When being a hairstylist changes a life

Every now and then, we have moments where we are assured that we are in the right place.  There are so many things that I love about being a hairstylist; from being a healing part of someone’s day to helping people feel polished and refreshed. I have had guests in my chair from all kinds of backgrounds, from software engineers to quirky kids of all ages. Whether you are from another country or my friend/family, my station is a safe place for all.

I have had the pleasure of being honored with the opportunity to give my friend her first haircut as a woman! At the time, I was looking for a model for a bob haircut class; I posted on my social media with details and crossed my fingers! At times, it can be hard to find a model, especially if it is last minute and I am expected to have a model for this class! My friend, who requested to be called “M”, accepted the invitation to be my model in a training session at Atelier Salon. She was nervous since it was her first haircut after coming out as a trans-woman, and she had grown out her hair for over a year! Her hair was just past her shoulders with lots of outgrown layers. She wanted to keep her length as long as possible, with layers that give shape but would be long enough for her to tie back.

We started her appointment with the moment of wellness, our ritual with which we begin haircut appointments. It includes a neck and scalp massage with one of Aveda’s aromatherapeutic composition oils. I then washed her hair with Aveda’s Smooth Infusion shampoo and conditioner, which moisturized and softened her hair. M’s hair is between wavy and curly; her baby hair around her hairline curl, but the rest of her hair is too dense to curl without layering. I trimmed her length to just above her shoulders to even it out, gave her long, round layers that started at chin length, and internal layers to debulk her thick hair. Using a rounding layer technique on any haircut will soften sharp features for a more feminine look. Bangs and face framing layers are other options to further soften the look, but M wanted to keep her layers long enough to tie her hair back. For M’s blow dry, I used Smooth Infusion styling products, which help keep hair smooth, battle humidity and help frizz lay flat. I blowdried her hair with a medium size round brush, pulling the sections downwards to smooth her waves and control her volume. With techniques from the class and our fabulous educator Jesi, I gave her hair the finishing touches and advised her on how to use the Smooth Infusion products that would work best with her texture.

By the end of her appointment, my girl was feeling herself! She was smiling, pouting her ruby lips and checking herself out in the mirror.  I could see in that moment that she felt truly beautiful. I felt so honored to be trusted with such a special occasion in her life, and I will cherish the memory of that appointment forever! For the LGBTQ community, especially for those who are coming out as a different gender, it can be terrifying to go out in public. I am so happy to know M, and to know that she felt comfortable coming to my chair to refine her look.

Humanitarians are encouraging society to educate themselves and be welcoming of those around us who are different; whether it be in age, skin color, or other factors. Differences in gender orientation are more widely represented on social media, in television and movies. The growth of this representation has been such a blessing for our young generations who need to see people they identify with. Transgendered people often live life in constant fear of ridicule, rejection and abuse; I hope I have inspired you to be a source of love towards their community. I am proud to be a stylist that welcomes all kinds of people and it gives me joy to offer a safe place to relax and rejuvenate.

mel 2019

Author:  Melissa Hartman, Atelier Artist at Atelier Salon , Willow Glen

Text 408-293-3494 for your appointment with Melissa.


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