Get Great by Getting Back to Basics



  • Forming a necessary base or core; of central importance.
  • “The protection of fundamental human right.”
  • Synonyms: basic, underlying, core, foundational, rudimentary, elemental, basal, root


  • A central or primary rule or principal on which something is based.
  • “Two courses cover the fundamentals of microbiology.”
  • Synonyms: basics, essentials, rudiments, foundations, basic principals, first principals, preliminaries; crux, crux of the matter, hearts of the matter, essence, core, heart, base, bedrock; informal nuts and bolts, nitty gritty, brass tacks, ABC, meat and potatoes, “the fundamentals of the job.”

When it comes to mastering the fundamentals of hair design, you have to begin at the beginning – and while jumping ahead is tempting, it won’t contribute to your long-term success.

This is cemented in my mind, and yet every now and again, I need to be reminded of the importance of basic techniques. I got that reminder when co-teaching a class with top-notch haircutter, Ricardo Denis.

During the planning process for our class, we asked: “What’s the goal of this class?” We got a single directive, and that was to teach an advanced class. Ricardo pulled me aside – and while what he said was so simple – it resonated with me, and has stuck with me for nearly a decade. He said: Foundational classes are (in fact) advanced.

Until we (as stylists) learn to master the fundamentals, our ‘advanced training’ will be worthless. The foundation is what’s important, and we can all benefit from learning it again and again. In fact, it’s foundational and fundamental classes that we need to revisit, annually. Once we truly understand the fundamentals, our options are limitless; we can create anything, and accurately adjust mistakes that we’ve made.

But prepare yourself: Learning to master foundational skills takes time, energy and commitment.

  • Time. When it comes to getting education, be a weekend warrior.
  • Energy. Schedule at least one class quarterly.
  • Commitment. Budget for your classes. Be financially accountable. There’s no room for excuses.

So don’t be afraid to revisit foundational techniques. Be fearless, be tireless, and be ready to take your career to the next level. And remember: there’s always room at the top.

See you in class!