With gratitude, I welcome you to my blog, Renée's Musings.
I am Renée Lalor, Your Natural Hairstylist.
I haven't always been You Natural Hairstylist. My journey changed path about 5 years ago and it has been a path of ups and downs, overcoming limiting beliefs and learning to trust myself. I would love to share it with you, and hope you would like to hear it, and continue to join me on my journey ahead.
I love hair! I have always loved hair.
But little things began niggling at my gut. My intuition was becoming harder to ignore and before too long, thankfully, i gave in. This is my story until now.
School didn't fill my cup, and half way through year 10 I was already planning to leave school, to become a full-time ballet dancer. I had loved participating in all things ballet from the age of 5, and all I could see for my future at that time was ballet.
When the end of the school year came to an end, I ventured to the full-time world of ballet. A few months into full-time ballet, and I was finding it really difficult to keep my energy levels up and health strong. I had developed glandular fever through year 10, and living life like an athlete was challenging with this sickness. I felt I was lagging behind my fellow peers and I began to really think if I could possibly be a dancer.
One day, I had enough, and decided that I was to leave that life behind, and the only thing I could think to do, and what I enjoyed, was hair! I was that child that was always braiding my barbie dolls hair, and I taught myselff to braid at a young age.
The real world of hairdressing began for me at age sixteen. I left school and began work at a small suburban salon, working Thursday nights and Saturdays. I searched for an apprenticeship and not long after, I found one and moved to a larger salon in a shopping centre. I had many senior stylists who inspired me and I began to learn the art of hairdressing.
Through my apprenticeship and TAFE study I always won many awards, and was named in the IHS (International Hairdressing Society) Young Artist Team as a platform artist. This was so exciting for me, not only learning hairdressing but being back on stage in a different capacity, and I began to live and breathe hairdressing.
Out of my apprenticeship and becoming a fully fledged hairdresser, I slowly built up a clientele, moving to a couple of different salons with my loyal clientele following me. One salon head hunted me (it was thrilling and great for my confidence) and I was able to name my price, although I was there for only about three months. I was beginning to just go through the motions each day and I was getting bored!
I was out clubbing with girlfriends one night and on our return in the early hours of the morning we got talking of my career. Next thing I knew I was faxing my resume to the internationally renowned Toni & Guy, and later that day, terribly hungover, I received a call from the manager of Toni & Guy arranging a face to face interview. I remember being so overwhelmed on my trip to the interview, and the butterflies in my stomach were going absolutely crazy!
I finally built up the courage to walk into my interview, concentrating on my breathing and in my head telling myself "you can do this!" Yes, I got the job. I then had to undertake six weeks of training, which is basically to tear down everything you have been taught and build you back up to the Toni&Guy standard. It was hard. There were tears plus moments of absolute joy in surprising myself of what I could achieve. I got through it with flying colours and was then let on the floor with a new mindset, a new skillset, and ready to build up a new clientele.
Working at Toni & Guy was a fantastic part of my career. I moved up the ranks within the company quite quickly and began learning about management and training staff. There was always something exciting happening there, and I was always putting my hand up to assist at fashion shows, photoshoots or whatever!
Hair Expo was an annual event and I was back up as a platform artist with my 'madonna microphone' on once again. I was living the dream!
A few years later, personal circumstances then saw me moving interstate to where there was no Toni & Guy, so I decided to go it alone, and I opened Zen Hairdressing in Darwin. I loved having my own salon, and I was used to putting long hours in, but this time it was for myself.
But as I got more into running the business, I was more and more off the floor. I was missing just doing hair. Instead I had my head stuck in overwhelming piles of bookwork, this isn't what I expected it to be like!
After six years in business a surprise came into my life, I was pregnant! And when my first born Kamali arrived, she changed all my priorities. I closed my business and began focussing on the new life I had created. My partner Hélio, was constantly working and I looked after the home life, and after not long at all, I needed something more.
We decided to build a self contained studio on our home premises, so I could keep my hands in hair but also be at home with my daughter. This worked so well with me working a few hours a week. I had many loyal clients knocking on my door when I had closed my business, so a ready made clientele and a new studio enabled me to continue to be creative and also have some much needed adult conversation.
After 18 months a surprise came knocking and I was pregnant again with my second born Thaís! I just carried on as I had done before, and organised appointments around naps and breastfeeding. My clients were wonderfully understanding, and I was building up such a beautiful, positive and nurturing space. I was enjoying motherhood AND enjoying my business!
