When I was in college, I was able to afford hair products and hair cuts because I was a hair model. Model was a fancy label given to me by the salon so they could use my hair for temporary color experiments and use me as an example of how hair could look if you too, used their products. Back then, I started to notice that there were all sorts of hair stylists. The kind who live to style hair and the kind who style hair because it's their job and they have to make ends meet. The stylists I've gone to range from flamboyantly gay, non-questionably straight, sweet like your grandma but covered in tattoos, drama queens, flakes, shop owners and newly licensed. Got it? I've had a wide variety of hair stylists in my life.
My hub, on the other hand, grew up going to the same barber, Johnny of Johnny's Barber shop, ever since he could remember getting his hair cut. His older brothers went to Johnny too. Hub keeps his hair very short, getting it cut approximately every three weeks. That's a lot of cuts from Johnny! We showed up at Johnny's Barber Shop one day and only his son was cutting hair. Johnny had passed away the day before. Ugh. I could see sadness in the hub when we heard the news. This guy wasn't just a barber, Johnny was part of the hub's 20+ years. He was a constant figure; consistently there for him. Sadly, the shop is no longer a landmark in the hub's hometown.
My dad had three hair styles. Very short when he was in the Navy and long and thick after the Navy. The other hairstyle he had, which I unfortunately remember the most, was the artificial afro. He would get permanent waves and treat his hair like someone with a genuine afro would treat their hair. It was, after all, the late 70's and he wasn't the only one following the trend. When the fad fizzled out and disco was dead (it hurts to say that), I remember my dad asking me why I didn't kiss him goodbye when he dropped me off at school. I told him I was embarrassed because of his hair. I will never forget the look of hurt on his face. Even though he asked, I wished I could take back my comment. The next thing I knew, he cut off the perm and grew his hair back to the regular long and thick hair style. My dad didn't go to a barber; he went to the same hairstylist for almost 20+ years. His stylist must have known so much about my family. She probably listened to my dad rant about stuff that my mom was doing and heard the complaints about his ungrateful kids. I'm so bummed that she knew that I was embarrassed about his outdated hairstyle. Oh well, on the bright side - I'm certain that the hair stylist also heard about the great things our family did because my dad was always so proud of his family.
Hair stylists absorb our good news and become our cheerleaders. They listen to our bad or sad news and offer comfort. They pay attention to us, listening to us even though they could easily be thinking of other things. Hair stylists are the layman's psychologists offering their perspective and giving us advice based on what they know or heard. They are scientists figuring out what works for different types of hair and they are artists, using hair as blank canvases, creating another work of art. They stand for hours on end and constantly morph into whatever their clients need on that given day. They do this day after day.
National Hair Stylist Appreciation Day is on April 30, 2018. Surely you have already been tipping after a cut, color, highlights, touch up, root cover up, bang trim, deep condition, shampoo, up-do or blowout. Hair Stylist Appreciation Day, is a great day to give out a thoughtful pinch. It could be something as simple as sending a sweet text to your stylist on that day sharing your thoughts about their service. Or drop a flower or a card off at the salon. Maybe leave a Macchiato or a muffin. Something to let them know that you appreciate their listening ears and the feeling you have after they finish serving you. Gifts are not mandatory and I'm sure not even expected for this national day but you can always try to make the day stand out from the rest of the year for your favorite hair stylist.
It's a good thing that there are so many hairstylists and barbers out there because we all have different needs and wants. It's always nerve-racking to find someone to style our hair. You hope that they are professionally good at what they do, that they charge appropriately for their service and that they have a personality that doesn't offend you. At least those are my top three criteria/needs. But if location (which also includes a good parking set up), shares similar interests and their hours of operation line up, then boy have you hit the jackpot!!
Personally, my current hair stylist is my JACKPOT and even though she is no longer at the convenient location, I am going to follow her in her newest adventure. Usually I wouldn't complain about the commute changing from 5 minutes to 25 minutes but my hair color routine is every 3-4 weeks! That adds up. You may have already seen on my Instagram account that I have posted about my stylist. Every single time I've had my hair done (which is a lot in the last 3.5 years!) I leave the salon as a better version of myself. Whether it's a new book, a video on You Tube that she recommends, a new yoga spot, a new technique to curl my hair, a remedy for dry skin etc. At the end of the appointment, I walk away with more than just great hair, I get a nugget of information that I'm always so grateful to take with me. I truly appreciate my hair stylist!! I can't tell you what I'm giving Cybele (that's her persona name, not her real name) for National Hair Stylist Appreciation Day because she actually reads my blog (see what I mean?). But when I see her this week, I'll bring her something to open on April 30th. Hopefully the little something will help her to know that I believe in her ability to create and succeed and I really do appreciate her.