I was offered an option starting my Vidal Sassoon apprenticeship in 1977, “Do you want to specialize in cutting or become a colorist?” Wet behind the ears forty years ago, the reason I chose cutting wasn’t because chemical application is harmful to clients and those hairstylists who apply it. My rationale — haircutting had and still does have a rhythm I prefer than applying chemicals on hair. However, through experience determined although one might not like a haircut, it does eventually grow out. Decades of hair chemical application does in fact produce negative effects which more often than not lead to alopecia areata (partial hair loss.) Some clinical researchers argue chemicals used on hair can cause cancer.
During a recent consultation with a new Manhattan client, I went as far as to say, “No hairstylist in their right mind would nudge any client away from using hair color.” To clarify my statement and soothe the perplexed expression on her face, I explained such an unorthodox comment would reduce any hairstylists income by half, leaving revenue exclusively from cuts. Her eyes instantly widened, surprised by this tidbit coming from an insider.
Vanity is one powerful force that frequently supersedes prudence. The vast majority of obstetricians ask expectant patients if they use hair color; Dr. He or She immediately suggest all mothers-to-be postpone hair color until after delivery before applying more herself or scheduling another appointment at the salon.
Most feel heart-wrenched seeing a present day emaciated polar bear on the brink of extinction taking their last steps across bone-dry land. I have similar feelings observing a client’s front hairline following untold years of using hair color. Many patrons who succumb to a colorist applying highlights or one process color frequently end up with hair feeling less than ideal. It’s inevitable, this client and others similar will in all likelihood experience unnecessary hair loss too, becoming thinner faster than the natural aging process.
My stance opposing chemicals and excessive heat on hair doesn’t waiver. It’s been a custom of mine to preface any initial consultation expressing, “You’re free to draw your own conclusion, whatever your decision is I’m grateful for your Jehrcut patronage.” Finishing on a lighter note, I’ll usually joke saying, “I’m not the hair police, I won’t arrest you.”
The trillion dollar beauty industry, alongside entertainment’s star-studded bedfellows rarely, if ever, speak out against damage suffered through typical beauty regimes, specifically on hair. Perhaps more significant is an overall unattainable bar the beauty industry places on women, absorbing this information as early as toddlers. A more in depth beauty industry reveal can be found in my nonfiction narrative, Mr. Haute Coiffure.
Bleach blonde Gwyneth Paltrow posting an image of herself on Instagram one random morning without makeup, wearing a tiny $250 white t-shirt and $900 faded low-rise jeans probably won’t be America’s prime candidate to spearhead voice for women calling on drastic change in the beauty industry. Neither Hillary Clinton’s faux blonde representation nor Sheryl Sandberg’s imitation brunette blowout advance change in beauty — both encourage the status quo. Entertainment, politics or America’s premiere women business leaders fall short in this arena: Kelly Ripa, Nancy Pelosi, Marissa Mayer included.
America’s momentous Time’s Up movement shouldn’t be devoted purely against criminal male behavior. This camp should expand being multifaceted and gender inclusive, breaking down any inequity toward women, the beauty industry no exception. Will someone kindly forward this article to Charlize Theron? Okay, I’m flattering myself, though who doesn’t once in awhile? I believe her affiliation with my crusade could be more fulfilling than modeling in picturesque layouts for Christian Dior.
Recently I saw a blacklisted celebrity who resurfaced on the cover of L’Officiel; she appeared stronger than ever. I just might pass Theron’s agent’s invitation to a meeting if Lindsay’s agent emailed afterward. Lindsay Lohan’s struggle was a circus, in spite of previous lows she emerged quite stoic and beautiful. Come to think of it, Judi Dench teamed with Lindsay Lohan would be an astounding coup, a generational crossover advocating inner beauty alongside Jehr Schiavo.
My capsulated mission statement — confidence and radiance exuded through inner beauty. I’m male, hardly an image women would imagine to front an essential battle encouraging an alternative direction from the vapid beauty industry, though how many of us a decade ago would’ve guessed Oprah Winfrey be POTUS in 2020?