• Scarlett Aylen

A difficult haircut?

It might sound like a simple task, but going to the hairdressers is a very tedious job for me. I hate it.

Why? Because people touch my back, ask me to ‘even up’ my shoulders, to ‘sit up straight’, they touch my neck while they fling my hair about to dry it, manhandle me or ask me to move loads. Let alone having my neck bent backwards into the wash basin to be washed. The chairs you have your hair cut in aren’t particularly comfortable either, they want you to sit up straight for an even trim. I tend to spent the entire trip not being able to relax back into the chair I was sat at, something most people take for granted, but is very tiring for me. It is horrible experience and I always leave in pain! Not only this, but having my hair cut remotely shorter is quite a mental challenge because I try to cover up lots of my back that I feel uncomfortable about by using my hair, which unbeknown to most people I know, is actually the only reason I have long hair that goes past my shoulder blades.

A long standing friend of mine has a ventilator mask that she has to wear. She went to the hairdressers to get her hair cut and dyed. Her family had already explained to them about the mask. They said it was fine. They let her get all the way to the hairdressers for her appointment only to refuse to touch her.

Luckily she found another hairdresser that was really understanding and now she is very happy with her hair! After chatting to my friend about her negative-turned-positive experience, I summoned up the courage to make a trip to the hairdressers myself.

I love my hair, but I really do avoid going to the hairdressers. I am too scared to explain that I need them to be gentle on me because of my back and neck. It might sound stupid, but I’ve felt like this for a long time now! Five years down the line and I finally explained to a new hairdresser that I needed her to be extra gentle.

I recently made a friend who has a family member with scoliosis, so knows all too well the troubles it causes. Even better, their sister was a hairdresser in my local town. She was absolutely fantastic! She made sure I was okay, that she wasn’t hurting me at any point, let me use the pillows in the salon and lift my neck up and move whenever I wanted. She even cut my hair to account for the uneven ribs so my hair laid flat along my back.

Not only this, but I managed to cut off 9 inches (which I donated as per usual), but this time I wasn’t panicking about how I could no longer use it it to cover up my back. I will be putting this newly found confidence to the test when I go travelling with my shorter hair, taking nothing more than crop tops for the most of it to help teach myself that it is okay for people to see my back.

It is really hard explaining to someone that what they think as a simple activity, you are scared to do it. However now I know that it is okay to tell people, just like telling a hairdresser about my back,and that they won’t judge me, nor will they hurt me by accident because they didn’t know.

Two goals achieved, a happy Scarlett after her hairdresser trips and shorter hair that I am not self conscious about anymore. Not forgetting the hair donation, which I recommend you go for if you have some spare hair hanging around. It will always grow back.

Who’d have thought that my friend telling me about her trip to the hairdressers would be the push I needed to gain confidence in a weird but wonderful way?

Pictured below, my blonde and rose gold hair.


Recovering Confidence After Scoliosis surgery is a new not for profit organisation, founded by Scarlett Aylen in 2018.

 2018 Recovering Confidence After Scoliosis Surgery RCASs. Scarlett Aylen. The United Kingdom.