The Spiritual Side of Hairdressing
Sometimes we don't know that we are in need of something until it is given a name and placed before us. That was definitely the case when I discovered the work of Nicole Cichocki, founder of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. Nicole is a holistic hairdresser based in New York City, who is elevating the beauty industry by bringing energy work to her hair services. I was lucky enough to experience a haircut and energy therapy service with Nicole, and it really opened my eyes to the spiritual side of the beauty industry.
I walked into Nicole's studio on West 23rd Street tired, achy, and bloated. Not exactly the picture of glowing health, but I was on vacation with my family cramming in as much of NYC as we could into a few days over Spring Break. NYC is as inspiring as it is overwhelming. I had been walking for several blocks in the cold and rain, eating way too many treats, and trying to ensure my three kids had a good time in the city. The one thing I wanted to do for myself on vacation was get a haircut from Nicole. The second I walked into the beautiful, old building and headed up to the 7th floor, I knew I had done right by myself. I was actually going to complete an act of self-care, while on vacation, in one of the greatest cities in the world.
Nicole's studio is small but welcoming. There is a vintage, glam vibe to the lobby where a sofa, large mirror and chandelier greet visitors. Unlike the hustle and bustle of typical salons, the mood here is calm, more like a spa. The studio itself is minimalist and clean with a mix of industrial and natural elements. There is a man-sized plant that towers in the corner of the studio next to a wall of windows, allowing in just the right amount of natural light. I sit in the salon chair and admire the industrial lights that frame the mirror and set my glass of water next to a small, ceramic Buddha statue.
Nicole and I have already "met" through the internet, and we are both excited to talk shop. The world of holistic beauty professionals is small, so finding a kindred spirit is like being the new kid at school and finding someone who shares your affinity for comic books. Before we talk beauty, she offers me a menu of energy services available: Relax, Replenish, Mind Clearing, Balance, Sleep Well, and Joy. I scan the menu, and although I want a bit of everything, my intuition tells me to choose Mind Clearing.
At the shampoo bowl, Nicole hands me earplugs and asks me to take three deep breaths. I do so and close my eyes. Music - at just the right volume - oozes into my earplugs. The bass is deep and the sounds are relaxing, but not in a cheesy way. It's less like elevator music and more like being in a hip hop yoga class. For the next five minutes, Nicole does her energy work concentrating on my crown chakra. I am immediately transported. I let go of the stress of business, motherhood, and long list of vacation to-do's. For the first time in a while, I'm not planning or doing anything. I'm simply being. I cannot see Nicole, but I can sense her presence as heat hovers around my head. At times the heat moves to my brow area, but it mostly stays around the crown of my head. There is a deep purple haze in my mind's eye as a few thoughts of business planning pop in my head, a vision here and there of a salon space, but mostly I'm just relaxing in the present moment.
The music continues as I hear the faint sound of water behind me. I know it's the water for my shampoo service, but with the earplugs in, it sounds like a distant waterfall. I'm so relaxed after the shampoo service, I could fall asleep, but I'm here for the practical side of the service: the haircut. I ask for a modern shag. She nails it. Nicole has been in the business for 20 years, so her skills as a hairdresser are not surprising. What's unique about her is how she got into energy therapy and turned her passion into a business model unlike any other. We swap stories, and I learn more about her transition from hairstylist to energy therapist.
Nicole first became interested in energy work after years of working behind the chair in New York City. She was working as an educator and Master Stylist for the esteemed Bumble and Bumble. Many would consider her to be at the top of her game, but she was tired and no longer enjoying her craft. She was helping clients on a surface level, giving them new color and cuts but felt there was something missing. After years of feeling the energy of hundreds of clients in her chair, she started questioning what exactly was going on. Those energetic messages coupled with her own dissatisfaction in her career led her to the Healing Touch Program, where after three years of intense training in energy therapy, she became a certified practitioner.
Upon certification, Nicole left her position as a Master Stylist to start her own business: Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. In addition to the typical salon menu of services like haircuts, color, and highlights, Nicole offers Healing Therapy services. Clients can choose a mini-sequence added onto a service or an extended energy service. The response to her services has been overwhelmingly positive. Most people already enjoy the relaxing aspect of a massage at the shampoo bowl, but adding energy work to the service takes the experience to a whole new level. My hunch is that once more people hear about this holistic approach to hair care, more salons will offer services that address the mind, body, and spirit connection alongside beauty services.
They say when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I believe that I found Nicole at just the right time in my career as she is currently developing a educational program for stylists who want to learn more about energy therapy and integrating this knowledge into their services. As someone who has spent the past dozen years studying the mind-body connection as it relates to my own health and wellness, I'm naturally drawn to integrating the mind-body connection behind the chair. One of my main intentions with Petite Surf is to help clients see the connection between inner health and outer beauty. What Nicole has opened my eyes to is the spiritual connection underlying the client and hairdresser relationship. Whether we acknowledge it or not, that energetic exchange is always present. And now, thanks to Nicole, we have a paradigm to help us understand that unspoken exchange of energy that happens behind the chair.
To learn more about Nicole or book a service, visit Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. If you are a hairstylist who wants to learn more about how to integrate energy therapy into your hair services, subscribe to Nicole's mailing list to learn more about upcoming workshops. I will definitely be there, most likely recovering from eating too many pastries.
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