Standing all day is painful on the feet and legs and can cause swelling, inflammation, and soreness. Add to that a demanding fast-paced job like hair styling. Now you have extra fatigue and stress, not to mention the swollen ankles and lack of energy after a long shift. Compression socks can provide welcome relief, giving hairdressers a boost in energy, too.
How do compression socks help hairdressers? Thanks to the pressure they apply on the lower legs, they boost blood flow and reduce the risk of swelling, inflammation, and circulatory problems. Compression socks also massage and soothe sore legs and feet, while giving some extra support to the lower body for long days on the go.
Read on for our complete guide on using compression socks in the hair salon.
Are Compression Socks Good for Hairdressers?
Yes, compression socks can be very effective for hairdressers.
Hairdressers spend a long time on their feet as part of their job. In fact, on a busy day, they may not sit down once during an 8-hour shift. This can become very taxing on the leg muscles, the feet, and peripheral circulation.
Gravity will push blood down towards the ankles, leading to swelling and discomfort, as well as possible inflammation and pain. Over the longer term, people who spend a lot of time on their feet risk developing blood clots, varicose veins, or more serious health concerns.
Graduated compression socks stimulate blood flow back up towards the heart, reducing the risk of peripheral circulation problems. They minimize the likelihood of getting swollen ankles and feet and they energize and revitalize the lower limbs. Moreover, through their gentle massage, they soothe sore muscles like the calves and provide added support for the joints and feet.
Why Do Hairdressers Need Compression Socks?
Because hairdressers spend so much time on their feet, they risk developing peripheral circulation problems. Moreover, they are very likely to get sore feet and legs and to suffer from swelling and discomfort after long shifts looking after customers.
Wearing compression socks helps reduce pain and swelling. Through the tight grip they have on the lower legs, compression socks feel more supportive and protective, too - especially when running around the salon on a busy day!
Graduated compression stimulates the blood flow back up towards the heart, so that you have no need to worry about blood pooling around your ankles as you cut clients’ hair. What’s more, feeling less sore and having lighter legs translates to extra energy - putting you in a better mood at work and helping you get through the day with a smile on your face.
Finally, compression socks are famous for the benefits they bring athletes in recovering after exercise. Think of a long shift at work like an extra-intense workout. Muscles and tendons have been stretched and they need to recover and relax afterwards. Compression socks boost blood flow to the muscles, delivering nutrients and oxygen to help them recover quicker. They also drive down inflammation and swelling, through the same increase in blood flow. The result? Feeling more energetic and less sore the next day, ready for a new work day!
The Benefits of Compression Socks for Hairdressers
Boosting blood flow and soothing tired muscles are the main ways in which compression socks make hairdressers’ lives easier. Here are all the key benefits you can expect from switching to compression wear.
Graduated compression socks are designed to support healthy blood flow, pushing blood up towards the heart (and against gravity). Through a tighter grip at the ankles, which gradually loosens up, they boost circulation and ensure that there are lower risks of developing blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, and other issues.
Alleviate Leg Fatigue and Heaviness
A large part of why legs start to feel heavy when you spend all day on your feet is the lack of proper circulation. As blood pools around the ankles, you’ll get swelling and discomfort. Overall, legs start to feel tired and this has an impact on your energy levels, too.
Graduated compression socks prevent the blood from pooling in the extremities and they continuously massage the lower limbs, keeping them energized and feeling “light.” They also help you feel less tired overall.
Swollen feet, ankles, and lower legs come about when blood or liquid pool in the extremities. This is caused by gravity and lack of free blood flow throughout the body. By pushing blood up towards the heart and stimulating healthy peripheral circulation, compression socks reduce the chance of swelling in the first place. When you put them on swollen feet, they’ll massage the area, soothing and relaxing you, while also boosting circulation to drive down inflammation and swelling.
Enhance Comfort and Support
Wearing tighter fitting, supportive garments like compression socks or stockings helps women and men who spend long days on their feet feel an added level of support and comfort. Compression socks tend to help with stability, especially in the ankles, and provide some arch support as well. Moreover, the massage you’ll feel from the socks on the calf muscles in particular, energizes them for the day ahead.
Decrease Muscle Soreness
The increase in blood flow experienced thanks to compression stockings contributes to reducing soreness in the muscles. This is because blood travels to the lower legs more efficiently, bringing with it oxygen and nutrients needed to replenish muscles after an effort. This is why compression socks are widely used in sports recovery. Additionally, the massaging action they exert on the calf muscles further helps decrease soreness and stimulate recovery.
Prevent Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are caused by an underlying condition called venous insufficiency. When the veins are unable to send blood from the limbs to the heart, this can cause it to pool in your legs - usually because of weakened or damaged valves within the veins.
Veins over-filled with blood are forced to stretch. In time, this weakens their walls and further damages the valves, creating the unsightly varicose veins. With the help of compression socks, hairdressers and any professional who spends a long time on their feet can reduce the risk of blood pooling in their limbs - thus avoiding varicose veins.
