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Check Out Mari Barrera’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mari Barrera.

Hi Mari, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
So I’ve been a licensed hairdresser for about 2.5 years now! I joined beauty school thinking I loved makeup, but that was definitely not the case. I immediately fell in love with the art of hair. I thought I would be doing lash extensions but definitely never built the patience for that. After I graduated from Paul Mitchell I knew I wanted to gain experience before going off on my own. Unfortunately, I didn’t pass my state board written exam on my first try, so that held me back a bit from working at a salon. Of course, I was bummed out because studying for that test was probably one of the most stressful things I had to go through at that time. So I took a “break” & started taking friends/clients from home. Honestly, I’m a strong believer that things happen for a reason & at that time I didn’t understand why things happened the way they did but I do now. I got out of my comfort zone & learn how to handle certain situations on my own. I learned how to market myself. I always tried to come up with ideas on how I could get people to notice me. I was really out here doing crazy hair transformations in my kitchen working 5+ hours on A CLIENT while still working at my part-time job as well. Finally, 4 months later I finally was able to retake my exam & passed!!

I immediately started looking for an assistant position because I still wanted that extra practice/experience. I built a great IG portfolio of my work within those 4 months, practicing from home, that people that knew me & my work, questioned me to why I assisted, I did for about 5/6 months. & I definitely don’t regret it at all!!! Still to this day will always encourage that!!! You learn a lot about the industry & the type of work you want to put out.

I’m now all on my own, I’m my own brand known as “Hairbymaaar” I work in The Phenix Salon Suites in Downtown San Diego. It’s more of a private studio, where I get to meet my clients more on a personal level and I love it!!! Definitely still not where I want to be, but so happy to be where I’m at, at only 2.5 years into this career. Maybe let’s thank covid too but I now book out almost 2 months in advance & only getting busier!! I have amazing clients & very supportive friends & family that have supported my business since DAY ONE. I Wouldn’t be where I’m at without them.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It is definitely not a smooth road. But SO WORTH IT. There’s so much you still have to learn out of school that no one tells you. Straight out of school you think you know it all & then you come out to the real world & you realize this industry is ongoing. There’s always going to be something to learn.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I specialize in what is known for “balayage/blonding ”, taking you from dark hair to a lighter color. I pretty much just want to make your blonde hair dreams a reality. I think I’m very known for drastic transformations, making someone really blonde in one session when possible! What I’m most proud of is that I’ve learned to really get out of my comfort zone in this industry, it’s made me more confident overall because I never gave up although a lot of people didn’t see this as a career, instead they saw it as a “phase” or a “side hustle”. Idk if there’s anything that sets me apart from others if I’m completely honest, I think the industry is very straight forward & we all do our best to stand out, you definitely have to be very creative, & put your li’l magic touch in there! my clients put 100% trust in me with their hair so I think I’m doing a good job at what I’m doing to set myself apart! Still figuring it out though.

What makes you happy?
Honestly, what truly makes me happy is seeing my clients’ faces after turning them around to see their hair. That happiness & excitement is what truly keep me going, aside from loving my job. Why? Because although some people think “it’s just hair” it can really boost someone’s self-esteem & just like that you changed someone’s life. I have clients that can talk for hours!!! I love that they share their life with me, everything!!! Without them even knowing it they help me in my everyday life decisions as well, I learn a lot from meeting new people.


  • Balayage/highlights starts at 225$ every additional bowl of product used is 20$ each bowl
  • Color corrections starts at 300$
  • Haircuts are 50$

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: @hairbymaaar

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