I'm ashamed to say that until we moved to the Midwest, I took Black hairstylists for granted. During these last six years of purgatory, I've learned that Black stylists are the glue that holds life together. And it's made it crystal clear why I've been falling apart.
Regular appointments, salon gossip, and "you can get it" looks from my husband are all a thing of the past. And during my extended absence, I've come to realize that the benefits of having your hair done are much more than a cute style.
For those of you who are fortunate enough to live near a good stylist, hug them. (You might want to do that virtually while we're social distancing.) Here are a few of the unexpected healing properties of your trip to the hairdresser.
If you've ever had a long-term relationship with a stylist, you know they do so much more than hair. Whether we realize it or not, hairdressers are often stand-in mental health professionals, ready and willing to help us problem-solve the drama of life.
The relationship between a stylist and their clients feels best when it has depth. Those "mmhmm" and "oh girls" are akin to the "how does that make you feel" comments you'd get on a therapist's couch. And when the relationship is really good, the support is reciprocal.
Good mental health care is so hard to find. Appreciate that your beautician's chair is full of secrets, even if they're not HIPAA bound.
Healing Properties of Touch
Humans are social creatures; one of the most impactful ways that we communicate our social needs is through touch.
Hairstylists, like masseuses and Reiki healers, use their hands to work miracles on the body. I don't just mean that in the metaphorical sense. Touch has been shown to reduce pain, speed up healing, and lower stress levels. If you've ever had a bomb a** scalp massage with tea tree or lavender based products, you already know this.
The loving touch of a beautician loves on much more than our hair. It loves on our bodies, too.
Boost in Self Esteem
It feels good to feel good. Nothing gives me the boost of "pick me up" like a fresh new hairdo.
After the circulation returns to my legs from sitting in that chair for a long time, the first thing I do is pick up my phone and take a selfie. (Don't judge me, y'all - Instagram feeds are proof that I'm not alone.)
Our beauticians have the power to transform us from the carriage that brought Cinderella into our fair goddess Billy Porter.
When we feel good about ourselves, we make better decisions, take more positive risks, and are less likely to get caught up in negative thinking patterns. Spending quality time with your stylist can get you ready to take on the world!
I'm not sure who's more loyal – a woman to her longtime hairdresser or a man to his barber. (Truth be told, it doesn't matter cause neither of 'em is ever on time! But, they do good work though!)
While it often goes unacknowledged, the reason we would rather die than try new haircare professionals is that we already trust the one that we have. All folks care about their hair, but it takes a special kind of relationship to get you access to a Black woman's crown. Once that relationship has been secured, we're locked in until death or divorce. (Actually, they'll likely do our hair for the divorce trial and the funeral.)
That trust-building helps us feel loved and supported. And often, our beauticians become our lifelong friends.
When this quarantine is over, go make it rain on your favorite stylist.