Articles > Intentional Acts of Kindness: The Gift of a Smile
January 2, 2017

Intentional Acts of Kindness: The Gift of a Smile

It’s easy to be consumed by all that’s bad in the world. Thanks to the internet, the news, social media—when something bad happens, we relive it over and over. But what if people spent more time focusing on being positive? Spent more time helping others? Giving back? Looking for the light? Could that change your life?



This year’s COLOR, Cut & Style show in Ft. Lauderdale was about finding light, and also about choosing light. “There is a darkness that’s casting a shadow on the world around us today. That shadow only grows larger when we turn our back to the light, and we watch the sun go down in the distance behind us. But we don’t have to be fearful of that. We can have hope. We can reach our hand into the darkness and pull another hand into the light,” said BTC Founder and Creative Director Mary Rector-Gable as she opened the show.

Mark inspires thousands to emulate his actions through

That’s certainly the philosophy Mark Bustos lives by. By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard about Mark and his #BeAwesomeToSomebody movement. We shared his story in this magazine, as did the editors of The New York Times and People Magazine. Close to 300,000 Instagram fans follow him as he dedicates every weekend to giving free haircuts to the homeless—in New York City or wherever his travels take him. His spirit is genuine—a light for our industry and for humanity.

So for the second year in a row, Mary and the BTC team invited Mark and a group of COLOR, Cut & Style artists to visit a shelter a few miles from the COLOR venue to share their time and talent. Matty Conrad of Victory Barber, Joel Torres of TIGI®, Lorenzo Littlefield of Joico, Michaelangelo Marenco of label.m, Olesia Vabishchevich, Sonny D and Summer O’Neal of Paul Mitchell, Wesley Boyce of Kenra Professional, Linh Phan of Be Scene Studios, Rickey Zito of Head Rush Salon, Kimi Bennett of Sola Salons and Michelle Hurtado of Beachwaver® spent a sunny afternoon at The Broward Partnership, providing residents with 75 haircuts—and so much more.

Thirteen hairdressers spent more than two hours giving
hairuts to 75 people from the Broward Partnership.

It’s impossible to participate in an event like this and walk away unchanged. Joel, who participated in the CCS community outreach event last year, said it best: “Sometimes we all need to dial it back to zero, put aside egos and help other humans. After one haircut, a man told me I made his day. Actually, he made my day.”

Joel wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Every hairdresser left the shelter that afternoon determined to build on this effort. “The comradery that was present between the stylists, and change in the individuals after getting their hair cut was so fulfilling,” said Lorenzo, who owns a salon close to the Broward Partnership. “It’s something that myself and other stylists would like to keep up with and continue to offer as a service to this amazing facility.”

That’s the magic of Mark. He helps people see things differently and inspires them to go out and do something—anything—to give back. On the way to the shelter he shared this advice: “Whenever people ask me how to approach someone when offering a haircut, I say, ‘How would you approach your best friend? How would you approach a family member who really needs help?’ Treat your clients today how you would treat your favorite client at the salon. Listen to them. Ask them what kind of haircut they want. It’s about human connection and human interaction.”

If you aren’t doing it to put a smile on someone’s face, to help
fill them up with confidence, and to make them walk taller out the door
than when they walked in,” Matty wrote on his Instagram,
“why are you doing it?”

“Treat clients at a shelter exactly as you would treat
your favorite client in the salon,” said Mark.

And that’s exactly what the day was all about—human connection. “I was especially touched by an observation one of the shelter staff shared with me at the end of the day,” said BTC’s Director of Events and Education Janet Gordon, who organized the Broward Partnership event. “She told me that many people leaving our little makeshift salon were in tears, and that several commented, ‘No one has ever been that nice to me.’ Trying to put that in perspective, I was humbled and grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.”

The BTC, COLOR, Cut & Style and Broward Partnership crew!

The greatest gift we can give is our time. When stylists spend time donating haircuts to individuals in need, and sharing gentle conversation, it reaches people in a special way. They feel seen. They feel cared for. The service lifts their spirits and gives them the motivation they need to keep going when they are down. So go out and give back. Find your light and embrace it. It’s humbling and eye-opening to give joy. It only takes a phone call—to a shelter or similar program in your community—to find a way to make a difference.