Energetic Self-Care for Empathic Hairstylists

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Every hairstylist knows what it is like to come home feeling drained, anxious, un-grounded, wired, exhausted, buzzed, zapped, empty, overfilled. Sometimes we experience all of these feelings at the same time, and it can take a long time to wind down, it can make sleeping hard, and we can be very irritable with our families and friends.

After a day behind the chair, we have effectively soaked up the energy of everyone who has been in our chair, and every hair that we cut. This is an invisible side effect of working with the emotional and energetic weight of other peoples hair. It is very real, and it is something that we need to be careful and mindful about, just like we care for our physical bodies.

Today, while this baby naps in the other room, I am attempting to pull it together enough to share a few important tools for Energetic Self-Care to help hairstylists, and anyone else who works closely with other peoples identities and physical bodies.

Grounding

Before you start your day, take 5 minutes to ground yourself. Do this before you have had your coffee. Find a quiet place without distractions. If you can sit on the ground outside somewhere that is best……Pavement is okay but grass or dirt or anything natural is ideal. Put your phone away.

Take some big breaths through your nose, deep into your belly. Release any tension that your body is holding onto. Clear your mind by visualizing a big, old tree whose leaves are gently moving in the wind. The sun glints through its branches and it is strong and solid. Visualizations are like watching a movie in your mind, but with the alchemy of imagination.

Imagine that you are this tree. Picture it in your mind. If it is too much of a stretch to imagine yourself a tree, just imagine the tree as itself. Don’t get frustrated if it seems hard to keep your mind quiet enough to focus on being a tree. This is a practice, it gets easier, and every day will be different. The intention of grounding is enough to help ground you so don’t get hard on yourself. Imagine that your roots are growing  into the ground. Imagine them busting through soil, making their way deep down into the earth.

Feel the feeling of being held to the earth firmly, strongly in your body, rooted to the source of energy and strength that the earth provides. Breath here, and be here for a few minutes.

Throughout the day, when you start to feel like you are losing yourself, remember this tree and its roots. Come back to your body.

 

Uh Oh! baby crying. Be back soon!

 

Breath

Start to be aware of your breath. Understand that when you breath in, you are clearing new space and nourishing your entire body with oxygen and when breath out you are breathing out what you no longer need, physically and energetically. When we take on negativity or unwanted feelings from other people without knowing it, our breath becomes our ally for letting that energy go. But this takes some awareness. Often we hold tension in one part of our body throughout the day, without even knowing it. This restricts our breath, our vital life source.

Check in with yourself every so often, and scan your body for where you are holding tension. My belly is where I hold the most tension, also my jaw. Breath into these places, long and steady. Soften them. Breath out all the energy you hold that you have taken on from others. We don’t need to carry it. We need to help them channel it, and then breath it out ourselves.

Sheilding

When you find yourself feeling bombarded or unprotected, or like you are soaking up too much and it is starting to weigh on you, perhaps you are working with a particularly intense person, or being a listening ear for a client who is going through some heavy shit, It is time to put on your shield. This is self-protection and self-preservation and is showing respect to both yourself and your client. They don’t want to bring you down! But many folks also don’t know how much we take on as stylists……Again, energetic self-care is so crucial.

This is a tool you can use at the beginning of the day, during a service when things get energetically intense, or before a particular client shows up who you know you need some energetic boundaries with.

Take a few deep breathes. Close your eyes for a few seconds and call in your color of the day. You might see a color clearly in your minds eye. You might here a voice that says “yellow!” in your mind, or perhaps you will see your color spelled out P-I-N-K. Don’t second guess it.

This is the color of your shield today. And the color is important. You may choose to use the same color for every sheild but I like calling in my color on a daily basis because I can’t ever decide on one to stick with.

Imagine that a halo of colored light is spreading over your entire body, covering you with a soft glow, an aura, if you will. This is your shield, and it is an energetic boundary that keeps  dark energy from entering your forcefield. When you start feeling bombarded, or like you are taking on too much from someone else, imagine this shield protecting you, as their energy bounces off of you and dissipates into the air.

