New York City salon Oscar Blandi just partnered with meditation studio MNDFL to bring self-care back to the hair salon experience. We put it to the test.
If you're like most women, getting your hair done is a lot like standing in line at Whole Foods or waiting on the subway platform: It's yet another opportunity to check emails, send text messages, or mindlessly scroll Instagram. But celebrity stylist Oscar Blandi wants to change the way you view your time in the salon chair— and make the experience relaxing again.
That's why he partnered with New York City meditation studio MNDFL to become the first hair salon to offer meditation to clients during their salon service, whether they're getting their hair colored, cut, or blown out. (Related: How to Turn Your Beauty Routine Into a Meditation Session)
"We sometimes forget the true meaning of what a salon used to be—a time to sit, relax, enjoy, and draw away from other people to focus on ourselves," Blandi says of the partnership between his New York City salon and the meditation studio, which launched MNDFL video to make meditation more accessible. “I wanted to offer an alternative at a salon that brings my clients back to a peaceful mindset and draws them away from everyday stresses so they can be present."
For MNDFL, the video meditations (which can be accessed on iPhone and Android through an app with a subscription) are yet another way to bring meditation into the lives of people who might otherwise not make time for it, says COO Johanna Lanus. "This way, people can meditate with us, anytime anywhere. For some busy New Yorkers, that might mean meditating during their own self-care time, like at the hair salon." (Related: How to Make Time for Self-Care When You Have None)
For those who wish to try it out, it's as simple as picking up a pair of headphones and an iPad upon checking in. From there, you can choose from a variety of customized MNDFL videos that are pre-downloaded depending on how much time you want to spend meditating or your goal—options include cultivating gratitude, or opening your heart in a loving-kindness practice.
So I put the new service to the test at the salon during a standard blow-out. The verdict? As a naturally chatty person, it felt strange (and a little rude, if I'm being honest) not to make the standard small talk with my stylist. But I reminded myself this was "me" time and tried to suppress the guilt—and thoughts of my to-do list waiting for me back at the office—as I listened to my meditation. The sounds of the salon's music and people talking, not to mention the tug of the blow dryer and round brush, definitely made it harder to fully zen out, but, after a few minutes, I found I was way less stressed than when I walked in.
Lanus agrees that it's okay to be distracted and that it may not be a "perfect" meditation environment—after all, this isn't supposed to replace the experience of going to a studio space and meditating with an expert teacher. "Don't worry if you feel like you aren't doing it right or you get distracted by the sounds and people around you," Lanus says. "Part of a meditation practice is noticing what's arising in the present moment, and sometimes that means we find ourselves thinking of our to-do list, feeling strong emotions, or getting distracted by the sounds of a hair dryer." (So I guess I wasn't doing it all wrong after all!)
Even if you don't live in New York City, we recommend giving the MDNFL videos a try on your own (or check out one of these 15 guided sources of meditation) in your local salon. And when you find yourself distracted? "Be compassionate with yourself during the practice and gently and without judgment, remind yourself to come back to the breath. The fact that you are spending time to meditate (even just 10 minutes!) is the first step," she says.