I have never been one to find relaxation or joy in going to the hair dresser.
For me, and others with Trichotillomania, going to the hair dresser is not as simple as just well, going.
It makes me nervous, it makes me feel guilty, it stresses me out.
I’ve often blamed my extracurriculars on my bald spots and short hair. Some hair dressers have accepted my “oh up-do accident!” or “I accidentally burnt it on a hair straightener” excuse. Others have looked at me, laughed, and said, “sure hun”.
Regardless of their reaction I always feel vulnerable, I always feel guilty, and I always feel self-conscious. For when going to the hair dresser inevitably I’m forced to stare at my worst enemy, my hair, for hours on end. Watching a hair dresser dye my short hair pieces, struggle to hide them after blow drying my hair and worse talking about it.
It creates urges to pull, and ultimately guilt.
Explaining to a hair dresser you have Trichotillomania is hard.
Someone who makes their living cutting and styling hair, understandably, finds the topic difficult to comprehend. Their reactions over the years have been mixed…
I’ve had hair dressers scold me for doing what I do,
I’ve had hair dressers ask so many questions to a point where I felt like hiding,
I’ve had hair dressers relate to other clients with the same illness,
I’ve had hair dressers acknowledge it, both the good and bad, and move on with conversation.
There’s been positive and there’s been negative, but above all conversation has been key. I used to just hope hair dressers wouldn’t comment. Spending the majority of the time anxiously waiting, waiting for my secret to be discovered. As of late I’ve been honest, and it seems to help.
Tips for the Appointment:
- Be Honest– Share what you live with, it’s scary yes, but will make the experience better when it’s out in the open.
- Hold Your Ground– Sometimes one side of my hair is shorter than another. This is because I tend to pull exclusively from one spot. Ive stopped hair dressers from cutting my hair really short to even it up. It’s your hair, you need to live with the cut.
- Do your research– Look for hair dressers with certifications, experience, and recent graduates from accredited schools, they are more likely to have taken classes talking about trichology.
- See the positives– Yes it’s stressful, and yes it’s not easy, but at the end it will make you feel better, even if momentarily. View it as pampering yourself, regardless of how your pulling is at the given time.
- Distractions-One of my coping mechanisms is holding a hot beverage, and that definitely applies at the hair dresser. I find relaxation in keeping my hands busy at the hair dresser, especially with hair in my eyes and free time to spare. I always bring a coffee or ask for one, and when I can’t drink it I play with my rings on my hand.
*These are just my experiences, not necessarily a comprehensive list or one that will work for everyone.