Clearing

A common way to clear energy throughout the day is smoking, and lots of us do it without realizing why we feel we need it so much. It is obviously not a healthy option and I think that we crave a way to clear off energy that hangs on us in between clients and this is why we so often reach for tobacco. We physically need to clear ourselves of what we carry for others. A nice alternative to smoking is smuge and incense. I smudge after every day behind the chair, myself and my work space. Check out this DIY.

My favorite way to clear energy in between clients is sweeping the floor. It brings me great pleasure as a meditative whisking away of stagnant energy that is held in the hair that has been cut away. Imagine as you sweep, that you are clearing unwanted weight and energy from your workspace and making a safe and peaceful space for you and your next client to drop in together.

Restoring

This is my favorite part. Water is life. Water is the most healing and restorative medicine for empathic people. Remember this…….Any time you are losing your shit and need to calm your nerves, or heal a broken heart or a broken ankle, go to the water and let her work her magic.

I take a bath after a work day. Simple as that. I often add epsom salts for my soar muscles and herbs and flowers depending on what I have around me but water alone is the medicine. Be near it. Be in it. Listen to it, watch it, drink it (Spring water if possible.)

My recipe for honoring and healing and restoring my hands after a long day (we all know that our hands are our hardest working and most important/ under appreciated tools, not to mention the physical entry point for energetic transfer between our clients and ourselves )is simply this……….

Rest your hands on the surface of water. A bowl of water, a sink full, a bath tub, a lake, whatever you can. Gently let your hands float ever so lightly on the top of the water. There is an unmeasured and profound restorative energy source that lives on the surface of water and has the capacity to recharge your whole body through your hands.

This shit might sound so woo to you. And it is. And it works wonders. Please try it, and take good care!

I invite you to share this post with friends who may find it useful, these tools have really helped me and I wish I would have learned them long ago!

 

Leo Hairoscope

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coverFriends old and new, thanks for visiting us today for the 4nd edition of the Free Your Hair HOROSCOPE honoring the Leo.

I offer this series to all as an ever-changing and morphing guide for Hair-Centered Radical Self Care, Ritual and Beauty in honor and tribute to each sign as they enter into their place in the Sun Rotation.

With this Hairoscope, we hope to inspire each sign of the zodiac to take some extra time on their birthday month to really love on and care for themselves. Every month, we will pull a card to share from The Moon Deck to inspire your monthly self-care ritual. With the sage advice of The Moon Deck, we will adapt our monthly mantras to bless and honor our own hair. We invite you to share these monthly Hairoscopes with your friends who are of that month’s astrological sign and help them take some time for self love!


For this series, I worked with artist Madison McClain to create our women of the horoscope, and with intuitive writer and healer Aarona Ganesan, co-creator of The Moon Deck, which is the Tarot Deck I use daily to inspire my own personal self-care rituals.

This month, we honor the Leo

(Words and Rituals adapted from the Moon Deck Guidebook, changed slightly to speak specifically to our hair.)

Hair Brush Mantra:

I welcome clear vision, and inspired action.

A seed of passion and desire lives within each of us. This seed is our spark, a voice that reminds us who we are at our core. It keeps us on track , inspires our mission, and craves clarity.

The eagle is strong medicine. She can soar to great heights and intuit the winds of change while maintaining a clear perspective and grounded connection to the earth. When your vision is clear and you know what you want, taking inspired steps forward feels more effortless.

If things are not yet clear, the sincere act of asking and listening will lead you there. Imagine you are an eagle soaring over the majestic landscape of your life. Embrace all that you have already created and acknowledge your journey. The bigger picture bird’s eye view can help steer you as you welcome clear vision and inspired action. 

I welcome clear vision, and inspired action.

 Take 5 minutes today to brush this mantra into your hair, repeating it to yourself with every stroke. Be in a comfortable, calm place without distraction. Close your eyes and breath, centering your body as you brush. If you are not a regular hair brusher, here is why we think you should try it, and here is where to get yourself a beautiful hair brush to work into your hair care ritual. If you are more of the combing type, consider a wooden wide toothed comb or your own fingers for a relaxing scalp massage. Bless up that crown with the wisdom of the eagle.

