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CREATING MASTER HAIRDRESSERS: Oribe's Journey to Mastery

Maggie Mulhern | December 4, 2017 | 5:20 PM
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Results from S wave application.
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Kien Hoang, Christian Ceja-Compin, Ramona Eschbach and Dan Nguyen
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Ramona Eschbach with students
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Kien Hoang works hands-on teaching Foundations.
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Maximum curl and texture, results from the "Setting" class, a look from the "Essentials" chapter in Oribe's Journey to Mastery program.
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Maximum curl and texture, results from the "Setting" class, a look from the "Essentials" chapter in Oribe's Journey to Mastery program.
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CLASS SIZE: Maximum 20 to keep educator-to-student ratio small.

COST: 2-day workshop: $1000. 1-day class (available in Chapters 2 and 3 only): $500

NUMBER OF SESSIONS/NUMBER OF CHAPTERS: 4 sessions in Chapter 1 (The Essentials), 3 sessions in Chapter 2 (Runway to Salon), 4 sessions in Chapter 3 (Editorial (Ob)sessions)

WHAT TO BRING: Each class requires different materials but for Setting it is necessary to bring curling irons (Marcel preferred) in multiple sizes, a carbon tail comb, a small boar-bristle brush, a flat iron and a blowdryer.

LOCATION: Journey to Mastery is held in New York, Miami and Los Angeles at various times throughout the year.

“To learn new tricks.” “To be enlightened.” “To be surrounded by the best hairdressers.” These are just a few of the answers we got when we asked a group of hairdressers WHY they were taking a class from Oribe’s Journey to Mastery program held recently in Santa Monica, California.

The artists were on the journey with 20 other licensed professionals, who had signed up for the Setting session in “The Essentials” chapter of the program. “I wish there had been classes like this when I first began,” says Oribe Director of Training & Content Kien Hoang who was leading this particular class focusing on the basics of setting for a perfect finish. “I wish I had the opportunity to understand texture and how to do things more efficiently earlier in my career.” 

MODERN was there to observe the class, the second in the first chapter of the program. Hoang, along with Oribe Educators Christian Ceja-Compin  and Dan Nguyen, guided their students in the 2-day hands-on workshop that included all the basics like pin curls, vertical sets, Marcel waves, natural waves, classic sets, flat S waves and product control. The workshop is chockfull of detail both in theory and practice, and the lessons learned are executed on live models. “Each step is deeply explored,” says Hoang. “We crush, build, shape and transform textures. It’s intense.”

The Essentials chapter offers 3 additional sessions of “Foundations,” “Braiding” and “Weft Extensions.” It is advised that students complete these classes before going to Chapter 2: “Runway to Salon” which has 3 classes including “Retro Elegance”, “Effortless Chic” and “Androgyny.” “Editorial (Ob)sessions,” the final chapter, has 4 sessions focusing on powerful editorial work and Fashion Week interpretations. Ideally the 11 classes are taken in the order proposed, but some students leap frog sessions based on timing and availability. As of this writing, just a handful of people have made it to Chapter 2 and still have several classes left to complete the first 2 chapters. The first person to complete all the classes in all the chapters is expected to graduate later this year or in early 2019 and will celebrate with an Oribe sponsored photoshoot.

“Journey to Mastery is a wonderful system because each class builds upon the techniques learned in the other sessions,” says Brittney Murphy, co-owner of Theory, Bozeman, Montana, who was taking her 3rd class in the Essentials chapter. “It is continual inspiration. The educators really break down techniques that we are able to apply into daily styling in the salon, on location for weddings or editorial styling. Most importantly, as a salon owner, I am able to attend these classes and bring what I have learned back to my team and incorporate these techniques and structure into our education curriculum.” With the goal is to work backstage at Fashion Week, Murphy admits she has learned invaluable techniques in the program so far. “By training with these amazing educators under the new structure they have implemented into their system will help to keep me on my path.”

That goal is not uncommon for those taking the Journey to Mastery. “It’s a comprehensive program that is designed to create skilled hairdressers who can work in any area of hairdressing and can hit the ground running for any editorial opportunity or fashion show,” says top editorial stylist and Oribe Educator Ramona Eschbach who helped develop the structure and curriculum of the Journey to Mastery series. Adds Hoang, “It’s almost impossible to be a great hairdresser without having the skills taught in this program.”

Gina Conte of Square Atelier, Las Vegas, who has taken 5 of the Journey to Mastery classes as of this writing, agrees.  “I like to surround myself with the best artists,” she says. “It’s important to raise the bar and take your skills to the next level.” Although Conte has been doing hair for more than 12 years, she says “You have to relearn everything, including body movements, where to stand and even how to hold your arms. Refreshing these techniques has changed the quality of my work. My eye has improved. I am now doing better work and making more money.” Conte has left each class with many takeaways, but her favorites so far:

“When braiding, I’ve gone from using my whole hand to using 3 fingers. It gives me more control and has made me more independent.”

“When creating a ponytail, I’ve learned to keep the back of the hand flat or slightly angled to the head to get it to look right.”

“I’ve learned to use product to work smarter not harder. Products should be used to manipulate or enhance the hair.”

The education and experience is just part of the magic of the Journey to Mastery program. The diploma ceremony at the end of the session is emotional and rewarding, acknowledging the success after the challenging exercise. But, as Hoang points out, the journey should not stop after a class or receiving a diploma or even after completing the Journey to Mastery. “This is a fantastic and thorough program,” says Hoang, “But when it comes to hairdressing, the journey and the learning never ends.” 

Journey to Mastery is open to Oribe Network hairdressers and sells out quickly, so if interested, sign up early. The schedule for 2018 can be found at www.oribe.com/education

photo credit: Brittney Murphy

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