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You versus the likes

Linton & Mac colour expert Sarah Black is feeling some social (media) anxiety – should she post what gets her the likes, or what’s true to her own style?

Sarah Black

There is no denying the positive power of social media – especially Instagram – when it comes to the hair industry. However, I do feel that we frequently get caught up in what’s expected of us. As a result, a pressure has built that I call ‘Instagram demand’ – to give your audience what they want to see, rather than what you want to post, leading us to post images that are more likely to be liked, securing a heart that’s (hopefully) from the heart. The inherent problem with this, of course, is that it creates a discrepancy between the images you post – between those that a true reflection of your work and the images you feel will gain the most ‘likes’.

I’m experiencing this more and more. Although I would never consider myself a perfectionist, I do struggle to allow myself to post some images that others might not consider ‘perfect’. Naturally I want to make sure my industry peers and the muses that inspire me see my best work, and in my head that means every hair should be in its correct place and every image should be perfectly finished.

Above: Sarah’s own aesthetic that she would prefer to post

As a result, I often find myself looking at styles I’ve created that may not be super-polished, and hesitating to post them. What makes this so ridiculous is that a super-polished aesthetic is actually not my style at all: I much prefer looks that are a little rough around the edges, with an unfinished, undone, more ‘real’ quality to them. It means I find myself torn between posting the slightly less glam images that are far more representational of my style, and posting the glossier versions that I know will go down so well on my Instagram page (@WhatSarahDoes).

In this fast-paced, social media-driven world, we’re trying to keep on top of our colour game, while at the same time ensuring we’re producing new content and fresh visuals. That’s tough enough, without the added pressure to ensure we take the best possible images to post on social media. I worry that this professional expectation has resulted in a lot of what we do looking the same, leading to there being a lack of variety and diversity in the work we post.

Above: The aesthetic of the images that Sarah knows will get Likes