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Beyond the fringe: stylists let a few secrets slip

Celebrity crimper Dylan Bradshaw, www.dylanbradshaw.com.

"I call it hair-therapy, a mixture of having your hair styled and going to therapy. When you are running your hands through someone's hair they are likely to let their guard down. You are in their inner space.

"I've had clients for 18 and 20 years. I've done their hair for weddings, christenings and funerals. I know their story, and they know mine. They tell me if their husband is having an affair, or if they are on the verge of breaking up.

"Some clients have become personal friends, some have come to my wedding, and I have gone to theirs. Not every client relationship is a success. I've seen clients come in the door looking very agitated and I can tell they have had a s**t day and that they are going to take it out on us, even though we are not the issue.

"At the end of the day they are a client and I provide a service. But it is not like they are having a chat with a bank manager or with a doctor; it is much more personal."

Shay Dempsey, Zoo Hair Salon, www.shaydempsey.tv.

"You have all sorts of relationships with clients; there are the ones who come up from the country every six months for a good cut, and the clients who come in every six weeks for a trim. And those who are in every Friday for a blow dry before heading into their weekends.

"And the ones whose hair you shave off while they are having chemo -- there are different levels of the stylist/client bond.

"Do I take it personally if a client moves on? If I walk into a restaurant and I see a client with a completely new cut, I do feel the urge to go over and ask why? Only for a second, and I think it's a natural curiosity. I'm all for having a new pair of eyes look at a hairstyle, and will suggest someone new in the salon if I think someone may be ready for a new look or approach.

"I've been in the business for 22 years, and many clients have been with me all that time. It's natural that some have become genuine friends. We get chatting at close quarters, and if you do that with a large number of people, you'll be sure to click with some. Trust builds up and you become friends.

"I won't be holding my breath for a bequest. My clients are all too young to leave this world!"

Paula Callan O'Keeffe, make-up artist, Brown Sugar, www.brownsugar.ie.

"I work with hair stylists in Brown Sugar and at photo shoots, and I'd happily say the same relationship applies to make-up artists. You are up close with a person, and so the barriers are down, and they'll chat away about themselves.

"Does it make a difference if it is a man or woman working on them? I don't think so. I don't even know if a client sees any difference between a man or woman when they are having hair or make-up done. I think it is more about the closeness that the job brings, and the relaxed relationship that builds up between a stylist and a client.

"Have I ever been told anything I wish I hadn't? I can't remember. I am the perfect person to tell things to because I forget things all the time!"