Our industry is notorious for work-related injuries. In fact, a recent study shows that 71% of hairdressers reported pain in some part of their body! Hard concrete floors can lead to varicose veins, knee, hip and back disorders. Leaning over a shampoo bowl puts stress on the lower back. Repetitive cutting motions can lead to tendonitis and carpal tunnel, as well as shoulder and neck injuries.
Good grief! With this potential why would anyone want to get started in this business? The truth is, it’s a fabulous business in which to work! It’s exciting, passionate, creative and rewarding. However, the risks are still there. So the question today is, “What will you do if the pain outweighs the benefits?”
I have seen far too many wonderful stylists leave the industry because of injuries. Most of us don’t plan to get hurt and we also don’t have a long term plan I like to call “in case of!” Essential if you would like to continue to work in the beauty industry.
Get Specialized People for the Job
- Working with an assistant and allowing some of the chores to be done by someone else. The upside is that an assistant can mean it may be possible to manage more than one chair.
- Salon management or Owner. A good manager/owner is worth their weight in gold! Especially if that someone has intimate knowledge of being behind the chair! Managing people, clients, marketing, and administration makes for an eclectic mix of responsibilities which can be very rewarding.
- Technician/Educator. Perhaps there is a particular area that you feel passionate about. Manufacturers and distributors are always looking for good people to teach others! If you love it, there are quite a few paths that lead out of this area. The first color technician I worked with ended up climbing the corporate ladder of a major colour company. A couple of others got dream jobs in major training studios. I think our neck of the woods breeds educators who turn into national and international stars. A good friend travels the world sharing his gift and passion! The number of awards we are seeing from our area is impressive!
- Sales Representative. Manufacturers and distributors need people to sell their products to other salons and spas. I have to say that from personal experience, I had fun, flexibility, and made good money!
Consider these Options for Constant Pain.
Please don’t leave us! There is so much to do! In the meantime, here are some tips to improve the ergonomics of your chosen career:
- Swivel thumb shears! Yes, they are a little tricky to get used to but what they do is allow you to drop your shoulders and elbows so you are not continually holding them in the air.
- Saddle tool. They are actually better for you than a regular stool as they are easier to scoot around on and stand up from. Use different levels when you are working with a client rather than the one level of standing.
- Compression mats. They help to ease the pressure on your back and legs from a hard surface.
- Movable sinks. Adjust the sink height rather than having to adjust your height to the sink. Also backwashes are more ergonomically effective than a side sink.
- Changing your grip. Look at several ways to adjust your grip on your tools, especially brushes and dryers, and adjust regularly.
Remember, being a stylist is often the first step in an amazing career in the beauty industry. After all, look at all the amazing things Catherine and I have been able to accomplish over our careers! There is another option I forgot, business consultant and mentor; the best of all of them, ‘cause we get to connect with all of you!
Header photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash