• Tatiana Collier

Why I’m devoted to my hairdresser (and it’s more than her scissor skills)

When I first left Melbourne and moved to Avoca at age 26, I was ready and willing to make big changes: find a new job, find a new doctor and dentist, and join a new gym. But there was one thing that my relocation would not have me change – my hairdresser.

My husband thought I was absurd. There were hairdressers in Avoca; even more in the nearby town of Maryborough; hundreds of them in Ballarat. Yet I insisted that every three months, I would journey back to Melbourne (2+ hours each way) to see MY hairdresser.

I know I’m not alone in this. Most of us have a hairdresser – the only one we make appointments with, and we are willing to wait weeks (dare I say months) to get that appointment. And we do this because it’s “so hard” to find a good hairdresser.

For nearly three years I did the drive, until I just had to admit it was a burden and was adding the additional cost of fuel to an already expensive outing. So, I made that most difficult move and changed hairdresser.

As it turned out, my new person was great. I loved her work; she was close to home; and half the price (country perks). I visited her (and only her) for the next decade. I scheduled my appointments around important dates in my life, and scheduled them around her maternity leaves (yes, she left me more than once to have a child).

But then I moved towns again. Having learnt from my first big move, and now with two small children in tow, it was not realistic to drive back for hair appointments. So, for the second time I faced that oh so difficult change… new hairdresser.

Of course, I asked a friend who lived in Ballarat who she went to. No way was I going to just anyone. This was my hair. I had to know this person could be trusted. And as we all know, it’s so hard to find a good hairdresser.

But is it?

There must be hundreds of thousands of hairdressers in Australia, and yet I have had several conversations with people about how difficult it is to find a good one. I’ve also had many conversations with people who understand the turmoil I’ve had to face (twice!) of changing and finding someone knew.

But why is it so hard? Why am I so hesitant to trust someone to treat my hair – a part of the body that has no effect on our physical health and grows and changes so much that we have to make appointments regularly just to keep in manageable?

I had never really thought about this until my last appointment, about a month ago, when I was HANGING OUT to see my hairdresser again. Not because my hair was particularly horrific post lockdown, but because I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. I needed to decompress.

And that’s when it hit me. My hairdressers are my counsellors. Each one of them has listened, sympathised, empathised and I can honestly say, offered priceless pearls of wisdom at various times.

I have laughed with them, cried with them, unloaded some of my deepest feelings and all of it has been accepted and embraced by these amazingly caring and insightful women. And that is why I love my trips to the hairdresser so much. Sure, I come out looking better, but I come out feeling better too; like I’ve been recharged.

This is not just a woman thing either. I had a similar conversation with a man who chose his hairdresser because she could remain silent. We all know hairdressers are highly skilled at small talk. But this one man, who’s job was quite stressful, liked to use a haircut for some time out. Having tried several ladies in the salon, he finally settled on the one who respected his wishes for silence.

So yes, we do become devoted to our hairdressers. They have the skills we need to tame the mane (and everyone’s mane is different). But in my experience, our devotion stems from all the extras you may not even be aware of.

This story is dedicated to:

The gorgeous Bree Boyes, Julie and Bree Hair and Beauty, Maryborough VIC

The lovely Tash Murnane, Boutique Hair Parlour, Ballarat VIC

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