The beauty industry is a very intriguing place. There are few barriers to entry and it therefore attracts a number of people from those who are genuinely concerned with their clients’ health and happiness to charlatans who are just in it for a quick (and they believe) easy, buck. The advent of cheap data and mobile devices that can render video well has made this situation worse. People watch one or two YouTube tutorials on how to do ‘cat eye’ eye liner or ‘smoky eyes’ and all of a sudden they are declaring themselves ‘makeup artists’, putting #MUA on their Twitter and Facebook profiles and claiming to be far more skilled and competent than reality may suggest. I suspect that the Dunning-Kruger effect is in full force in this wonderful industry. Of course, there are many highly skilled, competent and ethical beauty technicians and practitioners out there, but there are undoubtedly those who give the rest a bad name. Much like lawyers I suppose…
This got me thinking, there must be a whole range of experiences we have all had where we engage a beauty professional and suddenly we realise that perhaps all may not be as we had hoped. This can lead to some disastrous results (yes, some beauty treatments when done badly can result in pain and even some serious medical problems). But it can also lead to some (admittedly only in retrospect perhaps) humorous events. Here are some I have heard of or experienced myself over the years.
That moment that you realise that your makeup artist’s Photoshop skills are way ahead of their abilities with a mascara brush. This may happen when you walk into the studio and fail to recognise the technician despite her photo being emblazoned all over the web. Or worse it may only be when you look in the mirror and realise that instead of ‘smoky eyes’, you look like a giant panda bear who has spent the last eight hours in a salmon smoker. Either way, the physical damage is seldom severe, and the emotional damage is short lived. You may want to get a refund though.
That moment that you realise that the person doing the makeup tutorial on YouTube is cheating. Yup, even those makeup artists who purport to want to help us mere mortals could be cheating. No wonder it is impossible to replicate the look that they seem able to achieve in a few minutes. Don’t be too hard on yourself. At best these people are in fact seasoned professionals with skills way beyond the average person. At worst they are simply cheating, and you will never get the look just right. Learn what you can, get inspired, have fun. Do not judge your skills or your sense of your own beauty based on some random person on YouTube. You are better than that!
That moment that you realise that your hairstylist is blind. True story, this happened to me. I had been going to the same hairstylist for a number of years. He is older but not exactly decrepit. I am a pretty low maintenance girl when it comes to my hair and I am not overly complicated usually asking for the same cut and dry every few weeks to just keep things in check and looking neat… No major style changes from one visit to the next. Well I had noticed that maybe his eyesight was getting worse over the last few months as he was fiddling more than usual with his glasses. Then one day as I was walking through the salon, from the front desk, to the hair washing basins at the back, I saw him walking towards me. I did not greet him at first, waiting for him to do so, in a game of ‘hello chicken’. We got within a few feet of each other when I ‘blinked’ and said ‘hello’. He nearly jumped through the roof. He had obviously not seen me. Later, when I was sitting in the chair getting my hair done I noticed he was unable to find the right pair of scissors on the table. In fact, he had to find all his various brushes, scissors, combs etc purely by feel. He was (suddenly?) as blind as a bat. In truth the hairdo was fine and not materially different in outcome to any of the other hairdos I had had from him in the past. So, no harm no foul… It does however seem that he is no longer working which is kind of sad, but also a relief. Just because things didn’t go horribly wrong, doesn’t mean that they cannot go wrong. I am currently taking applications for a new hairstylist.
That moment that you realise your hairdresser may actually be a mafia assassin*. This didn’t happen to me, but it was related to me by my father. He was getting his hair cut in an Italian hair salon for men. The hairdresser (he apparently rejected the term ‘barber’ vehemently) was shaving the back of his neck with a cut-throat razor and talking about his son, who had disappointed him in some way. As the hairdresser got more ‘into’ the story and he became more animated and emotional, he started gesticulating wildly (as Italians are want to do). The cut throat razor was still in his hands and in his agitated and emotional state he sliced my father’s ear lobe open. Fortunately, it didn’t get sliced right off, but it was very painful. Strangely, my father kept on going back. Talk about customer loyalty!
That moment that you realise that your laser technician may be a cannibal*. I was undergoing laser one day and my technician turned up the intensity a little higher than usual. I swear I now know what a pork chop feels like when it is being grilled. I was a very bright shade of pink (think all over sunburn) for a number of days. Did she plan on eating me with apple sauce and a side order of mashed potato? I can only guess… This kind of treatment does have the potential to do real harm, but in her defense, I was keen to zap as many hairs as possible and told her to go as hard and as long as she could and in the end, I was fine. I applied my post laser cream and was right as rain a day or two later so nothing too problematic. So far.
That moment that you realise that your masseuse is actually a weightlifter and wrestler from Kazakhstan. Once again this did not happen to me, but it is a story that was related to me by a friend. He had been very stressed, and his mother booked him a massage at a massage parlour near home. He had been before and was looking forward to going because the masseur was a dreamy, well-built hunk. Sadly, for my friend, when he arrived he was told that the masseur was off that day and Olga (or whatever her name was) would be treating him that day. She tossed him around like he was a garden salad. He left the parlour feeling more stressed and certainly far more bruised than when he arrived. It is unlikely that you will suffer serious injury from a qualified therapist, even if they are a little rough (and I have had some rough massages, usually from physiotherapists though); you should however be aware that someone who lacks the necessary anatomical knowledge and skill can do you some real harm, especially if they are strongly built!
That moment that you realise that your waxing technician may be a dominatrix. If you walk into a salon and find yourself being strapped onto a bench and being told what your safe word is… OK, I just made that last one up, but I thought it was kind of funny.
What experiences have you all had at the beauty parlour? I would love to hear your experiences and anecdotes in the comments below.
*OK, perhaps I exaggerated a bit, but it sounded funnier this way.