The Beauty Beat: An open letter to beauticians

I’ve often wondered, as a beautician savages my eyebrows with thread, why we women do this to ourselves — the plucking, the waxing, the unending dyeing and re-dyeing of hair, and the gymnastics of getting a mani-pedi and drinking the complimentary coffee at the same time.

It’s an enormous amount of time spent doing stuff that’s either painful, boring or stressful — or all three.

That’s why I’d love it if the people who we spend so much time with, and who have so much power over the way we look and feel about ourselves, would be a little gentler with us. I have an immense amount of respect for salon staff and their crafts, but sometimes they make me want to cry.

So here’s a little open letter with a few requests to the beauteous beauticians and hairdressers we all love so much.

1. Can we go easy on the suggestions? I know you were just trying to be helpful by asking if apart from my eyebrows I’d also like my forehead waxed. In all honesty, 10 minutes ago I didn’t even know that my forehead hair was a cause for concern. Now, every time I look in the mirror, all I see is my forehead hair. Maybe in the future, point out fewer things I need to get done. I already spend way too much money on these salon visits.

2. There’s no shame in saying you can’t do something. Here’s a special shout out to the neighbourhood hairdresser from when I was a teenager. It would have saved me a lot of embarrassment if you had been honest about your ability to do a funky, razor-cut bob. The choppy, uneven mess I got was a major hit to my already fragile self-esteem. That’s all in the past now, and you probably don’t remember me, but I remember that horrible cut like it was yesterday. And I know I’m not speaking for myself on this one. Next time you sit down with a client, ask them how many times a bad haircut or dye job has made them cry, or at least ruined their day.

3. Let’s tone down the judgement, shall we? “How old are you? Are you married? No?” Oh yes, I know where this is going. This is probably a routine line of questioning for you, something to get the conversation started. But to me, it sounds mildly like an interrogation while you literally have me trapped on a chair or table. It all ends with you giving me advice on how to life my life (and maybe more suggestions). I already get this from my inner voice… for free!

4. Yes, it does actually hurt. You can’t feel it when you’re poking at my nails with those mean looking cuticle scissors, or when swiping on that hot, melted wax. So when I say it’s painful or too hot, if you could take that into consideration instead of completely ignoring me and doing it the same way that would be great.

5. Sometimes, just sometimes, I do know better. Like the time you convinced me to get a ‘fruit facial’ even though I was highly sceptical about its benefits. Turns out, getting my face rubbed with orange slices for 15 minutes did absolutely nothing for my skin. I also distinctly remember asking you to wax my face a certain way (a horrific experience in itself), only for you to ignore my warnings and then ask why my face was reacting so badly. Funny how that works, right?

Even though we’ve had some issues with each other, I know we’ll see each other again, and again, and again. Until next time, yours truly, Jennifer.

P.S. To all the amazing beauticians and hairdressers out there, we love and appreciate the work you do every day. Thank you for making us look even more beautiful that we already do.