Female hairdressers starting to get ahead

Updated: Mar 28, 2023 China Daily Print
Share - WeChat
Bai Yaxin cuts a customer's hair at the InStyle Hair Salon in the Sanlitun area in Beijing in October. WANG JING/CHINA DAILY

Persistence and dedication drive the personal growth of leading hairstylist

Editor's Note: To highlight the role of women in Chinese society, China Daily is publishing a series of stories detailing their work and achievements in different parts of the country.

Nobody who knows Bai Yaxin well was surprised by her decision to become a hairdresser, or the fact that she has stuck with the job irrespective of changes in her life.

In fact, little could derail the determined 28-year-old, who has always been fond of the trade and has developed a hobby into a career through her own endeavors.

Bai set out to work as a stylist's assistant at the age of 15 when she left her hometown in Yuncheng, Shanxi province, in 2010. She moved to Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, to study hairdressing at a vocational school, practicing her cutting skills through daily assessments.

"There were thousands of times when I thought of giving up hairstyling back in Hangzhou, but I persisted," she said.

"It's been a difficult path, growing from a hair color technician into a stylist's assistant and eventually a stylist. It was so exhausting that I even thought about quitting, but instead, I persisted and am still working," she added.

After working in Hangzhou for seven years, Bai felt less motivated because of the competition and great stress caused by the customer rotation system in the barbershop, which was designed to reduce waiting times but meant stylists seldom got to choose the clients they served.

Bai discusses a favored cut and style with her client. WANG JING/CHINA DAILY

As a result, she decided to return home to Shanxi for a short break, before heading to Beijing to tackle more challenges.

She said she knew nothing and feared nothing when she came to Beijing. She applied for a hairstylist's position in the Sanlitun area of Chaoyang district by contacting a manager at the hair salon via Sina Weibo, one of China's most popular microblogging platforms.

"Sanlitun is a place where fashionable people gather, and there are chic elements everywhere. I believed that I could gain a stronger sense of fashion there and find more room for my personal growth, especially in the early stages of my career," Bai said.

She got the job and was hired as a stylist at the InStyle Hair salon in 2017. However, she soon realized her weak point, which was that, unlike the other hairdressers, she had few patrons. That resulted in a low salary for her first month's work. "I only earned a few hundred yuan in the first month," she recalled. "Things were hard and very difficult for the following few months."

In addition to serving every client to the best of her ability, she began her own online promotions by opening personal accounts on the lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu, the short-video platform Douyin and on Sina Weibo.

After about nine months, her income was respectable as she made 60,000 to 70,000 yuan ($8,700 to $10,170) per month, she said, adding that she worked about 10 hours a day, six days a week. That state of affairs lasted for about five years.

"I was suddenly at a loss recently and couldn't figure out the meaning of life," Bai said. "It's probably because I was sick in September, unable to adjust myself well."

In response, she gave herself a short break and returned to work at the salon in early October.

"No matter what happens, the only thing I will persist with is my work as a hairstylist," she said.

"Hairstyling is an industry that can create and find beauty. It requires creativity, which is what I like the most."

While she encourages more young women to join the industry as hairstylists, she had a word of warning. "Unless someone has a strong will and likes doing this, it will be very difficult to persevere," she said.

Copyright©2024 China Daily. All rights reserved.


京公网安备 11010502032503号 京公网安备 11010502032503号