Making a Difference
Having been in Cosmetology Education on and off for the last 15+ years, one of the things all of my former students will say I always stressed to them was how to make money in this industry. I preached and tried to drive in their heads that it was all about the green and how to work smart to make the most money possible. However, on occasion, situations arise where it is entirely the opposite and making money is not even a consideration. Allow me to explain.
It is very common for people to look down on Hairstylists with an attitude that they “just do hair”. It is also a mind-trap that some students and even experienced stylists fall into, not realizing how much potential a stylist has to change a person’s life. I know, it is very cliché to say that stylists make a difference in the world one head at a time (and a national chain’s slogan), but yes, sometimes this is entirely a true statement.
Recently in our student salon, three of my students saw firsthand how much of a difference a little bit of kindness and haircare can make in someone’s life. An 8-year-old little girl was brought in by her grandfather, who had recently gained custody of the little girl along with his wife. The girl’s hair was so matted that the students couldn’t even get a brush through it. She obviously had never been taught how to correctly shampoo and take care of her hair, and here she was now in tears as we debated whether to cut the mattes out or attempt to detangle the seemingly impossible to detangle hair. Three students went to work on her.
It took over two hours, a lot of heavy conditioner and reassuring the girl that her hair would be ok, but eventually, they got her tangles out. They were then able to shampoo her properly, give her a haircut, and then style her hair to make her feel pretty. The students also then bought her shampoo and conditioner, a new brush, and proceeded to TEACH her how to shampoo, condition, and brush her own hair, so she won’t ever have to go through this again. All of this they did on their own, with their own money, and asked for nothing in return. I can imagine the girl was made fun of at school and probably did not have the easiest life. So the little bit of time and compassion that the students showed that little girl may have been just enough to give her some confidence and good self-esteem that may make a difference for the rest of her life. They gave her the knowledge to take care of herself and make her feel good about herself every day from then on.
Situations like this don’t present themselves like this every day, but we as stylists don’t always know what happened to our client before they sit in our chair, or what they are going home to when they leave our chair. Maybe someone is so down that the only good thing to happen is the service he/she receives in your chair. Maybe that experience is enough to change someone’s bad day, bad week, or who knows, bad life. My point is, whether you are a student or a 20-year veteran stylist, you are never JUST a hairstylist. You have the power to shape and transform not only someone’s hair but also that person’s life.