Even former Victoria’s Secret models felt brand’s body ideals ‘went against Mother Nature’
Even former Victoria’s Secret models felt brand’s body ideals ‘went against Mother Nature’

Sarah Finnan

Netflix and Shonda Rhimes’ ‘Inventing Anna’, will be the must-see series of 2022
Netflix and Shonda Rhimes’ ‘Inventing Anna’, will be the must-see series of 2022

Jennifer McShane

These charming Irish cottages are the perfect weekend getaway
These charming Irish cottages are the perfect weekend getaway

Shayna Sappington

Breast Cancer Awareness: ‘There were days I was so sick, I didn’t know how I could get through it’
Breast Cancer Awareness: ‘There were days I was so sick, I didn’t know how I...

Edaein OConnell

How a group of women began rowing on Galway’s River Corrib to aid their recovery from breast cancer
How a group of women began rowing on Galway’s River Corrib to aid their recovery...

IMAGE

‘We almost died’: Gwyneth Paltrow on her 2 very traumatic childbirth experiences
‘We almost died’: Gwyneth Paltrow on her 2 very traumatic childbirth experiences

Sarah Finnan

Susan Jane White’s super-simple, healthy(ish) brownies
Susan Jane White’s super-simple, healthy(ish) brownies

Meg Walker

US ‘Office’ star BJ Novak’s response to discovering he’s an international catalog model gives us big Ryan the temp energy
US ‘Office’ star BJ Novak’s response to discovering he’s an international catalog model gives us...

Sarah Finnan

Missed our Business Summit? Watch the Sessions on-demand here
Missed our Business Summit? Watch the Sessions on-demand here

IMAGE

Here’s everything we know about Adele’s upcoming album
Here’s everything we know about Adele’s upcoming album

Megan Burns

Image / Beauty

Why I’m still learning from my first (slightly upsetting) beauty memory


by Aisling Keenan
22nd Feb 2019
Why I’m still learning from my first (slightly upsetting) beauty memory

What’s your first beauty memory? Mine is a trip to the hairdresser that left me in tears, age five, that I’ve never quite gotten over…

It was a fresh, bright day in Shrewsbury, England and I was beside myself with excitement and anticipation. I was about to be a flower girl for the first time that day at a very, very fancy wedding. I had a typically ’90s, intricately detailed, bouffant gown to wear. It was tiny and huge at the same time, devouring me under layers of cream crushed silk, with a marsala sash around my middle.

A Real Life Princess

I was fully certain that the bride-to-be, and her three gorgeous and statuesque bridesmaids, were English royalty. In actual fact, the bride-to-be was one of my dad’s good friends from when he studied in the UK and she was not quite royal. But to me, wearing a mini replica of her wedding dress, she was a princess.

I was terribly shy as a child. My face would flush the bright red of my flower girl sash if an adult so much as smiled me, and so all the attention I was getting as a bona fide wedding party member was overwhelming. I was unbelievably excited about one particular aspect of the wedding day prep – my first trip to the hairdressers.

The Salon

The English contingent referred to it as ‘the salon’. I had hair down to my waist that was straight but curly – you know the type – and very fine. I didn’t know it at the time, but it takes a lot of product and a small hair miracle to get it to hold a style.

The manic, pre-wedding Saturday morning rush in the small village salon was, again, overwhelming. I was five and this was one of my first times being in a different country, so everything felt very different. The hairdresser in charge of me had to curl my hair and afterward, put a little flower crown into it. I didn’t think it was going to be anything to feel anxious about.

Related: How to get the perfect wedding day hair

Minor Trauma

They first washed my hair. I was propped up on a pile of towels so that my head reached the basin – but my neck was at a funny angle and I was sore from the moment I sat down. The hairdresser wasn’t being careful – suds got in my eyes and stung. The towel was wrapped too tight. By the time I landed back to the blow-dry station, I was silently close to tears.

Trying to detangle two feet of hair (that probably hadn’t been brushed through in a week) was a painful experience for me, and for the person tasked with doing it, I don’t doubt. I was teary again, and my face was pink with the stress of it all. They asked me was I okay, I just nodded. The dryer was so hot and held for so long on one part of my head it felt like I was being scalded. They then tried in vain to achieve a curl in my mousey brown hair and failed.

