.

My first @modernsalon feature: I remember being completely stunned! In June 2017, I submitted some last-minute entries to the Balayage & Boho contest. I was notified in July that I had made the top ten semifinalists of the contest. I opened the email while I was at work and could barely read it out loud to my coworkers. It was the best shock I’ve ever felt! I am so glad I entered that contest because it has inspired me to step up everything else I do in my hair universe.

Click here to the see the full list of this year's MODERN SALON 100. 

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