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By day, Jason Schneidman (@themensgroomer) is specializing in men’s cuts at the Chris McMillan Salon in Beverly Hills and at night, he is grooming the celebrity guests and the talented host of The Late Show with James Corden. While in between it all, he is taking his skills to the streets, providing haircuts and dignity to the homeless. He has also developed a line of styling products, with proceeds going to support substance abuse efforts. Oh, and he’s a husband and Dad and he’s opening a salon in June. This guy’s no slacker, to be sure.
“It started with one haircut on Hollywood Boulevard and has grown to hundreds of hair stylists, estheticians, even massage therapists headed to the streets to help,” Schneidman says, describing his pop-up Homeless Haircuts days. “I have learned that in order to keep it, I have to give it away.” “It” is his sobriety (Schneidman has been clean and sober for many years) and a basic tenet of recovery is that being of service helps the addict and the person they are assisting. As he’s cutting men’s hair, he sometimes takes the opportunity to talk to them about his journey and how a program of recovery saved his life. “If they say they have a problem and they want help, I’ll go to any lengths to find a resource.”
Acting as a pied piper on social media (he alerts people of the when and where of his next cutting event) and a bit of a Robin Hood (some corporate-controlled shelters weren’t so welcoming, initially, so he set-up shop outside on the streets), Schneidman says he has connected with various entities to make sure it’s a safe experience for everyone. “Initially, people had tons of fear about the ratio of homeless to hairstylists but the crazy thing is that every time I do it, it is perfect. I stay out of the results and just get into camp director mode and we go out there and change someone’s life that day.”
His product line (“created, designed and made in America”) came out of a real need he saw in his work as a stylist. “I was using product that I loved and it was discontinued and then another that was really expensive.” So he made his perfect products himself, working with a chemist, and introduced The Paste and The Pomade, both available at his site, www.themensgroomer.com. He’ll be adding to his line with eight other products, already developed, and his dream is to grow the business and to continue using its success to support recovering addicts.
“I’m using what God gave me and what I learned early on in recovery to make great shapes and styles and to change someone’s life. That’s the power of a haircut.”