As a beauty pro, you are constantly learning new techniques and tricks. Not to mention all the new products that pop on the scene. But the willing clients, friends and family who want to be test models don’t always match up to your needs. Thankfully, there are no shortage of mannequins to practice your artistry on - or wait - it is manikin? No one said you needed to stay on top of spelling to be a successful stylist!
The mannequin/manikin mystery is actually easy to figure out. Beauty pros can use either word! Mannequin... manikin... in a salon setting, these two words have become interchangeable and both are correct.
Historically, “mannequins” referred to human-shaped (usually full-sized) plastic dolls that showcased clothing and hairstyles. Walk into any department store and you’ll be surrounded by “mannequins” dressed in the newest outfits so you can quickly envision how clothes will hang on a body, rather than on a rack.
“Manikins” are human-shaped models designed to mimic the look and feel of human bodies to varying degrees of authenticity. Their primary purpose is to provide professionals in healthcare, cosmetology and biology fields a way to develop their skills on lifelike simulations. Over the years, the cosmetologist also adopted the “q” version of the word and there you have it. Mannequins and manikins - ready to be your test subjects for the latest color, cut or style!
Mannequin Hair Types
As a beauty pro, it’s important to pick the correct mannequin heads with hair since different types of mannequin heads perform better than others in certain training situations. There are three kinds of mannequin heads to choose from:
• Human hair mannequin heads
• Synthetic hair mannequin heads
• Human-synthetic hair blend mannequin heads
The main thing you’ll need to consider when choosing the best mannequin is that all three types of hair react differently to styling and treatments. You’ll want to make sure to pick the right one to practice on.
Best Mannequin Heads for Coloring
Looking to color? Keep in mind that coloring or bleaching mannequin hair will have different outcomes depending on whether you’re using human or synthetic hair (or a human-synthetic blend). Obviously human hair handles bleach and color the best. Some mannequins are made with different hair levels contained on one head, so you can streamline your learning all in one go! Synthetic hair typically does not always react as well to the coloring process as the color cannot adhere to the synthetic fibers.
Best Mannequin Heads for Cutting
When it comes to cutting, synthetic hair mannequin heads usually have a better variety of hair lengths to choose from. Synthetic hair mannequins provide many longer hair options which makes them perfect for practicing long length haircuts. You can also choose textured hair mannequins with wavy/coily hair and even beards, so you can get a feel for different hair textures and client needs.
Best Mannequin Heads to Heat & Style
Similar to bleaching and coloring, straightening or curling mannequin hair is easiest to do on a human hair mannequin head. While most synthetic hair will burn or melt when exposed to heat, there are heat-friendly and heat-resistant synthetic hair mannequins that can be styled with curling and straightening irons. While they don’t behave exactly the same as human hair, (and you’ll need to take great care not to overstyle them) they do let you successfully practice how to hold styling tools and perform the repetitive motions that set you apart behind the chair. They are also great for learning updos for bridal clients and special events.
Where to buy Mannequins
At Marlo Beauty, we sell high-quality mannequin heads exclusively to licensed cosmetology professionals and students. We know how important it is to grow your skills - our industry is constantly evolving! In addition to mannequin heads, we also carry styrofoam mannequin heads which are fabulous for holding/displaying wigs, massage mannequins so you can up your service game and of course, mannequin clamps.
So the next time you are looking for a way to become heads above the rest with your pro beauty skills, make sure to choose the correct mannequin (or “manikin” if that is your preferred way of spelling) and unleash your creativity for coloring, cutting and styling!