Hair is so much more than just protein and melanin. “Each strand is a tiny chronicle of every emotional, hormonal and nutritional experience,” says Andi Scarbrough, co-owner of Framed salon in Santa Monica and creator of the CrownWorks treatment. “Most people with shoulder-length hair are carrying with them the last three to six years of every sickness, setback, or traumatic incident.”
Culturally, hair is significant too. Think about it—how many people do you know who cut their hair after getting married or going through a breakup, yourself included? “Hair is ceremoniously cut in various rituals from birth to death in many cultures,” she adds. “The shaving of one’s head is traditionally done in mourning—a sacrifice signifying humility and relative impermanence of such a loss.
“In modern Western culture, while we may not have the conscious understanding of the spiritual impact of why we choose to cut our hair after big life changes like a graduation or divorce, but we still feel compelled to do so. In shamanic practice, there is a ceremony called a cutting of cords, a release of old energies, patterns, beliefs, and connections.”
For many people, a hair appointment is a really rare and special time of sitting still and sometimes even being touched. In this space, issues frequently come up.
The L.A.-based hairstylist has worked in the industry for years, for a time managing a salon for a woman called Natasha Sunshine who offered “healing haircuts.” Scarbrough has soaked up knowledge from various cultures over the years to create a business that thrives on treating not just the client and their hair but their crown chakra too.
“The crown chakra connects us to our higher self, spirit, universal truth, god, source—whatever you feel comfortable calling it,” she says. “When there is a blockage or interference here, one might feel confused, isolated or disconnected. Someone with a blockage in the crown may find themselves running in circles with chronic indecision, lack of focus or questioning their own judgment.”
You might think of regular trips to the salon as trend-chasing or vanity, but that’s not always the case, says Scarborough. Often our hairdressers become our closest confidantes. “For many people, a hair appointment is a really rare and special time of sitting still and sometimes even being touched. In this space, issues frequently come up. It’s one of the only small semi-mandatory self-care experiences in which most of us indulge. Most people don’t have energy healers on standby or even a therapist or coach they see regularly.
So as a regular and long-standing point of contact in many of my clients’ lives, I have a unique perspective and, I believe, a responsibility to honor that intimate access and connection they have granted me,” she says.
“By re-ritualizing the haircut, stylists have the beautiful opportunity to stand in an unbiased space and witness whatever clients may be experiencing (maybe it’s a breakup, a conflict at work or being confronted with a fear of aging). We offer a safe space for them to be heard and an audience with whom to test-drive ideas; a person who won’t judge them or hold them accountable to action and therefore provide a place for a raw honesty that’s hard to come by. In a world of super connectivity, real human interaction has become quite a commodity.
It’s our job to make clients feel like the world sees them as the stunning creatures they are, and I personally want that feeling to last longer than the blow-dry.”
Scarbrough grew up in a Southern Christian household, but her general curiosity for the world lead her to explore many other faiths and practices, including pagan and shamanic rituals and ceremonies which have come to make up her CrownWorks treatment. “In my personal exploration, I discovered some common threads around the idea of energetic exchange, stuck energy, and what some would call transcendence,” she explains. “I realized a haircut was not at all dissimilar from a shamanic cutting-of-cords ceremony.”
We don’t need to wait for a special moment to turn our attention to our crown chakra. “The truth is any moment we are breathing can be an opportunity to seep in intention,” Scarborough says. “Life is a series of little moments that will, without fail, go on regardless of how much attention and presence we give them. The only cure for the mundane is to celebrate it. And in the end, all we have to show for this life are a string of memories of what we cared enough about to make special.”
Every CrownWorks treatment with Scarbrough is different depending on what her clients need: “I noticed that all spiritual practices use what I would refer to as a point of entry.” Whether it’s a Tibetan singing bowl, a rosary or a crystal, tools can be very helpful in anchoring focus and intention in any practice.
