Steal This Job

Manhandler: Grooming Expert

Steal This Job
Alice Chernault (above) is a senior grooming expert at The Grooming Lounge in Washington, D.C. (Claire Duggan)

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By Danny Freedman
Express
Monday, November 7, 2005; 3:48 PM

ALICE CHERNAULT, 33

JOB: Senior grooming expert at The Grooming Lounge in Northwest D.C.

SALARY: $60,000 to $70,000, including tips

EDUCATION: Cosmetology training at Graham Webb International Academy of Hair, in Arlington

WHAT SHE DOES: Stylist, pamperer and confidante, Chernault is one of the few who can tell a D.C. power broker that he should really do something about that back hair. The Lounge provides men with a testosterone-infused spa environment, complete with marble floors, dark wood and cocktails. Chernault gives clients full-service hot-lather shaves, haircuts and hair coloring, usually to take out the grey. Along the way, she might recommend a new skin product, suggest a way of sprucing up a hairdo or gently note that a unibrow can be waxed. (For the wax-wary, she can also trim a unibrow herself -- "they can always say their barber did it," she said.) Her most frequently given advice: Gents, if your hair's thinning, keep it short. That combover's "not really fooling anybody."

WOULD YOU WANT HER JOB? Selling yourself is critical to success. Since Chernault's pay comes entirely from commissions and tips, personalized customer service and reliable advice are necessary to become a valued, sought-after stylist. If Chernault knows a client likes a particular drink on the rocks, for example, it's ready when he walks in the door. Steady hands are also required: "It's a little scary to put a blade to somebody's face -- especially when, like, 80 percent of your clients are lawyers," she said. She goes to in-house training every two weeks to practice haircuts and shaves on models as well as to brush up on trends and new products.

HOW YOU CAN GET HER JOB: You'll need to be licensed by the state as a barber or cosmetologist, both of which require completing either a training program or an apprenticeship followed by written and practical exams. Licenses from other states are sometimes transferable.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: In D.C., the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs; in Maryland, the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation; and in Virginia, the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulations.

This article originally appeared in the Express on April 18, 2005.


© 2005 The Washington Post Company

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