Everything working at a hairdressers teaches you about life

Sometimes first aid is necessary


Going to the hairdressers is all about three things: getting your hair done, relaxing and having a good gossip. A couple of years ago, I worked as a hairdressing assistant for a few hours a week and learned some valuable life skills. There were the usuals, the things you might expect: how to correctly wash hair, sweep the floors, arrange appointments – there were also a few unprecedented lessons. Sadly, none of these were how to style my own hair, which remains a limp, straggly, mess. So, if you were expecting some top styling tips, then maybe look somewhere else (sorry).

First, how to assemble a box of wine

When getting your hair done, wine is ESSENTIAL. Not because you’d like to drown your sorrows incase it turns out bad but because when you go to the hairdressers, it’s important to unwind and treat yourself. Yes, we also offered tea and coffee on the menu, but let’s be honest ladies (and gents, of course) when offered, who would say no to free wine?

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There’s nothing worse than the smell of a perm on a hot summer’s day

If you’re under the age of 60 and/or own a curling wand, then you may not have ever felt the need to try a perm. This also means that you are fortunate enough not to have experienced the eye-watering, gut-wrenching, foul stench of a perm. If so, LUCKY YOU.

There are more hair products than just shampoo, conditioner and hairspray

I’m not much of a beauty fanatic myself so the first time someone asked me to pass the ‘salt spray’ I wasn’t sure whether they were asking for a hair product or something to sprinkle on their lunch.

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Sometimes, experience of first aid is necessary

I wasn’t surprised that plasters were often needed, seeing as the job obviously consists of using sharp scissors throughout the day. So, some blood, sweat and (very occasional) tears did not come as a shock. However, I was once cleaning brushes/folding towels/pretending to do work but actually scrolling through my phone when I heard a huge crash. A client had fainted – no, not because she was stunned by how amazing her hair looked – and I had to step in and take care of her.

You’ve not experienced true stress until someone pops in to get wedding hair styled

For a normal occasion, hairdressers get anxious about giving you the perfect look and will talk you through a variety of options before you commit to getting even an inch trimmed off your hair because they want to make sure that you are completely happy with how it turns out. With wedding hair, the chaos of the salon is amplified by 1000. This hair is going to be immortalised in endless Instagram selfies, Facebook albums and wedding photographs so it better look amazing.

After hair slides being flung across the room from one stylist to another, litre cans of hairspray being drained by the minute and occasional nervous tears from both the client and stylist, everyone breathes a heavy sigh of relief as the bride leaves the tip and tells us that she’ll be back for her honeymoon highlights. The stress is usually worth it, but still this really taught me why the wine was so readily available.

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Some people are really open to strangers about their personal lives

So, be prepared to get your Freud glasses on, sit them down on your metaphorical thinking sofa, and listen to them spill out all their problems to you. Hairdressers are not only hair stylists but guidance counsellors who have to listen to you moan about your divorce, or brag about your kid getting 10 A* in his GCSEs a year early, all while giving you a head massage at the same time. Here you will see multitasking at its finest.

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There is such thing as a hair splinter

Gross, I know, so I’ll say no more.

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Some people rarely wash their hair

I was once washing a client’s hair when they told me that they were feeling really relaxed and couldn’t wait to feel fresh once it was done. Feeling proud of my lather-rinse-repeat expertise, I politely asked how long it had been since it was last done, my fingers running through their soapy, matted hair, when they casually responded ‘not for three weeks’.

Now and again, you just have to allow people to butcher their hair

There’s only so much advice and guidance you can offer people and for some, their opinion is the only one they want to hear. To be fair, this is usually a good thing. If a client wants to dye their hair green or get it cropped really short or go for some other drastic change because they think it will make them feel happy, then great, no problem at all. But, other times, no matter how hard you try to convince them that it’s not the best idea, you just have to back down and let that client bleach their hair within an inch of its life. The customer may not always be right but if they are paying you to do what they want then you have to bite your tongue and turn them into a troll doll look-alike.