Where’s Your Head At? Your Hairdresser as Therapist
For some people a trip to your local hairdresser is a practical affair – a snip, a quick chat, pass the money and go. But for others, the intimate social and physical interaction associated with hairdressing fuels something else, where the hairdresser becomes less a functional person with a skill you require and more a shoulder to lean on – someone who might listen to your troubles and woes or else help you give vent to some personal opinions.
A recent study by Booksy, an app which assists bookings and appointment scheduling for beauty salons, nail salons, hairdressers, barbers, tattoo shops etc, revealed that, after the ever-present subject of Covid, hairdressing customers waste no time in talking about their personal life with their barber.
Family and work are top of the personal subject list – but not far behind come the much more intimate subjects of personal relationships and sex. Indeed, no less than 29% of customers don’t mind a natter about what’s going on beneath their bedsheets.
Perhaps even more importantly, the pressing modern issues of health – both physical and mental – are heavily discussed in the hairdresser’s chair. In times when people are encouraged to talk about their mental health, maybe here the hairdresser can be seen as fulfilling a vital public service? It could even be seen as a gentle form of psychotherapy.
Of course, nattering about life with your hairdresser isn’t for everyone – some customers prefer to sit in stony silence until the job is done – but for others the hairdresser has become a ‘neutral’ person to whom they can offload in confidence. After all, it’s not often you get to sit down with a stranger who is happy to listen to your life’s trials and tribulations with a sympathetic ear.
The best hairdressers know that gauging a customer’s willingness to talk is a key part of the job. For a customer who prefers quiet, there’s little worse than a hairdresser who attempts to make small talk. Equally, you wouldn’t want your stylist talking about, say, football if your interest in the game was non-existent.
But for a hairdresser who understands their customers’ needs, coaxing them to talk about their life might be just what they need to make them feel happy about their time in the chair. And after all, a happy customer is a returning customers – and returning customers are the lifeblood of a good hair salon.
Yes, for some, the trip to the local hairdressing salon isn’t just somewhere you go in order to look good – it’s a place where you can talk to your heart’s content and, maybe afterwards, you don’t just look better, you feel a whole lot better too.