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Meet Trailblazer Maria Rivera

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maria Rivera.

Maria, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
When I was young I was both an artist and an academic. My family thought I was going to be some kind of renaissance kid.

Growing up, the ugly duckling of three sisters, once my aunt took me to get a haircut to boost my self-esteem. I remember to this day how I felt. I felt hopeful. I observed how these hairdressers made everyone smile and had friends, their clients.

I decided I wanted that. I wanted to make people feel how I felt that day, even though some might say is a shallow thing, it is not. This “ change “ gave me the confidence to tell my family that I’m not this Renaissance kid they want me to be, I wanted to have an impact on people and I could still be an artist and a chemist. Not everyone is looking to be uplifted when they walk in the salon, but I still get to be creative, play with chemicals and have amazing relationships with people. The bonus, I get paid for what I love.
After 20+ years of being a hairdresser, evolution is necessary to continue to grow and not become a person that ends up hating a job that I loved. Being an observer and student of fashion, lifestyles and yes, economy and logistics, education comes naturally to me (it really satisfies the geek in me).

A compilation of all my experiences, triumphs and failures really give me the ammunition to keep affecting peoples lives in a whole other level, and my peers enrich my life in a way they would never know.

I’m very fortunate that a company has embraced all my quirks and ideas. I have created The Three Point Balayage System™️ #30minutebalayage with their total support. I just have to give them a shout out 🧡 my Gkhair family.

Being a hair artist is like any creative career very competitive, but thankfully our industry is changing and we are now recognized as an important part of our American workforce and it has allowed us to compete less and create more.

Has it been a smooth road?
It has been a roller coaster. The first 10 years as an artist, well, you’ve heard the term starving artist right? My generation had no real guidance and education was limited. I started my career in NYC, crazy, busy, competitive NYC. I learned a lot from working there in my first 10 years, it was hard, but I learned the relationship between fashion and hairdressing. I was broke, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Nowadays, we have amazing internships in awesome salons. I would tell young women looking to embark on this journey, go under someone’s wing who could really enrich your career and your life. If you have big dreams, do not jump at the first corporate salon’s job, do an apprenticeship. The education is free and invaluable. Even if you have to take a second job at first (apprenticeship don’t pay a lot), it will be worth it.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I love creating, love all aspects of my job, but coloring is my passion. I was a painter before I was a hairdresser, and only my medium has changed. I have evolved as a Balayage Artist, I think because I can incorporate all of my passion into a masterpiece. I use lighteners, colors, different materials and I know this is not the end of my evolution. The picture you featured is one of my favorites. She is a gorgeous girl. A teen and we know what it’s like to be that age and the impact of self-esteem. It was her third Balayage session, with a difficult goal. Asian hair is beautiful, strong and heavily pigment. I wanted to maintain its health and length so we opted for the healthier way of making light.

She actually was part of my inspiration for creating The Three Point Balayage System ™️ Doing a Balayage can take up to 6 hrs. on long thick hair and I had to find a method to shorten the service. Cutting down consultation was not a good idea, communication is necessary, processing time, nope. So, I decided that the application time was the only thing that would not compromise the service. A method, a map. Studying the head, placement, and saturation. That’s how the system was created. I do not try to change how an artist does their hair painting, I tell them listen, we are creative and intuitive how about we focus, map this out and let me show you how it works.

My #30minutebalayage is a staple in my services and workshops.

Do you recommend any apps, books or podcasts that have been helpful to you?
I read and watch anything I can get my hands on that has to do with hair, fashion, makeup.

Mary from Behind the Chair is a huge inspiration. I’ve followed her from the beginning.

Contact Info:

  • Address: His and Hers Salon
    3005 East Main St
    Waterbury, CT 06705
  • Website:
  • Phone: 203-597-7263
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @mariathehairpainter
  • Facebook: Hair is my Canvas
  • Twitter: @hairpainter

Image Credit:

Maria Rivera

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Meghan McHugh

    August 6, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    This is so inspiring! Love it!

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