Milady Hears the Call for More Diverse Content and Intends to Deliver
Milady Hears the Call for More Diverse Content and Intends to Deliver

Milady’s textbook, Standard Cosmetology, has been the most used resource in cosmetology education since the 1920s.  It provides educators with a roadmap to follow when teaching students the principles and skills needed to master the science and art of cosmetology.

As our nation turned its attention to issues of racial equity and justice, the professional beauty industry began a discussion around the topic of hair texture and how fear or misinformation in respect to different types of texture has created a divide in the salon world. Many stylists have expressed disappointment that their cosmetology education didn’t include sufficient instruction in working with natural hair, in recognizing hair type and texture, and assessing wave pattern.  Their curriculum often follows the Milady Standard Cosmetology edition, but it is up to the individual schools to determine how many hours will be allotted to each topic. And those schools, in turn, are following the guidelines of their State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.

“The trade colleges have directors of education and they build the curriculum but regardless if it’s a high school, a private school or community school, their curriculum is tied to the state board,” explains Sandra Bruce, vice president and general manager, Milady. “The state board mandates a certain number of hours  of cutting, coloring, chemical relaxers, etc. Depending on what state you’re in –if the hours are on the lower end—there isn’t enough time to develop proficiency in every technique or discipline.

“We can’t mandate how the content we provide is taught but because Milady has roughly 90 percent market share, we have a responsibility as a leader in the industry to make sure the content is available and it meets the need,” Bruce continues. “We have been inclusive in our content and the use of authors, subject matter experts and contributors for as long as I am aware. But we hear the current message from the market and are actively evaluating how we can do even more.” 

Milady put out a call for public comment to identify exactly what content is needed and they plan to use that information to enhance what they have in the existing curriculum as well as add it to the revision plan for the next edition of Standard Cosmetology.

In the most current edition, Celebrity Stylist Ted Gibson was the Creative Director for Standard Cosmetology, and there were 12 other contributors, six of whom were Black, two were Latino, and one was Indian, and all were chosen because they are experts in their fields. 

 They specifically wrote chapters for:

  • History and Career Opportunities
  • Life Skills
  • Your Professional Image
  • Communicating for Success
  • Properties of the Hair and Scalp
  • Basics of Chemistry
  • Basics of Electricity
  • Principles of Hair Design
  • Scalp Care, Shampooing, and Conditioning
  • Haircutting
  • Hairstyling
  • Braiding and Braid Extensions
  • Wigs and Hair Additions
  • Chemical Texture Services
  • Facial Makeup

“During every revision, usually every 4-5 years, we survey the market to ensure we are covering content accurately to prepare students to pass the state board exam and build a foundation for career success,” says Bruce. “Not every state mandates hours sufficient to provide a robust knowledge of all skills required to be proficient, nor do they always have enough time to cover all the content in our textbook in depth. Our textbook has 1100 pages and weighs 11 pounds-- there is no way a school can teach it all.

"But our team at Milady recognizes there is a demand for more content related to working with diverse textures, hair types, and skin color, and we intend to deliver."

In the current edition of Standard Cosmetology, Chapters 1, 4, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 20 have content related to natural hair in the following pages: 13, 57, 230-232, 234, 300, 306-308,317, 336, 368, 369, 380, 389, 395, 455-456, 461, 463, 467-469, 528-531, 537-545, 549-567, 617-663. The content includes: (p.13) Texture specialist career; (p.57) needs assessment on hair type; (p.230) wave pattern; (p.234) Myth and Facts (p.300) Design Texture; (p.306-308) Recognize the Influence of Hair Type and Texture; (p.317) Design for Men; (p.336) T15-1 Matching Products to Hair Types; (p.368) hair shrinks; (p.369) wave pattern; (p.380) handling the comb, tension; (p.389) Cutting Curly Hair; (p.395) free-hand notching; (p.455-456) hair wrapping; (p.461,463) flat irons, thermal irons; (p.467- 469) thermal hair straightening;  (p.528-567) Understand the Basics of Braiding; Braid the Hair; Classify Textured Sets and Styles; P18-1 Preparing Textured Hair for Braiding; P18-3 Single Braids with Extensions; P18-4 Basic Cornrows;P18-5 Nubian Coils: Coil Comb Technique;P18-6 Twist; P18-7 Starting Locks with Nubian Coils; P18-8 Cultivating And Grooming Locks; (p.617-663) Demonstrate the Proper Technique for Chemical Hair Relaxers.

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