Working on it: Terence shares some expert colouring tips with a student at his training academy, Terenzo International Hairdressing Academy in Sea Point, Cape Town.

Eulalia Snyman

Hairdressers and barbers have been in demand since ancient times. For as long as hair grows, it will need to be looked after in some way, be it by cutting, styling, trimming, shaving, curling, colouring, straightening or any other method. And this, says Terence of Terenzo International Hairdressing Professionals, is good news for those considering a career in hair.

“Hairdressing and barbering have stood the test of time because people have a need to look their best,” he says. “So though styles may come and go, we still have to satisfy the basic need of being well-groomed and looking good – and for that you need the services of a trained professional.”

He adds that even during tough economic times, most hair salons stay busy and lucrative as always. People may cut out other luxuries but they always seem prepared to pay for a good haircut.

Terence has been in the business for 20 years, having started his apprenticeship in 1989. First he worked in a salon, then he ran his own salon and now owns a few salons as well as a training academy.

His knowledge and expertise in the industry has made him a sought-after trainer and has led to him being chosen as a L’Oréal ambassador, one of only 35 hairstylists worldwide to receive this honour. Terence has won numerous accolades including the Rooi Rose Hairdresser of the Year and the Redken Hairstylist of the Year, as well as a being a judge in international competitions such as the International L’Oréal Hair Show in Mexico and the 100- year L’Oréal Celebration in Paris.

“If I had to do it all over again, if I had to choose a career again, I would probably choose hairdressing,” he says. “It is undoubtedly my passion and I would like to urge school leavers to consider it as a good career option.”

Qualifying in SA as a hair stylist opens doors to you internationally, because our qualifications – the ones accredited by the Services Seta – are recognised in Europe. There are three study routes available: you can study full-time at a hairdressing college; complete short courses that focus on specific areas of expertise; or do a three-year learnership, which entails attending classes at a hairdressing college once a week and working in a salon for the rest of the week.

Additional hands-on training usually takes place in the the salon as well.

Terence’s Hairdressing Academy, which is accredited by Seta as well as by City & Guilds, offers the learnership training. Whichever route you take, you need to pass the hairdressing trade test to qualify.

“The reality of this creative industry is that studying theory and doing the practical hairdressing simultaneously gives you the benefit of a deeper understanding and a more advanced and faster comprehension,” Terence explains.

“Thus marrying the theory with the practical studies, definitely gives you an advantage when it comes to finding employment.”

Once qualified, the work opportunities are many. You can work full-time or part-time; at home or on a cruise ship; in a salon or for a single client.

“It is one of the most stimulating industries one can be in,” says Terence. “The combination of servicing your day-to-day clients, doing hair shows, beauty pageants, photo shoots, meeting people, participating in competitions, learning something new, testing new products are enough to keep one constantly inspired.”

The biggest challenges in the industry are the long hours and demanding clients. But the greatest reward is seeing clients leave the salon feeling great about themselves.

Terence says people who are motivated and have the right skills will thrive in this industry. It is, however, crucial for hairdressers and stylists to keep up with the latest trends in fashion and keep learning about new techniques and products.

For that reason, Terenzo International Hairdressing Academy offers advanced courses in cutting, colouring and barbering.

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