The Bride

It’s a Saturday morning, late April, we are in Michigan.  My 9am client is a bride.  When I stepped outside to leave for work, I was shocked!!  It had snowed about 8 inches during the night.  My first thought was my client.  This is not the weather for a wedding day!  How will she react?  

She walked in the salon, I met her at the door.  She said, “It’s a beautiful morning!  Can you believe it snowed?  My photographer called and said he had some great ideas for pictures!  I’m so excited! 

Best bride ever!!  We had so much fun that morning.  The pictures she sent me later were beautiful.  And of course, her hair looked amazing!

How do you get a bride like that?  Granted, she was unique.   I believe the short time we had together, before that day, played a role in how the appointment turned out.  As the stylist, if you do everything in your power to break the communication barriers and get your bride in a safe place, by that I mean relaxed and secure, the two of you can take on anything the day of the wedding.  Here are some ideas that might help.

  • Phone consultation before any appointments.  This conversation helped me to know what kind of bride she was going to be.  Is she excited? Nervous? A perfectionist?  It also gave her time to get to know me.
  • Pictures.  I always encouraged her to send pictures. This quickly told me what she wanted on her special day.  I could also work out any potential problems with her choices. The biggest challenge is getting their look out of their head and onto their head.  If you have this approach, you will work hard to bridge that gap. It’s not about what you think will look good, she already knows, you just need to get on board. 
  • Practice.  This was non-negotiable.  I personally booked this appointment.  It needed to be scheduled when I would not be exhausted or stressed from a full day of work.  The bride needs to feel she has all of your attention and you should never feel rushed.
  • Follow-up conversations.  I always made a point to call the bride a couple of times before the wedding day.  How was she feeling about the style she picked.  Does she have any questions or concerns?  Let her talk out any issues before she sits in your chair on her special day.
  • Wedding day attitude.   I sincerely believed my attitude had a direct bearing on how the appointment would go that day.  I made sure to meet her at the door with a big smile.  If she’s coming with a gaggle of people, make them all feel welcome.  It was my responsibility to keep her calm and happy while she was with me.  Again, this is her day, not yours!
  • Care package.   A bride loves this!  A small bag with a travel size hairspray and hairpins or bobby pins.  I gave it to the bride but had a short training session with one of the girls in the wedding party.  I showed her how to use the pins.  Any potential problem areas.  I also included my cell phone number in case they needed to call. (I never got a call!)  This tells the bride she doesn’t have to worry.

I never had a bridezilla! I had some unique situations; the bride who canceled the wedding the morning of, the bride who had zero opinion about what she wanted; the bride who was so stressed she could not make any decisions.  There was just a handful of negative situations.  In fact, many brides became clients.  One in particular later moved out of state but would come back twice a year to have me cut her hair! 

adult bridal bride brunetteA bride needs you! Be confident. Be relaxed. You’ve got this!!  If you need more pointers, I’m here to help.  

Have fun, my friends! Enjoy making people feel good about themselves and look amazing on their special day!!

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Dos & Don’ts of Hair Products

Do you feel pressured to buy hair products?? I do. We may feel it from our stylist, commercials on TV, or just from the voice in our head that is saying, “I have to buy this product or I will never be able to duplicate what the stylist just did” or “I have to buy everything or I won’t look like the person in the picture”. Well, I’m here to burst your little bubble world bubble. You will be able to duplicate what the stylist does; if you have a good haircut, the right product and properly trained on how to style it. On the other hand, you will never look like the person in the picture! Take a moment, wrap your head around these two concepts. Your life will be easier! 

I have curly, frizzy, big, out of control hair. BUT, I want straight, smooth, shiny hair. Can I have it? NO!  This head of hair has a mind of its own. I live in a state that has humidity. I’m busy. I’m tired. I don’t want to invest any more time in this part of my life. But I cannot go out of the house looking like I stepped out of a washing machine that has just gone through an extra spin cycle! I need styling products!

So, here are a few tips that hopefully will take some stress out of this process.

Your stylist should educate you before you purchase.  If your stylist introduces a new product, you should be told why it’s being used, how much is being used, how often you should use it. All the details should be put on the table and clearly explained to you.

Only purchase what you know will work. Try to get a sample before buying the full bottle. A stylist can make working with a product look easy. You may get it home and struggle with it. There will always be another sale. The product will be there another day. If you decide to purchase, make sure there is a return policy in case you discover after a few days you cannot work with it.

