Monday, April 05, 2010


I had another hair incident this past week. I have been bouncing from hairdresser to hairdresser since my regular stylist, Diana, left the business to go back to school over a year ago. I first tried the owner of the salon where Diana used to work and after a few less than successful appointments (one where she forgot me under the dryer and another where she cut my bangs waaaay too short), I decided to move on. I made an appointment at the trendy salon in the mall and got the oldest guy there, a man in his sixties. The colour was great, but I came out with a high maintenance haircut, the opposite of what I had asked for.

Last week, I was in a bit of a rush because of my school schedule, so when I found a salon which had good online reviews and was just a block from the university, I gave it a try. I walked in and my first clue should have been that the place was empty. Of clients, that is. There were a group of men having some kind of meeting, it seemed. I couldn't understand what they were saying because everyone was speaking Persian. Nevertheless, the stylist had time to take me right away, so I sat down. Her first words to me were, "You must have had a long day, you look tired." That should have been my second clue. She showed me some colours (my roots needed touching up) and when I asked for the lighter shade, she argued with me. That should have been my third clue. I won't even go into her rather sloppy application technique. I am not that fussy about my hair, it is only hair after all, but I was beginning to wonder how well this was all going to turn out.
When I finally saw the result after she washed and dried it, it looked odd. My hair was dark at the roots and light at the ends, kind of dull and ashy looking. I mentioned that it was a bit darker than the rest of my hair and she said she had decided to put in a bit of the darker colour just a bit to make it more natural. I should just wash it a few times and it would be better. She was rather adamant that my hair really needed a trim as well because the ends were very bad. Clues number 4 to 8, big time. I gently refused the haircut, paid her and rushed out to an evening engagement in a darkly lit restaurant, thank goodness, thinking it couldn't be all that bad.

When I finally got home and took a good look at my hair, I saw that the front where my hair tends to be light anyway, had in fact turned a bit green. I washed it four times, but there was no discernible difference. My roots were dark greyish brown, the front of my hair was greyish green, and the bottom half was the caramel blonde colour that I am used to seeing on my head. It was so bad that for the first time ever, I decided that this was not something I could live with. It had to be fixed.

I went to another hairdresser the next day and after a few exclamations of horror at what had been done to my hair, the Russian woman and the young guy said that they were going to make it right and it would look great. I could trust them. The green, grey, dull, dark brown had to be stripped from my hair and then a more appropriate colour could be applied. Throughout the process, the lady kept checking my hair to see how it was reacting to all the chemicals. The guy came over a few times to check on my hair in-between his own clients. The colour turned out to be golden blonde on the top half and caramel on the bottom half. As she was drying it, Tatiana told me it was quite a unique look, one that would be hard to do on purpose, but she thought it suited me very well. I had to agree with her. It looked quite good.

As I am prone to do, I pondered this incident over the next few days, wondering what it was all about. Was I really that bad at picking a good hairdresser? What could I learn from this? Here are my conclusions:

1. Don't go to a hairdresser that starts by pointing out your faults. If he or she cannot see your beauty, no matter how hidden it is that particular day, they will not be able to bring it out, no matter how many faults they try to fix. Everyone has some great quality about their hair, their face, their body, and their personality. This is what we have to do: work with that, enhance it, make it shine, and bring it out of hiding. You have to love hair to be a hairdresser and I can always tell when someone loves my hair. Too often, I can pick out people's shortcomings from a mile away. Where's the skill in that? And then I try to fix them, most often to disappointing results. My job is not to fix people or their problems; it is to love them, see their beauty, and help bring that out so that they can see it and so can everyone else. Faults will naturally be dealt with in the process, but it is never the focus. Beauty is. What is the first thing that I notice about people? Their beauty or their faults?

2. Good reviews are not enough. What other people say may be a good starting point, but it should never make the decision for me. Too often, I am swayed by the opinions of others instead of learning to develop my own ability to discern situations. If I am getting a bad vibe about something, I should take a moment to ask why and re-evaluate what is going on. It is better to walk out and be safe than to stick it out just to be polite or to please people. I don't have to be mean, but I should be truthful as well as faithful to those things that are important to me.

3. I make mistakes. Other people make mistakes. It happens. I am not mad at the first hairdresser and will not go back to make a scene and demand my money back. She was a nice lady, but she should probably pursue further training or switch to another profession. The important thing is that we learn to admit our mistakes and change what we do, no matter how humbling it is.

4. Price and convenience should never be at the top of my list of deciding factors. Quality, dependability, integrity, beauty, and love are a lot more important. Patience is a good thing, too.

This is me and Jazz, two beautiful females.

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