Trusted hairdressers are worth a long journey

WHILE for many it is seen as a relaxing opportunity to look forward to, for many a trip to the hairdresser is just as stressful as going to the dentist.

Sitting there in the chair makes you feel at their mercy, and when your hairdresser makes a dick, it’s there for weeks for the world to see.

I read this week about women making round trips of over 500 miles to visit tried and trusted hairdressers, one making the journey from Sussex to Yorkshire every six weeks.

I can understand this. Finding a barber you feel comfortable with can take years, and when you do, you won’t want to go anywhere else.

I have been going to the same hairdresser for at least 25 years. It’s not a fancy salon in the center, but a small hairdresser in the suburbs next to a takeaway in an instant-and-you-miss-it-row of shops.

My hairdresser knows my unruly, difficult-to-manage hair and all its weaknesses. In less than an hour he turns it from a bird’s nest to something I can be proud of.

How people think about your hair can affect them psychologically. A study at Yale University in the US found that having bad hair has measurable effects, including increased feelings of insecurity and self-criticism.

On the other hand, a good hair day has a powerful psychological impact. Research from Stanford University has shown that just believing that you look your best can make you feel like you belong in a higher social class.

One of the worst experiences I’ve had was in one of the fanciest salons I’ve ever visited, in central London. Although tough students, my friend and I thought we would treat ourselves.

During the cut, we were bombarded with the usual distracting tactics – cups of tea, magazines, even videos playing overhead, unheard of in the early 1980s – anything to keep us from looking in the mirror.

A sheep shearer could have achieved a better result. We both left distraught, I looked like Noddy Holder – the nickname stuck for weeks.

The cuts were so bad that at the time we wondered if it was done on purpose as we didn’t fit the bill as posh, wealthy customers and they didn’t want us to go back.

Even now, with my trusted stylist David, the past experiences make me a little nervous when I feel like he’s cutting too much or leaving too much on. But the niggles are always unfounded – whatever he does, it always works out in the end. I hope he never retires because I don’t know what I would do.

I recently spoke with a woman who travels from her home in York to a salon in Shipley to have her hair done by a trusted stylist.

It is so important that those who can afford to fly hairdressers all over the world rather than subjecting their locks to the attention of a stranger. Kate Middleton takes her stylist Amanda on all her overseas trips.

Of course hairdressers also have their complaints about our customers. Top moans include people who are too controlling. But, instead of grabbing the scissors, we should definitely be in control of what happens — it’s our hair, after all.

Stylists also don’t like clients touching their hair too much, but then again, isn’t touch the best way to express what you want? It also shows that the customer is nervous to some degree.

Talking on the phone – that is now unacceptable. I’d be tempted to put those people under a dryer for three hours and turn it on full.

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