More advice for young hairdressers – perception colors reality

March 10, 2008


I just read a story (with pictures) written by a young woman about her devastating salon visit and her oath to never visit a male hairdressser again.  Objectively I can say that a.) she is percieveing her end result differenly than most of us would and b.) the gender of the hairdresser had nothing to do with what happened.

I want you to read it because it will help you understand that what you see and what the client sees are often different.

This client states that she only wants a maximum of 2″ cut from the bottom.  She also makes it a point during the cut to chat about past cuts that had gone awry where she ended up too short.  When you have a client in your chair that is giving you these signals, please heed them!  Hairdressers have a reputation for being scissor happy and for wanting to chop off long hair.  Please do your best to listen to the client and when they give specific requests, please grant them.  If you think the client needs more length removed, explain what you think and why and then let them make an informed choice.  My favorite technique is to turn them around and use a hand mirror to view the back of their hair.  I show them where the cape can be seen through the hair and suggest that the hair might look thicker if we trimmed it up to that point.  It is often effective.  (I know that to us their is no difference between a “cut” and a “trim” but to many clients there is.  Try to pick up on their cues.)

When they say 2″, I grab my old-school plastic comb from the back of the drawer (you know, the one you used in beauty school that has the inch markings on it) and I show them 2″.  Then, using the comb as a guide, I cut 2″ off the bottom and show them the hair I removed.  Next I ask them if that is OK.  Now we can proceed with the rest of the haircut and the client can relax.

When you meet a client who has already had bad salon experiences, handle them gently.  Talk them through the process so that they feel that they are being heard.

Anyone disagree?

3 Responses to “More advice for young hairdressers – perception colors reality”

  1. Rhonda Spetta Says:

    I’ve been in the industry for 15 yrs. The salon “experience” should not be dreadful, but exciting! I still use the comb, I guess from beauty school, to show my clients how much hair I’m removing. This is very important for the trust you can gain from them. Most times the cient will be willing to remove more hair, if needed. Remember.. Your clients pay your bills and you should be grateful.

  2. Aura Mae Says:

    When I wake in the middle of the night, it is often hard for me to get back to sleep. As a relaxation technique, I got into the habit of listing all of things for which I am grateful. My clients are always near the top of the list. I am grateful for the relationships I have with them and the way we have grown together over the years. It is not something that I take for granted. I hope that is the case for most hairdressers with a few years under their belt.

  3. rhonda spetta Says:

    Your client, your dollar. They pay for you to be successful.Treat them accordingly.

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