Exciting, challenging world of male hair stylists

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Who says that what a woman can do, a man can’t do too??

Walaitalai to God almairry , from what I’ve seen – some of you can bear witness to that, 99% of male hairstylists actually wash, braid, fix, and sew up hair a lot better than most female hairstylists would. They are storming places, and completely taking over!

Their passion for it when they do find it, arouses. Have you seen them??

Sigh..


Hairdressing was strictly a woman’s field. When the thought of looking beautiful or making one’s hair comes to the mind, naturally, one thinks of a female hair stylist to make it. However, that no longer holds sway as men are taking over the hair making business. In fact, most women out there prefer them to their fellow women because they are believed to be better in it. Jedidah Akinpelu writes.

Mr. Austin Idowu is a hairstylist from Edo State. He is fondly called JJ by his friends. He started hairdressing in 2004 after he was deported from Europe. He said: “I had already spent four months in Europe before I got deported. I went to my village and a friend introduced me to hairdressing. I came to Lagos to enhance my study of the art and later started working as a hairstylist.” For Idowu, it was not an easy journey learning and mastering the art. “As a male hairstylist, I faced so many challenges. For instance, due to the present location of my shop, which is not at the major road, my boys and I have to hustle for customers.

However, those who know us always find their ways to our shop or call to book appointments. Whenever we get customers, we try our best to treat them nicely, so that they would come again or refer people.” Idowu said that his best moment as a hairstylist was when he made the hair of a popular Nollywood actress, Ini Edo’s in 2016. “Honestly, it was a dream come true for me. I was contacted by her manager to come over to her place on the island to braid her hair, which was one of the styles I major in,” Idowu reminisced.

“I went with two of my workers. I was happy that she was satisfied with my work. The payment from that job was good.” He explained that his major hairstyles were braids and dread locks. He noted: “ My customers are not limited to ladies alone. I also make dread locks for guys. People regard me as the king of dread locks.

I charge ladies more than men because I feel women have more money. Women can spend any amount to look good. Generally, I charge as high as N30, 000 to N100, 000 and as less as N25, 000 to N7000.” Austin Williams, 25, another hairstylist, also from Edo State, revealed that his interest in hairdressing was ignited after he paid a visit to Lagos State some years back and saw men weaving and braiding hair for women.

“Immediately, I fell in love. I went back to Edo State and told my mum that I have seen a business in Lagos that I was interested in. She asked me the sort of business, I said hairdressing. She was shocked; she asked how a man could stand and make a woman’s hair. I told her I had already made up my mind. She called me a prostitute and all sort of names. I later asked her to assist me with some money and she did,” he narrated.

Williams returned to Lagos and went to live with a friend, while he started learning hairdressing. He had only worked as an apprentice for six months when he started making all sorts of hair for customers. Williams said: “I went to see my mum after six months. When she noticed how swiftly I have learnt the trade and how much I had achieved, she was happy. She told me that she was proud of me and with my choice of profession. I returned to Lagos and continued with the business. Hairdressing is the only art I learnt in my life. Till date, I have no regrets about my choice of business.”

There are also the odd moments for Williams who said he has come to realize that no matter how good a hairstylist is, he or she can never satisfy all the customers. “Once they choose a particular hair style, not minding if it will fit them or not, they will turn around to blame the stylist,” laughed Williams.

“This is even if I had earlier advised them to change the style. There was a case of this particular lady, whose hair I fixed. She didn’t like it. She just went ahead and cut her hair with scissors right before me. Some will even ask you to unbraid it right there. This results to waste of time and money.”

He noted that such challenges have made him to cultivate the habit of communicating very well with his clients before diving proceeding to make their hair. He said: “Men in this business have seen a lot of things in the hands of women; some even try to woo us. I have had different encounters with different kind of women.”

