Hair is sometimes called a person’s “crowning glory.” Andi Scarbrough, co-owner/founder at Framed Salon, is turning that expression on its head and by starting at the top, she is tending to the whole person, through intentional treatments that help client and stylist, alike. Scarbrough recently shared her approach to the ritual of hair care during the Straight Pin Sessions, the brainchild of Lisa Botts and Lucie Doughty, two beauty industry professionals who wanted to form a community of care and creativity through workshops, seminars, and teaching.
MODERN asked her to talk about CrownWorks, a multi-dimensional offering of client services, stylist education, and ritual tools to foster a different, more holistic way of looking at haircare
MODERN SALON: Please talk about how you are ‘treating’ hair differently
Andi Scarbrough: "Previously, the emotional constitution of clients has largely been discussed in association with selling products. I would argue that this is, in fact, the lion’s share of the reason people return to a stylist or salon over and over again; they have been provided with something beyond the service. They have been seen by a caring person interested in their overall wellbeing who is considering how they will feel days and weeks after a blow-dry has been washed away.
"What I noticed in my education career is that no matter what I was hired in to talk about, the conversation always went to what we previously called ‘consultation skills.’ The problem is, the conversation doesn’t stop when the service begins. Often, during this time of stillness, silence, and loving touch without an agenda, a lot of emotional content can arise that stylists frankly have not been prepared for in our professional training.
"More and more states that require continuing education hours are looking to add training in things like domestic violence awareness, recognizing we are sometimes the only ones that may be aware of a situation that a guest may conceal from their friends, family and even doctors and therapists. I personally have experienced not only this, but conversations about sexuality, serious financial, legal, and marital problems, and even suicidal thoughts. We don’t go digging for this information--it just comes up. And since no one has told us what to do with this information-- how to hold space for these conversations without taking them on-- largely, we internalize these feelings. I believe this results in the rampant phenomenon of addictions, depression, anxiety, poor boundaries, and struggles with charging for our work, compassion fatigue, and creative burnout in our industry.
"When I started beauty school, I was told that within two years of graduation, less than 25% of the people in my class would actually be working in the industry. Later, when I managed the team of an upscale salon, I received the statistic that the most a salon hopes to get from a stylist is 5 good years-- 5 years of peak performance before they burnout and leave. As someone who has had a lifelong love affair with this business, this seemed a tragedy. It brought me sharp awareness to the imbalanced lifestyle that most professional stylists have been encouraged to aspire to. It caused me great pain to think of my own career as terminal as that expected of a professional athlete.
Highly Sensitive People
"This really caused me quite the crisis of faith, to be honest, and set me off exploring the root cause of this unfortunate truth. What I discovered through the exploration of my own habits, coping mechanisms, success models and business structure, was that leaving out the spiritual component of the energetic transaction taking place was letting the shadow of these basic human needs run the show. Even the way we physically stand energetically plugs us in with a client through the chakra systems-- with the “shadow side” of the heart, throat, and crown chakras (the unconscious, unexpressed feelings of shame, unspoken truths, and denial of their true natures) plugging right into our heart, solar plexus, and sacral chakras-- the places we receive love, feel power and belonging, and express creatively. Couple that with the fact that most stylists exhibit traits of empaths (or Highly Sensitive People, if you will) and you’ve got a recipe for high rates of burnout and poor emotional boundaries resulting in a dramatically shortened career span.
This invaluable learning prompted me to launch CrownWorks, a multi-dimensional offering of client services, stylist education, and ritual tools to bring awareness to and support facilitating the management of this crucial and overlooked component of our profession.
CrystalCombs Treat Client and Stylist
"The combs were created by and for hairstylists. For some time now, clients have become more and more mindful of what kind of products they are using on their hair and scalp, and as manufacturers create better and better options for home care, holistic services are becoming more and more a part of in-salon offerings. The CrystalCombs offer the space and point of difference for creating a ritual treatment menu, creating a dedicated container for exploring these deeper levels of connection and fostering a longer-lasting sense of beauty and wellbeing. These treatments may utilize options as simple as personalized essential oil treatments, to incorporating sound healing implements, meditation, and breathe work practices-- all in the shampoo bowl! Since a hair appointment is time someone is willing to a lot to their self-care, I sought a way to make it as impactful as possible.
"In my specialized CrownWorks treatments, crystals are one tool we use to dive deep into what is motivating a change, and to set my clients up for success to maintain their desired outcome. I have a client select a stone before we begin. Each stone carries its own message and specific vibration, so what they chose may tell me what else is going on for them beyond the hair that they may be unconscious of. Then, while we work to clear and realign, they are programming the stone with their intentions. Every time they go back to the stone, it will help provide a touch point back to the self-appreciation and feeling of wellbeing they experienced while in my chair. Professionally, I use Reiki and a CrystalComb to for their treatment to clearing and align the energetic body. Not only do people feel the palpable vibration of the stone, the sound and feel of the comb moving through the hair is quite cathartic and provides benefits to both gently stimulates the scalp while soothing the nervous system with this deeply nurturing action.
"While this may be as cathartic as a chiropractic adjustment, some of the issues that caused the disturbance in their field may re-emerge. I believe people are capable of taking responsibility for their own healing, and my intention is to empower people to taking this responsibility into their own hands. CrystalCombs provide an option for home maintenance-- just like I would recommend a home treatment to keep a client’s hair healthy, I can recommend a tool to use with that serves purpose... and then some. Together we craft a practice (utilizing supportive oils, meditation or journaling exercises, as well as affirmations and mantras) that turn a once-a-week hair masque into a ritual that serves to bring them back into resonance with their own highest expression of beauty.
MS: What are some of the crystals in the CrystalCombs and their properties?
AS: "Black Obsidian is the stone of transformation. It helps to release and repel negativity, and gives us the strength and power to make decisive shifts. It’s associated largely with the lower chakras.
"Rose Quartz is the stone of love. One of the most used and recognizable crystals, it resonates directly with the heart chakra, gently opening the way for greater peace, compassion, forgiveness and harmony.
"Amethyst is the stone of wisdom. Also known as the sobriety stone, it helps to clear mental chatter and strengthen connection to the guidance of higher wisdom by clearing and opening the third eye and crown chakras.
"Clear Quartz is the master purifier and amplifier. It offers protection, clarity and insight, and aids in the transmission of energy. Though it is primarily used as a crown chakra stone, clear quartz is helpful to open and clear all the chakras."