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Iceni Magazine | October 16, 2021

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Nearly 50% of hair stylists feel like unofficial therapists, found Booksy survey

unofficial therapists

A Booksy survey has revealed that almost 50% of hair stylists were treated like unofficial therapists, listening to and offering advice on a range of issues.

Think back to 2019 or even early 2020. “Are you going anywhere nice for your holidays this year?”  The days of hair stylists chatting to their clients mainly about holidays are gone. This year, as well as the restricted places Brits are permitted to visit, lots of people are avoiding heading abroad because of changes in passport legislation as a result of Brexit and Covid-19 rules linked to testing.

Two-thirds of people have been bending their hair stylist’s ear discussing Covid-19 and their family. Slightly fewer clients talk to them about their work situations, while over a quarter of clients feel comfortable chatting about their bedroom (other locations are available) activities.

Over a third talk of clients chat to their hair stylist about mental health. And while there is no pressure on those within the industry to become mental health practitioners, there are training courses available to support hair stylists to help their customers.

BarberTalk is a training programme for hair professionals based on four pillars: recognise, ask, listen, and help. The aim is to empower hair stylists to support their clients in a non-judgmental, friendly and caring environment.

1 in 4 women and around 1 in 6 or 7 men will experience domestic abuse in their lives. Behind the Mask supports hair and beauty professionals to recognise the signs and be there if their clients reach out to them, as often appointments like these are the only time people can talk openly.

Hairdresser, Emma, explains, “Since I did my training over a decade ago, I have seen several clients change drastically and become more withdrawn. Doing an awareness course has supported me to support them. I don’t have the answers and make that clear, but if any one of my ladies or men needed me to help them get out, I would.”

With 37% of people saying they would follow the advice of their hair stylist, it is safe to say that a significant proportion of clients respect their views. In fact, some say this working relationship based on trust could save lives.

While it is great to think that the industry is evolving to support its clients in a variety of ways, the hair professionals’ own health and wellbeing should also be considered. Over a quarter of clients recognise that their hair stylist frequently seems overworked, stressed or anxious. In addition, 22% have noticed that their hair stylist appears depressed.

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