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Hairdressing – helping make the world a better place, one client at a time.

After four years travelling the world working in the humanitarian sector, I decided to take an early career break and become a hairdresser. I trained through Scotland’s finest hairdressing entities, Rainbow Room International (RRI) in Glasgow and then at Brian Drumm on George St, Edinburgh.

They say hairdressers have the greatest job satisfaction? I agree, and equate it to the daily stream of stories we are exposed to, which breathe life into what we do, giving a much deeper sense of purpose.

From the moment I started training right through to becoming an established hairdresser, it became clear hairdressing is more than just creatively stimulating our clients’ vanity. Instead, hearing and participating in the stories of the people we work with – in both laughter and in tears – becomes primary and hair, secondary. Furthermore, hearing stories from my RRI trainers doing main stage artists hair at T in the Park, to a personal high flying international clientele at Brian Drumm – stories were central to my job as a hairdresser.

Scotland always has and always will be in the destination wedding books. Edinburgh Airport is increasingly becoming the gateway in which bridal parties come through, just to get married in Scotland’s iconic places – Edinburgh, the Isle of Skye, Loch Lomond and Loch Ness to name but a few. 2016 has so far seen my wedding hair bookings literally double from the previous year as a result. Weddings can spend thousands on decorations. Yet, Scotland sets itself apart with its permanent natural beauty, helping to set the scene in which bridal parties want to be surrounded by, as they say ‘I do’.

Some of my bridal clients, I have worked with as day-to-day clients, and others have simply been one-off visitors to Scotland. As their wedding hairdresser, I get to participate in conversations where we reflect on their lives, hours before they walk down the aisle. It can often involve a lot of laughter and simultaneously mop up tears in between styling hair, as we share their life story up until that moment.

I recently had the honour of getting to work on my friend Amy, someone who inspires me greatly and we had shared in many life stories together over the years. Amy, and her now husband, Simon, had a whole host of wedding guests from all over the world – Hong Kong, Finland, Australia and the States – descend on a brightly decorated Edinburgh, filled with cherry blossom, to celebrate their marriage.

The night before the wedding, I happened to be flying back to EDI from Heathrow after doing some work in London. I was waiting to board my flight in terminal five when I saw a passenger with fabulous hair, embark the same flight. The next day, having not long finished Amy’s bridal hair, I sat down and gazed across the church in which the ceremony was situated. Moments later, I recognised the hair from the same passenger I shared a flight with the night before. Turn’s out the passenger was a family member of Simon’s from Finland, who had travelled to Edinburgh for the wedding – small world.

I will never tire of helping prepare clients journey through life, each time I do their hair. From hearing and participating in life stories of everyday clients, to sharing in precious moments, hours before they are about to embark on a huge, yet incredible life commitment, hairdressing will always be more than just about doing hair. And what better destination could I be doing it in, than in Scotland itself.

Ruth Donaldson

Humanitarian Advocate. JustHair. Artist Promoter & Host. Photographer.

Feel free to journey with me on instagram and twitter:

i. @ruthskye

t. @ruthdonaldson

About Ruth

Originally from the Isle of Skye and now based in Edinburgh, Ruth Donaldson is a humanitarian advocate, artist promoter & host, hairdresser, photographer, wakeboarder and lover of gin.