Top essentials for your hairstylist toolkit
As a new stylist or student, it can be intimidating to decide what tools or supplies to spend money on or what you will actually need and use day to day. After working in a few salons, I came up with a list of my tried and true basics.
Here's what you'll need for a successful kit:
Variety of combs
Many sturdy clips
A high quality blowdryer
One of the benefits of assisting in multiple salons is that I was able to try many different hairdryers. You will spend hours blowdrying hair every day in the salon so why not get a dryer that is comfortable to use, lightweight, easy on the ears, and powerful. I like the Parlux Advance Light because it is everything you wish for in a blowdryer and it comes in a variety of colors to match your personality or the style of your salon. Parlux also offers a diffuser attachment for curly clients and a silencer attachment that helps to lower the volume of the dryer so you can keep that conversation going.
Framar tight tension clips are great for clipping away sections when foiling, braiding, or cutting. I wouldn't necessarily use these clips on certain textures of dry hair when styling because they can leave a crimp in the hair. These are amazing for subsections when cutting because they aren't bulky and don't get in the way. They come in packs of 4 and can be found at CosmoProf, Amazon, or the Framar website. I recommend picking up a couple packs of these, and the clips I mention next, as they can tend to go missing on occasion.
I use the Framar rubberized jaw clips when sectioning wet hair for a blowdry, during a color application, holding large sections when foiling, and sometimes when cutting to hold large thick sections of hair. These are versatile clips with many uses and come in packs of four. I found these at CosmoProf as well but they can also be purchased online from Amazon or the Framar website. The pink colored clips can become stained if chemicals get on them so I typically use the black clips if I'm applying color.
The YS Park 339 is my go to for almost all of my haircuts. It has fine and medium spaced teeth with a gap on one side for sectioning. Small and lightweight, this 7" comb comb is good for men's and women's cuts and I've only come across issues when I'm trying to use this in very thick or long hair. I will recommend another comb for those situations. I love this comb because its safe to use wet, dry, and with high heat. You can find this comb on the YS Park website or on the Hairbrained pro website in lots of fun colors.
Hattori Hanzo makes a nice cutting comb for long or thick hair types. At 8.25" the HHC1 is a long and sturdy comb with medium and wide spaced teeth. Made of carbon, this comb is also safe for use with high heat. I love using this on my clients that request long layers or those with 5 heads of hair.
The YS Park 102 is a great comb for weaving highlights and taking precise sections. The teeth are finely spaced enough to use for backcombing sections. I use it every time I have to foil. Oh and did I mention the colors! You can also find this comb on the YS Park website or through the Hairbrained pro site.
Olivia Garden brushes are my jam! I have a whole kit of them. My favorites that I use every day are the NanoThermic ceramic+ion round brushes. I typically use one sized around 1"-1.5" for the hairline and then one around 2" or so for the rest of the head. The ceramic coated barrel retains heat to provide a super smooth finish while the vents help to reduce blowdry time. I will also use the paddle brush on clients that may have fine hair that is prone to tangling before I go back in with the round brushes.
While we're on the topic of brushes, if you don't already have a Wet Brush, go out and get one right now. Actually go get two, or three because once you use this for the first time to detangle a client's hair, you wont stop. You will want one for yourself, your mom will want one, your neighbor will want one, and your sister will steal yours so make sure you have a few handy. The bristles are the key here because they are extremely flexible which helps to reduce hair breakage while detangling. Wet hair is very fragile so you don't want to use any old brush when you're trying to get out knots. Pick up a couple of different patterns and colors to match your mood from the Wet Brush website or your local CosmoProf.
One of the most important investments you can make is buying a well made pair of shears. I started out with a $25 pair of Diane Snapdragon shears while in cosmo school and did some pretty decent haircuts during that time. But I sure can tell you how different it is to cut with a high quality scissor. A beauty show is an amazing opportunity to test out shears from a variety of companies all under one roof. While attending Premiere Orlando I came across the Hattori Hanzo stand and after speaking with their experts I settled on a more cost effective set that included the Talon scissors and Shimatta thinning shears. Hattori Hanzo is great because they allow you to make monthly payments on your shears. You can also get discounts by paying in full, or by purchasing more than one scissor at a time. Another benefit of joining the Hanzo fam is that you gain access to haircutting and barbering education events.
Aprons have come a long way in the fashion world. Now stylists are coming out with their own line of salon aprons. You can find cute distressed denim styles like this one from Cargo Crew. This apron is perfect for colorists because the more you wear it the more artsy it becomes.