Becoming a hairstylist was always in the back of my mind. From a young age I was styling my barbies or applying makeup to my dolls. By the time I was 13, I had given my best friend bangs and did her hair and makeup for a school dance. After I graduated high school, got married, and had been fired from the second job I had ever had it was time to figure this whole adulting thing out. I had no idea what I was going to do. I felt lost. It was my sister who nudged me to follow my dreams and I am so glad I listened to my big sis. I have been in my dream job for 14 years now and I have learned a few things since my beauty school days.
In the beginning of my career I didn’t realize the impact I would have on people’s lives. I thought that I would be giving guests a service and that would be that. Once I started having clients come back for their next services I started realizing that my job is so much more than cutting hair. My career is about listening to my client. Even if we’re not talking about hair. I have made tons of friends over the years and some are like family to me. I have quite a few clients that have been with me from day one. Some of my clients were in booster chairs when I first started cutting their hair and now most of them have graduated high school and are in their second and third year of college. I have given babies first haircuts more times than I can count. I have been a part of weddings, births, parties, school dances, pageants, the list goes on.
Being a hairstylist has many highlights, but there are sometimes lowlights (pun intended) to this career. I have had a few clients who were near and dear to me who have passed away. I have had a client walk in to the shop and tell me that her grandson had just passed away suddenly and she just needed someone to talk to. When the families of my deceased clients call upon me to do their hair and makeup for their funeral I can’t say no. It is never easy to do these types of appointments, but why would I let a stranger do their hair when I know exactly how they liked to wear it?
One thing that baffles me more than anything is that clients will sometimes lie about what’s on their hair. I’m not interrogating them, but simply asking them what is on their hair to help me out in the long run. I will have people tell me that the home bleach job is their natural color. No, our hair does not “naturally” grow orange roots and white at the ends.
Children’s haircuts used to stress me out. They still do sometimes. More times than not, the child is a perfect little angel. Other times, I feel like I’m in the ring with an MMA fighter. I have to dodge kicks to the gut, slaps from hands, tears, and snot. You name it, I’ve dealt with it.
Being a hairstylist has taught me that this is the hardest job I’ve ever had. It’s not just physically demanding, but can be mentally challenging as well. When I first started my career I worked at a chain salon. Those first four years were probably the hardest. My business had finally grown and I eventually moved on to a booth rent style salon. I then worked ten hour days six days a week. I did that for about a year and then cut back to eight hour days five days a week. It’s not just the long hours that make this job hard. When I have a client sit down in my chair I start with a consultation. It’s extremely important that I am on the same page as my client. If I’m not, then I risk potentially not giving the client the desired look they were going for. Which will then result in a disgruntled client. When I complete a service on someone and I see that smile that can light up a room, that is my indicator that my client is truly satisfied. It is such a rewarding feeling knowing that I have made someone’s day just by giving them a new cut or color. I’ve had a few women over the years tear up with joy because they’ve not been able to get their hair done in over a year for some reason or another.
These past fourteen years have been a whirlwind. Honestly, it doesn’t seem like I’ve been in this career field this long. It’s been a crazy wild rollercoaster of a ride and I wouldn’t change any of it. This career has molded me into the compassionate person that I am today. I’m nowhere near perfect at my job, but I strive to be the best version of me every day that I step in to the salon.