Khamit Kink’s Stylist Kangue and client Tessa Kagbala a.k.a. Afroista – Photo by Michael July
I have a fascination with a lot of body parts and one of the most cherished that I admire are the hands. I love looking at people’s hands, how they hold they hands and how their hands look when they are doing work that they love. I can’t imagine a day without my hands. Scientist believe that it is our hands that distinguishes us from other mammals. And most of all, our hand heal and create. I’ll repeat that – our hands heal and our hands are how many of us create and make a living. This brings me in part, to my belief in why there is such a special and usually long term relationship between hairstylists and their clients.
Most people are unconsciously aware of how and why they end up making long-term relationships with the person that takes care of their hair. Or they may not think about it at all or they chalk it up to superficial or obvious reasons – they like the vibe of their Stylist or they liked the way they their hair is done, but it goes deeper than that. In ancient days it was always considered a sacred practice to do hair. After all, Stylists are touching, handling the part of the body where the mind and the consciousness resides. Therefore, not just anyone was allowed to touch your head, especially if you were a person of power, rank, or influence (king, queen, head of state) those who did your hair were carefully chosen. The person touching your head had to have a particular demeanor and a certain level of spiritual consciousness. Secondly, the hands themselves are sacred tools of healing powers. We have all experienced at one time or another that soothing feeling of someone touching us in times of pain or sorrow and experiencing the comfort of that touch. Not to mentioned, but probably more overlooked, the affect of being touched in times of joy, happiness and ecstasy.
Electro Graph of the hands showing the energy that emanates from the hands
Most of us have heard of ‘laying on of hands’ and we instinctively practice the ‘laying on of hands’ on our own bodies. As soon as we hurt anywhere, we instinctively touch that area, knowing without often consciously realizing it, that we have the ability to bring immediate healing energy to ourselves just by touching the afflicted area. So when a Stylist or Barber touches your head, manipulates, styles, grooms your hair or shampoo, and massage your head, the healing energies begin to flow. This is especially true if that person consciously has intention towards those ends or is simply present for you and is caring. And of course this true of anyone in the healing arts, healing modalities where you are being touched – massage therapy, facials, etc. Even when you’re having a manicure, the way the manicurist holds your hand, massages it, is having an affect on you and more often than not, you become more relaxed. The gentle touch of a correction or adjustment in a yoga class or a doctor who takes the time to touch, all these touching instances have a profound affect on us.
Hands remind me of elegant dancers – Photography by Kevin Thom
But back to hair, I have been in social situations where at some point people are being asked what they do for a living. And it has never been lost on me how some people judge others based on what they do for a living; in nano seconds they estimate how much education went into your profession and or how much money they believe you make and thus, decide your worth.… I have often picked up on the fact that many think that being a hairstylist is of no consequence, that it is not a profession of merit or worth, they dismiss you as not being of value or a true contender in the world of making a difference in the lives of others, they determine your level of intelligence or whether or not you’re a legitimate artist. What most people don’t recognize or acknowledge about those who do hair is that they are artists, performing artist as they perform works of art with your hair. And in their own right, hairstylists are healers. If they have done their work in the right way, their patrons leave them feeling better, feeling uplifted, inspired and in a better head space. Not to mention, your hair should thrive and grow under the tutelage of a skilled and gifted hairstylist.
Hairstylist are also hard workers, tireless workaholics spending many hours on their feet creating and making every effort to please their patrons. I have never met a lazy hairstylist. Most hairstylists in the natural hair care business spend many hours with each of their clients, some times the entire day (8 or more hours creating one style). Their clients often share personal celebrations, triumphs and accomplishments as well as their struggles and heartaches. In that way many Stylists inadvertently become informal psychotherapists. And sometimes there’s a give and take in these situations. Many caring and loving clients also offer valuable information and comfort to their Stylists as well. We’re not going to talk about the unhappy clients who bring stress and misery everywhere they go and end up draining their Stylists… That’s a conversation for another day.
I often notice that when I am massaging oil on my scalp it feels good but not nearly as lovely as when someone else does it for me. It could be a Stylist who massages the oil on one’s scalp, but it could also be a family member, lover or friend. The magic and power of touch can not be overstated. And though I am a certified Reiki practitioner, I still prefer the touch of another, even though I know and have been formally trained on the art of how to ‘lay hands’ on myself. Those who use their hands, who touch us while doing their work have a heightened degree of healing in their hands, just from the hours, the years of transferring energy to others. So the reasons why you have a committed relationship with your Stylist runs much deeper than just the fact that she or he is cool and does a good job on your hair. It’s a healing exchange that takes place. In these times of DIY (do it yourself) I am reminded that yes, you can do [some of] it yourself and that’s a good a thing. But there is is great value in the touch of another who is transferring healing and creative energy to you.