Memories from a shampoo girl

Welcome to the world of hair
Edited, Photo by David Yamasaki.

Did you know that I used to work in hair salons? I ask that in the almost the same voice I would use when admitting to working in a strip club or doing singing telepgrams… and that voice is filled with dismay. Once I narrate some details for you, you will understand why.

My second job ever (and third and fourth) was in a hair salon. (This only qualifies as my second job if you don’t take into account when I was a cashier at my Dad’s meat market, which no one ever does.) I was hired as a receptionist for that first salon job, which actualy meant cashier. No such thing as a simple cashier in a salon (I found out in my several-year stint in the industry). 

I got the job by answering a want ad. Yes, that was back when I was naive enough to think that you found a job by looking at the want ads. And, lo and behold, I did find one. (Do people still do that? Find jobs from job listings?)

The only experience I had was some time working in a McDonald’s. But, you have to understand, this was an independently-owned restaurant in a chain of six that were run by a former navy officer and his wife. They paid us two dollars over minimum wage (back then), gave scholarships to the college students and expected nothing but excellence in all things. I can still tell you how long it took to cook a quarter pounder hamburguer and why you weren’t supposed to scoop up the ice with the glass (two minutes and because it left wax on the rest of the ice). I was trained to smile while I moped. So, while McDonald’s was my only experience, I was a very well-trained restaurant employee.

One of the many jobs I had during college was in a hair salon. Actually, I worked in three separate salons over a period of nearly three years. i a quired a good understanding of working with the public, a dismaying look at how much womens share with their hairdressers, and a lack of respect for hairstyles.

I’m not the person to complain to when your hair stylist takes off an inch too much. I’m not going to have any sympathy at all.

I had friends who worked as waitresses or bartenders, I worked in hair. And that gave me the backseat to many a real soap opera. Did you realize that women tell their hairdressers everything? And I mean everything? We found about about them cheating on their husbands, their mistakes at work, their problems with their kids, and their many many phobias and problems. It all poured out of them in every visit, every session. 

One day I will write a book about it. And not just about the customers. The hairdressers were an education as well. In particular, as I worked my way into more expensive hair salons, the more “artistic” the haridressers became. That means that they were unique in a way that defied my experience.

People are weird, especially when they’re being themselves. I found out that people will remove their filters when they’re dealing with those outside their social circles, with people who have no impact on their lives. 

And thus, I never became a hairdresser. 

Photo Credit: Edited, Photo by David Yamasaki

Author: Paloma Cruz

Find out more about Paloma Cruz through the About page. Connect with her on Twitter ( and (Facebook).

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