“For some clients, there’s a guided meditation before a haircut to symbolically release old experiences and beliefs that are no longer of service. For others, it is a gentle shoulder massage (with a little Reiki energy infusion) while they discuss the motivation for their big change. Some people want to have a third eye–opening essential oil infusion present during their deep conditioning treatment, and others just want an extra relaxing aromatherapy oil added to their steam towel. Some clients know those oils are clearing, like clary sage or palo santo; others just enjoy the fragrance.
Sometimes we work with sound healing instruments like singing bowls or tuning forks.
“The truth is that in healing work, like in yoga, overstretching someone into a place discomfort is counterproductive. I’m not here to blast anyone with something that feels too far out or in contradiction to their belief systems. Every time a client sits in my chair, I state my intention (sometimes silently, sometimes aloud) to provide for them whatever space they may need. My hope for them is to experience an increased and lasting feeling of beauty and well-being, for the greatest good of all concerned.
People come to hairdressers’ to feel better.”
Since Scarbrough is based in L.A., we asked her to share a guide to how to check-in with your crown chakra at home.
Keep scrolling for her at-home crown chakra healing guide.
“An at-home hair treatment is a great opportunity for a weekly crown chakra check-in! You will have to dedicate about 10 to 20 minutes to the task,” says Scarbrough.
“In the salon, we always recommend starting with clarifying shampoo before treatment to remove any buildup or residue that may block the hair mask from working. In the same manner, it can be a highly therapeutic addition to practicing a five-minute free-form writing exercise before you start the treatment. Journaling serves as a brain dump to purge any mental residue (anger, judgments, frustrations) that may have built up during the week. Remember, don’t worry about it making sense or being legible, and never reread your free-form writing; always destroy the paper when you’re finished.
The crown is where we receive intuitive guidance and connection to our higher self or power. Since vibrationally what you give attention to you get more of, listing out any insights you received during the week is a great way to use the time.
“I recommend adding a drop or two of essential oil to your chosen hair mask. Lavender is my go-to; it’s amazing for hair and scalp health. I add it to my regular hair conditioner too. Water has always been renowned as a highly effective spiritual conduit. It’s no wonder we always get our best ideas in the shower. Make this at-home treatment a purposeful practice: You can ask questions or request guidance at this time.
“Work the hair mask and oil into your hair, and then take the time to meditate. Apps like Headspace and Omvana are great tools if you prefer guidance or structure (and a timer!) on your meditative treatment. I also love the Chakra Tuner app—it tones all the way up or down (or both) the entire chakra system in seven minutes each direction. You can also set a timer on one specific chakra, such as the crown, and just listen to that. Sound is really helpful for me, personally, in quieting my mind. And when I first got into practicing meditation, chanting along with the app really helped me stay present.
“Some of my clients hold crystals to help with both focus and intention during the treatment. I’ve listed my favourite crystals below, along with some oils that you can add to your at-home treatments or ask your hairstylist to use during a conditioning treatment at the salon.”
Amethyst: Heightens intuitive connection, works to break addictive behaviors, and promotes overall balance.
Selenite: Energizes. Promotes mental clarity and breaks through the fog of negative thought patterns.
Hematite: Grounding. Brings us back into the body; protects and absorbs negative energy
Rose Quartz: Heart-opening stone of love; facilitates forgiveness and helps release feelings of animosity.
Blue Lotus Oil: Enhances meditation by stimulating the pineal gland (also known as the third eye).
Melissa Oil: This is used for facilitating a lightness of being and relaxation and soothing the nervous system. It’s also great immune support, so a good overall choice for someone dealing with a serious illness.
Clary Sage: Clears and balances energy, alleviates depression and anxiety and is also wonderful for scalp issues and to encourage hair growth! As it balances hormonal issues, this can be great for someone with menopausal symptoms or menstrual irregularity.
Lavender: This oil is made for the crown! Not only does it evoke a sense of peace and tranquility, but use it with steam and breathe deeply; it’s great for the respiratory tract as well. It’s also a dream for the hair from scalp to ends. Its antiseptic properties are great for treating mild scalp irritations, and it also increases blood flow to the scalp.
Palo santo: A sacred tool used to loosen, clear and disperse negative energy from the spiritual, physical, mental and emotional bodies.