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Meet Andi Scarbrough of CrownWorks in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andi Scarbrough.

Andi, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in southeast Texas — sort of half wilds woods-child and half wanna be debutant. My family were pretty traditional southern conservative Christians, but my grandfather was a farmer and I spent nearly every weekend and holiday effectively off-leash with him. Truthfully a lot of my early mystical education came from the farmers almanac and some long hours logged playing alone in the woods. I was a curious kid, and while the church didn’t really appreciate my questions, I cobbled together much of what I know about the world in the public library and through my grandfather’s hand-me-down books. I was an aggressively weird teenager — conformity into the sweet demure femininity of polite southern culture was not an option. And since it wouldn’t have me, I railed against it.

Though all my reading, I decided I was a Wiccan — only because it seemed on paper to make the most sense and contained all the things made me feel best and most like myself. Do no harm and hug trees? Sure, that works! Though I could never really talk about it, much less practice it — my mother already thought the devil had taken me by way of Def Leopard albums and loads of black eyeliner. By 16, I was living in my own apartment, and by 17, I left Texas to move to California. I wasn’t sure where I belonged, not totally convinced I belonged anywhere and had this idea that the West Coast is where people went to (re)invent themselves… or so my father had, so I went to live near him. To be honest, the next ten years or so were much more survival than any kind of self-discovery, and in the beauty industry I found a way to employe my emotional sensitivity and creatively express myself in a way that consistently paid my rent. My weirdness fit right into an industry of people who identified as “black sheep,” and I found a sense of community amongst these creative outliers For years, this was enough.

Then, when I was in my early 20’s, I was exposed to Reiki.

When I first got attuned to Reiki, it was something of a rushed experience — one of those weekend-warrior initiations that can be a great experience but pushed my capacity too quickly. I was already a highly sensitive person, working a busy salon and plugging deeply to other peoples energy fields with no conscious concept of what I was really doing. I had no understanding of energetic clearing or boundaries I needed to support this work, and I had zero concept of how much energetic garbage I had accumulated. I’ve since learned this is a common problem for empaths, and one that I noticed was a theme amongst beauty professionals that often led to some manner of addictive behavior as a coping mechanism, burnout, or compassion fatigue. The sudden awareness of the invisible workload of what was really happening inside my own body and in the salon itself was like someone turning reality lights on in a nightclub. I was overwhelmed. I felt like a weirdo teenager again, and I just wanted to be “normal” — blend into the bubbly LA scene — do celebrity hair, make decent money, and drink champagne at brunch with my friends. But that wasn’t the way it played out.

In 2010, I lost my father in a sudden tragedy, and the grief cracked my heart — and my intuition — wide open. I didn’t have the emotional capacity to keep my sensitivity under wraps (or buried at the bottom of a bong or a bottle of wine, to be honest) and suddenly a serious spiritual awakening was underway, whether I liked it or not. I started getting real with my clients and friends about what was happening in my life, and rather than being turned off or burying their nose in a US Weekly, I found they got real right back. Some referred me to healers and coaches I never would have otherwise found. Some I was able to refer to supportive people or practices I’d found along the way. Suddenly we were doing a whole lot more in that chair then the blow-dry would summarize. There was real healing happening for all of us, by our willingness to be real and vulnerable with each other, and the hair was just the thing that happened while we were working at the rest of it. All of the experiences I discovered on my own path to healing became as precious to me as my professional salon tools.

I have been really really fortunate to have found myself in the midst of a community full of talented teachers and practitioners of many different modalities. Following the route of my own personal healing has led me to sit in circle with some truly gifted teachers. I was once told when evaluating whom to study with, don’t just look at their content — look at the context of their living. The lessons will be colored and flavored by their own life experiences (just like the brush stroke of one stylist to another — even when the technique is the same, the outcome will vary). The things I searched for because someone else was doing it or it/they sounded cool or I felt like I “should” always ended in disappointment. However, I found if I used my own internal compass for what I need to feel nourished, and follow that to what brings me personally the richest healing opportunities, along that road, the right teacher always appears. I never attended a traditional college, but the lack of a formal degree gave me the freedom to study what drew my interest. As a result, I’ve leaned deeply into things like Spiritual Psychology, Shamanism, Mystical Christianity and dream work. I became a breath-work facilitator and Reiki Master. I’ve sat in on neuroscience classes, and read piles of books about psychology, sociology, theology, and adult learning. While truthfully I might prefer it to be otherwise, it turns out reconciling my relationship with God has had a lot to do with my own healing, unlocking my own intuitive gifts, and (not coincidentally) everything to do with the work we as beauty professionals do in addressing the Crown Chakra; the energy center on top of the head that connects us to Source Energy, by whatever name we chose to call it.

