Article By Lisa Graves
The premise today is simple: what does your stylist wish all their clients knew? What are common misconceptions? We polled many of our finest salons to find out exactly what they want you to know in order that you have the best experience and amazing results!
1) Expect Great Service.
As pointed out by several salons, you should expect great service and kindness as well. There are tons of great stylists out there, but not necessarily tons of great service. As one salon owner stated, “If you find your stylist habitually running late, acting questionably or talking smack about their salon, other stylists or guests, it’s time to switch. Life is too short to keep going to a good stylist with a bad addiction or attitude, when right behind the next chair there’s a good stylist with a great take on life–and coincidentally–their work.”
2) Be Flexible If You Are Desperate.
Need an appointment this week? TODAY? Full highlight and an updo included? Flexibility is very important here. Many times, a salon can’t accommodate a truly last minute request. But, sometimes they can. Be flexible with your timing and the availability of your stylist. You may need to work with a more junior stylist who has room, but be assured that good salons keep a file of your color, and if your regular stylist is working at the same time, they will most likely step over to make sure all is good. The salon wants to keep you happy–trust them and be flexible and you might be able to work something out. And, on that same note, the best way to insure you always get the appointment day and time you want? Schedule as you leave the salon for your next appointment. Good stylists book out weeks in advance unless they have a last minute cancellation. And speaking of last minute cancellations …
3) Don’t Cancel Your Appointment Last Minute.
We all get sick, yes. But, unless you are honestly contagious, please keep your appointment. Hairstylists depend on their chairs being filled to make their mortgage payments and pay their bills. Your bottom in their chair is their salary! An empty chair is money lost. This is someone’s livelihood we’re talking about. Just don’t do it.
4) Running Late?
Call. Let them know. And, show up with the attitude that you know you can’t get it all in, so what can you let go of today? The blowout? Remember that they are on a timetable too, so be on time!
5) Kindness Works Better Than Being a Jerk.
It all really boils down to this, no matter the circumstance or who you are dealing with, right?! Same for hairstylists. Some people are not so nice when calling to make an appointment, especially when they have special needs. We all know this, but it bears repeating: BE KIND both in person and on the phone. You’ll get better results this way!
6) You Can’t Recreate Professional Results With Drug Store Products and 30 Seconds of Time.
Spending a fortune on your haircut and color but finding you can’t recreate the same results at home using a hairdryer from Target, a Walgreens’ brush you bought on special and $2 shampoo and conditioner? If you are shelling out the bucks for your cut and/or color, use the products that make it look best. One stylist even said, “Everyone should pick at least one good product and use it. Something small goes a long way when you already have a good cut and color.” And, don’t expect to wake up with fabulous hair–spend a little time on it!
7) Changing Your Color? Your Cut? Bring Pictures!
Do not show up saying, “I want my hair dark, really dark,” and then be a mess of tears when your hair ends up as dark as Elvis’. One person’s dark may be a yearning for Jessica Alba’s tresses and another’s may be Katy Perry’s black locks. A picture saves a million tears. Better than that? Bring LOTS of pictures. Even pictures of what you don’t like. Both will help your stylist. Also, you may not be able to achieve the exact color you want based on what your natural color is and how high or low maintenance you are. Be truthful about how often you can come into the salon for maintenance and how much time you can put into your hair each day.
8) Drastic Change to Your Colored Hair? Think Marathon, Not Sprint
Colored hair is hard to change overnight. Think long term goals, not “what can I accomplish today.” Big time changes take a serious commitment to time, and unfortunately, money. Your hair can be easily damaged and spreading out this change will keep it much healthier. Make a 2-3 month plan with your stylist and you will be happy with the results and they will be happy with your expectations.
9) Dark Hair to Light?
To continue on about color, going from dark to light is hard on your hair. To lighten your hair from dark brown to light brown or blonde, first you need to remove color from your hair. Then, you need to add color to get the color you want (you can not simply “color” darker hair a lighter color). This dual process is time consuming and hard on your hair. Highlighting is a nice alternative, so when your stylist suggests this, consider it!
10) Tipping The Owner Of The Salon (update: to clarify, this is when your hairstylist is also the owner!)
Have you ever heard that you don’t need to tip the owner of a salon? Most owners will smile so sweetly and say, “Really, it doesn’t matter,” but their employees are the ones defending them and want us to know why we need to tip the owners, too. The cost of doing business today is higher than ever–there are credit card fees, marketing expenses, rent and the high cost of hair color and supplies to consider, not to mention continuing education for the staff (which can involve travel to keep your favorite stylist up to date on new techniques). All of this is covered through the owner of the salon, through the salon’s profits, and it’s an expensive venture to be sure. So, the owner should not be considered any differently when it comes to tipping. If you are happy with your service, tip.
11) First Time To A Salon?
Again, arrive with pictures, but consider bringing pictures of you–best even if they are you on your perfect hair day. Be truthful about how much time you have to give to your hair. One person’s, “I’m so low maintenance,” is not another’s. Be prepared to give real numbers: “I will not spend more than 15 minutes on my hair each day. Never. It’s really more like 5 minutes.” Don’t wear your hair in a ponytail or arrive saying, “This is really not how I usually wear my hair.” Showing up with your hair looking the best you can get it to look will actually help your new stylist out so much. This gives them information on how you part your hair, what your hair does when styled, etc. Help your stylist out and take that ponytail down and do your hair that day before you walk in! They will be that much more prepared to give you what you want.
12) Let Your Stylist Fix Your Hair If You Don’t Like It!
No stylist wants you running your mouth all over town about how much you hate your latest cut or color. If you are unhappy, call the salon within a few days of your service and ask for an appointment to tweak it. Most reputable salons offer this for free. I did this once, and I was so glad. My stylist made a point to say, “I want you happy with your hair. I’d rather you come back and let me know so I can get it right, which I will. Thank you for coming back in.”
13) Put Your Phone Down!
We heard this one over and over again as a major irritant. It’s difficult to cut, color or blow out your hair when your head is down in your phone and you are typing away. Grab your phone while your color is processing, but help your stylist out and put your phone down while they are working on your hair!
14) Just break up with your boyfriend? Just get fired from your job?
Do not make any drastic changes to your cut or color on this day, or even during this week. Really! When your stylist steers you away from a major change, know that they have your best interest in mind. Wait a month, maybe then go for it, for now, an extra inch off or a few more highlights is good enough!