Australia
This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

‘Cut and colour, no chat’: The rise of silent hair appointments

You have to feel for hairdressers. For years they’ve been treating us like royalty – serving herbal teas and coffees with tiny biscotti or proffering flutes of champagne and bottomless glasses of wine. They’ve massaged our scalps with the expertise of a physiotherapist. They’ve been therapists, listening to us drone on about our first world problems – and this was before the pandemic struck, when they lost huge amounts of work and income.

Now, there’s a new request on the rise: silent appointments, where hairdressers are not allowed to speak. That’s right: customers can now request silence because they can no longer bear the heavy burden of being asked, “Any plans for the weekend?”

Kaylie Douglas: “A lot of people post lockdown just didn’t want to talk; they just preferred to enjoy their appointment, so it was almost happening without having a label.”

Kaylie Douglas: “A lot of people post lockdown just didn’t want to talk; they just preferred to enjoy their appointment, so it was almost happening without having a label.”Credit:iStock

Kaylie Douglas, the operations and marketing manager at RAW Anthony Nader hair salon in Sydney’s Surry Hills, says the silent option has become increasingly popular since hair salons opened up again – though unofficially, it’s always been there.

“As hairdressers, we are good at being able to read our clients and understand whether they are in the mood or mindset to be sociable,” Douglas says.

“A lot of people post-lockdown just didn’t want to talk; they just preferred to enjoy their appointment, so it was almost happening without having a label.”

Loading

It’s true that since the pandemic, some people have become less comfortable with socialising and small talk. And with so many of us now working remotely, our office can be wherever our phone is, and that includes the salon.

While the practice has drawn criticism for its self-indulgence, Douglas is sanguine about the silent treatment.

“Everyone’s form of indulgence is different and if they prefer being pampered without socialising then we absolutely respect that, no judgment,” she says.

“We understand that there are clients who would prefer not to chat, or who want to zone out or get some work done while in the salon and that’s fine.”

Brittney Wilson, co-owner of Grace Gold Salon in Melbourne’s Brunswick, agrees.

“I dont think it’s self-indulgent at all,” she says. “The last two years have been terrible and exhausting, the least we deserve is to be able to get a haircut or colour in peace.”

“We’ve also had good feedback from our neurodivergent clients … and it’s been lovely being able to provide an experience that is comfortable.”

Wilson, who works alongside her co-owner sister Em, has offered the silent option since October.

“Since lots of our clients are working from home they will sometimes come and get their hair done and work from the salon,” Wilson says. “We’ve also had good feedback from our neurodivergent clients … and it’s been lovely being able to provide an experience that is comfortable.”

Loading

It sounds like a paradise for introverts, but as an extrovert whose love language is flattery to the point of flirtation, I decided I had to experience one such appointment for myself. Could I hold back from lubricating every interaction with a loud, “Oh my gosh! Amazing!”?

When I arrive at RAW salon, I’m warmly greeted by my colourist and hair washer. I smile, explain in as few words as possible what I would like done and then retreat into my emails. Two things become immediately apparent: I feel far less awkward than usual, knowing that my silence will not be interpreted as rudeness; and I get a huge amount of work done.

For hair-washing, the salon has a low-lit “quiet room” designed to mimic a massage space. Wind chime-y music seeps quietly out of the speakers as my head is washed and my scalp reborn in the gentle hands of my hair washer.

This is normally the more awkward part of the hair ritual as I always feel compelled to express appreciation for a decent massage without, you know, moaning. I would normally say “that was wonderful” and find I cannot help myself – I say it here, too.

The blow dry is traditionally the part where both parties understand conversation is off the table. By this time I’ve gotten so much work done I resort to playing Candy Crush. Thank goodness we aren’t talking. I would hate to have to justify my choices.

Anyone concerned about seeming rude for asking for a silent treatment need not worry.

“It’s no different to requesting your favourite stylist and is not taken personally at all,” Douglas says.

Grace Gold salon has an option you can tick on their website, so you don’t even have to worry about asking.

As someone who can barely relax into a conditioning treatment without uttering a compliment, silence is not always golden. Which, you could argue, is exactly why I need to practise it more often.

Make the most of your health, relationships, fitness and nutrition with our Live Well newsletter. Get it in your inbox every Monday.