Ever thought about the fact that a visit to the salon is fraught with many a pitfall? If I had a dollar for every grooming product I’ve ever been talked into buying in my life, I would be a rich woman indeed. (Well, I could treat myself to a fancy lunch at the very least!)
Owing to bad hair genes, I am not one to mess with my hair too much. It is reasonably straight and minds it’s own business for the most part, asking for no more than a wash every other day. A haircut every couple of months and a color or highlight not more than twice a year is the most I do for it. Although my bathroom and dressing table have been invaded by bottles of all manner of gooey colored solutions and sprays (that belong to my husband), I’ve never been tempted to try out a single one. I think it’s a combination of ignorance (of the miracles they are capable of) and laziness (to put in any more effort than I absolutely have to. I take enough time dressing up and doing makeup without having to worry about my hair as well).
So it is really beyond me why I would fall for the hair stylists’ sales pitch every time. Over the years, they’ve managed to sell me shampoos, conditioners, anti-frizz serums, shine serums, volumizing mousses and hairsprays- none of which I have ever used more than once. These products are relegated to the back of dresser drawers and bathroom cabinets until I can throw them away (slightly) guilt-free a few years later.
It all starts with the hair stylist (often self-professed ‘creative stylist’- and I’m not sure if being creative with someone’s hair is necessarily a good thing-) examining your hair at length with a twist here and there, all the while hmmmm-ing with brow deeply furrowed. I sit quietly under swathes of sheet like a nervous student in a principal’s room. At some point we come to an agreement on exactly what we’re going to unleash on my unsuspecting mop of hair. (Actually, it’s really just me doing all the subservient agreeing and him the frenzied unleashing.)
He proceeds to chop and snip away for the next ten minutes and I delve deep into my trashy magazine. Until he decides to look up at me in the mirror and pronounce sadly, “Your hair is very, very dry. See (he thrusts a lock of hair in front of my face)!”
I was prepared for something like this. I say triumphantly, “But my hair is greasy, not dry!” (Ha! caught you out, didn’t I!)
“Aaaah…you have a greasy scalp, but the hair is dry. Very dry,” he reiterates and clucks morosely.
“Oh.” I’m not sure I have any defense for this.
“You must take better care of your hair. See how lifeless it is?” the stylist admonishes me. I look at my hair and indeed, it does look drab and dull.
“See that woman there? Look at how shiny and healthy her hair is!” he whispers. He’s right. That woman does have lovely red tresses I would die for.
My countenance suddenly takes a turn for the humble. ”What do I do?” I almost wail beseechingly to him.
“Don’t worry, we can fix it. I’ll give you a couple of excellent products you can use,” he says confidently. I breathe a sigh of relief and thank myself for having chosen this considerate stylist who has diagnosed my hair and is going to give me some stuff to take away with me. Money well-spent.
I thank him profusely, tell him I love my new cut and am going to send all my friends here! I’ll even recommend him on Facebook.
At the cash counter, his assistant hands me a bag full of lovely bottles in various pastel shades. I thank her and ask how much.
“Three hundred dollars, please.”
My eyes bulge and I start to sweat. “Three hundred dollars?” I gulp. “Can I see the bill please?”
I skim over the numbers that are now swaying in front of my eyes, and ask faintly, “You charge for the hair products?”
“Ha ha! Madam is too funny!” the assistant laughs fondly.
I don’t think to politely but firmly refuse to buy them. I feel obliged and am terrified of seeming tight-fisted at this fancy salon.
Madam pays the bill in full and walks out (visibly more hunched over than when she walked in) with the purchases that she will go bury in her closet, never to be looked at again for fear of reliving that nightmare.