Chana Gray has always intuitively understood that being a healthy hairdresser would help her to be a happy hairdresser—and increase her chances for career longevity.
“I have been a holistic hairdresser since the 1970s,” says Gray, owner of her solo salon Chana’s Hair Design Studio in Eagar, Arizona. “I used to mix conditioner into hair color and add buffers to perm solutions, customizing the service for each client. Now I research every product for my safety and my clients’ safety as well as to achieve great results.”
For many years, Gray participated in a Japanese philosophy group which, she says, “helped me to have a sense of direction and purpose. It’s about cause and effect: if I do this action, there may be this or that result. I still write affirmations every day.”
That karma-type of approach guides Gray not only in life, but in business. “I want to do the right thing for my clients every time,” she explains. “I tell clients that if they have a problem with their hair, no matter how minor, just come back. Don’t be unhappy; don’t go to some other salon. I want them to be able to say anything to me, and I won’t be offended.”
Based on her studies and experience, Gray extends her philosophy further:
- When you’re giving, you’re also receiving. “My clients really love me and care about me,” Gray says. “Hairdressers know that you build a rapport with your clients. The receiving isn’t all monetary.”
- Gray has designed a calm salon decor and relaxing menu of services. In Tuscany style, her salon has a fountain that she turns on during the summer to create a spa-like atmosphere. She offers aromatherapy scalp massages behind a screen for privacy. “I benefit from doing the aromatherapy as well,” she notes. “Clients enjoy coming here. I work one on one with them.”
- Gray asks about clients’ diet and health. She feels that’s part of her function as a beauty coach.
- Gray has developed her own skin care and hair care lines with all-natural formulas.
- The salon is as free of chemical odors as Gray can make it. “A lot of people, including me, have allergies,” she explains.
- Before she’ll use a product on a client, Gray tries the product on herself to check for sensitivities and to gauge the product’s effectiveness.
Technology has never been Gray’s strong suit, so she has been tackling it as a professional growth experience. She’s now posting videos on YouTube and is launching a website for her product lines. “I saw that the industry was passing me by,” she says, “so I decided to learn more.”
Gray also is very involved in her small community, a mountain town that cools off Phoenix residents during the sticky summers. Ultimately her work is about making women feel great.
“My best holistic health tip,” Chana says, “will always be to love yourself, accept who and where you are in your life at that moment and encourage others to do the same.