The salon world seems very glamorous and exciting to those outside the beauty business. To insiders, sure, there is glamour and excitement, but there is also a lot of hard work, attention to detail, and perfectionism behind the scenes. Creating stylish looks for clients is the result of constant learning, in-depth knowledge, and hours and hours of practice.
Clients expect a very special experience when they visit their favorite hairdresser. In a word, they expect a miracle - someone who will give their appearance, and their confidence, a big boost. It's a lot to ask, and puts stylists under a lot of pressure. Along with the service, customers expect an atmosphere that makes them feel welcome and pampered, and a stylist who's friendly and personable.
How do they keep it all together under the weight of all that expectation? A stylist really has to be the right kind of person - someone who is outgoing, who loves people, works well under pressure, and who has a meticulous sense of detail. That's just the start of it. Along with having the right personality, there are some basic rules that every hairdresser has to follow to be successful. Here's a look at the job from the hairdresser's point of view.
21 Look The Part
No one will want to get their hair done by someone who looks un-styled. The first person a hairdresser should be practicing on is themselves. A hairstylist has to look professional, and if they really want to be taken seriously, that means the whole package. A stylist's hair should sport an up-to-the-minute cut and color, and always look like they just stepped out of a salon chair themselves.
When it comes to wardrobe, what a hairdresser wears should be similar to clothing choices of clients they want to attract - hip, stylish, and/or upscale. People come to a hairdresser for advice, so it's only natural that their own look would be placed under the microscope. Clients may come in wearing sweats, but a hairdresser always has to look the part.
20 Cleanliness Is A Must
It’s not just the law, it’s common sense – a hairdresser needs to keep their work area clean. Thanks to cutting and styling clients' hair all day long, its easy to picture the hair and styling product that can accumulate. One thing that clients often don't notice is just how much time and effort is spent keeping the salon in general, and each work space in particular, clean, hygienic, and inviting.
Salons often spend thousands of dollars on their decor, looking to create a warm and welcoming place for their clients. Just one day's work could turn it all into a shambles. Getting into good habits when it comes to constant clean-up is one of the first things a novice hairdresser learns.
19 Hands Must Be Washed
Personal hygiene is so important when you are touching people’s hair, face, shoulders, and neck on a regular basis. Washing hands is crucial. It protects clients from germs and other icky things that can be transmitted by touch, and also protects hairdressers themselves from contamination.
We surely don't need to explain all the potential for viruses, bacteria, and other unwanted bugs that such close contact between two people can spread. Let's just be thankful that hairdressers care as much for their own hygiene as we do for ours as clients.
18 Stay Focused On The Client
People go to their hairdresser because they want to feel good about the way they look. They want to feel special. There's more than a little fantasy that comes into play when you walk into the hairdresser's for an appointment - it's the anticipation of a new or freshened-up look, and the confidence boost it will bring.
Nothing breaks that spell more than a stylist who’s constantly chatting to everyone else in the salon, and seems distracted by everything else that is going on. Interruptions should be kept to a minimum, with an apology for whatever was so important that it ended up taking away from the client’s time during an appointment.
17 Professional Body Language
Let’s face it, a hairdresser routinely touches not just the client’s hair, but also likely their neck, face, and shoulders. Stylist and client brush up against each other in close quarters just because of the nature of the job. It’s the stylist’s job to keep all that contact very professional, and based solely on getting the job done.
It's a bit of a balancing act. You don't want to make it seem too clinical, or like the stylist finds the whole touching business distasteful. It should feel welcome, while clearly focused on the task at hand. Professional, at least somewhat friendly-ish, but never crossing the line into touching that could be interpreted as questionable. Nowadays, keeping that balance is crucial!
16 Good Conversation Is A Must
When clients come to a salon, they’re looking to relax and be pampered. While some may choose not to talk a lot, most people will expect some kind of friendly conversation while the cutting, coloring, and other fun stuff is going on. The conversations should stay on the light and breezy side – no one wants a dose of divisive politics or sad news headlines while they’re waiting for the color to take.
A hairdresser's favorite client is a regular client, and when they come for their four-week trim, they see it as a social occasion. It's not the time to clam up or get too heavy with taboo conversation topics.
15 Watch Out For Elbows
They may not mean it, but occasionally your clients will jab you with their elbows or make some kind of painful physical contact. It's a fact of working in such close quarters with another human being. Kids, in particular, will kick out, spin the chair, and flail their arms whenever they feel like it.
Out of sheer self-preservation, a hairdresser has to learn to be hyper-aware of their environment, and everything and everyone in it. When it comes to kids, or anyone else, politely reminding them where you are may be necessary. Being quick on your feet is another professional plus.
14 Be Prepared
Every client’s hair is different, and every procedure is customized. A stylist needs to be fully prepared with everything they need for their client before they arrive. That includes having the tools and the right products on hand to satisfy all the usual client demands, and ideally, backups for essential tools like hair dryers in case of random failure.
If a stylist is wandering around the salon looking for things, it's distracting, and breaks the rapport they are building with a client. It also looks unprofessional, both to their client and the other people in the salon. Details are crucial in the beauty biz.
13 Make Recommendations
Recommending procedures and products for clients is an essential part of a hairdresser’s job description. Clients come for expert knowledge as well as services, so it's no time to be shy or cagey, or to feel like you just can't bring yourself to promote the right products.
Part of making recommendations, naturally, means knowing your stuff. It's all part of the kind of personalized service people want when they visit a hairdresser. How can they keep that fresh-from-the-salon look? It's up to the hairdresser to let them know - and hopefully make some sales on products.
