Healthy Hairdresser

Andrea Drugay: Stylist Makes Health a Priority

Rosanne Ullman | February 8, 2015 | 4:30 PM
Andrea Drugay

For the early part of her professional life, Andrea Drugay was a busy writer/editor. She did technical writing and wrote for marketing and advertising firms. A yoga enthusiast, she also became a yoga trainer while continuing to do freelance writing, until the writing edged out the yoga teaching and she was freelancing full-time—but not enjoying it.


“I’d always wanted to do hair, but I never seriously considered it.” Drugay reports. “When I felt ready to make a major change from writing, my sister reminded me of how much I enjoyed hair and encouraged me to pursue a career in hairdressing.”


Always the reporter, Drugay did a lot of research before committing. She found that no matter how many salons she called to ask for advice, every single time someone at the salon would agree to speak with her. Drugay was impressed with the industry’s culture of support.


“I hadn’t gotten that from the tech world or the marketing/advertising world,” Drugay says. “Literally every salon person who spoke with me said, unprompted, that this is the best industry to work for. I hadn’t even heard that in the yoga world!”


Now Drugay has her cosmetology license and recently wrapped up an assistantship at Posh Salon & Blow-Dry Boutique in the upscale Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, CA. She loves her new career, which she feels is enhanced by her background in communication.


“I love giving clients that fun, but relaxing, outlet of getting their hair cut, shaped or colored,” she explains. “For me, it’s not about a stylist who has magic hands—but doesn’t talk to the client. I always liked stylists who educated me about my hair and explained why applying color myself wasn’t a good idea! But I also understand when a client you doesn’t want to chat during the service.”


With her yoga history, Drugay was in good shape for a job that requires her to be on her feet all day and hustling business when she’s not at the salon. Still, she acknowledges the ongoing challenge.


“I’ve had to keep in mind that if I really want to do this, my health and fitness are crucial,” Drugay says. Drugay’s health routine comprises a range of good choices:

Morning yoga on the days that she works. “Sometimes the yoga is active and powerful to get the blood flowing,” she says, “but sometimes it’s very slow, very meditative.”

A Pilates move. Drugay’s tip is to sit on the floor in the morning with your knees tucked into your chest and roll back and forth on your spine. “When you stand all day, gravity pulls down your spine,” she says. “The disks between your vertebrae can get compressed, and rolling like a ball is a great way to release some of that pressure and bring your spine back into balance.”

A favorite pose at the end of a difficult workday. “Some days, I’ll come home and lie on the floor and put my legs up the wall,” she explains. “It’s one of my favorite poses, because it reverses the flow of gravity and redirects the blood that’s been pooling into your legs. If you’ve been standing all day, it’s a great pose to do.” Drugay also recommends doing mountain pose, which tucks the tail bone under the back, counteracting any swayback that may have been happening during the day, and opens up the hips and hamstrings.

Compression socks. Drugay wears them most days, along with sneakers, no-heel boots or flats.

Insoles. “I found insoles that have little nubs on them that correspond with acupressure points in your feet,” Drugay says. “So you’re getting an acupressure massage the whole time you’re on your feet. It feels really nice!” 

Run. A longtime runner, Drugay now runs only on her days off. “The combination of running and yoga has worked really well for me,” she explains. “I know the cardio aspect of running is important, but I also do it for my mental wellness.”

Balanced nutrition. “I go by the 80/20 rule,” says Drugay, referring to the popular recommendation to eat really well 80% of the time and let yourself “cheat” 20% of the time. “I keep the focus on whole foods and minimize processed foods. I make my lunch almost every day so that I’m sure to have a salad, soup, nuts and healthy snacks and not be tempted to go out for a Reuben with fries.”


Is hairdressing just one more step on her way to something else? Drugay doesn’t think so.


“I’m in this for the long term,” she says. “I’m starting from the bottom; you have to. I still feel brand new, but I feel confident. I feel I’ve learned well from my mentor, who’s the salon owner. There’s so much room for growth, improvement, success. I can’t even imagine an end point.”


Look for Andrea Drugay’s articles on yoga and more in future Healthy Hairdresser e-letters.





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