NAME: Lorraine Cupolo Fetherman
EDUCATION: I graduated from the Florence Acquaire Institute of Electrology in Manalapan in 1995.
EMPLOYER: Owner, Lorraine Cupolo Fetherman, L.E., C.P.E.
JOB DESCRIPTION: Electrolysis is the only form of permanent hair removal. It has been in existence since 1875 and has been perfected over the years. It destroys the hair-growth cells and prevents further growth.
I've been doing it for over 10 years. We recently became a state-licensed profession, after 25 years of lobbying for it. I work on women and men, children and teenagers.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR JOB? I was a teenager and I had some fine blond hairs on my face that I started to tweeze. That created distortion in the hair follicles, and they turned into dark hairs. I tried all the temporary hair-removal methods — shaving, tweezing, waxing — and discovered it was getting worse.
I stumbled upon electrolysis and had great success with it. I knew how much better I felt after having the embarrassing hair removed. That made me want to get into the field and help other people. I started studying electrolysis when I was 26. After I graduated, I worked for a woman in Brick part-time, and after I built up my own practice through her, I bought the business from her.
SALARY AFTER FIVE YEARS: It varies. A nice part-time job might make you $20,000, or someone who goes into their own practice could make over $100,000.
WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE? I work from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. three days a week, and on the other days I work 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. I took on an associate, Joyce Glassman, who works part-time, because the hours were getting to be too much for me.
People like to come before work, so mornings are pretty busy. Then I get moms coming in after their kids have gone to school. In the afternoons I get teenagers who come in after school, and in the evenings I get the evening commuters. I see anywhere from 10 to 20 people a day, and I have days where I've seen 30 people.
I play soothing music and the decor is very relaxing. I want to make it a pleasant experience, because it's scary for some people. Consultations are free, because people want to learn about electrolysis.
We use a very fine probe. It's about the same diameter as the hair itself, and it's inserted into the hair follicle. A very low current flows through the wire to the end of that probe to destroy the cells that created the hair. Most of the hairs that are treated will never come back. Some need more treatment.
After the treatment, the hair slides out without any resistence. You should never feel tweezing when you go to an electrologist; if you do, find a new electrologist. I know because when I was younger I went to one who tweezed every hair out of my face. When I went to someone else, I asked why I wasn't feeling her tweeze the hairs out, and she said, "You shouldn't feel the hairs coming out." That was quite a surprise.
Some people fall asleep when I'm working on them, and other people are white-knuckled. It's a very individual experience, depending on your tolerance. You might get a pinching, stinging or warming sensation. We can make adjustments to make it more comfortable for people. We have topical anesthetics for people who are very sensitive.
Certain areas of the body are more sensitive than others. For example, the chin is not sensitive, but the upper lip is very sensitive.
About 70 percent of my clients are looking for facial work — cleaning up eyebrows, upper lips, facial hair. Some women have full beards. We also do bikini, breast area, underarm, hands, feet, etc. Often what happens is a woman will come in with a few hairs on her chin, and we'll clean that up. Then she gets excited that they're gone permanently, and we'll move to another area.
Men come in for the eyebrow, nose, ears, cheeks, back, shoulders and other parts. If it's a real heavy growth, with dark, coarse hair and fair skin, I would suggest they look into laser-hair removal. Laser doesn't work as well on blondes, redheads and people with white hair.
There was a time when no one knew about electrolysis unless you were a model or an actress. It was like a little beauty secret. But those days are long gone.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR JOB? I love meeting people. I've met people in every walk of life, and I get great joy in helping them feel better about themselves.
WHAT DO YOU DISLIKE ABOUT YOUR JOB? I wish I could help people faster. It's a slow, tedious process. It definitely works, but you have to be patient. We're Americans and we want instant gratification.
You can clear a person's upper lip when she's 20 years old, and then when she's 26 she gets pregnant and her hormone levels change and she gets hair on her chin. Electrolysis doesn't prevent the body from growing hair for the rest of your life; it just treats the hair that's there.
SUGGESTIONS FOR OTHER PEOPLE CONSIDERING THIS TYPE OF WORK: Go online to the American Electrology Association's Web site at www.electrology.com.
They'll give you all the information you need to get started.
You've got to do it because you want to help people. Be passionate about it. Source: Asbury Park Press 01/16/06