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Monday, March 11, 2013

How to Communicate with Your Stylist

We've all had our bad experiences at the salon.  Maybe you tried to explain what you wanted but felt like you're stylist just wasn't getting what you were trying to say. I have found that the main reason for disappointment after a salon appointment is poor communication.  It could be the stylist's lack of understanding and ability to ask the right questions. It could be the client's inability to articulate what they have in mind for their hair.  But, bottom line, it's poor communication.  And there are times when you just simply need to find a new stylist.  Communication is key.  I can admit to times where I have missed the mark with a client's happiness simply because I didn't listen carefully.  Lessons learned.  So through my experience I have had to develop my listening and communication skills.  But I thought I might share a stylist's perspective on how to help a client tell the stylist what they want.

1. Schedule a consultation

    When wanting to do something different with your hair, whether cut or color, or when your starting out for the first time with a new stylist, ask the stylist for a few extra minutes to consult when booking your appointment.  You may even want to book a consultation by itself.  Most stylist will not charge for this (I never did). This will give you an opportunity to feel out your stylist (if it is your first time), while also ensuring plenty of time to make sure the two of you are on the same page.  A separate consultation will also provide the stylist with a little extra time and preparation when you schedule your appointment for a change.  I highly recommend doing this even with your regular stylist when you are wanting to do a dramatic change with your color.  This also allows the stylist to know how to book your color service properly.


    I always LOVED when a client brought in pictures of what they were wanting.  You see, when you use words to describe cuts and colors to your stylist, your stylist could interpret those words totally different.  Here's an example..."long layers" you mean layers that are long? Or do you mean long hair with lots of layers?  Another, to a stylist, a "reddish brown" could be flaming red to the eyes of the client or vice verse.  Lingo means something a little different to everyone, so pictures help show the stylist what you are desiring.

3. Realistic expectations

    Now when you show your stylist the picture of Catherine Zeta Jones or Jennifer Aniston, please know that these celebrities have stylist following them around constantly making sure ever hair is placed perfectly.  Also, keep in mind the hair type of the person in the picture may not be the same hair type as you.  Hopefully your stylist will be honest with you in how he or she can deliver what you are wanting.  And sometimes certain desired looks may take a series of salon visits to achieve.

I encourage you to not give up on your stylist.  Be willing to give them second chances.  But, if you have tried to communicate properly, have had realistic expectations and still left the salon disappointed, then perhaps it's time to move on.  It doesn't mean that stylist is a bad one, just maybe not the one for you.  

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