Eric Fisher Academy

The Evolution of Cosmetology Schools The Evolution of Cosmetology Schools

How History Has Defined the Cosmetology Classes Near You

The quest for beauty has existed for centuries. Throughout history, men and women have gone to great lengths to improve their physical appearance. And although connotations have changed over time, looking beautiful has always been valued.

As far back as 4,000 B.C., Egyptians used organic materials to create their own makeup. The beauty ideals of symmetry and proportion were born out of ancient Greece. Ancient Roman women colored their hair as a symbol of their status in society, with red signifying wealth.

Cosmetics experienced a lull in the Middle Ages, as the application of makeup was discouraged. It made a comeback during the Renaissance and Victorian eras, but women focused more on using powders and rouge to enhance their natural beauty.

Whatever point in history you look at, beauty has played an integral role in shaping cultures all across the globe. It wasn’t until the 20th century, though, that people began to look at hair and makeup as a real career choice, and cosmetology programs flourished.

Keep reading to learn more about how cosmetology schools came to be the places of beauty innovation and creativity they are today.

An Early Example of Cosmetology School

Martha Matilda Harper is credited with creating the first franchise system of independently owned salons in the U.S. and Europe. She came from humble beginnings, working as a servant from the age of seven. One of her employers, a physician, taught her about hair health, and she became suspicious of the chemicals used in shampoos and other hair products of the day. She decided to create her own hair tonic, and in 1888, she had saved enough money to open her own salon, the Harper Method Shop.

Harper is largely responsible for developing the salon concept as we know it now. She invented the first reclining shampoo chair and initiated the idea that clients should visit a place of business to have their hair done. Before Harper, stylists made house calls.

Harper began opening a network of salons in 1891. Each franchise was owned by a woman who had been trained in the Harper Method cosmetology program. At their most successful, there were more than 500 Harper salons in operation and a complete line of hair products, along with several Harper Method cosmetology schools for beauticians-in-training.

The widespread appeal of the Harper Method was solidified thanks to a distinguished group of clients. Customers included Susan B. Anthony, Jacqueline Kennedy, Woodrow Wilson, and Ladybird Johnson.

Cosmetology Schools in the 1920s and 30s

In the Roaring 20s, the bob grew in popularity, as women cut their hair short to defy old rules of femininity and fashion. However, women couldn’t simply walk into a beauty shop and ask for the blunt, jaw-grazing haircut. Many hairdressers had only ever used their shears on long hair before. Those who wanted to don the style had to turn to neighborhood barber shops to get the look.

The professionalization of cosmetology picked up in the 1930s, and with it, came more formal cosmetology programs. Aspiring cosmetologists were trained at privatized shops, learning the tricks of the trade in small group settings. Electrical tools also came about during this time, which helped stylists work faster and serve more clients.

Cosmetology Schools in the Mid-20th Century

Around the 1950s, more and more people viewed cosmetology as a respected profession and sought out to attend cosmetology classes near them. Cosmetologists’ wages improved, and because of their training and technique, they were looked to as beauty experts.

Hair color became more accessible in the 1960s, and through cosmetology school, stylists perfected blonding to help their clients achieve a “girl next door” look. Women also wanted to emulate beauty icons like Twiggy and Cher, meaning cosmetologists were taught cutting skills for all lengths and styles of hair.

Cosmetology Schools in the 1980s

Cosmetology programs took off in the 1980s. Both women and men perceived cosmetology as a smart career move and went to school to learn how to pull off the decade’s highly-stylized looks. Big hair, brightly colored makeup, and cherry red nails were trending. Because people didn’t always have the resources to create their desired aesthetic at home, more customers were flocking to salons for help.

As a result, cosmetologists were able to become more financially independent and prosper in the field.

The Cosmetology Schools of Today

Wanting to work in beauty isn’t a new concept, but today’s education standards are considerably higher. In Kansas, cosmetologists are required to complete 1,500 hours of training at a cosmetology school and pass the Kansas Board Cosmetology Exam to qualify for licensure.

That’s why getting a high-quality education is so important. By enrolling in a reputable cosmetology program, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills necessary to set yourself up for success and make your mark in a competitive industry. Look for cosmetology classes near you that offer hands-on experience, teaching from renowned instructors, business training on top of hair and makeup coursework, and opportunities to build a portfolio pre-graduation.

To learn more about pursuing your passion for beauty, contact an award-winning cosmetology school in Wichita.