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To reach the pinnacle and become a Wella master colorist, you need to start at the bottom of a pyramid of classes and work your way up. You’ll practice on mannequins with a variety of coloring, cutting and foiling techniques. You can avail yourself of expert advice and tips and hands-on practice opportunities before taking your examinations and your 10-day final training.
Founded in Germany in 1880, Wella is the second largest producer of hairdressing products in the world. The company started as an innovator in the wig-making business and by the 1930s developed one of the first widely used and successful hair dyes. The company credits the success of its products and the growth of its salon franchises to its comprehensive education program. Novices can climb tiers of classes from the “essential” classes at the foundation, to the “exceed,” or middle level and ending at the “expert” level, after which you can be deemed a Wella master colorist.
Taking some of a selection of 13 essential-level classes, most of which focus on coloring, can give you the background knowledge you need to get started. Most classes take an hour or two to complete, although some last as long as two days. They’re all available in Wella-sanctioned salons. For instance, anyone who wants to become a master colorist must complete the two-day “Essential Color” course, where you’ll learn the distinctions between brands such as Koleston Perfect, Color Touch, Blondor and Magma, and how to apply the products on a mannequin.
The Exceed Level
At the exceed level, you can sample from nine courses. Two are mandatory if you want to proceed on to master colorist certification: color correction and creative color. The former lasts two days and emphasizes the use of a color wheel to help select proper colors. You’ll learn how to remove unwanted color, return hair from one color to another desired color, and address multiple day-to-day difficulties a colorist would encounter. The second class is conducted in a seminar format, where you’ll learn medium-difficulty color mixing and application techniques.
The Expert Colorist
Before you can move on to the 10-day master colorist expert program, you need to complete a two-day prequalification program. Stylists need five years of experience, with at least one year specializing in Wella products, to qualify for the two-day course. If you pass the written and practical test, you can move on to the final certification program. The master colorist program explores not only practical skills, but the psychology and chemistry of hair coloring. A small percentage of stylists nationwide enter and complete the program, which ends with a graduation ceremony.
Rudy Miller has been writing professionally since 1996. Miller is a digital team leader for lehighvalleylive.com, a local news website and content provider to the Express-Times newspaper in Easton, Pa. Miller holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Miami.