Confidence comes naturally to some, whilst for others, it is something we have to work towards. Working in such a creative industry gives us the freedom to explore different ideas and trial different techniques, which is one of the great things about being a hairdresser. However, hair can also be very subjective, and as such, our work can draw different opinions. Because of this, it is important to understand how to navigate and overcome a lack of confidence as a hair professional. Speaking to Adele Clarke – OSMO Ambassador and Owner of the Spectrum Hair, St Helen’s – about how to combat a lack of confidence, she shared: “Comparison is the enemy of creativity! A struggle that most of us go through early on and into our career path is that little voice in our heads which questions our worth and ability. To conquer this, a change in mindset and the realisation that authenticity and originality are both key.” Creating your own original style can be a balancing act between taking inspiration from others and giving it your own twist, whilst being transparent and honest about it, as Adele notes.
The Role of Social Media
Terry Longden, Matrix Artist Ambassador, explains how social media can also play a role in comparing oneself to others, sharing: “I’ve discovered that when you feel down on yourself and your work, one of the main culprits is social media. Instagram and Facebook have the double edge sword effect of being fantastic for connectivity, information and inspiration, but its flip side is that we (illogically) compare our four to six hour colour correction work to the three-minute reel that someone has made look simple and stressless – even though, if we stood back and thought about it logically, we know this isn’t the case.” That’s not to say that social media doesn’t have any positives though – in addition to viewing others’ work, it can allow you to create a portfolio of your own, which can come in handy when negative thoughts strike. Heffy Wheeler, Pulp Riot Artist, explains: “As a vivid hair artist I have certainly lost my confidence over the years – but I will scroll through my Instagram and look what I was doing when I started, or a year ago and see how far I have come. I compare the standard in work; sometimes you don’t see your own successes or improvements, so it’s good to look back at your journey.”
Likewise, negative feedback doesn’t have to make you doubt yourself. Instead, try turning it into a positive. This is something Fern Turner, Creative Director at John Gillespie Hairdressing for L’Oréal Professionnel, is an advocate for: “Look at it as something you could potentially learn from, grow from, or gain strength from.”
The Importance of Support
Adele continues: “This is a wonderful industry and is a melting pot of ideas, where we all strive to push ourselves forward; as such, connection and collaboration with each other is important. Maybe if we all strive to share ideas and ask for suggestions from our peers in how they’d do things differently in the scheme of things, the positive impact on our mindset would be a natural progression in our confidence.
Awareness of one’s originality and individuality can do wonders for both our self-confidence and our confidence as a hair professional. “I tell myself every day, there is only one me and what I bring to the table has worth and I shall surround myself with a team that all root for each other,” Adele reflects. Dan Mewies, Salon Co-owner at Mewies & Co, agrees that developing your confidence can be assisted by having the right people around you – and notes that this is especially important for those new to the industry, as it’s a big step leaving school and starting work in a busy salon. “I make sure I spend as much time as possible with new starters - helping them on a one-to-one basis to educate and to integrate them into the team effectively. Creating a safe environment where staff feel comfortable to ask questions, to learn and to be themselves will help to progress their confidence and skills. “As business leaders we know that the more knowledge and experience you gain, the more confidence you will develop as a hair professional, and it’s important to support your team through that journey.”
To read more on this topic you can check out How to Help with Anxiety and Other Mental Health Issues in Apprentices.