I’m Ruby, and a brand new beginner electrologist in training, will be working with a friend who just opened a brand new salon for permanent makeup tattooing, cryolipolysis fat freezing and electrolysis hair removal.
I’m transgender, intersex, born not exactly male but a not so common genetic exception called an XX/XY chimera (Google it, it was mind blowing when I learned this at a rather advanced age) must be descended from Werewolves and/or Sasquatch (twisted humor there) because I have way too much hair in unwanted places that must be banished forever and as soon as possible.
So I have the unique opportunity to get to learn electrolysis by using a professional grade machine upon myself as the victim, umm I mean guinea pig, uhhh maybe “volunteer client” as the source of much training “surface area”. Additionally, I have a ridiculously low pain threshold so I’m hoping this will translate into becoming a proficient electrologist who develops the skills and expertise to be fast and efficient for zapping unwanted hairs while causing the least amount of pain or discomfort, and no skin damage, pits or scarring… and to get there as soon as practicable before attempting to take on any paying clients.
Right now my biggest problem is seeing the individual hairs and probe clearly enough, but have ordered a few different magnifying solutions including headband loupes to alleviate that problem. I used to work on micro electronics in my younger days without needing any kind of magnification or eyeglasses, but many years have elapsed since those days and my vision ain’t what it used to be. The other issue is I’m so worried about inflicting pain on someone else that I have trouble keeping my hands steady enough. Not a problem when working on myself, but have been trying some electrolysis on my friend, the salon owner, and even though she kinda likes pain (tattoo addict covered with vivid technicolor tattoos) I was still so skittish about hurting her that my hands were shaking, and I had to stop. I guess that’s something that only time, practice, and improving my confidence will fix. So when my new magnifying loupes, concave mirrors, and floorstand magnifying lamps arrive I will aggressively begin working on self-electrolysis to help develop my eye-hand coordination, confidence level, and “the touch”.
Any pointers to give to a newb, I’d sure appreciate.
The “throw her in the deep end and see how quick she learns how to swim” training program. Basically self-training under the supervision of an experienced electrologist as her apprentice. There’s no formal training program available anywhere near me, nor could I afford one if it was available.
I will not perform any work on clients until I’m sure of my knowledge and proficiency. I’m also not your typical clueless self-taught student type either, I’m a bit of a unicorn when it comes to learning a new skill or discipline… Formally educated with a BS degree in Computer Science and Math, but self taught electronics tech while still in elementary school, and by the time ai was in middle school, could smoke any adult formally trained electronics tech, self-taught rebuilding car engines,automatic and manual transmissions while in high school, self-taught building computer hardware from scratch while in high school (actual building the circuit boards with individual chips, from scratch, late 1970s, this was before the IBM PC ever hit the market! Self-taught private pilot ground school and pretty much how to fly a plane, My CFI was basically just along for the ride and to sign my logbook when I had logged enough hours to take the checkride, self-taught flying aerobatics manuevers, but under the advice and tutelage of several experts, self taught avionics repair, installations and aircraft construction, built half a dozen experimental airplanes with friends, and flew one I built a substantial portion of with my own hands, across the US and back, at over 200MPH, twice, flew a couple other planes all over the US for 18 years, including crossing the Rockies 4 times solo in a tiny little 2-seat homebuilt plane that was basically made out of really thick aluminum foil and fiberglass. Self taught transgender hormone replacement therapy and related endocrinology and when I first met with my new hormone doctor to obtain prescriptions for injectable estradiol and progesterone, he told me that I knew more about this particular type of HRT than he did and we work as a team to optimize my medical transition. So I’m pretty confident I can handle learning how to become a proficient electrologist without any formal pay-for training program. Texas requires no testing, licensing or certification for electrologists to work on the general public… it’s kind of the “wild west” here, anybody can literally buy a machine and supplies, hang a sign in their window and start doing electrolysis on the public here. I’m also not a big fan of private industry association “certifications” either. 29 years in the professional IT field soured me on those. For many years I held the IT industry’s highest and most prestigious and respected information systems security security certification credentials, and you can’t say anything negative about the organization or the certification while actively a member and holding that cert, but honestly that cert was a farce. getting and maintaining it was little more than a revenue stream for the company that ran the certification and testing program for it. All the cert really did was impress manager types who know diddly squat about real IT security and just like to see a well known acronym of letters behind a person’s name and think it’s a big deal, But, the truth is that certification was no more substantial than a certain emperor’s new clothes in a old fairy tale story. So, I will be basically self-taught at doing electrolysis, I have the world’s greatest research library at my disposal, the Internet, with a wealth of useful information available, I have plenty of time to learn, upon myself and my friend the salon’s owner… between the two of us there is more than enough hairs that need removed such that we’ll probably never be completely done in our lifetimes, and when I reach the point of proficiency where I can do the quality of work I’d expect from an electrologist I was paying for as the client, then I will be ready to provide this service to the public, but not any sooner. I’m a heck of a fast learner too!
Was I ever that cocky Dee? I think I just had a flashback moment.
I saw some of your fist posts Ruby this morning, but as I’ve been working all day I havent had time to digest them completely. I can tell from what I have read so far that you seem quite invested in this idea and seem to have a fair bit of enthusiasm for taking up the trade. You’ll want to rethink some things, but that enthusiasm can carry you through . Some of the greatest electrologists in the world, have been other transgender persons .
When it comes to transitioning, while learning to do DIY and then turniing that into a new profession, well I could write a book on the subject. And I nearly have, its all documented pretty well right here on hairtell. Electrolysis is one skill that you will have for life. and I’ve proven that it IS in fact a skill you can teach yourself as a DIY project.