Make sure you like how it feels and smells. I had a client who always liked the product in the salon but would 100% of the time return it. Come to find out, she had a sensitivity to some smells. At the salon, in a huge room, she never felt the sensitivity. Only at home in her small bathroom. My fault, I should have asked more questions! Your stylist should be putting the product in your hand, making sure you can work with it at home.

Read the label.  One day I noticed a woman looking at the styling products. I approached to see if I could help. She was holding a product for curly hair but she had straight fine hair. I asked if the product she was holding was for someone else. She said, “No, I’m hoping it will give me some waves.” That actually makes my head hurt. Even years later. This seems like a simple point but the label pretty much tells you if you should be putting it on your hair. Please read the label.  If you are unsure, ask a stylist.

Don’t buy just to buy.  If you’re not going to use it, don’t buy it. Do you have a problem in this area? Probably. This is a fault of most women and some men too. We have good intentions in the beginning but fall off the wagon somewhere between the salon and home. Try using up all the products on your shelf first, then invest in more, but only if they are appropriate for your hair type. Perfect using one or two, changing it up occasionally. Be a smart shopper, save some money!

Don’t waste the product. In most cases, less is really more effective. Read and follow the directions. Adjust if you have more hair than the average head, which is 100,000 strands. (If anyone has the time to count the hairs on their head, I would be happy to hear about that experiment!) Most products are water soluble. Don’t apply the product to hair dripping with water, this will only dilute it. Let the hair air dry, or leave it wrapped for a few minutes to get excess water out. In the end, your product will last longer.

Most importantly, don’t try to make your hair do something it cannot do. Work with what you have, embrace it! Use products that will help you bring out the best in your style but not require you to get up at 4AM to achieve it. The time and money you save will allow you more time and money for the important things in life. The bonus is you will look and feel amazing!

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Stylist Red Flags

You’re in the chair.  You have everything you need.  520 Pinterest pictures; the result of 20 hours of scouring an ungodly amount of color and haircut choices.  Consultation is done.  Beverage in hand.  Magazine to read.  Ok! Time to relax.  Your stylist works away; color, foil, hair all flying around you.  This is what you’ve waited for all week.  Getting a new look!  So excited!

But then…the stylist spins you around and you are now looking at your face but with hair that you did not know could exist on your head.  What happened? You look at the stylist in disbelief; maybe mumbling under your breath…I was there, the stylist was there, words were spoken.  You’re confused, upset, and now you’re being ushered to the front desk to pay for something you don’t like and didn’t ask for in the first place!  Yeah…yeah, that happens.  Ok, so maybe a little exaggerated, but to some extent, we have all had this experience.

Over the years, I’ve noticed this is a problem from both sides.  So today, we are going to address three areas from the client’s point of view.  These are, in my opinion, red flags that should make you stop and think.

YOUR STYLIST SHOULD HAVE YOUR HAIR TYPE

Is this really true?  In some cases, yes.  I have thick, curly, frizzy hair.  It was a challenge to work on individuals who did not have my hair type.  However, I had the best clientele and those who did not have my hair type, well, they taught me how to work with their hair type.  So, over the years, I developed a skill with “the other side”.  Find a stylist who has your hair type, especially if it’s challenging.  If that is not possible, find one who has a lot of experience.  Ask around, take a walk through the salon, do your homework.  This process will help you feel more comfortable on your first visit, communication will flow and you will (hopefully) leave with what you want.  (FYI – I just burned my popcorn! Ugh!  Worst smell!)

YOUR STYLIST SHOULD LISTEN 

This is very important!  A good stylist can look at you and know within a few minutes what you should have but not necessarily what you want.  Please be careful in this area.  Sometimes, you guys ask for some crazy stuff! 

“So, like, last week I had this “crazy girl” over at the gas station cut 8 inches off.  I hate it!  Can you make my hair longer?” (No!! We cannot make hair grow! Don’t ask things like that!  It’s on the same level as me just telling you I burned my popcorn.  It’s crazy!  Be a responsible adult!)

At any rate, you want a stylist that LISTENS and ASKS QUESTIONS! In that order.  If they are rambling on and on and on, you have permission to get up and walk out!  You want someone who can take the information you are handing out, process it, then ask questions to get all the information they need to help you get what you want.  That’s it.  Simple.  A stylists ability to listen is key to getting what you want.  

ENCOURAGES COMMUNICATION 

Ok, this is a little harder.  Some of us are great communicators and some of us are not.  I am a terrible communicator.  When I had a client who also did not communicate well, I’m afraid to say, some people left with what they didn’t want.  Over time, that improved as I learned to ask more QUESTIONS!  In time, that made my clients begin to feel more comfortable about expressing their feelings about what they liked and disliked about their hair but also about my work.  Your stylist should encourage you to express all the good and the bad.  Don’t be afraid,  if they are asking, you should be telling.  And they should be asking!!!  There is no such thing as hair police that will come arrest you for expressing what you need and want from your stylist.  Find the stylist who is patient and helps you communicate.