Improve Energy Levels
When your legs are fresh and relaxed and there is no pain or discomfort, you’ll naturally feel more energetic, too! Partly this is because compression socks help blood travel more efficiently throughout the body. Blood brings with it oxygen and nutrients, which are essential for the good functioning of organs and to replenish the muscles during any effort. More oxygen means more energy and a better day ahead.
Express Your Personal Style
Wearing compression socks comes with an added style benefit. Thanks to the multitude of colors and styles available, they can be an added way to show off your personal style - from cute outfits to daring ensembles. Compression socks in complementary colors can elevate a day dress or put a finishing touch on an outfit. By using color clashes, you can also be noticed more and brighten up a whole salon, too.
How to Wear Compression Socks for Hairdressers
Okay, so you’re sold on the benefits, but aren’t quite sure how to wear compression socks as a hairdresser to make the most of them. Here is a quick guide to get you started.
When to Wear Them
Compression socks are beneficial pretty much at any stage throughout the day. You can wear them before your shift, warming up the muscles and ensuring that you feel energized and relaxed before a long day ahead. During shifts, they will keep blood flowing well and prevent swelling and discomfort, while also giving you that extra protective feeling.
Finally, wearing your favorite pair of compression socks during down-time after work can speed up recovery and make you feel fresher, sooner. The massage provided to the muscles, along with the boost in blood flow, can help you have a better night’s sleep and can also make you feel more relaxed when you’re at home.
How Long to Wear Them
There is no specific duration for wearing compression socks, since the impact you’ll get is quite personal. Any hairstylist who starts to feel sore, swollen ankles after a few hours’ shift will feel an immediate relief when they switch to compression socks. However, if it’s your first time wearing them, you may want to stick to 2-3 hours at a time, letting your legs get used to the tight hold.
You can gradually increase the amount of time you wear compression socks, eventually keeping them on for a whole work shift. Alternatively, you can wear them for 2-3 hours before and after shifts. It’s all about what feels comfortable and when you start to notice results.
Caring for Your Compression Socks
To keep them tight and comfortable for longer, compression socks should be washed after every use (especially if you’ve had them on for a full shift!). Wash them with detergent only, no bleach or anything else, and let them air dry naturally.
Keeping compression socks in top shape also means:
- Not rolling them up or pulling on the fabric excessively - fold them gently instead;
- Not wearing them over lotion or body oil that can mix with the fabric and possibly damage it;
- Avoiding rings and sharp nails when you pull on your socks, especially thinner nylon ones (wear gloves if you need to);
- Rotating the pairs you wear - this allows you to keep wearing compression socks when another pair is in the wash basket, but it’s also a great opportunity for trying out new designs.
Choosing the Best Compression Socks for Hairdressers
Hairstylists all over the world can benefit from compression wear, but it’s important to know how to pick the right type of socks for you. This will ensure you’re comfortable and you get the results you’re looking for.
Opt for Graduated Compression
We always recommend graduated compression for professions where you stand a lot, because they are effective at pushing blood up from the ankles towards the heart. This is what drives down the risk of swelling and blood clots, keeping legs refreshed and energized at the same time.
Compression Sock Types to Consider
Not all socks are the same in the compression wear department! If you want to keep your toes free over the summer, you can opt for open-toe socks that still provide support and massage from the ankles up to the knees.
Other than the traditional up-to-the-knee compression sock design, calf compression sleeves offer more versatility when it comes to pairing up with other socks or staying barefoot. They apply pressure to the calves and support the shins, but they’re not graduated (so you’ll get the same level of compression throughout).
Finally, you can go for fuller coverage with compression tights - footless or covering the feet. These give you added support and blood flow boost all the way up to the waist and make a great outfit choice with a dress when it’s cold out.
Material and Fabric Options
Standing around all day in a hair salon can get hot, on top of the discomfort it causes your feet and ankles. This is why hairdressers also need to look for material options that are breathable and help keep feet dry.
Merino wool compression socks are like a Swiss army knife: they let your feet breathe and stay cool in the summer or hot conditions, but they’re also great for staying warm when it gets cold. They’re extremely versatile thanks to the thin, temperature-regulating fabric.
Another good option for all-day wear is cotton. While it’s not the best material for moisture-wicking, it’s comfortable, soft, versatile, and can be a go-to sock fabric for those moderate days when you know you’re not going to get too hot or too cold.
Proper Sizing and Fit
Finally, compression socks are pretty much useless if they don’t fit right. You need to ensure they’re tight enough to apply appropriate pressure to the muscles, but not so tight that they cut off your circulation. Similarly, they cannot be too loose - they risk rolling down and not allowing you to enjoy any of the benefits of compression.
To ensure that your socks fit just right, follow our sizing guidelines. Once you receive your socks, you can also follow instructions to put them on correctly here. You may need to practice a few times at the start, but it will soon become second nature!