Fudge Professional Global Ambassador Jonathan Andrew was seen on Channel 4 Steph’s Packed Lunch recently for a very special makeover he’s calling the ‘Comfort Cut’ with recently diagnosed MasterChef Semi-finalist, Vanessa D’Souza aka The Autistic Chef.
After 3-years of avoiding cutting her hair due to sensory issues and general concerns, Jonathan gave her a beautiful bob live on tv, cutting off 15 inches of Vanessa’s hair that she then kindly donated to The Little Princess Trust charity. In doing so, Jonathan became privy to the importance of struggles neurodivergent individuals face in day-to-day services we often take for granted.
Jonathan has decided to use his long-standing industry knowledge to reach out to other salon owners and raise awareness of the importance of being inclusive and #fudgingtherules in order to make every individual feel understood, safe, and nurtured when they come into a salon.
Jonathan says: “As Fudge Professional Global Ambassador, we share a message of #fudgetherules by championing every individual, hair salons are among the most diverse places you can go, making people feel good about themselves, and encouraging individuality. I’m proud to be a part of an incredibly inclusive industry but I think we as salon owners and stylists can do more to welcome a whole new community into feeling more comfortable within our spaces.
After speaking with more neurodivergent individuals, I couldn’t believe how many simple fixes could make everything more accommodating and create somewhere everyone can go. I will be rolling out much more content on this to show others how we can help make small changes that make a big d ifference to people’s lives.”
Vanessa commented after the show “It’s so funny how I spent my life masking it and avoiding! You’ll see some gems of pics of me as a kid where I had meltdowns mid cut and had to leave hairdressers with terrible wonky haircuts”
The new style had a great reaction from Vanessa’s followers, with one saying “You were awesome! Haircut is our biggest mountain to climb for our boy and so great to see you encourage more understanding around adapting hairdressers for neurodivergent people ” and another commenting “Probably same reason I only have my hair cut once a year. Sensory nightmare!”
‘The Comfort Cut’
The Comfort Cut will be a service available at Jonathan Andrew Hair aimed at giving people the opportunity to have a phone consultation before coming to the salon to alleviate any potential sensory issues or triggers that may be present during a haircut.
Jonathan explains: “Having recently had my eyes opened to the struggles that neurodivergent individuals can face during the process of a haircut, I think we, as hairdressers should be able to offer more to provide a safe and comfortable space for everyone. The main thing that startled me was it can seem like the simplest things that can prevent someone not only enjoying their service, but coming in the first place and for a lot of these triggers the smallest of fixes can make the biggest difference.”
Jonathan’s advice to salon owners would be:
- Start with the consultation and ensuring that every step of the process is discussed. Could this be undertaken virtually initially?
- Make sure that the guest feels comfortable at the backwash and understands any parts that may be a sensory trigger.
- Commentary cutting means, that as stylists, you discuss each step of the haircut as its happening and move on to the next stage.
- Then after discussing requirements, if any guests want complete silence and no commentary – ensure that can be accommodated too.
- Remember, it’s finding a happy medium with the individual and letting them know they are in safe hands and whether they want to know what’s happening, or just enjoy the process, perhaps we should also consider this more as a whole.
- There are options to avoid clippers, as the noise could be a trigger, or finding a quieter hairdryer, to even finding a solution to people who don’t want their hair dried at all but can still leave with a style that will give them a great finish as soon as they leave the salon.
Jonathan adds: “I feel like I have been so naive in understanding neurodiversity and I’m so grateful that MasterChef semi-finalist Vanessa D’Souza opened my eyes to something new, and I really want to do my part to help as much as I can. I’m immensely proud to be the Global Ambassador for Fudge Professional and our main message is #fudgetherules as our way of championing each and every individual. By welcoming everyone into our diverse and inclusive family, to be a part of an industry that stands at the forefront of inclusivity, I think we need to do more to make sure that this whole section of society can feel comfortable in the spaces we use.”
To discuss the Comfort Cut with Jonathan Andrew for your salon, visit https://www.jonathanandrewhair.com/
Follow Vanessa D’Souza at https://www.facebook.com/theautisticchef1/