Going to the hairdressers is still a total novelty for me. Up until last year I’d always been too tight to pay the full price for a hairdresser to wash my hair before a cut. Yes, I was that girl who they could rely on to come in 3 times a year to come in to get a dry cut and at £7 a pop, who was I to complain? However, now that my student days are mostly behind me I religiously visit the salon every 6 weeks. Having not quite made the full transition to adulthood I still won’t pay for a blow dry. A rough dry will do just fine.
In the days leading up to the big event, time is spent carefully planning my hair washes around the salon visit in order to get maximum gain from my visit. What’s the point in having squeaky clean hair when someone’s about to wash it anyway? I’m fully aware how disgusting that sounds. I’m simply saying what we’re all thinking. On the flip side, surely it would be positively rude to go to the salon with filthy, unwashed hair? Over my last 3 visits, I’ve tried a variety of combinations of pre-salon hair hygiene levels.
Visit 1: Unwashed
I could see the hairdresser looking suspiciously at my head as I told her that I was booked in for a wash and cut at 11am. I wasn’t too sure what the looks were for: maybe I don’t look like a ‘Cat’ after all? As we approach the sinks (where the impending magic takes place), I mention to lady that I still have my overnight conditioner in from last night. A faint and slightly nauseated smile musters on her face. I was wondering if perhaps my accent had confused her, and that perhaps she thought that I had actually asked her to clean my ears. No. It had definitely been said with perfect clarity: my hair is not clean. It wasn’t mud, it wasn’t mayonnaise. It was conditioner. Her reaction took me aback somewhat – but perhaps reveals valuable insight into both of our characters. At the end of the wash, I didn’t feel embarrassed: I felt relaxed and had enjoyed an extremely thorough hair wash – surely what my money is paying for in the first place?
Visit 2: Freshly Washed
Washing my hair 1 hour before the hairdresser goes against my usual pre-salon visit routine, but curiosity was clearly to get the better of me. Into the salon I enter with my fresh and squeaky clean locks. The hairdresser guides me over to the sink and as he unravels my hair asks if I’ve just washed it. I nod. I appreciate I’m a newbie to the business of having my hair washed at a salon, but I have picked up that normally there are 3 stages involved: shampoo, magical unknown product, and then conditioner. I’m settled into the foamy chair, about to enjoy my hair being washed. Shampoo: check. Conditioner: check. What the woah! Where was my magical unknown product between the shampoo and the conditioner? I felt cheated. I was to pay the same amount that day as with any other day, with or without the magical middle step. Surely that was cheating? Lesson learned for next time!
Visit 3: The Awkward In-between
Today I visited the salon with mildly unclean hair, with the ends soaked in argan oil (good to see to any split ends). My visit was a total success! I nonchalantly mentioned to the hairdresser that I still had hair oil in, and his response was like music to my ears – ‘No worries at all love. It’s good that you’re using it, nourishes the hair you know?’. Excellent. I was not to be looked down upon like the unhygienic troll like in Visit 1. Here was a hairdresser demonstrating his passion and advocacy for healthy hair. It was such a simple gesture on his part, but was enough to show that he cares more about doing his job and the health of my hair than getting his hands dirty.
So, I think all in all it’s a combination of: who is washing your hair; how much confidence you work your dirty hair with; and how dirty your hair actually is. The novelty of having my hair washed at the salon is still far outweighing my lack of shame to deliberately not wash my hair the day before the cut. Call me frugal or just simply a mink. I don’t mind. If ever you’re feeling self-conscious or like you’re being a money scrooge, forget it. You’re entitled to the service that you’ve paid for. So within reason, don’t feel too bad for turning up with less than perfect hair: there are much more offensive agents that could be lurking in your locks than conditioner!