Be an Oasis of Wellness

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In the Covid era your salon can be an oasis of wellness. Here are three things to remember when putting that idea into practice:

(1) Keep it simple. You’re probably already practicing simple wellness in your salon, with the scalp massage you do as part of a shampoo. It relieves tension that builds up and stores itself in the body as stress.

Stress causes unhealthy conditions. When you have less of it, you’re healthier in general. 

If you offer manicures and pedicures, you relieve stress when you include the hand and foot massage. Your cosmetology license allows you to do this, as long as you’re not claiming to “cure” anything.

So promote it. Say what you do — not to brag, but as a statement of fact. People don’t realize what you do, unless you tell them. 

By the way, when you emphasize the benefits you provide, you can easily justify modest price increases for your services if you’ve been timid about raising your prices. But that’s a subject for another day.

(2) Serve your clients. For example, my shop is located near the headquarters of a group some people call a cult. Clients from there often suffer from the effects of verbal abuse and sleep deprivation. They often have to stay up all night to achieve some goal of dubious worth to meet some arbitrary deadline.

If you get clients with similar experiences, don’t scold them when they fall asleep in your chair. Spending an hour in your non-judgmental presence with soft music playing in the background is a priceless luxury for them — when they’re allowed to have it.

(3) Teach by example. Remember, before Covid, on plane trips when the flight attendant gave the safety talk at the beginning of the flight? She’d say if you’re traveling with children and the oxygen masks drop down, put yours on first, before helping the children with theirs.

The same logic applies to adding wellness to your salon. Your own wellness should be a priority, if you’re going to offer it to others with authenticity.

Years ago, in the waiting area of the smog check station on Sunset Blvd in East Hollywood, I met a woman who was an excellent example of wellness. We fell into casual conversation, and I was blown away when she told me she was over 90 years old.

She was bright-eyed and alert — definitely still had all her marbles — and had the upright posture and graceful carriage of a much younger person. I asked her how she managed to stay in such good shape, and she told me she practiced yoga.

You know how it happens. Once you become aware of a thing, all of a sudden, it’s everywhere. Right after that, a client came into the shop, talking about the Delaney sisters, who lived to be over a hundred years old. They practiced yoga every day.

Then I began to notice the proliferation of yoga studios, popping up all around Los Angeles. I saw the people coming and going from these places — beautifully fit and in glowing good health. One place in particular got rave reviews from people I knew, so I decided to try it.

The gentle, low-impact exercise was a perfect fit for this not-so-young body, and once I worked my way up to taking two or three classes a week with my favorite teachers, I found I needed fewer chiropractic adjustments.

Yoga is an ancient, time-tested wellness protocol. The word itself means “union” in Sanskrit, and the practice is an attempt to get the body, mind, and spirit all on the same page. When this happens, your actions are more mindful and less harmful to yourself and others. 

It’s a beautiful way of taking your wellness into your own hands and not dumping the responsibility for your health onto doctors — who, frankly, know more about sickness than they do about health.

Though you can find yoga classes online, if you’ve never done it before, it’s a good idea to start with a teacher in person, either in a class or one-on-one, who can help your body maintain proper alignment in the various poses. He/she can also teach you the special deep breathing that is the transformational part of the practice.

I once overheard a young woman say, “I’m not good at yoga.” Well, you don’t have to be. Simply start where you are and practice, practice, practice.

Our existing health care system is reeling under the demands of the Covid crisis. Nobody, even now, knows how long it’s going to last. You can take some of the pressure off simply by using your cosmetology practice to help people stay well.

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Lynn Fountain Campbell owns a salon in the East Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Currently, she helps stylists and salon owners build better websites that are structured to gain more traction in the search engines. Contact her at besthairstylistintown.com/contact.

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