On Working in the Beauty Industry Without Making Women Feel Bad
By Kristin Rogers
Women talk to me about their body issues a lot.
It's not just relegated to things above the shoulders, even though I am a hairdresser. They'll sit in my chair and look in the mirror across from them and wince at the way their thighs spread as they sit; they'll shift uncomfortably and ask me to put the cape on to cover them up, mouths laughing but eyes not going along with them.
They'll start pulling the skin up at their eyes and tut-tutting at the lines there, or tap up at the skin under their chin with the top of their hand. And I empathize with them, because haven't we all felt that way?
But I've come a long way in my acceptance of my looks and my weight and my chin wiggle, and I want to encourage other women to get cooler with themselves. So I look them in the eye and try to make some remark that's offhanded enough not to get too weird but sincere enough to maybe get through a little bit, like "Oh stop it, you're perfect the way you are."
And then I tell them what they should do with their hair to make themselves look better.
The way I prefer to think of it and put it into action is that there's a very important distinction between "better" and "EVEN better" that I try to honor. And my relationship with my clients is very fulfilling in that way, because I do make an effort to make every suggestion with their personal best interest in mind.
I'm not into trying to convert someone over to coloring their grays who didn't ask for it, or insisting a woman cut her beloved long hair shorter because she's over 40 and "it's time." But I can't deny that when I expand my gaze beyond my station, beyond my salon and into the beauty industry as a whole, I'm a very small part of a big system that's built to get women to want to see themselves a certain way in order to make money from their insecurities - a way that's not always attainable.
Hair commercials with models swingin' it to show off the shine are retouched just like turkeys are shellacked to look all shiny and delicious and in food magazines. And being a part of something like that, albeit a teeny weeny part, can make me feel a little conflicted and gross.
A few of years ago, a couple of other stylists and I were asked to do a small stage presentation at a local hair show...**
** Read more about that hair show in part 2 of this article in our next ABCH Highlights newsletter! Watch your email inbox next week. We are sending weekly emails leading up to the Energizing Summit in LA June 8-9.
Republished with permission from the article writer.