While I wouldnt worry about certification at an early stage of learning ( as you are now) you also dont want to dismiss that notion permanently. This is because if you have professional aspirations of working in a salon or clinic on clients, this generally requires insurance in order to do professionally. And as a self-taught DIY electrologist, you are not insurable.You also have to think about the clientele that you would potentially treat. They come to you because of your qualifications. So while it’s fine to learn electrolysis on your own as a DIY project ( and use yourself as a subject) you’ll have a tough time attracting clients to recieve electrolysis from you if you lack the necessary certifications.This is the reality unfortunately.
So I’m with you on electrolysis programs are expensive thing. I had very similar thoughts. I live in a province of canada, so there is no licensing here either. And they dont do a great job of training new electrologists either. A certification from a good school will still probably teach you anagen only theory, and virtually nothing on some concepts such as hormonal disorders that cause hirsutism. But it’s like this, schools are the equivelent of getting your learners permit to drive. It will instill enough minimal basics for you to learn more on your own but virtually nothing on other essential skills ( like the art of conducting a new client consultation for example) . The real education is when you start working and practising.
The part of the education that you can do now, is reading. , rereading, then doing the same a dozen times more of a small list of textbooks. These include:
Michael Bono’s the blend method available here: http://www.texaselectrolysissupply.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=191&products_id=1348&zenid=0v0896i19fd04rufm6intkn315
Electrolysis Thermolysis and the Blend by Hinkel located here:
and Cosmedic and Medical Electrolysis and temporary hair removal located here:
Unfortunately you wont find a ton of good internet links to learn electrolysis from . I used to have some of them documented in the “Learning Resource” thread in the DIY section, but many of the links may have changed or are otherwise broken.There is some stuff in there . I can also recommend every single video ever put out by Michael Bono ( Electrology Now youtube channel) and Josepha M Reina . I’m afraid I wore Michael out so he doesnt post here anymore, but many of his and Josephas postings here from the past are of great value.
More than anything, you can learn the most from gaining the knowledge and advice given by many of the electrologists here. I have my own list in my head that helped me get where I am today but over time you will form your own list of mentors and advisors. There’s a great amount of knowledge conveyed in these forums .
For magnification and DIY work, simpler is better. I get more mileage out of circle lamp magnifier than I do any other magnification tool:
. For facial work you have to get inventive, I eventually just hung a 4 inch makeup magnifying mirror from the ceiling and lay underneath it on a bed or couch.
I wont torture you too much and tell you as I was once told "that what I was doing was Dangerous and I was sure to scar myself for life. Yes, it is a skill you can learn with professional equipment, advice from professionals as a DIY process. I’ve proven that much. What remains is "Do you have the dedication and manual dexterity to actually accomplish this as a goal.
10 years ago I was recently separated, a parent to an autistic child and beyond broke.That child went to school for 2 hours a day. That was my only break. There was NO job I could work because of that. Laser had failed to remove my male beard, I’d done some reading enough to be at the same point you are now and new it was POSSIBLE to DIY but had zero idea how to actually accomplish that goal nevermind go professional and take on other clients to work on. But I DID learn. I damned near drove some people here on hairtell to drink with questions and anxiety. When my own beard started to disappear I took on a few friends in similar financial straits. This lead to an offer by a CPE here in ottawa to work for her. I said no, and continued to treat clients from my home for 2 years before I said yes to her. on one condition, I wanted a certification to show I really new what the heck I was doing . She said yes and I worked for her for a year after that. 3 years ago she had taken a winter off to have a child and literally ran out of money to pay me. That same week I opened the doors on my new clinic. I now employ 2 other electrologists and I am turning away business because I got that certification and gained the skills along the way. It’s one of many investments you will make in your career, but that first bite, the $3000- 10000 for the electrolysis course, yes that is a hard hurdle to cross. I have one of the most successful practices in the province, but if was not for the knowledge gained by working with competent professionals in things like billling and marketing and payments systems and scheduling systems, I COULD NOT be where I am today and would not have been nearly as successful as I have been.
We’re running such a small salon that insurance would be a luxury item. We’re not insured for anything. Clients must sign a “hold harmless” / liability waiver agreement acknowledging that they understand and accepts the risks involved with any service provided at the salon and won’t sue us. We will likely not have any trouble attracting customers either since the only other 2 places in town that offer electrolysis also make clients sign a similar agreement, they both charge a lot higher hourly rate than we are charging, and one of them has a reputation for unfriendly personality and unpleasant attitude, the other place never seems to have their electrologist person on duty. It’s almost a three hour drive to the next nearest electrolysis business about 140 miles from here in the DFW metroplex, and have to deal with horrible traffic of a big city that seems to have “rush hour” as all daylight hours Mondays thru Saturdays nowadays. The famous E3K place is there, but they are very pricey and seems to be the place to go if you want injected local anesthetic and “marathon” mass-clearing sessions and have the money to affors that. I’m gonna go there soon for the mass clearance needed for my gender reassignment surgery since the injected local anesthetic is gonna be absolutely mandatory for me down there. I might be anle to handle my own electrolysis in that area just to clear up a few stragglers that were missed or come back, but my pain threshold in that location is super low, and those hairs on me seem to be anchored into their follicles and strong as the arresting cables on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.
Mass clearances are not a “one and done” thing. There will be much more than “a few stragglers” .I urge you to talk to other transpeople who have been to e3k and ask abut their results. I would also urge you to learn the cycles of hair growth inside and out. An understanding for cycles of growth will come to you when you start to work.
Interestingly enough, the electrologist who worked for me that was most willing to discount her services, is the one who booked the LEAST. The lower prices force the consumer to ask “why is this person so much cheaper? it must be because they arent so good”. When it comes to their appearance, you’ll find that consumers will instinctively seek out the most competent.Every time.It’s just not an area that people tend to scrimp to save a few bucks, they see the quality treatment as worth the expense if it’s done right.