I wouldn’t know where I would be without my hairdressers, probably hiding under a garbage bag with atrocious hair. I have been through many hairdressers and now have two who I absolutely love and trust, switching between the two if one is not available. They have fixed up bodgie haircuts by other hairdressers, given me brilliant fashion colours, corrected my colour, given me expert advice on how to maintain and care for my hair, and made me look and feel fantastic. There is no feeling better than walking out of a salon with fresh hair and people praising me for my amazing locks. On top of this, they are like my second therapists who know how to listen while I confide in them.
Hairdressers are not praised enough for the work they do; they are not just hairdressers but stylists, artists, technicians, confidence boosters and confidants. They are trained and qualified professionals who have developed their knowledge and cultivated their skills and artistry for years to become the technician they are. Credit and respect must be given when it is due; they are the masters of their craft and not revered enough for the work they do. We choose our hairdressers because they are amazing at what they do, and they are grateful that you have chosen them to be your hairdresser.
Hairdressers have it tough enough as it is without clients making life harder for them. They work arduous hours on their feet all day and even forget to eat their lunch because it can get that busy in the salon. As clients, we can help make their jobs easier by coming prepared and giving them the courtesy and respect that they deserve. They are, after all, doing their best to make us happy and look our best. There are some ways you can help your stylist out and I took the liberty of asking some of our in-house hairdressers what their thoughts and opinions are on the matter. Here are some things your hairdresser wishes you knew.
1. Be Clear About What You Want
At least, for starters, know what you want before your appointment. Do your research and find images of the haircut or hair colour you would like. Hairdressers aren’t mind readers. They can’t always know exactly what you are talking about, so show them examples. Bring along your inspiration.
Hairdresser Samantha says, “If you have a vision, please bring photos.” Pictures will help the stylist have a clearer image of what you want and how they can help you achieve your desired look.
Make sure you research the correct terminology for hairstyles and specific with what you want. Don’t always trust what you see online if it has been reshared or pinned by people who aren’t professional hairdressers. For instance, hairdresser Alyce says, “I’ve had clients come in and ask for a concave cut with body, but no layers. If you want body, then you need layers, otherwise it will be a solid concave cut.”
If you know what you want in advance, you can even save time by sending a photo to your hairdresser, so they can prepare and let you know how long the service will take. Knowing what you want and being clear about what you want allows the stylist to do what they do best; create.
2. Have Realistic Expectations
As amazing as hairdressers are, they aren’t magicians. There are so many factors which affect your cut and colour results. When choosing a style, it is important to not have unrealistic expectations. Make sure the look is achievable and attainable.
Hairdresser Dale says that people sometimes bring an image of a hairstyle on someone with thick hair, but the client has fine hair, so the look will be different. She also says that sometimes, “It’s actually the face of the model they like, not the hairstyle”. Bear in mind that the way hair will sit depends on your hair type, density and the shape of your face may not necessarily suit that particular style.
Going blonde can be a challenge if you have dark hair. When people with dark hair want to go lighter, they expect results to be instantaneous when it is a gradual process to go lighter. Don’t expect to see your final result in one sitting. Alyce says, “Be patient. You will get lighter with each sitting, so just enjoy each shade of your blonde journey as you go.”
If you are wanting a drastic change, Samantha warns to be prepared. “If you are wanting a change be sure you are ready for it, we can cut it off, but we can’t stick it back on”. Gorgeous hair only starts at the salon but requires regular upkeep. She also pre-empts, “Be ready for maintenance.”
3. Don’t Come With Dirty Hair
If you haven’t washed your hair in weeks or just got back sweaty from the gym, then your hair is likely to be smelly and dirty. I think this comes down to general etiquette and politeness. As Dale sarcastically puts, “I love touching your hair after not washing it for two weeks”. If wouldn’t want to touch someone else’s dirty hair, then your hairdresser won’t want to touch your dirty hair. Simple.
