While curly hair currently makes up at least 75% of my clients, the other 25% are the various other challenging hair types and personal situations. Of that 25%, a significant number of these individuals have fine or thin hair. Like curls, people with fine hair also struggle with blunt wet cuts that resolve in flat, shapeless styles that are often frustrating and grow out poorly. Cutting fine hair dry is paramount to resolving this. All of this contributes to the many reasons why I call myself a cutting specialist and not just a curl specialist. Make no mistake, a cutting specialist with an culturally diverse client list needs to be able to cut all hair types exceptionally well. Being proficient with many different textures of hair also provides the opportunity to develop skills that can benefit all the different types of hair that I regularly engage with.
Now, when it comes to challenging hair types, individuals with curly hair have significant and specific challenges. Once I learned this was overwhelmingly the case here in Australia, I decided to promote myself as a 'curl specialist' to ensure clients would feel safe, listened to and supported. Truth be told though, I had always worked with and supported curls and didn't know most other professionals in this country did not. To me, working with curls in a supportive manner was an essential part of a well-rounded career and something I had an interest in developing since the beginning. What is interesting is that numerous clients from Italy, Spain and various South American countries have told me the following.
"Back home I never needed to see a curl specialist, I just went to someone who knew how to cut hair well."
Exactly! Turn's out I have those old-school, old-world skills that were once much more commonplace. Putting my hand up as a curly hair supportive professional here in Australia was clearly necessary and I'm so very glad I did. As mentioned earlier though, doing so did feel strange because I thought that anyone who has chosen to cut hair professionally should be, by default. So how and why did I turn out differently? Well, for starters I avoided the flawed education and indoctrination within the hairdressing industry. Next, I chose a different career trajectory.
From the start, I wilfully chose not to work in a predominately Anglo focused, upper-middle-class, high-end salon. In fact, I chose the opposite. By doing so, I was exposed to the beautiful variety that is humanity. Perhaps I was just being intuitive in this way, but I always wanted to work in culturally diverse cities. Consequently, I had no choice but to be proficient at cutting hair for everyone equally. As a result, I never became someone who automatically straightens every client with a flat iron. This is a mindset and practice that is the standard many clients have experienced, the world over.
Yes, I grateful that I put my hand up as a curl specialist here in Australia. I've learned so much from the experience and it continues to have an incredibly positive impact on my career and service offering. In that way, the practice continues to make perfect. Overall though, I get equal enjoyment working on any texture of hair, for any individual who has struggled with going to a conventional salon. Seeing and experiencing their happiness is everything about why I love my job. There is still many left of this journey and there's still so much to learn, conversations to have and relationships to develop. Game on!