Clayde Baumann speaks about how he is coping during the pandemic and hopes to inspire others

February 15, 2021

Clayde Baumann is the current BHA British Colour Technician of the Year and is also the Global Colour Director at D&J Ambrose and a Wella Top Creative Artist.

We asked him to share how he has been feeling and coping during the current pandemic in the hope that it will resonate with and inspire other hairdressers out there.

What can anyone possibly say that hasn’t already been said in the situation we find ourselves in?

It would be disingenuous and I would be remiss to not admit moments of despair and sorrow but I’m going to go with the one that I feel will leave you feeling motivated and inspired to push through this very difficult time that we find ourselves in.

I’m certain I’m not the only one sitting here thinking: ‘If you’d told me in November ’19 that the silly SARS look-alike that was surreptitiously creeping west was going to cripple the world economy and our industry, I wouldn’t have believed you.’ Yet here we are and as I said before, when we hit first lockdown, the realisation of it left me in a state of despair, paralysed with indecision and a feel of helplessness. It’s important to share that with you so that you know it’s perfectly normal to feel in a state of limbo, like a headless chicken.

I know from my 21 years in the industry, that hairdressers the world over are in a dire state for one important reason: We honestly LOVE what we do.

It knits the very fibres of who we are together and to keep us at home doesn’t just deny us work or a full salary… it really is so much more than that.

We tick every single essential box for thriving in life while we are work. It’s our social connection, it’s our creative outlet, it’s potentially the only exercise some of us get, it’s a job that requires a large amount of mindfulness and empathy, huge shoulders and a big heart. It’s no wonder that we find ourselves bereft of purpose. Right?

Wrong! It’s time to snap out of it.

I am sure that there are some you who feel that you’re strong and you’re thriving: that’s excellent news. Take it and play it forward. There are fellow hairdressers out there who need you. Yes, stay at home but reach out on the amazing technology we have and make difference to someone else’s life.

However if you are feeling low, I wanted to share some methods of thought and ways to enrich your day so that you feel a little stronger.

As I said, we as hairdressers do a lot of our daily LIVING at work so it’s important to find a way to do some of that whilst we aren’t working so that we can stay motivated and positive, working toward the day that we can reopen doors.

I’ve broken it down into the three things I think hairdressers need to stimulate themselves during a working day. They are the 3 H’s; The Head, the Heart and the Hands.

The Head 

Keeping your head in the right place is a best place to start. Starting with positive thought will get you into action. I still sometimes struggle to get into the right headspace on my own. Here are some channels I use to get back in:

  • Listen to podcasts and small daily hits of motivational Insta stories from people who inspire you even if they aren’t hairdressers. I really enjoy listening to @davidgoggins, @howtocutit, @adamcam10, @officiallymcconaughey
  • Meditation. I know what hairdressers are like. So many say we’re going to do it… and we never do do. There are some great guided mediations on the Headspace App for your iPhone or Android phone. The first 10 mediations are free and can be redone at any time. This really helps.
  • Read. Switch it up. Take some time to get away from your devices and technology and read. This doesn’t have to be serious stuff. Anything to stimulate your imagination. Poetry. Fantasy Novel. Saucy Mills & Boon.
  • Commune with Nature. We as hairdressers rarely get to spend time enjoying the outdoors because of our antisocial work schedule. See this time for its positives also. Go for a walk. Take some time to get your hands dirty and plant something. There are studies and evidence that show that this is good for reducing stress.
  • Stay motivated by researching all the latest trends and techniques so that you’re up to date when doors open. Look at what consumers are looking at as well as your creative inspirers.

The Heart

The ability and permission to connect emotionally to the people we work with and provide services to, is what separates us from a lot of conventional workplaces so how do we stay on top of keeping this rare quality and prevent ourselves from becoming emotionally disconnected.

  • Self love. This meaning is often misinterpreted and it’s important to know that real self love means doing the things we don’t want to do. The old adage goes, you can’t love others until you’ve learned to love yourself so it really is the most important love. This can be anything from kicking a bad habit to having the courage to reach out whether it’s to find someone to talk to/share a problem.
  • Stay in touch. With yourself, with your friends, with your work team, with the world. Set yourself up a weekly Zoom/FaceTime with a couple of friends to stop yourself from getting lonely
  • Take up a creative hobby/learn a new language. We are naturally creative people. Lack of creative outlet was one of the more devastating side-effects certainly for me. I rediscovered my love of drawing and painting and picked up my Italian lessons. It doesn’t need to be as obvious as that. Try something new? You may pick up a new skill along the way.
  • It’s Valentine’s month. Celebrate it even if you’re single. Buy yourself the chocolate and/or flowers – Write yourself a card listing the reasons you love yourself. It is so vital that you take time to appreciate who you are.

The Hands

Most importantly do not forget that YOU ARE A HAIRDRESSER and you’re in the country that birthed the father of modern-day hairdressing. Keep those hands skilled!

  • Watch those instagram/Facebook stories, live shows. There are so many great tutorials available online now available through all the major colour brands and their respective ambassadors as well a few great independent educators. Google is your friend.
  • Invest in a head block, challenge yourself and practice the things you’re NOT good at.
  • Reach out to the people you inspire you for advice or mentoring, they have time.
  • Document and share your trials and practice runs with friends, employers, colleagues.
  • Get out and walk/jog/run. Your body is used to standing for 8-12 hours a day.

I’d suggest taking this checklist and maybe trying to take at least one activity out of each section day and try it. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.

I challenge you to beat this pandemic in your head, your heart and your hands and emerge from this a stronger, better person and hairdresser. I wish you all a very awesome 2021. Don’t wait for it to be great. Make it great.