Tom Zappala Haircutting Insights Self-Care

Self-Care

Humans have engaged in the act of grooming one another for many thousands of years. While initially done for essential hygiene needs, it is thought that this ritualised tribal grooming also strengthened bonds, fostering both community and connection. One can imagine it was both a soothing and nurturing task with numerous benefits beyond the functional superficial. This historical reference continues to shape my thinking and contributes to how I engage and evolve with my work.

While not everyone thinks or needs a haircut to be a supportive, nurturing experience, many do consider it a self-care service. That is why having a less than satisfying outcome feels the way it does. Some of this is purely due to undesirable aesthetic results, but it seems evident that our emotional well-being also takes a significant hit when things don’t eventuate as we hoped. That is often due to our subconscious selves needing the service to provide something more substantial than the haircut itself.

"I don't identify as what many people think I am: a hairdresser."

These concepts contribute to why I don’t identify as what many people think I am: a hairdresser. In our modern era, conventional hairdressing does not readily consider the emotional needs inherent in the service offered. Instead, it has taken something that was initally nurturing and turned it into a profits driven business model often provided in a fun, energetic environment. While that reality certainly satisfies many people in the community, there are others for whom it does not.

While there are pages on this site that mention the word, ‘hairdresser’, its usage is due to the simple fact that it is what most people type into Google. Make no mistake, if I branded my business online to better align with my professional identity and principle, far fewer people would discover it. Since helping people is my primary intention, expectedly labelling the business is seen as beneficial. That said, in this age of correct pronoun usage and gender identity, it’s important to state that I do not identify professionally as ‘hairdresser’. I prefer ‘haircutter’ or ‘self-care practitioner’.

"Make no mistake, if I branded my business online to better align with my professional identity and principle, far fewer people would discover it."

The transition to this way of thinking started to shift within the last decade. Upon reflection, that timeframe makes perfect sense. It takes a lot of time to learn the essential skills required to do the work. After which, there is room to delve into broader concepts, benefits and intentions. Currently, I find myself in a good spot. The tangible results of my efforts consistently hit the mark, while I cognitively develop and appreciate the importance of what is occurring psychologically.

Ultimately, not every client who arrives is interested in anything beyond getting a good haircut. Either way, my practice is well-honed to support what each person needs from their visit. I am thankful that so many who choose my service offering understand and appreciate the thought and intention I put into the process.

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