The School Teaching Stylists to Embrace Textured Hair

by Xara Aziz

When Shari Wilson, a well-known cosmetologist in the Sacramento area, discovered that many new licensed stylists had limited knowledge on how to care for textured hair, she conceived the idea to create a space where they could learn in a safe and trusted space.

Since 2013, she co-founded The Mixed Institute of Cosmetology and Barber and it’s been a highly-sought after training school ever since. In addition to hiring state-of-the-art teachers to train students on best practices when dealing with textured hair, the school offers federal financial aid and has graduated more than 300 cosmetologists throughout the nation.

“We knew what was lacking,” co-founder Carnette Burnett told The Seattle Medium. “So many schools only teach one or two [hair] textures. But here, our students are learning how to do all textures of hair – there is no ethnicity attached.”

More than half of all Americans have textured hair so it was important for the institution to provide hands-on curriculum crafted to teach students that textured hair is like art to be handled with care. The school offers job placement assistance and students typically go on to gain employment at one of the four salons owned by the co-founders.

The larger picture, though, is for clients to recognize that their hair is something to be embraced, not feared. “We’re even afraid of our own hair because of the stereotypes we’ve been brainwashed with,” Wilson said. “The only difference between our hair and…straight hair is that our hair may take a little more time and patience.”

During a back-to-school event at a municipality in South Sacramento, the school provided free cuts dubbed “Free Haircut Friday,” drawing in more than 100 people who received haircuts and manicures on the instuition’s dime.

“Our decision to open the school in a predominantly African American community was very intentional,” Wilson said. “We are in the heart of South Sacramento because we want to give back to our community.”

Learn more about The Mixed Institute of Cosmetology and Barber by visiting them here.

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