Once my daughters grew older and begun school, I then moved into full time hours. Just like before, i was used to putting in the hard work and once again, for myself, but this time the relationship with my clients was different. It was just the person in my chair and me, one on one, with no one else. Before long my appointment book was full and I had a loyal clientele of people who I cared for and I had become part of their lives.
I felt this is what I had been searching for!
Two years later in a full-time business as an owner operator, this is where my gut instinct really began kicking in. You see, I had this beautiful studio space that I had created, where everyday I was enjoying styling hair and caring for each person that sat in my chair. My surroundings were perfect, well almost!
The nurturing mother in me began to challenge the mainstream hairdresser in me! I had an invested interest in every person that sat in my chair. They weren't just clients, they were friends. And if I care for these people, why would I be putting their health at risk!
This was a real battle for me. By this stage, in my 22nd year of hairdressing, this type of dialogue I was having in my head, I had never heard before. As hairdressers, we always spoke of achieving healthy looking or healthy feeling hair, but never the health of our clients or ourselves for that matter had come into the equation.
I began researching ingredients and changing to low toxic products in my home. "Surely there has to be a non chemical colour on the market" I kept saying over and over in my head. I spent eight months researching all different hairdressing product companies around the world. Many would say they were 'ammonia free' but had replaced the ammonia with some other nasty. Others won court orders to silence some of their ingredients so they could call themselves 'organic'. I realised this was going to be a lot harder than I thought.
I picked four of the top companies I felt were the better of a bad bunch, and one other that really, really stood out! I requested information from all five companies on their colour range. The four 'better of a bad bunch' all sent me so much advertising material, even stuff I hadn't requested. It all looked really tacky and made them look desperate for my business.
The one company I had my eye on from the start, sent a beautifully presented portfolio stating information on their colours, the ethics behind their company plus the type of salons they would fit into and information on their national trainers.
They presented themselves as beautifully understated and unashamedly honest! Not only did their ingredients stack up but their mindset resonated with me.......i knew immediately I had found my tribe!
They were Organic Colour Systems, and still to this day I adore their transparency, their ethics and their ever improving drive to better their products, us, animals and the planet.
I began the hard transformation of shifting my mainstream mindset and opening my mind to the new ways of approaching hair. I replaced all my brand name chemical products and became the first Organic Concept Salon in my region.
Since then I feel I am now really standing in my power, and have evolved so much. Not only was it important for me to then be educating my clients on what I had found out, but now you see me on stages and in public, educating and empowering women to make informed choices around personal care products.
This has definitely been a journey of growing organically, and stepping out of the hairdresser box to be more encompassing of mind, body & spirit.
I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would run a Market Stall, but here I am running a wonderful stall where people can come, share stories and learn about greener and cleaner products.
I then introduced dōTERRA Essential Oils into my business which was just so aligned with my vision, and I love that I can play a small part in families health and wellbeing through the oils, and not just through hair.
Then came my fascination with living my life being guided by the Moon, and my Lunar Hair Calendar was born. I absolutely love researching the dates each month of when to cut, colour, cleanse and treat your Mane, and this will be returning very soon, updated with a new look.
And now, partnering with Silk Oil of Morocco to further provide my customers with low-tox cosmetics, a family range of clean Hair Care and Wigs and Hair Pieces.
Do I think I've done enough now?
Absolutely not! I feel like I'm just getting started!
And now stepping out online with this hub....the sky's the limit!
Thankyou for reading my story and I hope this now gives you a little insight into who I am and the journey I am now on.
Renée - Your Natural Hairstylist xx
If you are interested in connecting with me, there are number of ways you can.
I offer a Mane Pride Guidance Report which deep dives into your Hair Care regime (more info below).
I run a beautiful commUnity called Oil Pride who are all essential oil lovers, and we are all supporting and learning more and more about how powerful these oils are (check out my Essential Oils page)
Or, if you are in Darwin, I am at Malak Marketplace every Saturday through the Dry Season where you can visit me in person.
And of course across my socials, I love to share with you there!
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You may have realised by now, but any form of 'hairdressing' for me at it's core, must be intentional and relational.
And this latest experience for me was no different.
In this vlog, I share with you the connection I have with Xavier Catholic College Wurrumiyanga, on Bathurst Island in the Tiwi Islands, which is home to the Tiwi people.
I'm sharing with you my own personal guide on how to effectively set your intentions, and focus your energy on authentic transformation for the year ahead.
Before you start focusing on the future,
Whether you're a Hairstylist, Beauty Therapist or in a service industry, there are certain seasons of the year that everyone wants to look or feel beautiful, but you only have two hands!
I'm sharing with you my guide to THRIVING through these busy times.