Sonya Dove seems to have it all: an incredible career as one of the industry’s mostly sought-after educators, an exciting life of travel and adventure and the beauty and grace that salon clients aspire to achieve for themselves. Dove recognizes the wonderful life she’s living due to a mix of good fortune and hard work. She says there’s only one thing that she still can’t get a full grasp on: balance.
“All my life I’ve worked a lot,” says Dove, who owns a salon, The Doves Studio, in Santa Monica, serves as the director of the Intercoiffure Color Council and is familiar to hair show attendees through her platform work for both Wella and Hair dreams. “In recent years I’ve tried to balance everything. I have to make time to look after myself, but that balance is the part I still must get down.”
Now when she returns from educating at a hair show, Dove makes sure she has a day or two to wind down before returning to the salon. Occasionally, she asks her salon’s front desk to leave an afternoon open for her, unbooked. She makes time to do what she loves doing—to camp and be with nature, dance out in the open at music festivals, go out for a good meal with a glass of red wine and great conversation. Some days she does nothing more than stare at the sky. One place she doesn’t go is the gym!
“I just don’t like working out,” Dove says with no apology. “I’ve tried yoga, meditation—all of those things.” But it was a meditation exercise that helped her figure out what did make her happy. Sitting quietly and thinking about that led her to add all of those happy-place activities to her life, getting her back to dancing and being joyful. It’s helped her professionally as well.
“I love the colors of the ocean, sunsets, birds, fish,” she says. “I love taking pictures in Tulum, Mexico—the colors inspire me when I do hair color.”
Originally hoping to be a nutritionist before turning to cosmetology, Dove has researched nutrition extensively and shares more thoughts on everyday health measures:
- Staying well. Every morning, Dove fashions a smoothie blending cilantro, parsley, cooked beetroot, lemon juice, mango, a variety of berries, cayenne pepper, a garlic clove, turmeric root, honey and sometimes a banana for sweetness. “Everything is organic,” she notes. I started doing this about five years ago, and I am never ill. I am convinced it’s that drink! When you swallow this blend, it takes your breath away because it’s extremely peppery, but you also can make it milder.”
- High cholesterol. Everyone in Dove’s family has high cholesterol, so she couldn’t escape it. “Someone suggested that I drink a glass of red wine every night,” she says. “It’s the only thing that has worked!”
- Red meat? Yes. “When I don’t have red meat, I crave it,” Dove says. “I think I need the iron.”
- Genetic engineering? No. “I won’t eat a tomato that’s so huge that you tell it’s been genetically engineered.”
- Listen to your body. “I believe that you can feel what’s right for your body,” Dove says. “Eggs from cage-free hens, real milk, proper butter—it feels better than all of the fat-free foods we were eating. I don’t drink coffee, only tea. We should eat well—small meals often without skipping meals.”
- Aches of the profession. “When you’re cutting hair, position yourself so that you’re standing in the right position or you’ll strain your back,” Dove cautions. “If you’re right-handed, put the color bowl on your right. Don’t put the cart on your left and cross over yourself—move that cart! To avoid carpal tunnel, hold the scissors correctly; keep your arm aligned straight without bending the arm improperly. I do often wear heels when I work, but I’ve worn them all my life. I have more back trouble when I don’t wear my heels!”
Now 52 and a solo educator after a long platform partnership with Christopher Dove, Sonya Dove says that life continues to teach you health lessons. “As you get older, you really cherish the simple things,” she says. “If you’re always giving part of yourself, you need to give something back to yourself. You need to see the people you love, to be with the children in your life. When I was young, I was always searching for the best thing. Now I know that the best things are all around us.”
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