This is not an exact science.  Life sometimes dictates what we do and how we act.  We’re busy, tired, overwhelmed.  These things shape us on a daily basis.  A good stylist will see through all of that, help you feel comfortable, listen and ask questions, encourage you to communicate.  In the end, you will feel your money was well spent and you will look and feel amazing! 

 

           

YOU vs. STYLIST

A stylist has a huge advantage over a client.  A stylist, at some point, will become a client to another stylist.  A client (unless you go to school) will not become a stylist.  However, a good stylist will try to educate and train their client so they can work to their fullest (hair) potential.  (Excluding my sister and her hair….well, let’s not get into that today!)  

However, there is always the one stylist that ruins it for the rest of us.  We know you exist because we deal with the aftermath of your bad haircut, bad color, or bad experience.  This is frustrating for the good stylist because they have it together; serious about their craft.  Sadly, the client bears the brunt, leaving the salon unhappy because of a bad haircut, bad color, or bad experience!   

One day I had a new client in the schedule. Love the new client!  It’s a clean slate.  Fresh, challenging and the reason I do what I do.  So, here she comes, carrying a box!  Why is she carrying a box?  Is she bringing me a puppy?  Maybe a cake or better yet, pie? (Yum, that would make her the best client EVER!)  Does she think this is an appropriate way to transport a baby?  After the initial introductions, I decided to jump right in and ask about the box.  She had been going to a stylist for about 8 months and this was all the product sold to her.  She had limp, very fine hair.  The product was for curly, frizzy, dry hair.  Everything you would never put on her head and everything you should always put on mine.  (I have curly, frizzy, dry hair.)  I was impressed she lasted 8 months.   She told me:

“You have 15 minutes to convince me why I should come to you as my stylist.”

Wow! Challenge accepted!  She got a free haircut and I got a box of product!  She was a loyal client for the next 17 years.  Winner winner chicken dinner!

The point?  The dynamics from both sides is unique.  It can lead us down a path (sometimes decades long) of very bad hair OR very good hair;  bad experiences OR good experiences.  This applies to the client as well as the stylist.  We need to respect the other person for what they bring to the table. 

STYLIST

What impression do you want to leave for your client?  Do you want to appear professional?  Put together?  Smart?  Talented?  Then do that!!  You’re the one who passed the State Boards!  Act like it!  Show up on time.  Dress appropriately.  Speak the language your client speaks.  (We’ll talk more about that later.)  Be observant.  Stop talking and listen!!!  You may have the talent and the license but the client lives with their hair every day.  Blah, blah blah is not what is coming out of their mouth as they tell you about every bad experience; they are telling you exactly what to do!  If you miss it, they will leave and go find a stylist who is willing to listen and fix the problems they face.  Don’t be the reason they sit at a dinner table and slowly destroy your work, giving their husband indigestion!

Back to the client mentioned earlier.  She was frustrated.  Spending a lot of money and only getting a box of product she couldn’t use.  Actually, she was trying to use the product (ugh!) but it was only making the problems worse.  I listened.  Really listened.  When she was done talking, I asked questions.  Then patiently listened again.  This validates their worth.  They feel like a person and not just part of a paycheck that will allow you to go on vacation, buy a house or car, you get the point.  Do your best to solve the problems they bring to you.  Treat people with respect and use your talent correctly.  Educate, educate, educate your client about their hair (and its memory) and the products you sell.  They are not the enemy.  They are our client, our guest and hopefully our friend.  If you can’t do that….get out of the business!  Don’t ruin it for those of us who love what we do and really want to help people!  

CLIENT

You guys are very funny to me!!  You trust us BECAUSE we have a license.  Awww, you’re so cute!!  DON’T DO THAT!!!!  This mentality is why you bring us 520 pictures, ask crazy questions and make comments that leave us talking about you in our break rooms……

“If I cut my hair in a pixie can I still have an updo for my wedding next month?” 

“If I have you cut bangs today, will I be able to put them in a ponytail?” 

“You sold me this product last time and it isn’t working.  I used half the bottle the first time and just gave up after that.” 

“I know it’s been 10 years since my last cut but I only want a trim.  Will that take off all the dead ends?” 

“Last month when I was here the color didn’t take.  I have this white line on top of my head.” 

