CREDITS: Hair/Vivienne Mackinder; Color/Lori Zabel; Photographer/Desmond Murray; Makeup/Dave Maderick; Stylist/Nikko

The only way to eradicate fear is with knowledge. When you know that something’s dangerous, you have the knowledge to say, “I’m not going to do that.”  Fear tells you to move forward or back…or to seek further education.  Intelligence is the most powerful tool we have.  When people learn, they feel good about themselves, it feeds their passion and gives them purpose.  Be addicted to learning and you will cultivate the courage you need to do hair.  Find a mentor, be authentic, never compromise beauty, understand face shape, and educate, educate, educate!


1. Find a Mentor

Only study from the very best, human behavior is contagious.  Trevor Sorbie taught me so many of the vital elements that make me the hairdresser I am today.  “There is a fine line between creativity and bad taste”… “Style should complete who you are, not compete with who you are” …” Never compromise beauty or an oval face shape – correct balance will always be more beautiful.”  A mentor can teach you how to loosen your hold on an idea in the name of beauty and how to self-edit, so don’t be shy, reach out to those that you admire.  I reach out to mine all the time!!


CREDITS: Hair/Vivienne Mackinder; Color/Lori Zabel; Photographer/Desmond Murray; Makeup/Dave Maderick; Stylist/Nikko

2. Be Authentic

When we meet someone there are 4 emotions we experience - intimidation, frustration, motivation and inspiration.  Very often, the first two get crushed by the last two and make a stylist feel inadequate.  We must all remember that when a guest sits in our chair, WE are the authority!  So, if they show an image that’s intimidating, take control of the narrative with a proper consultation.  It allows you to fully understand expectations and pull all the right info together for the guest to buy into your plan.  It separates the winners from the losers because it flips the emotional paradigm:

Winners – Inspired, Motivated, Intimidated, Frustrated

Losers – Intimidated, Frustrated, Uninspired, Unmotivated

Learn how to take control of a consultation with a complimentary tutorial on HairDesignerTV.com.


CREDITS: Hair/Vivienne Mackinder; Photographer/Desmond Murray; Makeup/Dave Maderick; Fashion/Montgomery Frazier; Hair Team/Cindy Depinto Elliot and Rosemary Tejeda.

3. Never Compromise Beauty

Some are lucky enough to be born with an incredible sense of style, but it can also be developed. Understanding how to build a beautiful balanced silhouette that compliments face shape and profile, as well as lifestyle and person, is crucial to cultivating confidence.  Beauty is a science, there are golden rules of design, so learn them!!  I developed the 3 Wheels of Fashion to help stylists rely on the power of observation when consulting, because sometimes it’s the subtle things that are critical to composing a winning style.  Where to place a part, building the right amount of a volume, and placing shapes at the nape or occipital bone can all change the direction of taste and style.   Observing a guest or model’s features based on three wheels – Personality (whisper, scream or shout); Fashion (edgy, classic or trendy); and Sensuality (sexy, boyish or feminine), helps develop confidence and a great sense of style because it provides parameters that help simplify the process. 


4. Understand Face Shape

If you focus too much on technique versus face shape, you will never create beauty.  Think of a pear-shaped body…a white top and black pants look much better than a black top and white pants because it balances the proportions. It’s the same with hair - you can emphasize beautiful attributes of a face and disguise the less appealing ones with color and the right cut.  An oval face is the goal, if they don’t have it, do what you need to balance it out to appear more oval-like and you will craft a beautiful result.  We get so consumed with the doing of specific techniques versus the thinking and looking.  Don’t just repeat what you know out of habit, you’ll miss the present and not be prepared for the future. 

How to Color to Face Shape is featured on HairDesignerTV.com, “Who is Sitting in Your Chair” covers both the Face Shape Consultation and The Three Wheels of Fashion.

5. Education

The biggest deception of all is mastery, because masters make everything look so easy.  You never see their learning curve, challenges and failures, you just see their end result, not the journey.  And trust me, the journey is the best part!  So, be a lifelong student and give yourself a break, no one gets it the first time. 





Do browse social for ideas but immerse yourself in proper educational programs with building blocks and cumulative steps. At HairDesignerTV.com we cultivate specific programs for stylists depending on their course of study.  Skills are aggregated so stylists can perform techniques and looks with confidence.  Education won’t happen if you don’t plan for it.  So, book out a special time each week to study and dedicate a place in the salon with a ring light for stylists to create and innovate.  And put some money aside for it too.  A small portion of sales saved each week to an education fund, even 10% a day, will add up!


Being a hairdresser is hard, but if you love what you do and cultivate enough courage to put yourself out there, then when things go wrong the passion will keep you going, and you will be confident that you will bounce back.  You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be the best version of yourself!  And that takes courage!

About Vivienne Mackinder

Vivienne Mackinder is one of the most highly respected, award-winning, international leaders and innovators hairdressing. Her experience as Artistic Director for Vidal Sassoon and International Creative Director for Trevor Sorbie is unprecedented, and the foundation of her extraordinary artistic vision, technical expertise and educational style. She’s worked with countless celebrities and fashion designers and has been published by a myriad of international media.  Her expertise culminates as co-founder of HairDesignerTV.com (HDTV), a five-star, post-graduate, one-on-one training system of online education.  The content is designed to develop and refine the skills necessary to increase value and income behind the chair, as well as elevate to the highest level of professional excellence and mastery. Get inspired to go from good to GREAT on Facebook @VivienneMackinder; Instagram @VivienneMackinder and YouTube @HairDesignerTV






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