Another factor to consider, according to Alyce, is if you constantly use hairspray that gets built up over time. Hairspray sometimes doesn’t wash off properly with regular shampoo, so you need to wash your hair with clarifying shampoo. This can be very difficult to remove in the basin if unresolved prior to your appointment.
4. Do Your Best to Stay Still
It can be very difficult to stay still for some, especially if you’re one of those people who can’t sit still at all. In the instance where you’re getting your hair cut, it is important for you to stay still so that the stylist can cut your hair accurately. This ultimately affects you, because you could end up with a horrible haircut.
Not only will this ruin your cut, it can also be dangerous to you and the hairdresser. You can get poked or cut by the scissors and put your stylist at risk, too. Dale says, “It’s okay, I’ll cut myself. What’s another injury? I’m keeping the band-aid companies in business when you can’t keep still and make drastic moves.” Be mindful to your hairdresser and resist the urge to make abrupt movements or tilt your head to check your phone. Save it for later.
5. Trust Your Stylist
Although going in for a big change can be scary and you feel the need to show your stylist videos of Guy Tang doing someone’s hair, it can be insulting to the skill and artistry of your hairdresser. Leave it to them; they are the experts. If you can’t trust your stylist to do the job right, then perhaps don’t book in with them.
Also, take their advice. Your hairdresser will give you all the advice you need to know about the care and maintenance of your hair. It is probably best you follow their guide, or don’t complain when your hair doesn’t look great just a few weeks after getting it done.
6. Don’t Rush Your Hairdresser
Miracles don’t happen in minutes. Sometimes slow and steady is a good indicator of your hairstylist being very particular and careful in their work. If a hairstylist rushes their work, then you should be worried – they are just trying to move bums from seats and doing a mediocre job.
Quality results take time. Make sure that you speak to your hairdresser in advance and see how much time is required for your desired look, so you can clear your schedule and not have appointments to rush to after. Samantha says, “If you are wanting a change in your hair, please make sure you have plenty of time as art takes time.”
7. Your Hairdresser Isn’t Trying to Rip You Off
Sometimes prices look astronomical and it can be off-putting to some clientele, but we assure you that your hairdresser isn’t trying to rip you off. Their skills have taken years to acquire and that’s why you’re paying them for their time. They do say time is money. The more popular the hairdresser is, which you can usually tell by their Instagram, the more they are likely to charge you because of how in demand they are.
Another thing we often don’t see as a client is a hairdresser’s expenses and overhead costs. Like any business, hairdressers must take this all into account when setting their prices. This depends on location; rent prices, the quality of their products and the socio-economic backgrounds of the demographic. If the service itself takes longer to process or to achieve, then of course the price is going to be higher.
8. Be Kind to Your Hairdresser
Your hairdresser is human, too. Be kind. Like I mentioned before, hairdressers have it hard enough having to work long hours to get the job done. A bit of kindness will help make their effort and hard work all the more worth it. Communicate with them, keep them entertained, ask them how they are, give them the latest news, share a funny story or joke… they will appreciate it. If your hairdresser loves you as a client, they will put in the extra effort to make sure you are 100% happy. When you look and feel good, that’s a reflection of the stylist’s artistry and level of attention to detail.
If you are unhappy with your service, then do let them know, too. As said before, hairdressers are not mind readers. You might feel bad speaking out or not want to upset the hairdresser, but sometimes honesty is the best policy. Especially because it is your hair and you have to feel good about it. It is best you let them know on the spot instead of letting them know a day after the service or putting in a complaint. At least if you are honest, they can correct it on the spot. And if you do tell them you are unhappy, don’t cause a scene. Just let them know in the politest way what is troubling you. They are more likely to respond with kindness if you approach it with kindness. Rudeness and aggression will be met with rudeness and aggression. Kill ‘em with kindness instead.
This blog is a tribute to all the hairdressers out there who work those gruelling hours and make us look and feel fantabulous. Remember to take these points into consideration on your next visit to your hairdresser.