Ritual to Promote Clarity

Eat fresh fruit.

It is now the season of fresh fruit! Go to your local fruit stand and pick up whatever calls to you. For this ritual, I love cherries. Buy local and organic if you can, and support the local economy and ecosystem.

The act of eating fresh fruit opens up your 6 senses and allows you an opportunity to drop into the present moment. Be in a comfortable place where you can relax and eat your fruit in peace.

As you eat, practice being mindful in the moment. Note the flavor, the texture. The way your body reacts as you take your first bite. the way your vision changes as the juices run down your throat. The way that sound quiets as your other senses take over.

Know that this fruit will help your body detoxify, as fruit does. It’s minerals and fibers helping to scrub clean your inner body.

Now, as you finish your fruit in a state of presence and gratitude for the abundance of flavor from the soil and sun, ask yourself……What is my vision for today, and how can I take action towards it?

Let this small, simple practice inform and inspire bigger visions by repeating it as often as you like!

Another little practice to help you connect to your inner vision with clarity is to dispel small belief systems that have been imposed on you that you don’t resonate with. Think of something you don’t like or you feel uncomfortable or fearful of because of what someone or society has told you. An example would be a spider on the wall, or a poisonous plant (my choice is a foxglove) something you have been taught to fear but you are not sure why, and maybe you feel drawn to that thing.

Sit with it. Tune into it. Talk to it. Ask it for it’s medicine, and listen to what it says. You may experience an answer in the form of a literal reply that pops into your head. You may experience it as a gentle shake in the breeze. You may visualize a symbol or image or color. You may feel like you are getting no answers, and let the mystery be enough.

This practice will help you tune into your inner truth.

Hair Advice:

Lemon and Sunshine Clarity

LEO: On the topic of clarity, lets talk about the importance of clarifying your hair. I am inspired to recommend lemon as a remedy and treatment for your hair this month, Leo, and here is why.

Lemon is acidic, and therefore very clarifying to the hair. It strips through buildup and environmental gunk and allows for brilliant shine and true color and clarity. Lemon, in all its parts, embodies the brilliance of the Sun itself, and imparts the qualities of sunshine directly into your hair.

Leo, regardless of your literal coloring, you are made of golden sun. You emanate gold from yourself wherever you go. Let’s get that hair clarified and shaking sparkles of gold down your life path to help illuminate and clarify your truth within the collective.

Take some time in the sun, with some lemon juice in your hair. Like you may have done as a kid when someone told you that it would make your hair lighter.

The truth is that lemon juice acts more as a brightener than as a lightener, so for any hair type and color, lemon juice and sun will add golden brightness to your crown.

Squeeze fresh lemon juice into a cup and funnel it into a spray bottle. Spray it into your dry hair before hitting the sunshine, not saturating your hair exactly, just dampening it. Let the sun work its magic.

Do this for a few days in a row, then do and oil treatment by applying then working in jojoba oil all over your damp hair and scalp (1-2 tablespoons)  before wrapping your hair into a bun and sitting under the sun for an hour, or just being outside in the warmth. Then, wash the hair twice in warm water with non-stripping castille soap like Dr. Bronners or African Black Soap by Alaffia.

(I also just made this beautiful lemon hair oil which can be used in place of the jojoba for and extra lemon boost. Purchase yours here before they run out! )

Rinse washed hair with fresh squeezed lemon juice poured over your head in the shower. Comb it through, let it sit a minute, and rinse with cool water.

Your crown will be brightened, clarified, moisturized and harnessing the golden rays of the sun to shed light on your life’s vision. 

Moon Phases in Leo:

The New Moon and Full Moon are the most potent times for setting new intentions for healthy habits and relationships and creating rituals that are potent in their action. I highly recommend this months Clarity Rituals be done around both the July 24th to observe the New Moon, setting an intention of what you are ready to let go of in your life/in your hair/in your relationship to yourself in physical and spiritual form, and around August 7th to observe the Full Moon, setting intention for what you are ready to bring in to your life. What do you want to manifest? Now is the time.

