Of all the things we missed in lockdown, getting properly pampered at a salon has to come near the top.
Never again will we complain about the awkwardness of chit-chat about holidays, now that we’ve had to face months without a decent trim.
It’s not just the end result of a new haircut we’ve longed for this past year, but the experience, too.
We had no idea we’d so dearly miss having someone brush our hair for us, or drinking a cup of tea to the soothing sounds of the hairdryer.
But we did, oh, we did.
And one more thing we missed: the bliss of leaning back and having our hair washed.
A photo series celebrates this simple joy, with snaps of people in the moment they’re getting shampoo-ed.
Turkish photographer Cihan Öncü visited his local hair salon every week to document clients’ zen expressions, and chat with them about their pandemic experience.
Cihan said: ‘When the pandemic first started, everyone around me was really stressed, so I was thinking about the moments in life when people feel most relaxed.
‘I remembered that when I got my hair washed at the salon, it was so calming that I almost felt like a baby.
‘The idea was to shoot different people in this position and hopefully, in turn, to feel relaxed myself.
‘One of my friends has a hair salon, so I asked him if I could come by and take some photos.
‘I spent several months visiting the salon, meeting people and taking their portraits.
‘This shows them in their most innocent, sincere and comfortable moments
‘They were confused about the camera at first, but I asked them to pretend I wasn’t there and to just enjoy the moment.
‘I photographed loads of different characters, each with their own reactions and expressions.’
The end result offers a vicarious sense of calm, prompted by the imagined ASMR of getting your hair lathered up.
Cihan said: ‘After I had been shooting this project for a while, I came across a trend called ASMR, and I realized that the expressions were also related to it.
‘Getting a head massage releases a circuitry throughout the body that puts the person into this relaxed and mindful moment of contemplation.
‘The facial expressions are so interesting, and they’re quite closely related to the ASMR trend.
‘People just don’t think about anything in that moment. You can see in their faces that they are temporarily drifting away from their worries.
‘Beforehand, I would try to talk to them but they were nervous and didn’t want to open up about their life.
‘Afterward, though, I asked the same questions, and they would have a lot more to say.’
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