I had the privilege of catching up with my good friend and beauty stylist to the stars, Gad Cohen. I totally scrapped my intended “look” for the chat (a groovy headscarf) and played up the moment. A few hours prior to our chat, I decided to wash my hair and then ran into a meeting that lasted much longer than anticipated. I was left with only a few minutes to prep. So I leaned into it. I didn’t blow dry my hair but, instead, worked with the au natural waviness and fullness.
Why am I telling you all this? Because it became the theme of our discussion: embracing the NOW.
Gad and I kicked off our chat discussing the New York Times article: What Is Beauty Now by Mara Altman. Altman shares a number of different opinions around our responses to the beauty constraints during this crisis, and what’s going to happen when it’s all over. She describes the sheer panic people are experiencing over their gray hairs and how they are jumping out of their seats in anticipation of salons opening up. While others, she writes, are embracing their new-found liberation from beauty maintenance. When it comes to the moment we can go back to normal living, the article shares the concern that beauty brands will shame us into trying to get plucked, primped and preened by pointing out how we’ve all gone to pot. But the article raises the opinions of others — like that of Gad — that we will be a lot more empathetic and embracing of others’ appearances. And that we will all come out better from this experience.
I tend towards the “glass half full side of things” and agree with the last sentiment. Given that Gad is part of the beauty industry that Altman refers to, I asked him if he agrees that people will be convinced that they will be crappy about themselves and succumb to the beauty industry’s call for transformation. He said absolutely no. First, he believes people will reject that type of marketing and even rebel against it. Second, he, himself, looks forward to playing with the changes that we are all experiencing — the gray strands, the longer hair, the grown out eyebrows. The opposite of using shame, he will greet people’s evolving beauty with love, excitement and creativity.
This discussion led us to anticipate what’s going to change for HIM when people start coming back to his atelier. Will he be doing anything differently given what he’s learned from this crisis? Of course he will continue to do what he’s always been doing, that is, truly understand his clients — their personalities, lifestyles, aspirations and dreams — in order to create the best styles for them. But he believes that we will all be much more focused on the NOW, i.e., how we are feeling at that moment. In the past, we may have asked our stylists for looks that will work in different future scenarios. We would think about what will grow out well in the long run or what has versatility. But our sense of the future is so unsure now. Who would have expected to be stuck working from home for months on end? Who would have thought travel was off limits? Who would have thought we wouldn’t be socializing or that our major source of connection would be a small screen? We are not saying that we won’t be planning for days ahead but we will have a greater appreciation for the NOW — what we need, feel, want, expect in this moment.
Boy, am I looking forward to that NOW moment