Saturday, August 6, 2011

CLIENTS: Quit Trying to "Fake Out" Your HAIRSTYLIST!

    As I've said in prior entries, and at least a thousand times in my professional life, clear communication between the client and the stylist is essential (and not suggested or optional) in achieving the right haircolor or style. 
   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............."


....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,"
Your Hairoine.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I just couldn't help myself here, everyone.. I found this article in the New York Post today, and I had to cut it out and underline my favorite parts.

Things really can get edgy in the salon!

Never a dull moment in the fun and fantastic world of hair. 
From my point of view, the article says that this incident happened on Tuesday.
That's the first day of our work week!
What's going to happen tomorrow?!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I love coloring my own hair. Maybe that's the subconscious reason that I became a hairstylist. Only recently have I become confident in designing my own color formulas, but it comes out great every time. I think it's a combination of luck and experience. Regardless,

I love coloring my hair.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Little Basic Assistance to Help Clients Speak Their Minds.

As I laid in bed awake at 5:00 this morning listening to my future husband's arrhythmical snore, I thought about what my next blog topic should be. The answer is so often right in front of us.

My supportive fiance has been riding in the sidecar of my career hair journey for almost two years. He has cumulatively listened to hundreds of hours of daily hair gospel from angles and layers to great client consultations and types of styling products. Say hello to everyone, honey.

He has truly heard it all, bless his heart, and he never asks me to stop talking about it. The biggest reward for me is when he repeats it back to me at later times. It's amazing! It happens in simple ways such as this:

Me: "Wow, that haircut needs some help."
Him: "Yeah, she could really use some more volume in the crown."

If this All-American Bologna-Eating Sportsfan can absorb and take interest in the fantastic world of personal image enhancement, it makes every minute of my babble worthwhile.

I'm beginning to hear from some of the most unlikely sources that people are enjoying this blog and getting a lot of great knowledge out of what I've said. That gives me a better understanding of how much people know about hair, and what I should be planning to tell them next... because, let's be honest, I can talk about this for hours. It helps to direct the flow of information.

Sometimes when I'm working with a client for the first time, I often get the sense that they're not sure how to describe what they want in a hairstyle. This is a nerve-wracking moment for many. The person has probably never been to my salon before, and might know nothing of me or my skill level. That's hard enough without the anxiety of not being able to describe how they would like their hair to look.   ....................

("Not Quite What I imagined...")

 I have a consultation with every client before every service, during which I ask different questions about their likes, dislikes, needs, and wants regarding their hair. Sometimes they bring a picture, and sometimes I find one. This essential communication is the path to a great hair experience, thus, the old standby from Hairoine Entry #1:

"The more you know, ---> The more you can tell me, ---> The more I know. " 
...The better to serve you, my dear. 

I've chosen a few common haircuts and aspects of haircuts that clients regularly ask for, and I'd like to help illustrate what they actually mean.

For example, "losing length" is hair being cut off the bottom. "Losing weight" is hair being cut off in the interior or upper area of the hair to create body and volume with layers. Food for thought.

I'll use straight-hair examples for these so that the differences are easier to see. I also used [crude] purple lines to help show the different shapes and directions.

  I hope this has been helpful to someone. It's all in the clarification.

After a few tries, it's easy to ask for a long layered haircut with an angled front and short bangs.
It's easier than ordering at Starbucks!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Benefits of the Lost Art of the Weekly Blowdry.

Today, the prettiest girl in the Class of 2003 came in to see me for a blowdry before she went out to dinner for her birthday, and her face lit up in a way that made me think every woman deserves to feel.

I've been in this industry for over ten years now, roughly five in the recession [feels like a lifetime]. One major trend that stands out to me is the recession entailing women eliminating The Holy Weekly Blowdry from their routine. I have to talk like a teenager for a second. Like what gives with that?

The Weekly Blowdry is the Holy Grail of female happiness. You go tanning. You get your nails done. Maybe you don't, but why are you shorting yourself the ultimate gratification of a professional styling experience in your regular life once a week? About 50% of my clients don't shampoo every day. The style will last half of you almost half your week. That's major. I have never been tanning, by the way. I'm tan in the summer, when it's natural.

Think about it:

You walk into the salon and are [hopefully] greeted by someone like myself, who welcomes you warmly and delivers a mind-bending shampoo, which relaxes all that tension from whatever's eating you on that particular day. 

After that, the warm atmosphere and the lull of the blowdryer relax your mind, and for just a few minutes, you get to be somewhere else, all by yourself.

The satisfaction on my clients' faces says it all. It's always worth it.

I've really enjoyed writing this blog. Mostly because making people happy is an addiction. A healthy addiction, like Hairoine. I just want the best for you.

Let yourself feel like this hard-working gorgeous woman. You deserve it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Stop pouring your products down the drain.

Today, I worked with a fifteen year old client who currently attends the high school that I went to. Among other things, it got me thinking about what I knew about my hair when I was fifteen. Comparatively with The Me of Today, it's embarrassing.

My strongest memory is the morning that I cried before school because my fine, curly hair was frizzy [and hadn't been cut in at *least* six months] and I couldn't get a handle on it. Thankfully my mother, a beautiful woman who takes care of herself and passed her curls down to me, intervened and taught me the careful art of scrunching.

The second thing I remembered about my prior self is that I spent a lot of years pouring obscene amounts of valuable product down the drain by way of the myth that more is more. More is not more, less is more. Always is.

Before I became educated, I thought that using a handful of shampoo would make me cleaner, or smell better. I smelled great by the way, I'm anal-retentive about scents. Bless my first salon boss ever, Lucia, for keeping me on with all the inventory I must have wasted trying to "give the clients a great shampoo." My intentions were good from the very beginning.

