Your Ultimate Guide to Leaving the Salon Happy
As a hairstylist I am extremely passionate about what I do, and it is very important to me to make sure my clients are always happy with the results of my work. Of course, when visiting a salon you always want to leave feeling like you got your moneys worth, happy with your hair, and absolutely beautiful. Over the years I have learned that you simply can't please every single person, I think that goes with every industry out there. There are several underlying reasons you may be leaving the salon unhappy with your service that don't involve the technical skills of your stylist. I wanted to share some things clients can do to ensure they have a peaceful, enjoyable salon experience, from a stylists' point of view.
#1 Do your Research
It all starts before you even step foot in the salon. Most of my clients find me on social media, through my Instragram or Facebook. They search hashtags, see my work in the featured pictures, or through pictures liked by their friends. This allows my clients to have a sense of comfort and trust in place before even meeting me. They follow my accounts, gather pictures they like or even pictures they don't like, and then contact me or the salon for an appointment.
When clients contact me, I have them send me a photo of their current hair color, along with their desired hair color. I've even had clients send me detailed paragraphs explaining their hair history, concerns, and what they're hoping to achieve from their appointment with me. I love love LOVE when clients do this. It helps me understand their needs, and gives me time to reflect on what we will be trying to achieve the day of their visit. It also allows me to schedule more time with them if needed. There is nothing worse than seeing a new client, having them scheduled for only a one hour spot for color, and then realizing they need a color correction, or they have way more hair than the average client, etc.
If you consult with your stylist prior to your visit either via email, or go in for a consultation, your stylist can customize the length of your appointment and ensure that you both have enough time to achieve your hair goals.
#2 Communicate Accordingly
After doing your research on your stylist and salon, finding pictures that you like, and booking enough time for your appointment, it's time to meet your stylist! Weather you're just going in for your initial consultation, or if you've already had one via email, it's time for your appointment. I definitely believe that the overall happiness of my clients comes down to the way we communicate before even getting started with the color.
As a client you should consult with your stylist about your hair goals by showing them pictures of your desired result. It helps to have a plan before going in for your consultation or appointment. Although your stylist can help direct you in the right direction for your hair color, you should still have somewhat of an idea of what you're hoping to achieve.
(See my post about your salon consultation here! )
Don't get too bogged down on trying to use your stylists terminology, how the hair color will be applied, or questioning your stylists recommendations. Usually, when a client shows me a picture, I know how to replicate it in my own way as an artist, and will explain to my client what I will be doing to achieve the results.
Try not to confuse your stylist by showing them 10 contradictory pictures and saying, "I want this color, but darker at the top and more golden at the end" or "I want this color, but I want it to look like this other picture." I can usually gather what a client likes and doesn't like by the pictures they have gathered, however it can get a bit confusing when clients are showing several different pictures and trying to put them all into one idea. Instead try to find one or two pictures that you absolutely love and go from there! Before getting started, I repeat exactly what we talked about during our consultation so that we are both on the same page, and then I get started!
#3 Have Realistic Expectations
Having realistic expectations is SUPER important when it comes to hair. I think this could be one of the main reasons clients leave the salon unhappy. Recently, I've had several clients coming in with dark color, wanting to go lighter like the photo shown below. Usually you can't take hair from one extreme to another in one visit, because of the integrity of the hair, and technically sometimes its just not possible! The client shown below came in wanting to be as light as we got her in the 2nd visit, and I explained to her we couldn't get her there in one day. She was patient, understanding, and trusted my professional recommendation. She didn't complain, didn't try to come back and go lighter 24 hours later, didn't get upset because she wasn't as blonde as she wanted to be in one visit. Instead she waited a few weeks, enjoyed her "in-between color" took my advice, and came back for round two, with the expectations of coming back again a few weeks later for more. She left the first visit, with beautiful hair, and knew she would be going even lighter her next visit. I didn't promise her the results of photo #2 because I didn't think it would be possible in one visit. It is extremely important to understand that your stylist simply can not do "magic" on your hair that has years and years of dark box color, or even professional color on it!
This goes for blondes too! I have several clients, like me, who are what we like to call "blondeorexic" meaning they want to be blonder and blonder and blonder...until its just not healthy for their hair. Sometimes it just comes down to personal preference and you simply have to ask yourself, do I want healthy hair, or to be as blonde as possible?
Not only is it important to have realistic expectations about hair color, it's also important to understand that not everyones hair is the same in texture, and the way it looks. I can often "match" the hair color of a picture very well, however, I can't make fine, thin hair look like the Pinterest pictures of someone with long luscious locks. Therefore, no matter how exact I can match your color to the celebrity that you love, if your hair texture isn't similar and you don't style it the way its shown, it most likely won't look how you're expecting. Try to find pictures of colors and cuts that have similar features, skin tone, eye color, hair length, and density as yours. Be realistic about what your stylist can achieve, how you're going to style your hair at home, and listen to your stylists professional recommendation.
#4 Relax and Let your Stylist do their Job
Occasionally, I have clients who come in that have a hard time relaxing, or trusting me to do my job as a stylist. Often, I understand their trust issues, because I have seen, and fixed botched color applications and heard horror stories from clients about circumstances that have happened at other salons. So, when I have a client who is overly cautious, or acting extra nervous, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt by making them feel more comfortable. I do this by showing them pictures of my work, and making sure we are 110% seeing eye to eye about the service.
But, every now and then I have a client who gets too involved and can't put their trust in me to the point that it makes me uncomfortable to do their hair. I am always comfortable explaining my techniques, and being honest with my clients, however, sometimes when a client is overly analytical during their service, it could throw their stylist off, and make them unable to perform their work to the best of their ability. Remember that every stylist has different techniques, you shouldn't believe everything you read on the internet, and no one has the same head of hair. Always trust your stylist and let them do their job. By doing so you will put confidence in your stylist and will allow their creativity to flow! Some of my best results have been with clients who were open, trusting, asked my opinion, and just let me go to work.
#5 Use the Recommended Products
If you're investing time and money in your hair color, you must invest in good quality products to keep it looking as good as it does when you leave the salon! Your stylist recommends products to you to help keep your hair looking fabulous, between appointments, not just the day of your service. Investing in high quality products will help you achieve better color results, and keep it looking healthy, shiny, and beautiful. Clients often tell me about their hair looking dry or damaged, and then don't use any of the products I recommend to fix it. If you want to be 100% happy with your hair, you should be taking care of it at home, I promise you will notice a difference in your hair based on the quality of products that you use! You shouldn't be spending hundreds of dollars on your hair and then use drug store shampoo and conditioner on it, expecting it to look as good as it does in the salon!