Before her client shows up, Andi Scarbrough lays out her tools.
There are the usual items a hairdresser needs – such as scissors and a brush – but with some special additions: a rose quartz comb, crystals and a deck of medicine animal cards.
Even the price for today’s treatment – $333 – has extra meaning.
“Repeating digits were the first sign that led me on this path,” Scarbrough said, the co-owner of Framed Salon in Santa Monica. “I think there’s a real opportunity to be intentional about how everything is set up.”
Scarbrough is part of a growing number of businesses tapping into spirituality – in Los Angeles and beyond.
She’s been a hairdresser for 15 years and for much of that time, she’s been doing spiritual work in the chair – but mostly on the sly. But recently she debuted CrownWorks, a service that offers the typical hair services – such as a haircut and blow dry – with some spiritual additions.
During this visit, her client Olivia Ku is getting the “Release and Recraft” treatment, which includes a reiki scalp massage, custom-blended essential oils and 30 minutes of “exploration and discovery.”
“I believe it’s a haircut and it’s to align your crown chakra,” said Ku, 29. “I’m not exactly sure what that means, to be honest, but I’m always in to a new adventure.”
This might seem like a high price for being “hippie woo woo,” as they call it, but there’s a demand for it.
Psychic services, which include card reading and astrology, are a $2.1 billion industry that’s seeing steady growth, according to a recent report by market research firm IBIS World.
Scarbrough admits none of this is new. There’s always been some interest in this type of spiritual work. What she thinks is novel is the normalization of it and the way it’s working into more mainstream businesses.
“I still introduce myself as just a hairdresser,” Scarbrough said with a laugh. “One of my clients referred to me as her hair witch recently. That was hilarious.”
Colleen McCann, a fashion stylist turned shaman, calls people who are incorporating this work “slashies.”
“I think the biggest trend... is they’re actually incorporating different types of spirituality into what they’re already doing – what their first business was,” said McCann, who is the house shaman for Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP. “The same way I did between fashion and shamanism, other women are incorporating their shamanic practices into psychology practices into home design or into beauty treatments.”
This trend is making spirituality a little more accessible to those who might be skeptical, Scarbrough said.
“I would say probably 30 percent of my regular clients are incorporating this at some level,” she said.
Because of this, she dedicates one day a week to solely CrownWorks clients at her Santa Monica salon.
Once Ku got in the chair, she and Scarbrough chatted about her life. She picked a crystal out and an animal spirit card, landing on the wolf.
“(It) often gets misinterpreted because people think about the lone wolf. But the wolf is about the pack. It’s about community and having a trustworthy tribe,” Scarbrough said.
Later, Scarbrough got the shampoo bowl ready for reiki and an essential oil treatment as Ku cinched on a robe.
“I feel like it just affirmed everything,” Ku said during the treatment.
After the service, Ku, who goes by the moniker LoveHealthOK on social media, posted the visit on her YouTube channel.
Scarbrough points to social media as another tool for mainstreaming such services.
It’s also a way to reach millennials, a ripe market for such services.
According to the PEW Research Center, they’re a generation that’s less religious than generations past – but just as spiritual.