I ask a lot of questions when I consult with a client for a hair service. First and foremost, I ask what they would like to do. Then I ask what they do for a living, how much time they spend on their hair in the morning, if they are having trouble styling it (and why), how often they are having their hair cut or colored, if they use products or none at all......If they have bangs... Do they like bangs? Should they be shorter? Are they too heavy.. Too wide? ...I basically know the person's blood type, favorite color and astrological sign before I start the service.
This is the pivotal moment. ..The consultation is the moment when the client has a choice to be honest, or..........just say "Ok." aaand..... let things happen to them. Are you ready for this? I would personally estimate that about 35-45% of first-time clients will choose the latter option. Clearly, Americans still love living on the edge.
Example, Client: "A lot of contrast is alright with me. ..Just do whatever you think..." (Trails off..)
Me: "Are you sure about that? ..Because when I hear 'a lot of contrast,' I think This: " (Showing this photo.)
Client: ".....Yeah, that's fine. ..Just do whatever you think............."
(CAUTION: THIS PHOTO IS AN EXTREME EXAMPLE THAT I WOULD NOT ACTUALLY SHOW TO A CLIENT AND WAS INTENDED ONLY TO GET THE POINT ACROSS. STYLISTS, DO NOT ATTEMPT AT WORK.)
....When people do this, I give them as many chances as possible to take back what they've just said. I use reassuring phrases like, "Are you sure?" and "You can be honest with me.." and "I want to give you the best hairstyle possible.." and I harp on about the client communication thing and Still, many insist that it's okay and and 'let's do it' and 'throw caution to the wind' and all that.. There is only so much that I can say before I have to go ahead and do my job to give my client "What they want."
From what I gather through my years of working at the front line of hairstyling (cutting and coloring hair,) and in the trenches (working as a stylist's assistant), many people are either embarrassed or intimidated about telling their hairstylist what they want. I ...can't wrap my mind around this. I haven't paid for a haircut since I was 13 years old because I have worked in salons that long, but if I had to pay $55.00 to get it done, I would make sure that it was exactly, exactly what I wanted. Times are tough and cash is KING, people!
I am writing this to the world at large because I feel that it's important to say that
Your Hairstylist is There FOR You! You-You-You!!!
*I* am here for *you.*
If I can speak candidly in an after-hours way to clients everywhere... Please don't be afraid to admit it if you don't know what I'm talking about.. If you're not sure if angles and layers are the same thing, or the difference between long layers and short layers, or the difference between losing length and losing weight in a haircut, just read my prior entry "A Little Basic Assistance to Help Clients Speak Their Minds." at
Also, it doesn't make me feel better if you tell me that your results are fantastic and you're perfectly satisfied when you mean otherwise. I am licensed, trained, and fully prepared to make you happy, and you are paying me money for it. Make it worth your while and put yourself first.
...When you sit in my chair and look at me in the reflection of my large and recently polished mirror, please know that the reason that I am standing there is to deliver to you the most perfect and ideal hairstyle according to your preferences and standards. I literally got up and got myself dressed this morning in order to make you feel like a million dollars.
In closing, Imagine how you would feel if you let this happen:
...because you wouldn't speak up.
"Waiting to make you feel wonderful in Westchester,"