Sharing one of his experiences, Williams narrated: “I can vividly remember a time I made hair for one of my female clients. After my work, she said she wanted to see me. We talked and she told me she liked my business. She said that she wanted to establish me, but not here in Lagos. She said Abuja. With lots of excitement, I agreed to follow her. At that time, I was still squatting with a friend. I told no one about it. I just told them I was traveling. On getting to Abuja, the story changed. She told me she liked me; she promised to accommodate me and get me anything I needed. She said that I should live with her, that she loves me.

I was shocked because I thought she was married with kids. She was quite older than me. I told her that this was not our agreement, but she insisted I should live with her. She fulfilled her promises to make me comfortable; she even got me a car. I knew nobody there; I was carried away with all the goodies and treats; I agreed to stay back.” Williams stayed with the woman for two months, during which he did nothing to further his business. He became worried that he would soon forget some of the things he had learnt about hairdressing. He was also worried that his braids, which were legendary for being smooth, might be lost due to his fingers being idle.

He was still dilly-dallying about taking a decisive step when he discovered that the woman was married, but separated from her husband. “I became scared. When I confronted her, she said it was true. I told her that I wanted to return to Lagos. I told her that I was still young and had many things I need to achieve. I desperately wanted to go back to my business.

She pleaded, but I had already made up my mind. I was leaving. When she left for work the next day, I left the house without notifying her.” But upon returning to Lagos, Williams said the woman came looking for him. “She accused me of being an ingrate. I told her that I was still a baby and could not continue with such an act. I continued with my business until I got an apartment of my own.

Right now, I can say that I am doing fine. I am now a boss of myself. This is my 12th year in the business.” Ebenezer Sylvester came to Lagos after his senior secondary school. He came to Lagos on the invitation of his elder brother. Before Sylvester got to Lagos, his brother had already secured a job for him with Guinness Company, where he worked for two and half years. He later left the work over what he described as poor remunerations.

He said: “I decided to acquire a skill, to have a hand work was way better than working for another person. I decided to go into Aluminum fabrication. After one year of learning that job, a friend of mine, based in Germany called and asked what I was doing. He advised me to go into hairdressing. He promised to assist me to travel to Germany. He said that in Germany, hairstylist work was lucrative.

That was how I changed and started learning hairdressing. That was in 2016, and by God’s grace, by March this year, I shall be travelling.” Speaking with a smile on his face, Sylvester said that since he ventured into the world of hairdressing, he had enjoyed himself. His words: “I must say that I’m really enjoying my profession. It has been wonderful. I’m happy and proud to say that since I started this hairdressing business, I have not asked my brother for a dime, compared to when I was working with Guinness. My elder brother’s wife is also a hairstylist. I used to watch her make ladies’ hair when I was at the village. I used to admire her.

When I saw men doing same job in Lagos, I was further interested. My friend’s call from Germany simply further heightened my decision. Some people tried to discouraged me. Many of them asked why I left a man’s job, which was aluminum fabrication, to venture into a woman’s job. Many regarded me as lazy, but I ignored them because they were a distraction.” Sylvester said that one of his greatest challenges in the business occurred when he was an apprentice. He was always being sent on errands, when he should be learning his trade. “I had challenges with my female workers, who were my seniors in the business too.

They would send me on all sorts of errands. I also felt they were jealous because some of our clients preferred me to make their hair.” Mr. Jubilee Dunondi studied accountancy but prefer hair making business. After hard thought of what to do, he concluded on hair making venture. He said: “I thought so hard on what I wanted to do; then I met a friend. He introduced me to hairdressing.

It sounded weird to me. I asked him if men actually braid hair. I was not convinced about it, so I thought of going into fashion designing, but I realized I had less interest in that as well. I retraced my steps to hairdressing. It was so challenging for me because at first, it was difficult for me to convince my parents. At a point, I thought of quitting, especially when clients spoke rudely to us because we were apprentices. What kept me going was the fact that I never wanted to do a white collar job.”

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