Geno Stampora: Thoughts on Hairdresser Health
Esteemed salon industry consultant Geno Stampora offers a twist to Healthy Hairdresser’s “beauty/spirit/business” focus. “The self, the home and business,” Stampora says. “It’s the trinity—if you feel good about those three, you’re doing well. But you need all three.”
While Stampora is known for motivating salon pros and helping them to maximize their business potential, he also focuses on the many complexities of that first component—self—in its relation to salon work.
“What we do is very taxing on both the mind and body,” Stampora tells Healthy Hairdresser. “I’ve been fortunate not to have serious issues due to my work—except for varicose veins, which I still have. It took me until age 40 to realize that I needed to eat well and work out. When I was younger, I would go to work, after work I’d go dancing, and then I’d go back to work.”
Time takes its toll but also brings wisdom! Stampora attained new insight when he observed younger workers at the salon he owned. “A few employees who worked for me asked for an hour-and-a-half off to take a break and have a good lunch,” he continues. “They would put in a full eight hours of work, but they’d break it up—sometimes to just sit outside and watch the butterflies.”
Booking client after client compromises your eating schedule, adds Stampora, the author of the beauty textbook Success Dynamics as well as best-selling CDs Adventures in Creative Hairdressing and Achieving Salon Success. “So many people in our industry just work and work and work,” he explains. “If they smell pizza in the staff room, they tell the client they left a tool there just so they can go grab a piece of pizza. We all should take time to eat and to give our minds a rest.”
During his long career, Stampora has seen technological advances so that today’s hairdressers face fewer challenges in areas such as carpal tunnel. “We’ve overcome some issues with lighter-weight blow dryers and ergonomically designed brushes with large handles,” he says. “Look for the quietest and lightest-weight tools you can find, and use thermal protectors, which help the brush glide through the hair—throughout a whole day of blowdrying, that makes a difference.” Still, busy hairdressers have to take care of themselves to have a long career.
“Pace yourself,” advises Stampora, who was inducted into the North American Hairstylists Awards Hall of Leaders in 2009. “Make sure you have steady energy throughout the day by resting, eating well and staying hydrated with a bottle water close by as you work. I’m a vitamin freak, so I’m in favor of taking a good multivitamin every day. I also take a fish oil supplement. Understand that all health is personal, and the most important thing you can do for your health is to be knowledgeable about it and take responsibility. Read about the best ways to eat, the best ideas for sleeping, suggestions for exercise.”
In face, Stampora attributes his success partly to always reading one book about health, another about spirit and a third about business. “Being a student of life keeps you younger,” he observes. “Attitude also is very important. Say that you’re going to make today work, damn it, and nothing is going to stop you! Think about all the good things you can be doing, which includes helping others. No matter how big your problems are, there’s someone out there with bigger problems than you have. Put life in perspective.”