Hairstylist Life…..Hair Contact before Eye Contact

 

hairstylistA quick trip to the grocery store.  A night out meeting a few new people.  A binge session on Netflix.  Do these things have anything in common for you? Before this gets too weird let me explain a phenomenon of the Hairstylist Life: Hair Contact before Eye Contact.  Yep – that’s right – those of us who live, eat, breathe and sleep our careers as hairstylists know this debilitating problem all too well. Basically it boils down to Hair Contact before…well….anything!

For most of you this may not seem like such a big deal.  ‘So what? You notice the hair?’ Just for interests sake let’s have a look at the definition of ‘notice’:

Notice [noh-tis] verb: To pay attention to or take notice of

Believe me when I tell you – we don’t ‘notice’ the hair.  We painstakingly, obsessively, analyze, overanalyze, formulate, recolour, recut and restyle the hair all within the first 30 seconds of setting eyes on it all while appearing in the throes of a catatonic state.  Seriously.  This is the Hairstylist Life.

Let’s take the example of a quick trip to the grocery store. True story.  I was running in quickly to grab some bananas and as I’m approaching the produce section a beautiful haircut catches my eye.  I don’t know whether I’m still walking or have now stopped dead in my tracks in danger of being cart rear-ended but I don’t even care.  I am transfixed by this haircut.  I’ve already broken down the first 3 steps of how I would replicate it, thought of two different clients with the right hair type that I could give it to and rolled over the possibilities of who the stylist was that created this beautiful piece of art.  I have taken memory still shots, calculated my cut angles and I’m only coming up on 25 seconds.  The haircut turns to the left, I reach the 30 second mark and I am quickly transported back to the real world where I will now make eye contact (or simply notice that there is a head and body attached to the haircut).  Huh.  That’s when it hits me that it’s a client. I just made hair contact before eye contact with a client whose hair I have been cutting for the last 4 years.  I was to my car before I even realized I forgot the bananas.

One of my favourite things to do is binge watch on Netflix.  Whether at 2am when sleep won’t come or on a rainy Sunday afternoon, the dangerous autoplay keeps me tuned in far longer that I should be.  While I’m sure lots of you love a good Netflix marathon, I doubt your partner, in the throes of desperation, screams ‘can you STOP talking about the hair!!’ while trying to coexist in your viewing space.  For instance – did you wonder how long Gemma’s hair could stand up to those highlights during the first few seasons of Sons of Anarchy and notice the exact episode when she had to start using extensions for those blonde pieces? Your hairstylist did.  When Joey and Dawson had their emotional breakup while standing on the dock of the Creek were you thinking about how much James Van Der Beek needed a haircut and that he was dancing precariously close to the edge of mulletville? Your hairstylist was.  Or lets see…..while the entire school was chanting ‘Donna Martin Graduates!’ were you obsessively fantasizing about flat ironing Donna’s frizzed out, desperately in need of a trim hair? My guess is no – you probably weren’t but your hairstylist definitely was!  Just a side effect of the Hairstylist Life!

We won’t even get into the embarrassment of being introduced to someone for the first time and spending the first 30 seconds of hair contact time mute, left eye twitching, right hand reaching out to touch said strangers hair and suddenly snapping out of it to realize you violated their personal space before even saying hello.

Hair Contact before Eye Contact is simply part of the Hairstylist Life.

Being a hairstylist isn’t something we can shut off when we leave the salon – it follows us, invades our minds and inevitably makes us better artists because of it.  Inspiration can and does strike anywhere.

So be kind – we realize we are a special breed and that those who love us have a special appreciation (or tolerance) of our constant obsession.  And really – even with the embarrassing experiences – I would change a thing. It’s the Hairstylist Life.

 

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

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So you want to be a Hair Stylist?

hair stylistI read an article recently filled with great advice for hair stylists and salon owners which inspired me to write my own thoughts down on what I feel should be shared with all potential stylists.   This information could dramatically change the thought process of why they should want to enter the industry and give them fundamental insight into whether being a hair stylist is really what they want. The bottom line is – IT’S NOT ABOUT THE HAIR. Surprised? I think most people signing up for hair school would disagree with that statement, but most of us who are earning our living as hair stylists know this as fact.

I’m sure any hair stylist you ask will tell you how much they love doing hair. Coloring, cutting, styling – it’s something we are passionate about. A way for us to express our artistry and create. Basically, as artists, hair is our medium. The feeling we get from creating something truly beautiful is what drives us to continue, to find the next medium and create. Anyone who follows their passion in life or is an artistic person will understand this feeling. It’s this feeling that most young hair stylists are chasing in their journey to turn their passion of hair styling into a career.  Now if you are reading this and are a paying client I’m sure you are waving your red flag.  Sound like I’m forgetting something? You are right – there is something enormous missing and this, for some hair stylists, is where is goes horribly wrong.

People!!! Our medium is person, not a piece of canvas, not an inanimate object. A PERSON with feelings, hopes and desires who actually OWNS, USES and WEARS our art everyday! What a privilege that is for us and something that needs to be taken seriously. So tell me again why you want to be a hair stylist – because you love to do hair, right? Try again. You should want to be a hair stylist because you love making PEOPLE love their hair.

Being a hair stylist is not about you – it’s about every person who sits in your chair. Every person who hands you their time, their trust, their hair, and amazingly allows you to touch a tiny piece of their heart. Now that’s an amazing privilege and responsibility to carry with you every day. It is through their eyes that you chase your artistic passion, to bring what they are dreaming of to life.

Not a people person? Stick to working with canvas.  Trust me though – you’ll be missing out on an amazingly rewarding profession.

So you want to be a hair stylist?

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

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