As James Redfeild says in his book “The Celestine Prophecy”, one of the first way we recognize Source energy is through the recognition of beauty.

Merging beauty + wellness was a natural progression. As I grew to understand what was happening (I mean REALLY happening) behind the chair, both energetically and emotionally, I began to notice themes in the beauty industry as a whole. As I shared, I myself was operating rather unconsciously to what the energetic load of the rapid fire exchanges in a “successful” hairdressing career looked like, and I myself had teetered on the edge of complete burnout. I noticed the rate of addiction and compassion fatigue in the industry, and the relative short lifespan for the average hairdressers career (I once heard that five years is a “good run” for a stylist!) I have been an industry educator for nearly 14 years, and I saw an opportunity to share what I observed with my fellow beauty industry professionals. This birthed the CrystalCombs — a tool to support a dedicated service for deep-dives with clients and provide educational awareness around the energetic exchanges behind the chair. I want to support this exploration into the vibrational nature of beauty in a practical, accessible way that benefited both clients and stylists. The CrystalCombs are an invitation (not unlike a beautiful yoga mat) to encourage people to continue this as part of their home-care beauty routine. In the salon, I saw a way to use intentional conversation and inquiry to glean the maximum benefit of this time of sacred stillness and connection, using beauty as medicine and elevating self-care for inward reflection, self-discovery, and devotional practice.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road has been anything but smooth! HA! But that’s kind of the point isn’t it? One of my early exposures to energetic teachers is a woman named Esther Hicks who channels a frequency called “Abraham” who speaks extensively on the Law of Attraction since popularized through works like “The Secret.” Once I heard her speak and Abraham said “You think you came here for the most direct path — but you did not — you came for the richest.”

Yes. There have been tremendous bumps along the road. I’ve had to let go of all kinds of relationships. Romantic, business, friendships and family dynamics have all shifted —because I have shifted. An old friend told me recently, “you just aren’t the same as I remember you from back in the day” — and I thought — thank God! I was miserable then!

It’s has been harrowing at times feeling that old feeling of not-belonging both in my beloved beauty industry — my first family of choice — some of whom think I lost my mind and threw away some great opportunities to rise in professional education and make gobs of money doing high-end celebrity clients. At times my spiritual community as well as being “too mainstream” or selling out and commoditizing spirituality. All I know is integrating these previously compartmentalized parts of myself has saved my life. And I am grateful for all the trials and challenges as opportunities to teach me to trust my own moral compass.

From a business perspective, it’s been exhilarating — but challenging as well. This visibility of this work has been a hard-nosed teacher, sometimes distracting me from focusing work itself, and after nearly 17 years behind my chair, creating a product line and educational offerings have called for a massive up-leveling to my own business acumen, as well as my boundaries and self care. It’s my own path that I am walking, as it has always been, and finding the right support is not always clear. I’ve had to learn to lean ever deeper into my own intuitive discernment and the compass of my own heart in all aspects of life. If being human means signing up for “Earth School”, spiritual entrepreneurship is like taking bootcamp for zero period and extracurricular activities. I feel very very fortunate that I have been connected with so many other wonderful people bridging the space of wellness and their chosen industry. I like to think that this kind of collaborative dialogue, peer support, and cooperative business is the new model for success. The circle is new ladder.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Funny enough, I think one of the things that makes Crownworks special is how NOT special it is. The intention is to reclaim time we’re already spending on mundane tasks like haircuts and to make these little moments sacred. Not everybody is going to see an energy healer — heck, not everybody is going to see a therapist! But nearly everyone goes to the hair salon. We all know how great we feel after, and how cathartic a big cut can be, and how it can catalyze changes in other parts of our lives. Applying just a little mindfulness opens this regularly-scheduled act into a tremendous healing opportunity. I for sure am not trying to be the only one doing this. I think the vast majority of beauty professionals are inherently gifted healers, and I want to create conversations, tools, and resources that support them claiming and sharing their own journey as a powerful gift that they can use to increase the value to the client in their chair— in whatever way works for them.

