I’ve been doing hair for over ten years, I have had plenty of time to decide what it is I love about this career and what it is I less-than-love. The job comes with its fair share of benefits: I haven’t paid for a hair service in over a decade, I get free samples showered on me by prospecting sales reps, I make my own hours and never miss a family function, and I make a pretty decent living playing with hair all day. But there are some things that anyone considering a career as a stylists should be warned about. From the moment you get that certification, your close friends and family are going to assume a role of entitlement, that they now have an on-staff personal cosmetologist, ready to satisfy their every whim, that the normal routine of booking appointments with the salon receptionist no longer applies to them, that asking you to do their hair on a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon is not inappropriate (not that I am completely opposed to late night hair appointments with my bestie and a bottle of wine, that can be very fun).
But the one thing that you will hear again and again, as a cosmetologist, is “Can you just bring your scissors over to my house, and do my hair there?”
Where should I even begin… First off, it is not even legal, under the rules of the Board of Cosmetology to preform salon services outside of the certified and inspected salon. But my friends and family do not know the code of the Board of Cosmetology, so that won’t keep them from asking for this little favor. A favor that slides off their tongue with such ease, like it is the smallest or favors, and that all I need to do is pop my scissors in my purse and hop in my car.
Next time someone asks me to bring my scissors over, that is exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to show up at their front door with only a pair of scissors, from the kids' used school supplies drawer, and a bottle of wine, and say in my most enthusiastic voice, “Let’s do this!”
I know they don’t mean it so literal, when they say, “bring your scissors over,” but please people, I cannot preform a basic hair cut of any kind without the minimum supplies of the “scissors” (more specifically known in the world of cosmetology as shears), a comb, a few clips, a client cape and a stylist apron, I will probably also need a carving comb or razor, a spray bottle of water, a blow dryer and a flat iron, and some basic styling products such as heat protectant and hairspray, to make the style come alive.
Let's say that I decide to proceed with this tiny, little favor, and load up my supplies that are neatly organized within my styling station, into a cardboard box, checking once and checking twice, that I haven't forgotten anything important, and set fourth on my house call. The fiasco has only nearly begun.
Lets talk about this little thing called a stylist chair, the number one most important invention in the history of hair salons, in my opinion. It moves up and down and all around, it allows the hair stylist to see all angles of the haircut without bending over in a contortionist fashion. And the mirror, let's not forget the mirror; that coincidentally enough, sits in front of every single salon chair I've ever seen. Now the customer believes this mirror has been placed there, so that they can watch our every move as we make their hairstyle fantasy come to life. Correction, this mirror is a tool for the stylist, so that while working she can see multiple views of the haircut, so while standing at the back of the client, we can see how it looks in the front. Mind-blowing, I know.
To the average outsider, the idea of doing hair, for a living, seems so fun and exciting, and so atypical from most any other job out there, it is hard for them to even understand and relate to it as actually being a job. That is why this favor of a work-call, after a full day of work, or on the weekend, or during holiday vacations, is something they feel completely comfortable imposing. I think they actually believe that it will be fun for us. Real fun...
Next time, you decide that making an actual appointment and driving to the salon, is just way to much work, and it would be so much more convenient for your hairstylist to just come to you, imagine this, if you will: walking into a salon, that you've been to time and time before, and the stylist chairs that use to be in a row have now been replaced with wooden dining chairs, next to each styling station has now been installed an oven range and on the stove top is a pot of spaghetti noodles boiling over. Also, added to the salon you used to know and love, is a tribe of wild children running about in a game of tag, as you sit down to for your service, the stylist reaches into a cardboard box and pulls out her comb and shears. This is the part of the nightmare where you wake up in a sweat, thanking your stars that it was just a dream.
I'm not saying that your friendship, with the cosmetologist, should not come with perks. Most of the time, we love that you are so proud to be our friend, that you boast about your fabulous hairstylist even when we are not around, and that you fully trust us because we would never lead you astray. My friends and family are among some of my favorite clients. But next time your little fingers start texting the words, "can you just..." stop yourself and remember my warning of plastic scissors and wine!