They tried again, and failed. Pulling, prodding, brushing from three different people all at the same time resulted in nothing that resembled the ‘look’ we were all hoping would be achieved. There were calls for me to leave the salon or risk being late for the wedding and so they admitted defeat and I left.

I remember all these things more distinctly than I remember any other moment of the wedding. I remember feeling sad that I didn’t ask them to be gentler with my little noggin, I remember feeling guilty because the curl didn’t stay in. I was convinced I was ruining the wedding because the thing the bride requested from me was curls and a flower crown and I was only half delivering (of course, I wasn’t, but at age five, how was I to rationalise that?). I was embarrassed because I thought everyone along that mile-long aisle was looking at my hair.

What I Learned

Thinking back to five-year-old me, terrified to speak up in a busy salon, it occurred to me how little had changed in me up until recently. I’d still ensure a painful and anxiety-inducing visit to the salon instead of speaking up. I once sat through a hair appointment so stressful that I burst into tears when I left. I didn’t complain.

I was once overcharged by €80 but didn’t go back and query it because they were so busy. I’ve had half of my left eyebrow scalped by a threading ‘specialist’ and I didn’t speak a word to her or the manager, and I paid full price.

I once had a manicure so bad it looked like a toddler had done it, and when they asked me gleefully “how was everything today”, I smiled and said “great, thanks” and skulked out like a woman defeated. Granted, I understand how lucky I am to be able to go and pay for beauty treatments like this, but that doesn’t mean I should be grateful for any shoddy service they deign to provide.

Not Alone

I know I’m not the only one, too. The amount of stories friends have told me of terrible salon experiences where they were left crying and upset having paid and said thank you for abysmal service is innumerable. If you were paying for a painter to paint your living room white and they painted it grey, got paint all over your new carpet and rolled their eyes when you asked about the colour discrepancy, would you still thank them and hand over all your money? I would hope not.

So now, any time I am in a salon, paying with my hard-earned cash for something that should be a pleasant experience and service, I think back to teary, five-year-old flower girl me. I will her to have to confidence to gently speak up and say “that hair dryer is burning my scalp” – and I make sure 31-year-old me does the exact same.

Also Read

Why I’m still learning from my first (slightly upsetting) beauty memory
BEAUTY
Pillow sprays to help you unwind and drift off to sleep

Soothe your body and mind and lull yourself to sleep with pillow sprays. If you’re here, you’re probably well aware...

By Holly O'Neill

Why I’m still learning from my first (slightly upsetting) beauty memory
FOOD & DRINK, BEAUTY
Taste of Dublin 2021: Finally, there’s a reason to get dressed up with the girls next weekend

Taste of Dublin is back, and they’ve joined forces with Dyson for the ultimate giveaway, gifting one lucky TOD attendee...

By Shayna Sappington

Why I’m still learning from my first (slightly upsetting) beauty memory
FASHION, BEAUTY, SHOPPING
From Chanel to Hailey Bieber, this candy hue is taking over

Bust a mauve.All things Nineties to Noughties have returned from bucket hats to Alexa Chung’s Mulberry bag and powdery lilac...

By Holly O'Neill

Why I’m still learning from my first (slightly upsetting) beauty memory
BEAUTY
The five beauty products to know used backstage at London Fashion Week

Behind every great fashion show beauty look is a team of experts using the latest and greatest in beauty to...

By Holly O'Neill

Why I’m still learning from my first (slightly upsetting) beauty memory
BEAUTY
Black lipstick: Here’s how to pull it off

Halloween is the season for trying out some dramatic makeup looks unabashed. And because we’re coming into winter, it means...

By Jennifer McShane

Why I’m still learning from my first (slightly upsetting) beauty memory
BEAUTY
The expert guide to your hair problems, from thinning hair to heat damage

While our hair may be getting more rest than ever – from overstyling, heat and chemicals – we seem to...

By Melanie Morris

Why I’m still learning from my first (slightly upsetting) beauty memory
BEAUTY
MAC’s best-selling Ruby Woo lipstick now comes in more finishes

Whether you are a devoted diehard red lipstick wearer or you just dip your toe for a special occasion, MAC...

By Holly O'Neill