TAMPA, Fla. — A national survey of 13 million hair professionals found that 43% feel that they function in two roles — as a hairdresser and as a counselor, supporting the mental well-being of clients. 

What You Need To Know

  • Barbers, hairstylists function as unofficial therapists

  • Survey by Booksy found 43% of hair professionals feel they function in two roles

  • For many of their clients, they provide a listening ear

​"I can tell you stories!" Victor Chavarria said. 

Now in his 62nd year as a barber, Chavarria says he's seen and heard it all standing behind his chair.

"We talk a lot about things with family and what's happening in the nation," Oscar Perrera said.

Perrera is a long-time client who says out of those chats a friendships was formed. 

On their best and worst days Chavarria has been a listening ear — especially during the pandemic. 

"They were worried they didn't want contact with anybody and I closed the shop for two months," Chavarria said. 

At the Salon and Spa at Mystic Hair Stylist, Faith Coleman feels like her profession is an additional resource contributing to the mental well-being of her clients who are mostly female. 

"You help people feel beautiful inside and out and you are able to connect with them," said Coleman.

Though she says some of those stories they share are difficult, Coleman doesn't let it weigh on her. 

"I'm good at handling it and leaving it at the door," she said. 

Throughout his career 'Calvin the barber' uses the time to encourage clients, especially young black men. 

"I talk to them about having trades," he said. 

Chavarria shared his best advice for all young people.

"Stay away from anything that has to do with drugs," he said. "That's a negative thing."

Both recognize the barbershop as a forum for men to vent, learn something new and collaborate. 

"We're everything they need to be and it's for free, besides the haircut," Calvin said.