Thoughts from a Hair Stylist during COVID-19

It has been 21 days today that our state ordered a shutdown of all salons.  Even days before that, I had many clients cancel their appointments due to fear of the virus. I wake up everyday praying this nightmare would be over!

 I have been a stylist for nearly 24 years. Over the years, some clients have come and gone. I still have many who have been with me since the beginning. I consider all of them like family. I’ve had some clients in their final days ask to see me before they passed away. I have some who moved away, but I am lucky to have Facebook to keep us connected. Those who left for other reasons, I always wished them well. 

As I sit here and think about all the clients who have sat in my chair and the experiences we shared, it makes me feel blessed to say I have been successful in supporting myself as a hairdresser! 

I’ll never forget years ago someone referred to me as a bimbo, implying I was a girl with no intelligence who just likes to style people’s hair.

You see it is not just about the hair . . . Of course, that is the main point – Making someone look good. That is why I continuously educate myself on the latest hair trends and hair care.  But the other part of my job – that is, catering to the emotional needs of my clients – all the color and styling classes you attend don’t really teach you how to help your clients with the emotions they may have while sitting in your chair. That is something a Stylist learns through their years of experiences they share from their client. Some hairdressers – the good ones – are like a therapist, a confidant, a friend – sometimes the only person who will just listen.

Typically, my clients’ share so many good stories and laughter fills the salon. But there are bad days, really dark days when a client comes in and asks you to shave all her hair off because she just started her first chemo treatment. Believe me, it’s hard to keep back the tears.  Or how about the client who can’t help but cry because her husband is leaving her for another woman.  The absolute hardest is when a client shares the heartache she has from the death of a spouse or a child.  Many times over the years, clients come in and say they’ve lost their job and could not afford to have their hair done anymore. Somehow, it is always figured out. School does not prepare anyone for any of these situations. I carry my clients’ stories in my heart long after they walked out the door, questioning myself if I gave them the right words of comfort. 

But, as I said, not all of my clients’ stories are sad. And I couldn’t last for twenty years plus if they were. I’ve also had the pleasure of sharing the births of new family members or the celebrations of weddings and job promotions – date nights! first dates! anniversaries! proms!  The ones I always loved hearing about were about my clients’ who were retiring. That meant they were free to come in at any time! That was my bonus! 

A hairdresser and client have a very special relationship. As a stylist, you cherish every one of your clients. Aside from business, you form a bond that will last forever! 

Today I worry about all of my clients.  I worry if they are healthy – not just physically, but mentally. Especially those that live alone. On the lighter side, I worry if you all will try to color or cut your own hair. I miss all of you! 💞  I look forward to sharing some new cutting and color techniques that I’ve learned while under quarantine. So keep those scissors in your drawers and box colors at the grocery store! Thanks to @behindthechair and @hattorihanzoshears Virtual EDU classes have been great! 

When this is all over, I can’t wait to hear all my clients’ stories about how they spent their time during this quarantine. Until then stay well and if you need anything please call, I’m always here for you!

To all my fellow stylists out there, keep your head Up! This will be over soon. Just because the government labeled us as nonessential workers right now, does not mean that we are! In fact, when this is over and the ban is lifted, believe me, we will be the most essential! So rest now because you and I know what it feels like to have a busy day as a stylist! 

Everyone stay home and stay healthy!

Love Kathy ❤️

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Kathy Finlan