Healthy Hairdresser

Food for Thought

Rosanne Ullman | April 5, 2015 | 10:17 AM
Photo By Getty Images

We made it to spring—the season to renew, refresh, start again. It’s a good time to check in on personal goals from the beginning of the year, including our career-sustaining Healthy Hairdresser resolutions for body, spirit and business.


From participation in the Healthy Hairdresser Challenges at, it’s obvious salon teams are putting their heads together to develop a culture of health. Stylists are craving information to help make healthy food choices, and salon pros are setting health goals just as they set business goals.


In alliance with Healthy Hairdresser, Kate Geagan, an award-winning dietitian know as “America’s Green Nutritionist,” spoke to more than 1,800 salon pros at Serious Business, a recent business education event presented by Neill-TSP in New Orleans. In an exchange of ideas during a breakout session, participants expressed a desire to make a dedicated effort toward taking care of themselves and their salon teams. According to Geagan, there’s only one thing slowing them down—they’re last in line for their own attention.


“I’ve never worked with a group so focused on taking care of other people—team members, clients, people in their community,” says Geagan, author of Go Green Get Lean: Trim Your Waistline with the Ultimate Low-Carbon Footprint Diet. “The challenge is finding time to make themselves the priority so that everything else they’re trying to achieve becomes easier for them.”


Geagan identified some of the roadblocks that keep stylists from focusing on health:


Packed books. “Hairdressers are so busy during the day that they under-eat,” Geagan says. “When they get home they’re starving, and then it’s hard to make good decisions. You’re not going to reach for carrots and hummus when you’re hungry at the end of a hard day.”


Geagan’s solution is to bring power snacks to work. At Serious Business, a stylist told her she kept sushi in the breakroom to grab between guest appointments. “I loved hearing that!” Geagan says, adding that an easy-to-transport hard-boiled egg, handful of nuts and half an avocado are more good snack choices.


No imagination! People equate healthy food with boring food,” Geagan says. “Turn up the excitement so you feel you’re taking care of yourself instead of punishing yourself.” Discover herbs, nut butters, exotic grains and smoothies. With tons of online recipes, including those on, you’ll awaken your natural talents and have fun with this new outlet for creativity.


The water gap. For quick energy, hairdressers still find themselves heading toward caffeine and sugar instead of water. “The caffeine and sugar will pick you up initially but then let you down and take you farther from how you want to feel, how you want to look and who you want to be,” Geagan says


4 Stages of Habit-Making


Conventional wisdom says it takes three weeks for new habits to stick. A publication released by the National Institutes of Health and published by the Weight-control Information Network (WIN) lists four steps to making change happen:



“I’m thinking about it.”

Your belief system is in place—you believe you can improve your wellbeing if you develop new habits—but you’re not quite ready to start. Perhaps you are not sure how you will overcome the roadblocks that stand in the way of success.



“I have made up my mind.”

Maybe you’ve set goals or you’ve blocked out time in your schedule. You’re serious!



“I have started to make changes.”

You’re eating better, you’ve added physical activity and your body is adjusting to this new behavior. Maybe you’ve had to troubleshoot some obstacles.



“I have a new routine.”

You might have slipped up, but you’ve found your way back, and you’re resourceful in respecting your new routine even when life throws you curves.


The Healthy Hairdresser Challenge Progress Report


The first Healthy Hairdresser Challenge in January asked salon pros to set goals for the year. Hundreds participated, and many responded to an email check-up on progress. There was a lot of good news to share along with honest input on the need to recommit. To help all salon pros who want to get and stay healthier, here are a couple of snapshots of success:


“It has definitely been a struggle to eat right and keep fit, especially when I stay so busy, but I have been doing great,” says Emily Holland, a stylist at Great Looks Hair Salon in Aiken, South Carolina. “I can always tell a difference in how I feel when I am on the right track with my health, and this Healthy Hairdresser Challenge is a great reminder to help me stay focused on being the best hairdresser I can possibly be!”


Tina Walker, a stylist at Upper Cuts Salon in Hillsboro, Ohio, had set a goal of dropping weight to help alleviate joint pain from lupus, boost endurance and feel better ovverall. “I’ve lost 23 pounds!” Walker says.


Make sure you log in at to take the April “Healthy Selfie” Challenge! Turn the page for more details.

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