Remember that scene in Legally Blonde where Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) unloads all her love life drama on the woman doing her nails? We’ve all been there. Somehow, whoever is doing our hair, makeup, or nails always takes on the secondary role of therapist or life coach, listening as we chat about work, relationships, you name it. It seems that kind of intimate stylist-client relationship is the perfect forum for all kinds of legit life talks, which means these stylists have heard it all—and are well-equipped with some legit life advice as a result. Here, beauty pros share their sage words of wisdom.
Keep it positive
The right attitude can go a long way toward helping you advance in life, be that professionally or personally. “Your energy, work ethic, and demeanor are what will get you rehired,” says celebrity makeup artist Neil Scibelli. People want to be around good energy, so maintaining a positive attitude will pay off in spades.
Don’t be afraid to break out of a rut
Whether it’s an unfulfilling job or stagnant romantic relationship, don’t be afraid to change gears, no matter how old you are, advises Patrick Ryan, colorist and co-owner of Mixed Co. Salon in Chicago. “I’ve seen many clients take those steps, and no matter how hard it is, in the long run, it almost always results in a happier client,” he says. Never settle and don’t be content with mediocre, adds stylist and owner of Lumination Salon in Chicago, Adam Bogucki.
Or, to be blunt, chill the eff out. “I often run into clients who are constantly stressed and feel that they carry a lot of negativity due to pressure or constantly feeling rushed,” says makeup artist and beauty educator Jo Levy. “Our minds are constantly racing about what we have to do next, so take a moment to pause, breathe, close your eyes, smile, and be thankful. Little steps like this help boost awareness and spark positive energy,” she says. Taking even this tiny bit of time to focus on yourself can have other benefits, too. “My clients who regularly take a moment for themselves seem to have an easier time with life’s other decisions,” adds Ryan.
Look people in the eye
Yes, it may feel awkward at first (especially in a time when we all look at our phones more than one another), but get as comfortable as you can making eye contact. “Developing genuine connections with people involves trust and openness. Having the courage to make and maintain eye contact conveys a willingness to listen and share emotions,” points out celebrity makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor.
“I constantly hear people apologizing for unique features they have, like a bump on their nose or unruly eyebrows,” says hair stylist and makeup artist Mary Irwin. “Accept your flaws and know that they make you unique.” And keep in mind that sometimes it’s the very things that we hate about ourselves when we’re younger that we come to love and appreciate with time and age, she adds.
Know your worth
You miss out on 100 percent of what you don’t ask for, says Sotomayor. Amen to that. That means knowing the value of your work and time, and not being shy about pushing for it, as well as declining opportunities that aren’t in-line with this. “Sometimes the things you say no to are just as important as what you say yes to,” he adds.
Never stop learning
Even if you have a boatload of diplomas, this applies to you. “The moment you think you know everything is the moment you’ve lost,” says Irwin. “Everyone I’ve ever met whose achieved greatness approaches things like a beginner who’s excited to learn. There’s always room for improvement.”