Let’s face it. We all enjoy a trip to the local salon where we can sit back, relax, and feel pampered and taken care of. It’s kind of like a mini vacation. But is it just our hair that’s getting the treatment? A trip to the hair stylist can cure the soul as well.
“I always say it’s like I’m a therapist,” says Lori Turner of Hoboken’s Buzz Cuts. “It’s fun. Never a dull moment!”
Turner, who celebrated Buzz Cuts’ 10th anniversary in May, recalls one male client who was meeting a woman for a first date and needed advice on what to wear. She suggested jeans and emphatically added some extra tidbits: “Just be yourself, put your phone away, and don’t drink a lot.”
Whether she’s doling out love-life advice, consoling a client who has recently lost a loved one, or providing parenting guidance, Turner says clients always feel better after having their hair styled and letting go of some of their worries.
“It’s a personal thing—styling hair,” she says. “Once they sit in your chair and you get to know them, they trust you. It’s an outlet.”
Leslie Palacios of Studio Z Salon understands what it feels like to fill a role that entails much more than just providing a good haircut. Along with son Richard, she opened Studio Z’s second Hoboken location at 80 Hudson St. last spring.
“I see men who have very serious jobs,” says Palacios. “They ask if they should pay me as a stylist and as a therapist.”
However, it may be hard to determine when clients simply want to vent or when they are truly seeking guidance.
“Sometimes, they just want to talk,” says Yoselin Plasencia of Hoboken Hair, a 14th Street unisex salon. “Some people just want me to listen, some want to have a conversation, and some actually want advice.”
Having worked almost exclusively with men for 10 years at D&V Barber Shop before opening Hoboken Hair in 2011, Plasencia can sense when her male clients need to put their guard up when it comes to relationships.
“When a client meets someone and the woman wants to change him, that’s a red flag right there,” Plasencia insists.
One devoted customer told Plasencia that she was the “only one” who could ever tell him what to do with his hair.
“It’s a relationship,” she says. “Some people like to have one person that they trust.”
And trust comes in all ages. Plasencia has a client in his 90s who used to come into her barber shop. When he seemed down or sad, she would try to lift his spirits. She encouraged him to follow her to her new salon. Plasencia’s jokes, suggestions, and upbeat attitude must have worked. Now he is a regular customer at Hoboken Hair.
Stylists also take something meaningful from the stylist-client relationship.
“Work for me is not work; it’s like my therapy,” says Plasencia. “You feel good because you are thinking of others. You give yourself to them.”—07030