And how do you set an intention? for those who haven’t practiced it……Speak a little prayer to yourself. Honor it with the ritual of Lemon and Sunshine in your Hair.  Hold the prayer in your heart as you practice self love. Make it so!
Please check out The Moon Deck for more musings. Leo babes, may we suggest you get your own deck as a birthday gift to yourself and make a vow to love yourself and your hair more in this coming year.

What would you like to see woven into our monthly Hairoscope? I would love to hear your feedback! We are excited to watch this series grow and change with your input.

xo, HTHG and The Moon Deck

 

 

Cancer Hairoscope

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coverFriends old and new, thanks for visiting us today for the 4nd edition of the Free Your Hair HOROSCOPE honoring the Cancer.

I offer this series to all as an ever-changing and morphing guide for Hair-Centered Radical Self Care, Ritual and Beauty in honor and tribute to each sign as they enter into their place in the Sun Rotation.

With this Hairoscope, we hope to inspire each sign of the zodiac to take some extra time on their birthday month to really love on and care for themselves. Every month, we will pull a card to share from The Moon Deck to inspire your monthly self-care ritual. With the sage advice of The Moon Deck, we will adapt our monthly mantras to bless and honor our own hair. We invite you to share these monthly Hairoscopes with your friends who are of that month’s astrological sign and help them take some time for self love!


For this series, I worked with artist Madison McClain to create our women of the horoscope, and with intuitive writer and healer Aarona Ganesan, co-creator of The Moon Deck, which is the Tarot Deck I use daily to inspire my own personal self-care rituals.

This month, we honor the Cancer

Moon Deck Ritual:

(Words and Rituals adapted from the Moon Deck Guidebook, changed slightly to speak specifically to our hair.)

Hair Brush Mantra:

‘Healthy Boundaries keep me centered and balanced ‘

Setting healthy boundaries is essential for our physical and emotional well-being. We each have a need to care for our unique nature, enforce certain limits and maintain self-respect. 

Tune into your central power source as you create and relate in the world with healthy boundaries. When your boundaries are too weak you may give away too much, let too much in, or set yourself up for unhealthy dependency. 

Yet if your boundaries are too rigid, or thorny you can become tense and isolated. Either extreme can be physically and emotionally painful over time.

Recognize habits that drain your energy and discover the tender balance for yourself. The positive impact of healthy clear boundaries will ripple into every aspect of your life. Take 5 minutes today to brush this mantra into your hair, repeating it to yourself with every stroke. Be in a comfortable, calm place without distraction. Close your eyes and breath, centering your body as you brush. If you are not a regular hair brusher, here is why we think you should try it, and here is where to get yourself a beautiful hair brush to work into your hair care ritual. If you are more of the combing type, consider a wooden wide toothed comb or your own fingers for a relaxing scalp massage.

Honey Anointment Ritual

Honey is a nourishing ointment, made by bees who work humbly in service to their queen and know their own limitations. This ritual calls in the power of the honey bee, great self-contained pollinator of happy gardens and healthy boundaries.

Get some organic honey, preferably gathered from your region. You will need about a 1/4 cup. Warm the honey by diluting it with 1 part hot water. Mix until blended.

Take a warm shower, and exfoliate using soap and a loofah or a scrubby mitt to remove dead skin from your whole body. Once rinsed, drain water from the shower and lay down in the bathtub, still wet.

Starting with your feet, begin applying your honey water, splashing it on and rubbing it into your skin. Apply it all over your body, making a sticky mess of yourself. Include your face. Once you are slathered up, lay back and take some deep breaths. Try to stay for a full 20 minutes, letting the honey soak into your skin. Think about your own boundaries, and how you can draw them with strength, clarity and kindness.

Rinse your whole body well with warm water. Let your skin air dry, by putting a towel on your bed and laying on it, allowing your skin to breath in the new sweetness of your Honey Anointment.

Hair Advice:

Cancer: Honey on the body, Honey in the hair. This month, to add protection from the elements and massive moisture to your Summer-dry strands, treat your hair to the softening, shine inducing and curl maximizing loveliness of a honey hair treatment.

