Dear Hairdressers: Stop Doing This

There’s a lot about going to the hairdresser’s that I don’t mind: I like the complimentary head massage that comes with every shampoo. I like being able to just sit and flick through beautiful bridal magazines. I like leaving the salon with a clean, photo-ready head.

But there’s one thing about going to the hairdressers that I do mind.

Many of the times that I’ve visited a hairdresser, they haven’t been shy to express their feelings towards my hair. See, I have thick African curls which replicate a lion’s mane when blow-dried, and am often greeted by surprised hairdressers with the phrase, “You have so much hair!”

Yes, I am already aware of the amount of hair on my head. You don’t have to point it out. You also don’t have to make me feel abnormal – I don’t think that “You have so much hair” is a compliment.

I know that hairdressers do not mean to make me feel this way, but I do. It just goes to show how our words – as simple, obvious and observant as they may seem – can cause unexpected emotions in others. Comments like that don’t exactly boost my self-esteem.

One time a hairdresser was straightening my hair. Another one walked past, looked over horrified and asked her, “Do you need some help with that?!” Oh, sorry, I didn’t realise that paying you good money to tame my hair is such a big and inconvenient task.

Again, I’m sure the hairdresser was just trying to help. After all, my hair does take a LONG time to straighten! But it is a little embarrassing when they point it out so plainly, as if I’m harder work than all their other customers.

I often get a keratin treatment and was once told, “You definitely need this treatment.” Well, no I don’t actually need it, I would still be alive and fully-functioning if I didn’t have it. But yes, I am aware that it will help my hair to be healthy and more manageable – that’s why I made this appointment!

When I tell people I’m getting a keratin, my hairdresser-friend will describe the treatment to them as something to “help with the frizz.” Gee, thanks! Sure, my hair may be a little frizzy at times – but you forget that it’s also unique, fun and all-natural!

This same hairdresser-friend told me she didn’t want to style my bridesmaid’s hair for my wedding because it’s “very thin”, and “with thin hair is harder to do up-styles” and “it would need a LOT of teasing.” She said all this – right in front of my bridesmaid! I’m sorry, but styling hair (ALL types of hair) is literally your livelihood. If a customer with thin hair came in and asked for an up-style, would you tell them it’s too much effort and turn them away?

I’m not saying all hairdressers are like this; I’ve had hairdressers tell me they’re jealous of my hair, and coming from someone who sees all different types of hair all day every day, that’s a pretty high compliment! I just think it’s worth thinking a bit more carefully before speaking – and that goes for anyone and everyone, not just hairdressers. Some people are more sensitive than others. Some people read into things a lot more. Some people simply prefer to just sit and have their hair done – in silence.


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