Annually on April 25, we celebrate National Hairstylist Appreciation Day, as they are often overlooked for all the jobs they actually do. Do hairstylists just cut hair? Of course not. They are excellent listeners, whether we are describing that celebrity hair cut we want to copy, or talking about our families, spouses, friends, or kids, they act as our stand-in therapist and confidant. They are artists, perfectionists, color chemists, angle mathematicians, supportive therapists, and more, and have influence on how we feel about ourselves, and how we view others.
History of National Hairstylist Appreciation Day
Though no one knows when the first hairstylist took scissors to someone’s head, we know that scissors go back at least 2,000 years. Hair cutting has been common since the middle ages. Throughout history, hairstyles have been symbols of social class, racial identification, marital status, religious beliefs, and gender norms. For example, in the middle of the 18th century, the ‘pouf’ style developed, for both men and women, emphasizing volume and curls, utilizing everything from wigs, wire, cloth, and animal hair to develop the effect (just look at Marie Antoinette.)
During the First World War, women around the world started to cut their hair shorter, so it was easier to manage, still utilizing volume and curls. During the 1950s, men’s hairstyles were mostly short, with some volume and hair gel styling – James Dean’s effortlessly cool, slicked back, longer hairstyle being one of the most influential symbols of social anarchy and youth rebellion at that time. Marilyn Monroe hair (short and curled) slowly transitioned back into voluminous “Hairspray” styles, and bangs became popular in the 1960s, inspired by Audrey Hepburn and other celebrities.
The 1970s brought out many original hairstyles and cuts, including dreadlocks, afros, the mullet, and permanent waves, or ‘perms’, for both men and women. Hairstylists had to apply chemicals to the hair, and wrap the hair to form waves and curls, or perform a chemical straightening or relaxing. Can we all just agree that perms should stay in the 70s?
In the 2000’s, hair coloring and straight styles became more popular. Today, hairstyles vary largely, from dreadlocks to straight bobs, and natural hair is trending. The stylists who can cut hairstyles through the ages, change our look, and alter how we feel about ourselves overall – in one appointment – deserve to be celebrated.
National Hairstylist Appreciation Day timeline
The undercut, including versions of side cuts, are revived to popularity, for both men and women, originating among men in the 1910s – 1940s.
A Friendly Do
“The Rachel” from Friends hairstyle, a razor layered hairstyle Jennifer Aniston wore during the show, became wildly popular
Vidal Sassoon, a famous hairstylist, recreated the classic bob cut
The Afro and the Beehive gained widespread popularity as hairstyles
Big hair, money cares
Big, curly, powdered wigs had their moment
National Hairstylist Appreciation Day FAQs
When is National Hairstylist Appreciation Day?
Since 2012, National Hairstylist Appreciation Day has been observed on April 25. Prior to 2012, the day was observed on April 30.
What questions should I ask a hairdresser?
This varies from person to person on what questions you have about your hair, but some good questions to start are: ‘What kind of Shampoo and Conditioner should I be using?’; ‘What is the best hairstyle for my face shape?’; ‘What’s the best way to style my hair with my natural texture?’; ‘How often should I be washing my hair?’; and ‘How can I maintain my color at home?’ if you are using hair dye or receiving color treatments.
How often do I need a haircut?
Long hair should be trimmed at least every eight to 12 weeks. If you notice more breakage or split ends, it could be beneficial to get a trim every six to eight weeks.
National Hairstylist Appreciation Day Activities
Tip your local hairstylist
Especially in these times of quarantine, it’s important that your local hairstylist survives financially. Recognize that they rely on business for a paycheck, and venmo or send money to them in this difficult time. They will be grateful you care enough about their well being, as well as their talented services.
Plan to try out a new hairstyle
If you feel stuck in a rut, or just plain bored, ask your hairstylist what would look best on you next, and plan to make a change, whether that’s an entirely new cut or color, or just small changes, like layering. Your stylist will know what frames your face best, and you will know how to best express your personality.
Let your hairdresser know they’re appreciated
Send a text or a note to your hairdresser letting them know you appreciate them for all they’ve done for you, from that one botched hair dye they fixed, to being consistently good at what they do.
5 FACTS ABOUT HAIR STYLISTS
Four to five years of training
Though there are multiple paths to legally becoming a hairdresser, a common path is starting as an apprentice in a salon or barber shop, which generally takes three to four years to complete.
There is a hierarchy for stylists
From Junior Stylist to Master Stylist, the title comes with a higher charge for services.
$29,707 below the median household income
The median household income in the United States is $56,516, whereas the average hairstylist salary in the United States is $26,809 as of March 26, 2020.
Forbidden Words: “Box Dye”
A box dye is like a ‘one size fits all’ pair of socks – it simply stains the proteins on hairs, whereas a professional color is mixed according to the integrity and strength of an individual’s hair, breaking through the hair cuticle to deposit large color molecules to the natural melanin of the hair.
Salon or barber shop etiquette
It’s not a good idea to be on your phone the entire haircut, and always try to keep your head straight and level.
Why We Love National Hairstylist Appreciation Day
They work long hours on their feet
The job can be more physically demanding than you would imagine, especially when a stylist has customers booked back to back, hairstylists can spend 8-10 hours standing, bending to cut, and sweeping hair, all while catering to the picky clients that we can be.
Their talent often goes unnoticed
Finding a hairdresser who is able to perfectly tone and recreate different shades of color into exactly what you are looking for, is a rare skill. They provide more services than just one, they can often provide up-dos for special occasions, and tips on how to keep your beard or hair healthy, bringing out your beauty, whatever style it’s in.
It’s more than just business for them
Spending half an hour to multiple hours with a client is personal, and goes beyond their job of washing, cutting and styling your hair. They take the time to ask you about your life and often share theirs. For most stylists, it’s a friendship, as much as it is a business partnership.
National Hairstylist Appreciation Day dates