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How Gender Affirming Haircuts Can Help You Support Clients

Lady with pixie cut smiling
Image from Shutterstock/Jacob Lund

Keri Blue, founder of Affirmation Studios (a gender affirming training and education platform for the hair and barber industry) shares their expertise on what a gender affirming haircut is, why it's crucial, and how you can help support clients by offering this service.

What is a Gender Affirming Haircut?

A gender affirming haircut is a hairstyle that helps individuals express the gender they identify with. This type of haircut is all about helping individuals transform their look to better express their gender identity.  It’s an immensely powerful tool for achieving gender euphoria—the profound sense of joy and comfort clients experience when their external appearance aligns with their internal gender identity.

Why Are Gender Affirming Haircuts So Important?

Gender affirming haircuts are vital because they allow individuals to see their true selves reflected in the mirror. For trans and non-binary people, this alignment between their inner identity and outer appearance can be incredibly affirming and euphoric. It’s a significant aspect of gender expression, and for many in the LGBTQIA+ community, it’s a fundamental part of their journey toward self-acceptance and happiness. When you, as a stylist, provide a gender affirming haircut, you are not just giving a service – you are playing a crucial role in helping someone express their true self. This makes your role incredibly impactful within the community.

Gender Affirming Haircuts – The Detail

For a more masculine look, focus on creating square shapes and harder angles. Clipper cuts and styles that emphasize the jawline can help achieve this. Think about sharp lines and structured styles that bring out the strong, defined features of the face.

To create a feminine appearance, aim for softness and roundness. Incorporate curves into the style, such as soft layers and fringes that frame the face. These elements can add a gentle, delicate touch that enhances feminine features.

Providing a Gender Affirming Service

Offering a gender affirming service goes beyond the haircut itself; it’s about creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for your clients.

Here’s how you can do this:

 1. Use Correct Pronouns: Make sure you and your team are aware of and use the correct pronouns for your clients. This shows respect and acknowledges their identity.

2. Consult Thoroughly: During consultations, ask your clients to provide photos and inspirations for their desired look. Use language that describes the visual elements they’re aiming for, such as 'hard' or 'soft', and 'square' or 'round', to understand if they want a more masculine or feminine appearance.

3. Create a Safe Space: Ensure your salon is a judgment-free zone where clients feel safe to express themselves. Be open, kind, and honest in your communication.

4. Inclusivity Training: Regularly train your team on inclusivity and sensitivity towards LGBTQIA+ issues. This ensures that every client feels understood and respected.

By offering gender affirming haircuts and creating an inclusive environment, you open your business to a broader and more diverse clientele. Plus, you become a part of their journey towards self-discovery and happiness, making a significant difference in their lives.


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