The most common and aggravating complaint among eyebrow and lash stylists is back pain. Mrs. Highbrow's owner & founder herself, Ska van Buren, had to deal with this as well, and had to give in to the fact that she could no longer perform her own treatments. In order to protect your brow specialists from this, we put all our advice together in one place and are going to consult expert Marian Walraven.
- By Anouk Bruel
The story of Mrs.Highbrow's Ska
"I am a bad example," said Ska, founder of Mrs.Highbrow. "Ten years ago I started offering permanent makeup. I did various training courses, but unfortunately during these training sessions there was no attention for a good working posture. While I think that is essential. In fact, we learned to do this standing up, tilted towards the customer, and hanging to get close to the face, since the customers were in rather large treatment chairs. And once something is taughed in a certain way, it's hard to unlearn. I sometimes worked ten hours in a row, my back in a strange twist, and I was bent over, the ultimate recipe for developing a hernia."
Ska: "At the end I had nerve pain all the way to my ankles. I doubted: should I stop working as a pmu technician? But you won't let down a large clientele and I still enjoyed the job. I worked on like this for two more years, but now in a seated position. But the suffering had already happened. The vertebrae of my lower back were already so damaged that I was never pain free again."
Eventually she made the decision to completely stop doing permanent makeup. "Fortunately I didn't have to give up Mrs.Highbrow. I now have fantastic girls - and a boy - working for me. I had to adjust my daily life very much. I can no longer lift a box, a whole day at a trade show is no longer possible, and a day on the set is too much. And I can't wear high heels anymore... So be warned. Read the following tips and follow them. So that you can enjoy your fantastic job for as long as possible."
Interview with Marian Walraven
It is a fact that the brow or lash specialist profession can cause physical complaints. But there are, of course, plenty of ways to prevent them. And it is better to prevent than to cure. Because once you have back problems, you often can't get rid of them because of the damage. Marian Walraven, ergonomist and labour expert (www.walravenadvies.nl), understands that specialists from this industry don't finish their work within 5 minutes, and that this causes you to spend a long time in a forward leaning position. It is therefore very important to find variation between sitting and standing and to take small breaks. "You can take a mini break all the time. If a dentist spends an hour and a half on a treatment, you don't expect that there will be no break. In fact, as a client, it's not even nice to keep your mouth open that long."
Massage or gym? "Some will be more prone to back problems than others. This may be due to, for example, better musculature. As a specialist, you simply have to make sure that you can do your job. A massage can help to relieve the pain, but it's better to spend your money on the gym than on a masseuse. You can get more done with a better musculature." It is also very important to have a look at the layout of your salon. "Is your work equipment too far away or is a shelf too high? That's where the first complaints may arise." What about the work posture? "You need to be positioned in such a way that you don't have your shoulders tucked up. In the end, it's all about being able to sit back and relax." Finally, take a look at other aspects as well. "Are you able to take a good look? Do you have enough light, or too much or too little? Do you need glasses? This, too, can cause you to bend over closer towards the customer, making you end up in the wrong position."
The ideal furniture
A work chair with adjustable height is a must-have for every specialist. This allows you to always set it to the position that is made for your height and posture. Make sure you can put your feet flat on the ground and adjust any backrest to the position where your lower back gets the most support. Do you have a saddle stool as a work chair? Then you will notice that you automatically sit in an active working position because of the shape of the seating surface.
The right sitting position
You have to be able to reach your client's face to create strong brow game, and you can do that without putting too much strain on your back. For seated work, this is done by working 20 to 30 cm below eye level and 0 to 10 cm above elbow level. And by using not only the tip of your chair, but the whole seat. A relaxed posture ensures a great result and as few complaints as possible. So if you keep catching yourself in the wrong position, you can keep correcting yourself until it eventually happens automatically.
- Work chair with adjustable height
- 20 to 30 cm below eye level
- 0 to 10 cm above elbow height
- Use the entire seat surface
The right standing position
When performing beauty treatments in a standing position, it is important to work at a distance of 15 cm below elbow height. Keep your feet slightly apart while standing, stretch your lower back and lean your chest slightly forward. No further than 50 cm; it is better to take a step closer to the customer. The same applies if you need to pick something up. It is better to take an extra step than having to turn your back.
- Spread your feet out a little
- 15 cm below elbow height
- Do not lean forward more than 50 cm
- Stretched lower back
Whether you're doing seated or standing work, try to move every five minutes. Even if it is only a few steps to the other side of your working chair while preparing a henna design or when making a cup of coffee. What also helps is a nice Spotify list; before you know it you'll be moving along with your favorite song.
On the road
Do you take the car to work? Then watch the way you get out. Turn your body and legs a quarter turn at the same time and then put both feet on the ground. Use your hands to lift yourself up. Do the same when you get in. First, sit down with both feet on the ground, and then turn a quarter of a turn into the car. Are you going to work by bike? Good job, you'll be able to master your daily movement. Do you have stuff that needs to be lifted? Don't do this if it's too heavy, but divide it into smaller and lighter amounts and take breaks in between!
I am afraid it's already too late
No matter how bad it is, there are tips that will help reduce the pain when back problems are already present.
1. Make sure you get enough sleep and sleep with the right posture. Try lying on your side with a pillow between your knees when you go to sleep. This relieves the pressure on your back. If you sleep best on your back, slide a pillow under your knees.
2. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor.
3. Go to the physical therapist. Always have someone look at it who knows more about it. With the right exercises, you can reduce back pain in the long term. As they say, patience is a virtue.
4. Keep moving, but don't force anything. Resting your body will only exacerbate the back pain. In order to recover quickly from back pain, moving is the most efficient way. Go for a walk every day, or try a yoga class and do some laps in the pool in your area.
5. Ask the gym for suitable exercises to strengthen your back and stomach muscles. The 'front' should also be trained to reduce back pain and prevent recurring back problems.
6. Try to keep your worries to a minimum. Stress creates tension in your body. The more stress, the more chance of back pain. And the more back pain, the worse the stress. Relaxation is more important than ever.
- Keep moving continuously, at least every 5 minutes
- Make sure you have a good working chair
- Sit up straight with your feet on the floor
- Take a good look at the layout of your salon
- Don't lift heavy things
- Be careful when getting in and out of the car
- Make sure you get enough sleep
- Strengthen your back and stomach muscles
- Go to the physiotherapist in case of pain
- Stress less