In a large online forum of fellow hairstylists, I asked what they’d say to their clients if they could speak their minds without the worry of sounding unprofessional. Many of them expressed the same things. In the long run, we brush it all off, because our clients are so special to us. But if you’re curious about what your hairstylist goes through day to day, there are a few things we wish we could say to make our job a little easier.
1. It's a Myth That Dirty Hair Is Easier To Style and Color
I just wish I could plaster this all over the place. I chuckle every time I have clients who arrive for their appointment with 5-day-old hair, explaining that they made sure not to wash their hair so it would be easier for me. I can’t get mad at their good intentions, but let me set the record straight: Oily hair is so much harder to style and color.
When you’ve heard this saying before, it mostly means that hair with a little grit is easier to style and holds better. Sometimes, freshly washed hair is so silky and smooth that a style is harder to hold. But the fix for this is a texture spray and holding products, not literal dirty hair. Your stylist can easily “dirty your hair” by using products. When someone comes to their appointment with hair that is excessively oily, we have to wash and dry it before we can style it, which adds a lot of extra time.
2. We Don’t Want To Play with Your Hair on Our Days Off
I’ll just keep this one short and sweet. I love doing hair with a passion. But on my days off, I don't want to touch my own hair, let alone do someone else’s hair “for fun.” This also means when I go on vacation I don’t want to bring my scissors or curling iron. I don’t want to give the whole family free haircuts. That's not a vacation. When I leave the salon, I need a break. That way when I start the next work week I'm recharged and excited to get back at it.
3. We Can’t Do Hair for All of Our Friends and Family at No Cost
You wouldn’t ask your cousin who’s an accountant to do your taxes for free, or your friend who’s a doctor to do your surgery for free, so why would it feel right asking your friend to do your hair for free? This is our livelihood. If we gave a discount or didn’t charge everyone we were friends with, we wouldn’t be able to pay our bills. So keep this in mind if you have a friend or family member starting any kind of business, and give them your full support. It's really hard telling someone you can’t afford to do it for free, so don't put that expectation on them.
4. Don't Show Up to Your Appointment 15 Minutes Late with a Starbucks Coffee Unless You Have One for Me Too
Obviously joking, but I do have those clients who are always, always, always late. And it seems to be the same people who randomly don’t show up or who cancel and reschedule every single appointment. Things genuinely do happen that call for these things, but when the same people do this all the time, it gets hard to accommodate them.
Being late can make us run late the rest of the day, or not showing makes it too short notice to fill your spot. If we can’t fill the spot, we make zero dollars. We don’t get paid hourly. If you can’t come, try to give some notice, and if you’ll be late, just let us know as much in advance as you’re able. Anything helps!
5. When I’m Washing Your Hair, Don’t Stare, Don’t Moan, and Please Don’t Lift Your Head!
Don’t stare, and please don’t moan. Yes, some people moan. It’s awkward. Just close your eyes, relax, and enjoy the head massage. And I know there’s a temptation to “help” by lifting your head, but we feel completely comfortable doing it for you so you don’t risk getting soaked!
6. We Don't Know Everything About Every Hair Product on the Market
I get texts all the time asking me if a random product is good for the hair. I have well-researched the products I personally use and sell, but I don’t know about every hair product on the market. If you want products that will keep the integrity of the hair, buy products from your stylist she is sure are good for you.
7. Please Keep Your Head Still
Trying to carefully place foils in someone’s hair when they’re turning and nodding their head constantly is very difficult. When foils aren’t placed tightly enough they tend to slip and can cause bleeding. When a foil bleeds (bleed = the lightener moves from the foil), it can cause a ring-like patch or a line of demarcation on the existing hair.
When doing a cut, the placement of the client’s head is important for a precise cut. So when the client is moving their head, it can make the cut uneven. Head placement and staying still are essential for good results!
8. Please Respect Our Business Hours and Try To Avoid Contacting Me at All Hours of the Night
Many of us have contact with our clients on our personal phones. But this can be an issue if clients contact us at all times of the day. If you contact your stylist on her personal phone, try to reach out during business hours or be patient if they don’t respond until business hours. Family time is important.
9. When a New Client Says, “No One’s Ever Done My Hair Right,” It’s a For Sure Sign That They’re Hard To Please
I’m not sure why sometimes new clients preface their appointment with this statement. It’s an immediate discouragement and puts extra pressure on the stylist. People who say this have either had an uncanny amount of bad luck with hairstylists or they might be someone who is rarely satisfied.
10. Don’t Blame Your Color Fading on Me When You’re Using Cheap Shampoo
When your stylist stresses to you about using good shampoo, it’s because you’re paying good money for your color appointment, and they don’t want you to ruin it with color-stripping shampoos. All it takes is one wash with cheap shampoo to ruin your color.
11. A ‘Trim’ Is Not Cheaper Than a ‘Haircut’ Because They’re the Same Thing
People often expect to get a discounted service if it’s just a trim. But the steps for taking 5 inches and taking half an inch are the same. The only difference is the length that is cut.
12. Stop Touching Your Hair While I’m Still Working on It
There is no kind of stress like doing someone’s hair while they’re touching every little strand you’re working on. Your hair won’t look like what you asked for until it’s fully cut and dried.
13. It’s Hard To Cut Your Hair When Your Kids Are Destroying the Salon, Unsupervised
I understand that it’s hard to schedule a hair appointment when you have kids. But if there is no way to keep your children under control during your hair appointment, it might be best not to bring them. We have expensive tools and salon equipment, so please make sure your kids aren’t messing with these things while you get your haircut.
We all work in different salons all across the country, but we share the same daily struggles. Every job comes with its ups and downs, but most of us still feel extremely blessed to do the work we love. Sometimes it's nice to get things off your chest, so hopefully, any hairstylists reading this can learn that they aren’t alone. And to our clients – we love you despite any of the little things we might deal with in the salon.
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