That thought caused me to think about money, Everyone's Favorite Thought. I must have cost that incredibly nice woman a TON of money overusing product on clients. Then, I thought about how much salon-quality shampoos cost. I promote their qualities publicly, and I feel that it's my personal and professional responsibility to tell people that may be like me that a dime-sized amount really is a dime sized amount, and a quarter, and so on and so forth.

Salon-quality shampoo is concentrated. Hence, less is more. In the shower, follow the following routine:

1.) Wet your hair and your hands thoroughly.

2.) Dispense A DIME SIZED AMOUNT of shampoo into your hand.

3.) Rub your hands together as if washing with Handsoap after a very difficult cleaning mission.

4.) Rapidly work your fingers through your hair & scalp to create nice frothy suds. (Stimulating your scalp helps to clear hair follicles and encourage healthy hair growth.)

5.) Rinse THOROUGHLY. Rinse until your hair doesn't feel slippery anymore.

6.) Dispense A QUARTER SIZED AMOUNT of conditioner into your hand.

7.) Rub your hands together until the product is evenly distributed in your hands.

8.) Distribute the conditioner starting at the ends and ending about halfway up; higher if you have thick hair. Less conditioner = More Volume.

9.) Rinse THOROUGHLY. Residual conditioner can create false greasiness. Why tempt fate?

10.) Towel- Dry, apply styling products, and create beauty.

Pretend there's a little Hairoine on your shoulder. I care about your hair. I really do. Taking better care of your hair simply involves creating new habits. In my case, it was learning how to scrunch curls at that tender age so many years ago. It was a small thing to change in my routine compared to the daily frustration that I was living with before. I felt silly afterward for having not known better, but then.... I didn't have an informative and entertaining blog to read either.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Where Not To Hair! The Big Reveal About BAD Hair Salons

    I  have worked in six different salons over the past eleven years. I graduated from high school, went to college, and did a couple of other things here and there, but I was basically working in a salon for 90% of that time. Every business that I've worked in has been completely different, and there were things that I loved, loathed, and learned about every one of them. Another one of my secret wishes is to have a perfect hybrid of all of them.. Maybe some more than others. 

        I aspire to be a business owner some day, preferably within the next ten years, but don't think I don't know what I'm up against. It is incredibly difficult to run an efficient hair salon with a great staff who puts out consistently great work and has a great time doing it with no complaints whatsoever. It's nearly impossible. Nearly. I think that I could pull it off with my experience, an ocean of patience, and the right attention to detail.

       I already have a fantastic clientele of terrific people and it would be my pleasure to continue impressing them with my skills and increasing success until I'm old, cranky, and arthritic. Physical debilitation will be the only thing that will stop me from my pursuit of Hair. So that's where I stand, because I would die of mortification if one of my employees ever felt the magnitude of the embarrassment and frustration that I've felt over this seemingly endless decade of climbing the Beauty Totem Pole one painful knotch at a time.  

      I felt embarrassment for a number of different reasons at different times, but the one that stands out to me most, cumulatively, is embarrassment that the clients that I'd gotten to know and respect had to see various episodes of obvious misconduct right there in front of them on the salon floor... from dirty surfaces and tools to outbursts from employees and owners alike. 

      I've seen, for example,
  • A salon assistant with a hangover fast asleep in one of two chairs in the waiting area.
  • An owner be an average of thirty (30) minutes late every day, except for the day after repeated claims of turning over a new leaf. That was about four (4) times. I eventually became unofficially responsible for starting that client's services unless he or she specifically requested otherwise. Then she would have to stew in her own juices.
  • Verbal fights erupt between two employees on the salon floor. I am not citing a single instance because it happened more than a couple of times in different arenas.
  • A well-established salon owner scoffed at me when I told him about some of the health and cleanliness regulations that I learned in early cosmetology school. I brought him the photocopy and everything. I guess money was more important. He did this in front of clients.
  • Shampoo Technicians who allow clients to recline on shampoo sinks coated with hair and residual color from past clients. The reason? "We were really busy." ..I wipe down my shampoo bowl AND the chair before every client. It only takes about seven seconds if you know what you're doing. 
  • An owner who has a hoarding issue fill her salon with excess inventory and clutter that can only be described as an interpretation of what Santa's workshop might look like.
  • BAD Receptionists! My largest and most overwhelming pet peeve! She's the first person you meet when you walk in the door, and sometimes she's not even paying attention. She's on Facebook between smart phone texts. She might even be rude to you. She might make you second-guess your salon choice. THAT MAKE HAIR HEROINE ANGRY!
  • Employees gossiping about clients to other clients. They might as well just shoot themselves in the hands, because they won't need them anymore. 
  • I have seen...deep breath... "Surprise" Price Tabs on services. Highway Robbery in the most literal sense. Look, I want to make money as much as the next person, but if I were given services without agreeing to their prices first, I would feel angry and violated and...un-trusting of that shifty salesperson in future business. I guess stylists such as myself want you to have beautiful hair with enough pocket money left over to go out and show it off. If you like to go out like I do, that's a good chunk. And we deserve it, don't we?
  • ((((#1))))   I have seen stylists make an error with a haircut or color service and spend long as it takes.. to convince the client that it looks good. Bad move. they never believe you, Silly...!
  • I, myself, have made errors in my beloved salon habitat, because you might say that I literally grew up in salons. So many errors.... I didn't know that they were errors at the time, but a good salon professional observes her mistakes as learning experiences. I don't ever forget about them though. 

       The above experiences didn't occur in different places all over the United States, they all happened in Westchester County, NY; And I was absolutely there. 
The reason that I've told you all of this is simple. I want you to have a great experience in your hair salon, and these are some of the obvious symptoms of a disease that no one needs to contract during their prized relaxation time.

Love Always,
Your Hair Heroine