Stylist Qualifications

You can cut friends and family's hair in the privacy of your own home without a license. However, you can't legally charge them money for it. A hair stylist specializes in the art of styling hair, hair extensions, including cutting, chemical services such as relaxers, texturizers, perms, and color, as well as restorative treatments. To be a qualified hair stylist who can charge for their services must hold a license or particular level of designation based on the location you are in.

In North America each Province/State has their own regulations on who can or cannot practice the art of hair. Now I have been a stylist in the Western Canadian area for some time now and it baffles me the non-regulated qualification levels between each border.

To work as a stylist in Alberta you have to have a license or hold a certified journeyperson red seal and that involves taking an exam, a stylist may hold an apprentice certificate however may not practice unless under the vision of a Red Seal Stylist. If a stylist holds a non-recognized Canadian credential in an Alberta-designated trade, but can demonstrate skills and experience in an Alberta-designated trade that meets standards set for journeypersons in Alberta they may hold a Qualification Certificate. If you are questioning your stylists or hair specialist about their qualifications you have the right to ask for their credentials before they apply the service you are paying for.

In order to work in a have to be a registered apprentice or qualify by the state or province qualification levels. Here is a link to find our what qualifies your stylist to practice the art of hair styling in your province. This means completing the prescribed course work for cosmetology and passing the state/province board exams.

Here are a few definitions on what to watch and to further understand when shopping for a salon professional or hair extension specialist.

Is a trader or crafter who has completed an apprenticeship.

Red Seal
The Red Seal allows qualified tradespeople to practice their trade in any province or territory without having to write additional examinations, thus improving labor mobility in Canada and saving time and resources by eliminating the need for multiple examinations.

Certification does not refer legally being able to practice or work in a profession. It may very well mean the certified individual took a day or weekend course and is now able to demonstrate a certain level of knowledge or ability. To legally practice a trade depending on state/province you have to hold some form of a license or designation. Usually in the art of hair, a licensure is administered by a governmental entity for public protection purposes and certification by a professional association.

License means to give permission; license may be granted by a party ("licensor") to another party ("licensee") as an element of an agreement between those parties. To obtain a hair dressing license hairstylist typically attends cosmetology school to get their cosmetology certification, and then takes the cosmetology-licensing exam in their state/province to begin their career as a hair designer.

FAQ About Hair Extensions:

Why do most people get hair extensions?

-To change their current look
-To get the look they have always wanted but couldn’t due to difficulty in managing natural texture or appearance
-Thinning hair
-Short hair, causing lack of sex appeal or confidence
-Bad hair cut, wanting to temporarily fix hair length as natural hair grows back!
-Boost in confidence with hair length, to look and feel better!
-Look & Feel Younger!

Am I good candidate for Hair Extensions?

Your hair should be at least 3" to 4" long for any fusion application, and it should be healthy enough to hold the extensions. If you’re not sure ask your hair extension specialist. It should be at least 5” in length to put in a weave.

Will you be able to tell I have Hair Extensions?

The most common worries people have are if people will be able to tell if you are wearing Hair Extensions. Provided you choose a style and color that matches your own hair, the extensions will look very natural and no one will know except you.

If applied correctly you should be able to wear them up, in a formal updo or a simple ponytail.

Here is a great example of a well-applied set of hair extensions in a ponytail.

Can I style the Hair Extensions the same way I do my natural hair?

Wash and style your extensions just as you do your own hair just be sure to use a sulfate free regimen if you have a fusion application in your hair. It is also almost second nature to plug a hairdryer, straightening iron or curling iron and use them as part of our daily routine. If your extensions are made from real hair then straighten and curl away! If you are using synthetic hair you shouldn't be using straightening irons or curling irons as it can damage the extensions and melt them.

Will Hair Extensions damage my own hair?

Yes, if hair extensions are placed incorrectly and you do not take care of them. Be aware there are people out there claiming they know how to apply Hair Extensions, but keeping in mind they are not qualified and still may not put them in with the hair flow, which will cause great damage and discomfort.


