Going to Great Lengths: An Interview with Nicole Misero Vazquez

By Christine A. Krahling

A licensed cosmetologist since May 1998, Nicole Misero Vazquez started working in a salon when she was 15 years old, answering phones, shampooing, sweeping and keeping up with the laundry. Flash-forward to today and Vazquez has created quite a career for herself in the fast-growing business of hair extensions. Between receiving inquiries from clients about how to obtain hair extensions and talking with clients who were unhappy with the extensions that they currently had, Vazquez did some research and came upon Great Lengths. She is now the only Great Lengths Educator in the Northeast, and, while there are a handful of certified Extension Artists in the Lehigh Valley, Vazquez is the only Great Lengths Extension Artist certified in the methods of Ultrasonic 5000 (cold fusion) and Thermal 3200. She anticipates performing Fastrack Gels this spring.

I talked with Vazquez shortly after she gave birth to her first child (a boy named Mason) about her career, why hair extensions are all the rage, what women should know if considering hair extensions and how she plans to balance career and motherhood. Read on for this interesting discussion.

What do you think the biggest challenge is you’ll face as a working mother?

I think the biggest challenge in being a new mom will be finding balance in all my roles–a good mom to Mason and keeping up with tasks at home; keeping my career behind the chair alive and thriving. And last but not least, traveling with Great Lengths, educating.

How did you become interested in being an extension artist? How has this enhanced your career?

I had clients who were interested in the service and I also wanted something better for the clients that were (currently) wearing them so I asked the product representatives that came into the salon and did some online and magazine research—which all pointed in the direction of Great Lengths. I registered for a class in New York and became certified in March of 2009. I was so impressed with the education and how well the class was taught, that I left confident and able to perform the service to perfection.

After class I was approached by the educator, Celeste Lucero, who asked if I would be interested in being her model at the New York Beauty Show. I accepted and in April met more of the Great Lengths team during the show. Celeste and I kept in contact and in November 2009 Great Lengths called and asked if I would be interested in being an educator on the team. I quickly accepted.

This opportunity has really opened up my career–I travel and get to work with people all over the country that have one common passion–the hair industry. Every time I travel I learn something new.

Where does the hair come from? Is it real?

Great Lengths hair is the highest quality, 100% real human hair that is 100% guaranteed ethical. Great Lengths sources its hair from the Hindu Temples throughout India where the religious ceremony ‘tonsuring’ is carried out. Entire families make the pilgrimage to the temple to have their hair shaved off as an offer of thanksgiving; this is completely voluntary and often takes place before or after a momentous, joyful event. The hair is then legitimately sold to Great Lengths. The Great Lengths employees based in India ensure that the money which is given to the temple is funneled directly back into the local community to fund medical aid, education systems and other projects.

Does it hurt to have extensions put in? Will I feel them in my hair or will other people see them?

It doesn’t hurt at all during application or after.  If you run your fingers through your hair starting at your scalp, you feel the bond site, which on a fresh application is a half inch away from the scalp. The bond feels like a tiny piece of rice, and is undetectable on overall appearance. No one will know that it’s not your own hair.

Do I need to spend the whole day in the salon to get hair extensions?

An application can vary in times and truly depends on the size of service you get. Full head applications can range anywhere from 4-10 hours, partial applications 3-5 hours and mini services from a few minutes to an hour or two.  Most of the time you wouldn’t have to give up your entire day.

Are extensions just for women who want to go from short hair to long, or are there other options?

Extensions are for everyone. When one hears the word ‘extension’ they automatically think length but I also have clients that get the service for added volume, to fill in sparse areas in their natural hair, or to fill in a receded hairline, add density to fine, thin hair, fix an unwanted haircut, add length to a bang area they no longer want, add highlights to the hair without any chemical processing or to add pops of vibrant or distinct color.

Hair extensions seem to be all the rage these days in the celebrity world but are they affordable for the “average woman?”

There is a service that is affordable to every client. I always give all the options for the overall “look” and then you can decide which is best for your budget at the time.

If a woman is considering hair extensions, what questions should she ask her stylist?

Women considering extensions should do their research, ask their stylists if they feel as though they would be a good candidate and then schedule a consultation with a Great Lengths Certified Stylist in their area.

What do you enjoy most about your career?

There’s one thing about my career that I can say hands down is the most rewarding: when I transform a client or give them something they have never had before–whether it’s a new style, fresh color, different haircut, a head of hair they have always dreamed of or just my ear to listen. When that client gets out of my chair smiling, hugs me and walks away with new confidence or bounce in her step she didn’t walk in with, no matter how long the day, there is nothing better to compare. I did that–I’m her “day-maker.”

For more information, contact Nicole Misero Vazquez at Millennia Salon and Spa, (610) 923-9400 or visit www.millenniasalonandspa.com.

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