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New research tackles the emotional labour of hair styling

August 14, 2020

At HSA, we talk a lot about mental health and well-being, and the emotional workload that just gets accepted as part of the job.

For a lot of our clients, they’re dealing with issues at home, like family violence, mental health, that they can’t tell their friends or workmates — so they tell us, their hairstylist, or barber, or their beautician.

That’s why we’re extremely proud to support a new research initiative that’s come out of the University of Melbourne – the Beyond Skin-Deep Project.

Beyond Skin Deep is led by Dr Hannah McCann and is funded by the Australian Research Council. This project is looking at the relationship between hair and beauty workers and their clients, and how we’re in a really unique position to address social issues in our salons, like family violence, mental health and social isolation.

The project wants to answer three questions:

1.   What role do salon workers play in the emotional lives of their clients?

2.   How can salon workers best be trained and supported in the social and emotional work of their profession?

3.  What best practice solutions can be implemented to connect community services with salon professionals?

We know in the industry that there is a huge amount of emotional labour that goes into our work, but with Hannah’s project, we will finally be able to show the rest of Australia what we go through. We’ll have strong, academic data to take to lawmakers, educational providers and employment groups to lobby for greater support in our industry.

Right now, Hannah and her team are on the lookout for hair and beauty workers willing to fill out a survey on your experiences at work, particularly when it comes to COVID-19.

The survey is open to ALL hair and beauty workers, and that includes barbers, apprentices, and sole traders. HSA urges everyone who has worked at some point in the last 6 months of the coronavirus outbreak to participate.

You can find a link to the survey here. It takes about 15-20 minutes to complete and is completely confidential.

You can visit the Beyond Skin-Deep website here for more information. HSA will continue to keep members and supporters updated on our website, so keep an eye out for the results.

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Stronger together.

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