Our Crown Chakra is the energy center on the top of our head, associated with the pineal gland, that connects us to our highest self, Spirit, Source, and one-ness consciousness. Imbalances in this chakra can manifest as doubt, insecurity, loneliness, or, if over active, disconnection from our bodies and separation from our human experience. By taking the time to treat beauty as sacred adornment, and “comb out” any negativity, attachments, and clear any residue from beliefs or misperceptions we have bought into throughout our days, we gently recalibrate ourselves to our natural state of uninterrupted connectedness and beauty, which is a reflection of our divine nature.

Sometimes someone comes on for a treatment and they know exactly what’s going on for them. Sometimes they don’t. Often I meet people at a place of transformational tension where they know there is something they want to let go of, but they just can’t put their finger on what it is. They may try and scratch that itch with a big haircut, which can be great, but often doesn’t quite hit the spot until we name and release the thing that is really motivating the change. This is where tools like oracle cards, crystals’ and other divination tools come in handy and can feel like a light playful approach. (I mean, we’re just gabbing at the hair salon, right??) Elements of sound (like tuning forks, singing bowls, and chimes) can be helpful for clearing out any unconscious cobwebs in corners that we may not be able to articulate in conversation.

My sacred tools are meant to be invitations. I believe that to recognize beauty is to recognize Source. To appreciate the wonder of a naturally perfect creation like a crystal is the gateway to experience one’s own quirks and unique attributes with the same level of appreciation. This was a huge part of the inspiration for creating the CrystalCombs.

Just like when I started to dry hair cutting in the salon, a specialized tool let my clients know a) something different was happening, b) I took it seriously enough to invest in a dedicated tool to do this work. What I wasn’t expecting was the clients’ reactions. They were asking how often they could come in for haircuts — and I quickly realized two things: I was going to end up with a bald clientele if this kept up. AND — I needed to empower them to maintain this squeaky clean alignment as a regular practice.

Just like going to the chiropractor, you can get a really gratifying adjustment, but unless you change the way you sit/stand/sleep, the problem is just going to come back. By using a CrystalComb and the CW Activating oils (blends created to activate certain energy centers or chakras, while nourishing, stimulating and repairing the hair and scalp), a client is able to elevate a weekly home-treatment or nightly comb-out into a sacred beauty ritual. Adding in breathwork, journaling, or meditations (often specific “homework” assignments prescribed during our time together) a person takes charge of their own continued well being. Self-care isn’t just bubble baths or excuses for self-indulgence. In my work, it is an opportunity to cultivate a sustainable spiritual practice piggy-backed on our regularly scheduled beauty routine.

Pricing:

  • Ritual Treatment : 60 Minutes : $111 : Nourish Yourself. Intuitive Consultation, Custom Blended Hair Masque, Reiki & Crystal Scalp Treatment, Signature CrownWorks Blow Dry
  • Ritual Haircut : 90 min : $222 : Recommend for returning guests. Be intentional about your regular beauty regimen. (An excellent follow up to a Ceremonial Beauty Treatment.) Intention Setting, Custom Blended Hair Masque,Reiki & Crystal Scalp Massage, Ritualized Haircut, Signature CrownWorks Blow Dry
  • Ceremonial Beauty : 120 mins : $333 : Recommended for first time guests. Haircutting as a ceremonial act of transformation: an opportunity to clarify and bring into alignment the visual transmission of your personal expression. Intuitive Consultation, Intention Setting, Custom Blended Hair Masque, Reiki & Crystal Scalp Massage, Ritualized Haircut, Signature CrownWorks Blow Dry, Take-home Ritual & Supportive Processes

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Several Images taken by Amy Dickerson (headshot image, picture of my combing hair, picture of me & my friend from behind.) Product shots by Angel V. Prado

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