“I don’t want to pay for you to blow dry my hair.  Can I use your dryer and dry it myself?”  

One time a client came in and I noticed her bangs looked funny.  Instead of a clean cut on the edge, they had a scalloped look.  Like the edge of a sea shell.  Clearly not my work!!  But I had to make sure, so I asked.  She said very casually, “Oh no, my bangs were too long and the only thing I had to trim them were my large toe nails clippers.”  After I returned from vomiting I asked her never to defame my work again!! 

Please be a responsible client.  Listen to good direction and work with us not against us.  Be reasonable about your requests and please don’t expect something out of your hair that it is not able to produce.  

I think we should change the title.  It’s not You vs. Stylist.  It should be:

You and Your Stylist

We should be a team.  We all want the same thing!  For you to have happy hair, save time, look amazing!! 

 

Does hair have a memory?

Yes!!

The proof is on top of your head.  Do you have straight or curly hair?  Frizzy hair?  Hair with no body?  Too much body? Get up right now and look in the mirror.  In the morning, take another look.  Does it look the same?  Of course it does!  What you have today is exactly what you will have tomorrow.  “But I have a perm!”  Well, in 2-6 weeks, look at the hair growing out.  Does it look like the same hair before the perm?  Of course it does!  Hair has a memory.  It will default back to its own little box and be happy to be home.  It leaves us frustrated and annoyed because we expect it to be something different after we spend hours analyzing 500 haircuts, colors and styles on Pinterest.  After we google every celebrity in the world and pick out 20 we feel fits perfectly in our bubble world.  We create what we feel is the perfect image that will make us feel….. Better?  Appear different?  Get a sense of humor?  Who knows why.  We take our 520 ideas (unless we are able to cut that number down) and plop them in front of our stylist (with pictures) and say:

“Which one should I do?”

“Which one would look the best on me?”

“I really like this one.  I did this a few years ago and HATED IT!  But my husband LOVED IT!”

“Is this a wash and go cut?”

“Can I get out of a pool and have this look?”

“If I do this cut, will it make me feel younger?”

“I need a change, what about this one?  I’ve never done anything like this before.  Maybe that’s what I need.  Something COMPLETELY different.  Do I have to comb my hair with this style?”

“I have less than 2 seconds to do my hair in the mornings, would this one work?”

“It looks like this girl has a lot of hair, but I have fine hair.  Would this work on me?”

I’m going to be completely honest with you.  The only thing going through your stylist mind right now is……”I should have called in sick today!” or “I should have listened to my mother and learned how to herd sheep, they have nothing to say when they get their hair cut!”

Your hair has a memory!  My sister, who in my bubble world is my biggest fan, cannot do hair to save her life.  She will bring in a picture, cute cut, maybe color, always completely different from what she currently has going on.  I’ll provide what she wants, even train her on how to style.  The next time I see her it looks exactly like the previous look.  How does she do that??  After 20 years, I still cannot answer that question.  However, I’m convinced she is not to blame.  I can only conclude her hair memory is begging to go back to its safe place and live out (in peace) the days, weeks, months and years remaining.

So, what is the answer?  How do we let our hair memory live a peaceful life while satisfying our desire to look our best and feel good about ourselves; creating good hair memories to share with those around us? (Have you ever been at dinner and the one woman starts going off about her stylist?  Here comes indigestion for every man at the table!)  For some of us, hair is who we are.  The one thing in life we think we have to control.  Then it rains.  It’s humid.  The kids are sick.  The alarm doesn’t wake us up on time.  We’re tired.  We’re burned out.  I have the worst stylist!! Then….

Get a good stylist.  One who listens and knows all hair types.  One who is in it for more than a job.  This person really wants every experience with you to be worth another experience.  If you find this person, be loyal.  Be patient.  It takes time to get to know you, your lifestyle and your hair.  Communicate clearly and listen to instruction.  Do not buy all the hair products you touch with your hand.  Pick one or two and perfect using them.  A good stylist will work to educate you until you’re comfortable on your own.  At some point, you should be able to diagnose any problem before getting to the salon.  Shy of cutting and coloring your own hair, you should know exactly what your hair is doing and what it needs to be comfortable in its box.  I can hear a few of you right now, “But I’m so busy.  My plate is full.  Now I have to learn how to juggle this unruly, flat, frizzy, crazy hair?”  “I’m out, shave the head, it’s over!”  No, it’s not over!  The right stylist will take all of that away.  With the right cut, color, styling techniques in your hair bag of goodies, you will be able to keep your hair happy, save time, and look amazing!  Who doesn’t want that???