Living abroad and the winding road to *your* hairdresser

Until you end up wearing a beanie every single day (@jan.arsenovic)

Once you move abroad, the process of finding a hairdresser is similar to the one of finding a doctor. In the beginning, you think you don’t need them, you might as well wait, there’s no rush. You feel fine and your hair “works”. As time goes by, you notice you don’t feel 100% in your skin so you buy some supplements and commit to skipping the junk food. Similarly, your hair isn’t all that great anymore but you decide you’re just going to experiment with different hairstyles.

In the meanwhile, you get a bit sick so you swallow some medicine you have at home and that makes you feel better for the time being. As for your hair, eventually, there will come a moment in which you realize it is a good idea to cut it, but you also decide you are your own woman, therefore, you are going to do it yourself ( oh yes I did). You feel sort of accomplished afterward: hairdressers are expensive, you think to yourself, and cutting your hair is not that difficult after all. Except that you never feel really sure of your own opinion on the final result. The day you finally make an appointment with a doctor is – obviously – the one you cannot get out of bed to go to work. The day I made an appointment with Clautje was – obviously – the culmination of a period in which I realized I had been wearing a beanie, like, every single day.

Finally, at Claudia Lena’s 

As I was climbing up the stairs to Clautje’s home studio, I was hoping she would understand the existential struggle I had with my hair, the same way I had prayed for Dutch doctors not to dismiss me with a box of paracetamol.

My expectations were high, partly because I met Claudje in a memorable setting. She was the hairdresser-on-duty back at the time I was a regular at the ping-pong nights in OT301. Imagine this weekly evening of collective table tennis madness taking place at a former squat. Madness is no euphemism since, when you go there, you might find yourself playing on a table against 20 other humans who, like you, are doing their best at simultaneously holding a beer, chatting with each other, shaking their heads to the DJ beats. All of this while also trying to hold a racket and not to miss their turn on the game. Any friend who came to visit me in Amsterdam would be religiously taken there. In the midst of this organized chaos, there was Claudje, focused and calm, working her magic on other people’s scalps. I would stare at her every time, fascinated. Have I ever told you I always wanted to learn how to cut hair? I inevitably would find myself asking her for a haircut, right on the spot, but she had a full evening of appointments every single time so, sadly, I never managed to get my impulsive makeover at a ping pong night. But I kept her telephone number.

Making peace with your hair

As I entered her home studio, I am greeted by Gilda, her dog, which is the name of my mother. I took it as a divine sign. Clautje got me a tea and took the time to understand exactly what my capillary dilemmas were. Most of all, she was interested in who I was and how could she help enhance that by means of a hairstyle. She got me hooked. It was not long until I had taken my boyfriend – at the time – and my mother – the human Gilda – to undergo her magic as well.

Before my summer travel, I needed a fresh start. As I sat down I told her my plans. Without me even noticing it, she had become a friend to whom I confide stuff. That time she didn’t ask me anything hair-wise. She simply started working. I had no idea what she was doing. In the end, this haircut had happened. I realized she had translated the life phase I was at into a haircut. I f*ck*ng loved it. That hairdo really helped me. It might sound superficial but I was struggling with burnout and I was at a very confusing phase of my life. In moments like this, the tiny things have more impact than usual.

Now, I often felt a gap in taste between how I like my hair to look and what others find pretty on me. This time though it was quite amazing. From the more alternative people to the more traditional of my friends, everybody loved it. I was getting compliments left and right. I have always dreamed to have long wild bushy strong hair, and have always envied curly girls. But you know what? Despite Clautje being specialized in curls, she managed to bring the thin-rat-haired girl to make peace with her hair. This is why I decided to write about her on the blog.

This is how, currently, good hair days feel like, for me:

A little present to Amsterdive’s friends

Whenever you need a haircut, call or message Claudia at 06 46385273. Let her know that you are coming from the way of Amsterdive and she will offer you a 5 euro discount on your haircut. This means she will charge you 30 euros (instead of 35). You have until the end of November to book your appointment and take advantage of the offer. You’re welcome! 😉

Want to read more stories? You can follow Amsterdive on Facebook for all updates. Note: I have been doing daily Instagram stories on adventures (and nonsense), which you can check out here.

3 thoughts on “Living abroad and the winding road to *your* hairdresser

  1. Stuart | Invading Holland

    It took me almost 12 years to find the hair dresser I’ve decided to stick with. It should have been much simpler than that since I’m a guy and don’t do much with my hair but it just took a while for my Dutch to get to a level where I would not embarrass myself and never be able to show my face again.

  2. Pingback: Seven days, seven outfits part II – w/ Linda Nouta

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