-The extensions weren't applied correctly (eg, the bond to hair ratio was wrong, the placement wasn't correct, the bonds weren't rolled tightly, too much heat was used during fusion, etc)
-The extension hair was poor quality,
-The Hair Extensions are not cuticle correct (could cause matting and tangling)
-The client ignores their aftercare routine
-The extensions are left on the head for more than 6 months (as your natural hair grows out it sheds and can become tangled/matted between the extension bond and the scalp, etc.)
-Removal was sloppy and hurried.
-No damage will occur, if an expert applies them, as a salon professional will understand the structure or health of your natural hair at all. You must get them put in and taken out at a salon professional in order to make sure of this. If your extensions and the bond are maintained in the recommended way, they will not damage your own hair.

Fusion Extensions are considered to be the safest of all extension types because they are bonded using keratin. Keratin is what your hair and fingernails are made out of. Professionally installed, Fusion extensions will not damage your hair. Damage can occur from inexperience and lack of knowledge for both the extension artist and the client. In my personal experience and from input form other stylist we have found the Micro Links to be the most damaging, primarily from lack of knowledge of person applying this particular bond or left in longer then the recommended time. The most common damage seen from the link/bead application has been allergic reactions to the metal, knotting, bonded hair matting into own hair, bead cutting hair at the root, and bead melting glue or adhesive into the natural hair form being heated up. Remember metal is a heat conductor and even though this application is NOT applied with heat, the bond itself can still get warm from heat tools, hot showers, own temperature and cause the bonded hair to melt into own hair leaving you to use heat once again or chemicals to remove the bond.

How long will my hair extensions last?

The lifetime of extensions is anywhere between 2-6 months depending on the person’s hair growth, and how you take care of them. And you do your regular maintenance checks.

Another factor to keep in mind is the quality of hair (extensions) you use, the quality of hair can play a big part in the look and the lifetime. It all depends on the hair, some hair wears out after the first few washings; some hair is good quality and can last up to a year. There are several different ways to do extensions, and each of them last a different amount of time.

TIP: If you are new to long hair do your research on how to maintain longer hair, gather tips and tricks from the trade. (Watch my blog as I post tips for any hair type)

How do I get the longest life out of my Hair Extensions?

You have to care for them in the correct manner, your extensions will feel and look just like your own hair, meaning you can treat them like your own hair in the instance of washing, drying and styling them. If you are a first time user of hair extensions you might want to talk to your stylist how to maintain them and how to maintain long hair.

How often should I get my Hair Extensions Maintained?

You should schedule your maintenance appointment around the 6-week period.

What happens when your extensions are removed, what is the process?

Weaves: Are cut out at the stitch from where they were applied over the braid/cornrow.

Micro Links: A special tool is used to bend the link so the metal bead re-opens, allowing the link to slide off.

Micro Bonds (fusion): There are two ways in which your hair extensions are removed one for fake hair and one for natural hair. For fake hair the seal that is protecting where the extensions are braided to your own hair is gently heated to soften it, meaning that the extension easily slips away from your natural hair. If real hair was used with a bonding resin then a releaser solution is applied. This releaser solution allows each individual extension to be removed safety and efficiently. It is best to leave the removal to a professional to decrease chances of damage to the natural hair.

How long is the grace period before I can put the Hair Extensions back in after I have removed them?

As long as your extensions are applied and removed correctly, meaning no damage has occurred then you can have your new extensions put in the same day your old ones come out. As a stylist I recommend to wait a day or two to give your scalp a break.

Hair Extensions Removal


Are cut out at the stitch from where they were applied over the braid/cornrow.

Micro Links / Locks:

A special tool is used to bend the link so the metal bead re-opens, allowing the link to slide off.

Micro Bonds (fusion):

There are two ways in which your hair extensions are removed one for fake hair and one for natural hair. For fake hair the seal that is protecting where the extensions are braided to your own hair is gently heated to soften it, meaning that the extension easily slips away from your natural hair. If real hair was used with a bonding resin then a releaser solution is applied. This releaser solution allows each individual extension to be removed safety and efficiently. It is best to leave the removal to a professional to decrease chances of damage to the natural hair.

Tips for Long Hair

• Keep hair clean and conditioned.

• Use a high quality conditioner designed for specific hair types. Leave-in conditioner is also a good choice.

• Trim long hair every 6 weeks or so to minimize split ends. Go to a professional hairstylist to get an even trim. Get a small trim regularly to help keep the length of the hair smooth by not having to get a lot cut off because of longer split ends.

• Apply thermal protector product to the hair before straightening to protect hair from becoming damaged.

• It is normal for long hair to get a little knotty at times do not be alarmed. But there is a HUGE difference between matted and tangled. If matted go see your hair extension specialist ASAP.

