For some people, going to the salon is the perfect way to relax and unwind. For me, it's the exact opposite. I have anxiety, and something as trivial to some as getting a haircut is a trigger for me. It's more than just the stress of finding the perfect cut. It's an emotional process that can completely overwhelm my day.
But one Australian-based salon is looking to help those that struggle the same way that I do. As Teen Vogue found, the Babar Salon in Australia has a rescue cat to help customer with their anxiety during an appointment. Nothing about the salon, besides, you know, getting your hair done, is the average experience. But once you hear all of the oddities of this place, you'll be wishing more salons did the same.
Betty Boo is not your average salon assistant. Instead of mixing color and sweeping hair trimming off the floor, her main job is to keep customers feeling at-home and relaxed. Betty Boo does that by sitting on peoples' laps and just doing what cats generally do — making you smile.
As someone with anxiety, I can see Betty Boo's presence works so well. It gets rid of the awkward small-talk and feeling of being out of place, and makes you instead feel a connection. It almost distracts the person from the task that they're anxious about. Animals and beauty routines are both separately known to ease anxiety. Combine them and, well, you have the purrrfect pairing.
I'm not alone in my salon anxiety, either. According to the Anxiety and Depression Associate of America, anxiety affects on average 40 million adults in the United States. Beyond Blue states that the statistics are around the same in Australia, with anxiety affecting nearly one million people per year. The sites both name salon visits as a high trigger for people living with anxiety.
Betty Boo shares her experiences through her Instagram page, which has been running since 2015. According to the posts, she's been gracing anxious customers with her presence at the salon since 2010, when she was just a tiny, rescue kitten.
The cat has — are you ready for this? —over 3,000 followers on her profile. Oh, and she also runs a blog, too. Betty Boo updates readers regularly about everything from cat naps and daily updates to major announcements, like Babar becoming an eco-friendly salon.
Betty Boo isn't the only way that the salon helps ease peoples' anxiety, either. According to the website, they offer drinks and even personalized music to make people feel at home. Add a cat into the mix, and it's basically like you're siting in your own bedroom instead of a salon.
"At BABAR Hair we love what we do," the website reads. "We create professional salon results, in a relaxed, easy atmosphere: where good old fashioned hospitality with a glass of wine or beer, a coffee and biscotti, a cuddle from our salon cat and choosing your own vinyl (if you’re not digging our cool tunes already!) are all part of the experience."
They're not the only salon that is joining the fight to go beyond the hairstyle and focus on anxieties. As Racked found, some salons are going out of their way to offer silent salon chairs, with the hope that the limited amount of small talk will ease some anxieties.
As of right now, you'll have to travel to the AU if you want to get your hair cut with a cat. But here's to hoping that more salons in the states will catch on to this genius idea. Because not only does it help rescue cats, but it helps ease anxieties, too. It doesn't get better than that.