Hair cutting skills are not enough without the right attitude...
Professional hair care is very underrated, yet it is the very foundation of what stylists do. Many people are under the false impression that the better they cut hair the more successful they will become. While ongoing technical education is vital in the ever-changing beauty industry, it is important to be well diversified in all aspects of this business. If stylists do not understand hair, or care about its physical condition, how can they expect their clients to?
It is of extreme importance that a stylist understands the makeup of the inner structure of a strand of hair. How hair shape defines what texture and wave pattern the hair will have. How shampoos and conditioners work and what they do to the hair - How to blow-dry hair (how direction is important) and which products benefit different hair types. Ph balance and how it pertains to the hair’s make-up. What different chemicals do to the structure of the hair. Most importantly, stopping the myths that none of this matters. To take care of hair properly we should have no tolerance for this.
Professional hair care requires maintance; it only takes a few things to be successful
- Mastering customer service.
- Professional behavior.
- Having a good product.
- Being well educated in it.
‘Trust me…’ Your introduction to a new person is the single most important aspect of a new clients visit. It sets the tone for the rest of their experience. So give you full-undivided attention to your first hello. As with any new person you meet the first thing to do is to make eye contact and introduce yourself. Shake your new client’s hand with a slightly firm grip (this shows you mean business and are a strong confidant person). Let them know if you are on time or how long the wait will be.
Walk the client to your station and seat him/her.
Ask when his/her last service was and what was done.
Ask why they left his/her last salon
- This will help you to not repeat other stylist or salon miscommunications.
Ask how client heard of you and the salon.
Ask the client what he/she likes and dislikes about his/her hair.
Ask if they have problems with: Texture, shape, thickness, styling or anything else.
- This will determine what your client’s needs are.
Remember this first meeting is not about you; it’s about helping another person feel good. Your client may not want, or need to be changed, but listened to.
Change can be good, but clients fear stylists who go wild with scissors, especially when they are not clear on what the “result” will be. Clients want to be understood, see the results they expect and feel good about their hair and the look. You may design a great new cut for your client, but if s/he doesn’t like it, you’ll never see that client again. Without repeat business you don’t have a business. As stylists, we must remind ourselves this with every new and old client. Work with your client within the parameters you discussed. You are creating a new look for the client just by being the stylist and bringing your own style and talents. If you are different to the client you will convey change.
Analyze the hair
Are you going to cut the client’s hair and, if so, how? Never assume it is "Just a trim". Most people go to a new stylist because they are looking for a change of style or attitude. Maybe your client’s last stylist did not listen. Trust is very important. Make sure you’ve gained trust before you try to change a client’s appearance.
Look at your client and analyze his/her:
- Hair Health (damaged, dry, normal, oily, breakage)
- Hair texture, the size of each hair (fine, medium, or coarse)
- Hair density, the amount per square inch (thin, medium, thick)
- Hair growth patterns, the direction hair grows
- Swirls (cowlicks)
- Wave pattern, (Curly, wavy, or straight)
- Facial shape (heart, pear, oval, round, diamond, square, rectangle)
Pay attention to texture and hair health. It is more important to prescribe a great shampoo, conditioner, and styling products than to do a chemical service. Would you let the client spend more than $30 on a chemical service if s/he won’t spend $30 on the products you know will take care of it? By stressing the importance of healthy hair and proper maintenance you present your self as a hair care professional, and not a beautician looking to give them just a trim. Teach your client how important shampoo and other hair care products are to hair and why they should start from the basics. A great cut can look terrible if the client doesn’t maintain hair care – and that will reflect badly on you as the stylist.
Ask you client if h/she is interested in color (this is where your own eye comes into play). From conditioning color glosses, gray blending and gray coverage to subtle sun hi-lites or big modern chunks and streaks, there is something for everyone.
Ask questions about body, frizz, and manageability. You may want to suggest a perm, body wave, a texturizing service or even a reverse perm (anticurl) to directly satisfy the true needs of your client.
Always make sure you are fulfilling the needs of the client.
If you make that suggestion it could become a need.
Remember this, if they don't already have something done (service wise like color, or a texturizing service) that is an excellent opportunity to make suggestions about changing their look.
After determining what your clients needs and having him/her agree, then proceed with the predetermined service unless you have the time to do more. If you do have extra time suggest simple treatments or larger services that your client expressed interest in and give them a chance to let him/her let you show your stuff.
During the service ask open-ended questions that do not require a YES or NO answer.
DO NOT… How much do you want me to cut?
DO………. Where would you like your length to fall when it’s dry?
DO NOT… Do you like it?
DO….…… How does that feel to you?
DO NOT… Let me know if you have any problems.
DO………. Call me if you have any questions.
The more information you can get about their hair, the service, and the products they use, the better you can determine another service and when they should rebook for the next service. Again having them maintain the look you just gave them shows you care, caring = trust.
Maintenance = Repeat business = Success.
You have time for small talk but you should keep things related to hair as much as possible. Discuss how he/she takes care of the hair day-to-day; from the shampoo and wet products, to the way s/he styles her/his hair (how long, what products, what brushes are used, etc.), to help create a game plan for the future looks. This will help to predetermine their next service(s) and setup prescribing any retail products for home use.
It is very important as you finish up to tell the client how long this look will last.
Ask the client to rebook now for convenience.
Pick out any retail you prescribed
Ask your client to remember to refer you to his/her friends.
Don’t be afraid to give away a small freebie if it will set up repeat business, new retail, or an upcoming next service.
Believe in a try it before you buy it policy such as a jel sample for a client wanting to try something new because of a new look, or a clarifying shampoo for an incoming perm client. Never give away something for nothing.
Thank them for their business.