Michael Shaun Corby
Michael Shaun Corby

(This is a version of an excerpt from an article published in the Healthy Hairdresser section of the January 2015 issue of MODERN SALON.)


By the time he was 17, Michael Shaun Corby was doing B12 shots and considering going vegan. Health was always a priority. But as Corby’s career took off, he began traveling a lot and hanging out with celebrity clients. He didn’t even notice that his lifestyle was changing until he saw a photo of himself looking out of shape.


“That photo was my wake-up call,” says Corby, global creative director at Alterna Professional Haircare and lead stylist for Project Runway Allstars Season 3. He took action immediately, doing a “master cleanse” by eating only a mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water. He repeats the cleanse for 10 to 15 days each year after the winter holidays and typically drops about 20 pounds. In addition, Corby changed a lot about his life:


Nutrition. When Corby travels, he carries almonds, sushi-grade seaweed and a few cans of tuna. At the hotel, instead of checking the menu, he calls room service and orders grilled salmon. He cautions against quickie meals like high-calorie energy bars and smoothies. 


“A nutritionist in the Netherlands advised me not to juice,” Corby adds. “She said our body is meant to chew.”

However, when he’s a guest in fabulous cities, Corby permits himself to sample the local cuisine.


“I love European butter!” he admits. “But I practice ‘mindful eating.’ Before I eat, I take 30 seconds to smell what I’m eating. I feel my hunger, acknowledge that I’m thankful for the food  and then really taste it. When you do that, you eat less but enjoy it more.”


Exercise. Corby is a fan of TRX, a full-body, 30-minute workout using a special belt. No matter what the method, the key is to just keep moving, he says, adding, “Even if you’re in a hotel room, you can put your favorite music on your iPod and march around the room until you sweat.”


Hairdresser strains. With carpal tunnel issues, Corby had to give up bowling, which he loved, and he also wore a brace when he used to blow-dry a lot. Once a month, he tries to get a Thai massage, and he supports that overall body stretch with frequent yoga. 


Mental state. Corby says that being creative, collaborating with other people, doing yoga and stretching all help his emotional condition even when he’s missing his family due to his heavy travel schedule. To handle ordinary frustrations like canceled flights, Corby relies on his mantra. 

“I hum my mantra, which I call my ‘adult blankie,’ he says. “Find your adult blankie. It may be something as simple as picturing a pleasant place.” Make sure it’s not a substance, though.


“Don’t set up a pattern of using alcohol to handle problems,” Corby continues. “Never say, ‘I deserve a drink.’ It’s risky to set up a pattern of using alcohol to handle problems.”


Natalie Berglund, an independent contractor at Total Image Solutions in University Place, Washington, is a blogger who was challenging readers to “live up to your potential” when she found herself challenged to do the same in her own life. She was letting negativity and resistance to change creep into her life. 


“Change doesn’t have to be scary,” she posted on DearHairdresser.com. “It can be an exciting adventure.” She told readers that it takes no more time or energy to say, “What if I succeed?” as “What if I fail?”


“I’ve learned that when I focus on negative things, my whole life becomes pitched that way,” Berglund says. “I attract negative clients, my body feels tired, I have less patience with people and my creative spark is gone!”


Berglund used to wake up each day thinking, “What’s going to happen today?” She made a conscious effort to instead say, “I wonder what I can make happen today!” That small change helped to turn things around, but it wasn’t Berglund’s only strategy. Accustomed to giving advice on her blog, Berglund shares her multifaceted approach with Healthy Hairdresser readers:

  1. “Don’t talk about it, be about it!” she says. “I began hitting the gym regularly. I have cried at the gym countless times, because I use it as my place to ‘feel’ and sort through emotional and mental clutter so I can focus my energy on my clients! I firmly believe that you can’t make others look and feel good if you don’t feel that for yourself. Realize that exercising regularly will boost your stamina for a long workday, and being fit will keep your body limber and help avoid sore muscles.”
  2. Plan ahead. Bring to work what you’ll need for the day. Instead of eating a heavy lunch, Berglund now keeps little snacks nearby. “I also switch between heels and flats every other day,” she adds. “Never underestimate the importance of a comfy shoe!”
  3. Be positive. “Do not poison yourself and others with negativity!” she says. “Share uplifting stories; if your client wants to be negative, just listen and try to provide encouragement.”
  4. Welcome change. “When I’m moving through change, I focus on staying excited about what gifts will come out of it instead of what challenges will arise,” she explains “Stay away from the ‘fear’ part, and live in the ‘wonder’ and ‘magic’ that the change may bring.”


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