Mix 2 tablespoons of Organic raw honey with a teaspoon of warm coconut oil in a small bowl. Wet your hair in the morning, and towel dry it. Apply the mixture from scalp to ends, massaging it through your hair thoroughly. Wrap your hair up in a bun, or use an old scarf to turban it. Go about your day, attracting honey bee’s and reflecting on their wisdom as you honor your hair with this honey treatment.

In the evening before you go to bed, rinse your hair very well with warm water. Wake up with heavenly hair.

 

Moon Phases in Cancer:

The New Moon and Full Moon are the most potent times for setting new intentions for healthy habits and relationships and creating rituals that are potent in their action. I highly recommend this months Honey Rituals be done around both the June 24th to observe the New Moon, setting an intention of what you are ready to let go of in your life/in your hair/in your relationship to yourself in physical and spiritual form, and around July 9th to observe the Full Moon, setting intention for what you are ready to bring in to your life. What do you want to manifest? Now is the time.

And how do you set an intention? for those who haven’t practiced it……Speak a little prayer to yourself. Honor it with the ritual of Honey on your Hair and Body.  Hold the prayer in your heart as you practice self love. Make it so!


Please check out The Moon Deck for more musings. Cancer babes, may we suggest you get your own deck as a birthday gift to yourself and make a vow to love yourself and your hair more in this coming year.

What would you like to see woven into our monthly Hairoscope? I would love to hear your feedback! We are excited to watch this series grow and change with your input.

xo, HTHG and The Moon Deck

 

 

DIY Popsicle Haircolor

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Hi Babes. 

I’m dropping in today to share with y’all a fun DIY hair color technique that is a result of an intense popsicle craving I have had in the past month of Pregnancy. Here is the inspiration, from a Rainbow Popsicle Recipe from The First Year Blog.

I thought these pops were so lovely that I had to recreate them in the hair of my neighbor babes, Birch and Cameron. Because once I get that visual inspiration in my head, I can’t shake it until it has been brought forth, and this seems to be a blessing and a curse. I’m workin on it;)

Here are photos of the finished technique:

DIY Popsicle Hair Color is the technique, and for a video demo, please check out @howtohairgirl Instagram, under the hashtag #HTHGpopsicle or #freeyourhaircolor

This DIY color technique is so easy, you can  be a total beginner to do it. I used Manic Panic Colors, in an assortment of different shades. Check out our blog sidebar to order yours today.

 

xoxoxoxox, Color Freak

Reflections on Shaving my Head

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I would like to thank Rachael Nilsson of Tree Trunk Wise Yoga for her bravery and creativity in the process of creating this fundraiser. It was an honor to help facilitate, and we sure hope to keep the hat passing around to continue raising money to protect our sacred wild lands through your donations to the NRDC. Please donate here!


REFLECTIONS ON SHAVING MY HEAD

It came to me in a dream, the idea to shave off my hair.

Shortly after the idea had implanted itself into my consciousness this way, a friend put out a call for women seeking to shave their heads to release something. She wanted to offer them a space for a healing ritual head-shaving, followed by her painting prayers and colors into the newly shaved heads.

It took me a while to contact her. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t having some kind of a mid-life “crisis”. I also wanted to do some good with the momentous occasion. After all, it’s not every day I shave my head– perhaps I could extend the reach of the positive results beyond my own healing ceremony.

So, I decided to raise funds for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). I asked for twice as much as I thought I could raise. I raised almost twice that in only a few days. Turns out, shaving your head for a cause gets people fired up.

Before the ceremony, I reflected: What was it I wanted to let go of in my personal life? What was I asking to be reborn as through this head-shaving?

I realized that the biggest meaning in my making this public and tying it to a fundraising campaign was this:

I finally wanted to step into the light and be public about my passion for activism.

As a female– in particular, someone raised in the South– I grew up learning that I could care about things, but that being perceived as too opinionated and outspoken made me seem intimidating, and being honest about my views often made me feel judged.

Even within my own family– arguably, a supportive one, and without too much hyperbole in their adherence to gender roles– I found myself becoming afraid to speak up about things I was learning, things I found really disturbing in the world and our country.