• If hair has a little static spray a hairbrush with hairspray and run it through your hair...don't spray hair directly. Or take a fabric softener sheet and rub it over a hairbrush or comb and then brush. In the salon sometimes used are creams or matte pomades applied by finger combing the hair at the ends to weigh the flyaway done a bit. A recommended hair spray I as a stylist always use for static and it WORKS is Matrix’s Shape maker, which is a partly wax and partly hairspray spray.

Stylist Tip: It is always recommended to get regular trims when you are working towards growing your hair out or wanting to maintain a healthy look. When you are getting a trim you are cutting off the split ends (I recommend all of my clients to come in every 6-8 weeks).

When you are hesitant to cut your hair, think about this…have you ever seen a split tree branch? The tree branch often when it is split forks at the break and as you split the break more the branch become weaker, thinner and sometimes shorter do to the split thinning and breaking off of itself. Now the ONLY way to get rid of that split is to cut it at the split to get rid of it otherwise the split will just keep riding up the shaft. Your hair works the same way. SO GET REGUALR TRIMS!!! You will be amazed how fuller and thicker your hair will look at the ends after regular appointments.

Things to know about extensions:

Do not sweat it is normal to lose a couple extensions during the lifetime of the extensions, just save the bond and the bond can be reapplied during next maintenance service.

Do not be alarmed - The average person loses anywhere between 50-100 natural hairs per day, keep in mind when your extensions are removed the hair that would have typically shed is secured within the bond when applied so the hair would not have naturally shed. So it may seem like you are losing more hair but really it is the hair that you would have shed naturally.

Caring For Your Hair Extensions

Brushing your hair:

• Brush through twice a day with a soft bristled brush.
• When brushing hair, please start from the bottom and work your way up little by little, holding your hair with the other hand near the roots.
• Do not comb hair from the top down as it may pull.
• Respect your roots; NEVER comb your hair from the roots.
• Detangling on your terms- Make your own detangling spray with sulfate free conditioner. Simply mix 1-part conditioner with 2-parts water in a spray bottle and apply to the extension hair each morning. Be sure to finger comb your hair before using a comb or brush.


• Wash with a sulfate free regimen.
• Wash as you need to, frequent shampooing may damage even the best extension hair. (Less shampooing will also help prolong your color).
• Shampoo in warmer to cooler water rather than hot water.
• Keep the hair clean, when dirt accumulates (including sweat) hair tangles.
• Use good quality moisturizing hair products but avoid heavier conditioners at the root or around the bonds (will cause slipping).
• When in the shower, take the time to run your fingers through your hair to work out any knotting at the root area.
• Avoid oil slicks.

LONG HAIR TIP: use a regular conditioner at the root and a deeper conditioner at the ends of the hair to balance out the porosity.

Sleeping and Activities:

• Tie hair back when sleeping to prevent pulling and tangling
• Try to sleep on a satin pillowcase or wrap head in a satin scarf to avoid tangling.

Maintaining style:

• Hair applied is 100% human Remy hair so styles away just keep heat away from bonds as it could cause melting.
• When blow-drying hold the dryer about 12” away from your head and sweep the entire head rather than focused heat.
• When blow-drying use a cooler temperature when drying root areas.

Dos and Don’ts:

• Do not use hot tubs or saunas as this can break down bonds.
• Do not use heat on bonds
• Do use a cool temperature hair dryer.
• Do not go to bed with wet hair.
• Do tie your hair back in a braid when sleeping or being active.
• Do use a satin pillowcase.
• DO wear a tight swim cap when swimming; swimming in heavily chlorinated water with fusion extensions can weaken the bond.
• Do not pull or pick at your bonds.
• Do your regular maintenance check (recommended every 6 weeks).
• For tips on caring for long hair click here.

Can I color my Hair Extensions?

You should not have to color your hair extensions if your match was done correctly. If you cannot find a true match then no, it is not recommend coloring your hair extensions. However if you have to get your roots retouched please visit a Hair Extensions specialist that is comfortable with coloring and Hair Extensions. If not you can risk damaging and destroying your hair extensions.

Color on the bonds can disintegrate them and shorten the lifetime of the extensions.

WARNING: DO NOT rinse hair with high salon jets as it may cause matting. And please be advised often times stylists will say they can do something just to get you in the chair.