When it comes to stories from the salon, we most often hear the horrors of people getting their hair chopped off or fried to a crisp. These cautionary tales and hair advice are just about the only times we hear about hairstylists. Believe me, I get it, because the bad and the ugly has happened to me, but truthfully the majority of people that receive services are happy with the result.
At their core, most stylists are industry professionals who are also expected to perform artistically. Personally, I find it so inspiring to see not only good hair, but a sense of community come forth. Having been a stylist before, I know just how much manpower, good cheer, and caffeine it takes to last eight or more hours on the floor making pretty. It can be utterly exhausting, even when you love your job.
Putting forth mental energy and positivity is often passed over when people consider "effort" in a professional context, but think about how much of a difference is made when someone treats you not only with respect, but with genuine concern and even hints of friendship. These are the bonds that people form with stylists every day.
On that note, here are seven stylists sharing stories about the best parts of their job.
1. Beth Minardi (Studio B)
"Last week my client texted me that she was coming for her retouch and needed to discuss something with me. She's been a wonderful client with me for 20 years. As her hair was processing I said, 'Let's go sit in the loft and chat.' She said she had told no one, but that she has cancer and does not want to lose her long gorgeous blonde hair. I put her in touch with Cold Cap and with the best MD in NYC... And invited her for Thanksgiving."
2. Steph Caldwell (Pembley)
"The cool cross section of people I see regularly really lets me know I'm in the right career, and one client in particular comes to mind. A mutual friend of several clients came to me last year with shoulder length, blonde curly hair. It was kinda shapeless and definitely not in line with the personality or the appearance of the person wearing it. They had been going to a salon near their job out of convenience and had decided after much cajoling from friends that it was time to do something different. We talked for a while and I ended up giving them an asymmetrical haircut that just fleshed out their whole look. It was shorter than they'd ever gone before, but it was such a better representation of their style than what was previously going on. During the next couple of months, I got nothing but compliments from all the people in this person's life whom I already knew. The only thing better than hearing from the person's hair you cut that they love it, is hearing all their friends love it too!"
3. Gabby Fishman (Takamichi Hair)
"Every time I come in to see my clients, my goal is to make every single client feel and look incredible. So much of what we do is not just about the hour they spend in our chair. My joy comes from knowing that when my client looks in the mirror in the morning, they look and feel like the most beautiful version of themselves. When a client tells me that they received so many compliments on their hair, nailed a job interview, snatched up a girl/boyfriend, my heart just swells with joy. I like knowing that they carry my life's work on their shoulders."
4. Drew Calloway (Laicale Hair)
"My first client on a Saturday morning, after a not so easy work week, was a fave of mine. She tells me she wants to bleach the whole thing to Michelle Williams blonde because she just found out she has lymphoma and she's in her early 30s. There were tears, but I put my head down and did likely one of the most beautiful double process of my career. It was perfect and she was so so happy and grateful."
5. Marc Mena (Warren Tricomi Salon)
Rachel Uchitel was diagnosed with Chiari, a type of brain cancer. Being in the public eye and knowing that she would have to take her extensions out for the procedure and wouldn't be able to put them back in for quite some time, she reached out to Marc Mena and asked him what solution he had for her hair post-op. Mena created a set of temporary extensions by coloring the strands to match her ombre tresses and sewing on clips. Following her surgery, he was one of her first guests to arrive and he put in her extensions so she felt like herself again.
6. Deb Gavin (Fresh Hair Studio)
"A new client on my book came in and shared with me how much she hated how her hair looked. It was in a ponytail (her daily look) and she explained it was always frizzy and going through menopause she woke up with a fuzzy mess daily. I saw how brassy her ends looked, while the top few inches were very opaque.
"I used Keratin Complex Color Therapy to create dimension — chocolate brown, medium brown to break up the brassy color and added some soft highlights. I incorporated vital shots in all and finished her with Intense RX. She was so amazed at how her hair looked and felt. She actually came back with a gift for me, hugged me, and booked her next appointment. It's a gift to me to not only change how people look but how they feel."
7. Adriana Rizzolo (Awakened Feminine Founder)
"I work as what I call a 'hair healer.' I do energy work and offer guidance through conversation when I do haircuts. Clients will often times share what they are letting go of... we hold a lot energetically in our hair, as we do in all parts of our bodies! It is an act of courage and faith when you get a haircut; you are in a sense letting go of attachment. Oftentimes people come with a lot of emotional stuff, hang up whatever and we can just be together and I can just listen and offer my love and appreciation for them as they share their stories. Sometimes we set intentions [for the haircut] about what they want to create in their lives, and we make it like a ritual. An act of letting go, making space for newness to come in, creativity and love to flourish. It's a beautiful process and I'm so thankful to be able to offer my passion of heart full living with my skills as a stylist!"
Next time see your stylist, make sure you remember that energy is both given and received, as is patience, kindness, and hopefully great hairstyles come out of it. Thank your hair artist for not only keeping you looking your best, but for taking the time to share stories, inspiration, or even just news! These relationships are most rewarding when they are mutually beneficial.
Want more hair tips? Check out the video below and subscribe to Bustle's YouTube channel!