The more I learned, the more I realized that learning can be very uncomfortable. And as someone who studies the mindful exploration of that discomfort, I’ve come to know one thing for sure:

Most people are not comfortable with being uncomfortable.

So, I made assumptions about the people around me– that they did not want to be made uncomfortable by someone who was in their own process of learning and personal growth. I made assumptions that people’s opinions of me might change if they knew that I felt strongly about social issues. I made assumptions about myself– that I wouldn’t be able to handle those conversations within my own family or– on the opposite, much larger end of the scale– if I decided to start writing publicly about my beliefs (outspoken women online are very often victims of extremely violent verbal abuse and reactivity, mostly from white, straight males).

With the exception of that last part, my assumptions were not really based in truth as much as they were formed by a social construct I’d been working within since my birth into the female gender.

Granted, I’d been opinionated (even angry) and political as a teenager– perhaps that was the closest I’ve come to showing that part of myself– but people expect teenagers to experiment with personalities and to exaggerate emotional responses. They also expect them to grow out of it at some point.

At that same time, I was also learning to be funny and charming on cue, and to call upon my feminine softness at will to smooth over situations in order to keep the peace or to keep face or to stay safe. It’s a skill that’s valued in women in our culture more highly than intelligence or leadership.

By shaving my head for a cause, I was going to confront that idea head-on. 

A friend shared a story with me about mundan, a ritual head-shaving ceremony in India, in which (first babies, and later adults) shave their heads to rid themselves of past karmas. The hair is then thrown into the Ganges river as an act of release and purification.

As I ran the clippers over my scalp, I practiced presence and breath. I was with myself in that moment, not needing to speak or to think, but only knowing: Everything is Yoga.

This is the Yoga of Action. This is the Yoga of Renewal. This is the Yoga of Death and Rebirth.

I collected the long strands of hair that fell around me and imagined that they had been all of the worries growing out of my head, manifesting into a physical form– old karmas and beliefs ready to be let go. I would make an offering of them to the earth and water in another ceremony.

 

EPILOGUE

By far, the hardest part about this new look for me has been having my newly fuzzy head painted blue– somewhat surprising, since I had been wearing green at the ends of my long hair for much of the previous year.

It’s made me confront my vanity in a new way. It’s made me realize that, even with a shaved head, I had assumed I could pass for a relatively “normal”– i.e. quiet, unobtrusive, and relatable– person when in the presence of others.

But having a shaved head that is also painted blue (and with art on top of that– I mean, I don’t even feel comfortable wearing t-shirts with slogans), has made me see the depth of my self-consciousness, especially where wearing my beliefs on my sleeve– or head– are concerned.

Plus, removing your hair puts all of your perceived imperfections in a new light– wrinkles, sun spots, and crooked noses and mouths all come into full view given the new space to blossom.

As women, we can spend a lifetime trying to get to a place where we are finally comfortable with our appearance. But how much of that is the habitual building of comfort? –Comfort in wearing a certain type of clothing, comfort in styling our hair a certain way, comfort in never leaving the house without x, y, or z on our faces…

We can build our whole lives in such a way as to keep the most vulnerable parts of ourselves protected, fearing that their exposure might leave us so exposed that we could shrivel up on the spot and cease to exist. We may deny that these parts of ourselves even exist, because to acknowledge them would be to call out their hiding place, to shine a light on them, and to look them straight in the eye.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to draw on my yoga and mindfulness practices to observe these reactions in myself while realizing that they are much more fleeting and less overwhelming than they might have been at another time in my life.

I understand that this is a necessary gift– the gift of testing a part of myself that’s been allowed to stay comfortable.

My hair will not be blue forever, and, of course, it will grow back. This is a only temporary change in physical appearance, but a good reminder that the reality is that we change every day.

We are all constantly changing, aging, and evolving. And to do so with pieces of ourselves hidden away, or with fear rather than admiration of what our aging appearance and our personal evolutions might say about us, is to deny ourselves a graceful way of being, the artfulness of inhabiting ourselves, and the chance to reflect back to others that authenticity is the only true beauty– and a very powerful one at that.

Please visit Rachael’s blog here for more musings:)

xo