ISLAMABAD’S HAIR MAESTRO - FAREE AATIF
We had an exclusive conversation with the Islamabad-based hairstylist Farhana also known as Faree in this month’s issue. She talks about hair care routine for busy career-oriented women, her journey from being a teacher to a freelance hairstylist, how she deals with her clients and much more. Read on ...
Hello Faree, glad to have you here. Please tell us a bit about you and your childhood.
Hi! Thank you so much for having me. My name is Farhana, but people call me Faree. I’m a mom of three lovely children 'Alhamdulillah', and I was born and raised in Islamabad in an average household. My family had no ties to the fashion industry whatsoever and I did not grow up with a lot of people who were supportive of the beauty industry generally, however, I’ve always had a love for it.
You started playing with makeup at a very young age, did you have the support of your family?
I’ve always had access to makeup and beauty products and had my fair share of fun with it. Having no sisters, my cousins were my canvasses. Growing up, my family supported my interests but never really on a macro-level. The way they endorsed it was by an open-ended choice in education; I was a Fine Arts major. Plus, it wasn’t common in my generation for parents to support creative careers generally, so I never really paid heed to the notion of making a switch from passion to profession.
During our day-to-day routine, it is very difficult to take care of your hair especially if you’re a working woman - what are your tips to have healthy hair without spending much time?
Being a working woman, it truly is difficult to make time for myself. I like to take time out on weekends though; my weekly haircare routine entails oiling my hair and using nourishing masks. The best part about hair care is that you can multitask. If I can’t find time on the weekends, I slap on a mask as I work – someone’s got to take care of these locks!
In our society, most women face hair loss, hair damage, and much more due to bleaching - what are your tips for taking care of bleached damaged hair?
Damaged hair is mostly a result of poor consultation; every hair type has a specific bleach/product tolerance and I make sure to tell my clients of this fact before the process begins – if you bite off more than your hair can bear, you risk ruining them. So, my advice to my fellow busy ladies and gents is to first, have a thorough consultation with your stylist, and then move forward. Also, oil your hair and use hair masks at least once a week and you can do it anytime because of the multitasking element.
What has been your biggest career accomplishment so far?
my biggest career accomplishment so far is having learned from the best academies in Pakistan – Toni&Guy and Tariq Amin
Moreover, small things like being recognized in public are a sweet feeling too!
You started as a 13-year-old kid and pursued professionally two years back - have you ever thought of changing your career? Or is this something you’re born for?
The passion has existed forever; being the resident stylist for almost all my immediate and extended family for as long as I can remember. The career switch occurred from being a Montessori teacher to a freelance hairstylist. I worked for two years as a teacher, and realized it was high time that I needed to unlock my true potential and follow my true passion, so I made a switch. Before I knew it, I had shears in my hands instead of a whiteboard marker.
People are reluctant in our society for opting bold colours, have you ever dealt with someone like this?
People in recent times have started opting for bold colours and transformations; it was back then when they would shy away from them. I often have young girls accompanied by their mothers who book appointments for funky shades and dip dyes.
Not only do young girls and older women opt for fashion shades, but they also go for subjectively bold haircuts as well. It is a refreshing sight to see people experiment and try new things out
How do you deal with someone who dislikes her hair after the whole procedure?
Customer satisfaction is of paramount importance to me, I make sure that my client leaves looking and feeling like a million bucks, but more importantly, I make sure that I am completely satisfied with my efforts and the results before I send them off. I am completely confident in everything I do and expect it to reflect in my work, therefore, I have a thorough consultation with my clients before to ensure that the following procedures and their effects are their liability if they go through with it. Still, on the occasion that I find out a customer isn’t satisfied completely, I schedule an appointment with them again.
If we would ask your clients to describe you in three words, what would that be?
Passionate, humble, and disciplined.
Playing with bleach and colours is a very dangerous stunt, and people don’t trust hairdressers easily, how do you manage to gain their trust, and what is your qualification regarding this?
During my consultation session, I explain to my client in detail the implications of bleach and its abilities. I make them understand their hair and how much it can withstand in complete honesty. If they are insisting on doing something that is not suitable for them now, I advise them to nurture it for a while before taking a step that might be too damaging. This was a part of my training and my general experience of how I would want to be treated if I went in for a transformation. I’m not in it for the money, but for my passion; therefore, my clients trust me.
According to you, what is the most important tool for hair in a salon?
Shears, shears, shears! A good, sharp pair will do nicely.
Spending thousands on hair-care products, is it worth it? Or any shampoo and conditioner will do?
Colouring your hair is a luxury. When you indulge in a luxury experience, taking care of and maintaining it comes as a package and is important. Aftercare is paramount and buying the products that will help not only maintain your hair colour, but also your hair’s strength is vital. It is high maintenance!
What’s next for Faree in this creative field?
I have had all the support this world has to offer these past two years, and I am thankful for everyone who has been a constant in this journey. I hope to come across even greater opportunities for expanding my horizons and being driven by my passion! My journey is surely long, and learning is a never-ending process, but I am excited to see the great things that I have planned happen! 'InshAllah'.
INTERVIEW: MARYAM ZUBERI
PHOTOGRAPHY: BASIT ALI
HAIR & MAKEUP: VERDE SALON
JEWELLERY: INVICTA JEWELS