12 Keep Learning
The beauty industry changes constantly, so stylists need to take workshops and courses to learn about the new techniques and colors on a regular basis to stay ahead of the curve. Methods of cutting change, and tools and appliances are updated. On top of the technology, trends change constantly, and it's essential to be able to offer clients the very latest styles and colors.
Luckily, the industry is proactive, and there are always seminars and workshops that hairdressers can attend. With the latest technology and updated skills, hairdressers can offer their clients the same cuts their fave celebrities sport with style.
11 Be Prepared To Listen
No, a beautician or hairdresser is not a psychologist, but yes, they will hear all about their clients’ lives, loves, children, jobs – and, in general, probably much more than they want to. It's one thing to offer friendly conversation as wanted, but the flip side of that is hearing a lot of conversation from the other side.
Now, some people will keep it light and friendly, but others will definitely dive into gossip, highly personal issues, and other assorted topics that aren't exactly welcome. Being a good listener isn't necessarily something that comes naturally, but it's a skill any good hairdresser will have to learn.
10 Things That Are Not Allowed
10 Don’t Be Late
Musicians and artists might be able to get away with being chronically late, but styling hair is one field where you really do need to be punctual. The procedures can be complicated and elaborate, and take some time to complete, meaning every minute you're late cuts into the next appointment, and so on, and so on.
Clients spend hard-earned money on a hairdresser's services, and they really want to feel pampered like their time at the salon is a special break from their everyday routine. That whole scenario begins with an appointment that is on time. Of special note - that goes both ways. Clients should always show up on time too.
9 No Phone Calls
Yes, everyone carries their mobile phone everywhere these days, but that stops at the salon chair. Clients really hate it when their hairdresser’s attention seems to be entirely caught up in an exciting telephone conversation they are having with someone else. It’s not just rude, it’s taking away part of the kind of attentive service they expect.
Only a true emergency is an acceptable excuse for taking a phone call during an appointment. The salon needs to be an oasis where clients feel entirely relaxed, and that ubiquitous mobile phone ring just doesn't cut it in that kind of atmosphere.
8 Keep It Clean
Along with the hairdresser’s station, and some attention to personal hygiene, language and topics of conversation should also be kept as clean as possible. Now, clients may indulge in salty language, but as a professional, a hairdresser might chuckle at their jokes but not join in. For a salon, reputation is everything.
No amount of advertising will ever beat good old word of mouth when it comes to getting new clients. Like it or not, everything is judged, including the way the hairdressers talk - even in this day and age. Unsuitable jokes and bad language are best kept out of the salon.
7 Don’t Promise What Can’t Be Delivered
Salons typically have stacks of magazines and picture books to encourage their clients to use an image when they describe what kind of cut or style they want. The flip side to that practice is the unrealistic client who points to a picture of a supermodel's 'do and demands to look the same - completely ignoring the fact that they don't have the same hair, or face, or anything else.
Honesty, as always, is the best policy. It’s better to be straightforward with a client than to promise what a hairdresser just can’t deliver. There's a fine art on how to delicately explain to a client that yes, you could cut their hair just like Kylie Jenner but they won't really end up looking much like her all the same.
6 No Drama, Please
Many clients look on a hair appointment as a kind of social time - social time with a friendly stylist who'll listen to all their problems and gossip. It gives the salon a special kind of atmosphere. It also means that clients bring enough drama to any salon.
Staff members need to keep their cool and leave whatever drama they might be experiencing themselves outside the doors. That's important. No one can focus on such careful and detailed work, and their clients, while living out some kind of personal issue at the same time. What happens at home has to stay at home!
5 Stay Clean, Too
Nowadays, upscale salons may offer a number of services and perks, and in some cases that means a wet bar and beverages. It really goes without saying, but even if the salon is offering clients beverages during the styling session, that doesn’t mean the stylists can participate.
There are many problems that can accumulate from an inebriated stylist, the least of which is a bad cut or style. There are many safety issues in a salon as well, including the flammable and sometimes hazardous chemicals that are used in some procedures. The consequences are best avoided.
4 The Customer Is Always Right
A hairdresser might look after several clients in one day. Naturally, a good stylist cares about their work, and about every client. But, for that client it gets a lot more personal. So, when the look doesn't come up to their expectations, there can be a lot of emotional fireworks involved. Appearance can be a touchy issue.
If there’s a dispute, the hairdresser can’t get defensive and start arguing back. It's a no-win situation, and one that can spread if other customers witness the argument. The better path is to offer solutions instead. What can be done to make it better, and keep the client happy?
3 No Flip-Flops, Please
Hairdressers are on their feet all day, and comfortable footwear is certainly both understandable and a healthy choice. But flip-flops? That's a hard no. Proper footwear is essential, not only for the image, but for reasons of hygiene. Flip-flops are for the beach, and certainly not a place where the floor may be dusted with the hair of any number of people at any given time. They're also a too-casual item that just won't go over in the salon.
Even a budget salon values their reputation and clientele, and expects a more professional look from their stylists.
2 Don’t Come In Sick
Like many other professions, the beauty biz is germ and hygiene conscious. When there is such close contact with clients, hairdressers can’t afford to take the risk and come in to work when they’re sick. Sniffling and sneezing while trying to get a precision cut will turn any client off - and that's the least that can happen.
Many diseases can be transmitted via touch, or by breathing the same air as others in close quarters. Do everyone - including the other staff at the salon, and your clients - a big favor and stay on the couch when the flu takes over.
1 Don’t Cookie-Cutter Clients
It can be easy for hairdressers to get stuck in a rut. Their clientele may not be very fashion-forward, and they may find themselves cutting and coloring the same old way day in and day out. But, hairdresser burnout is a trap, and it's important to stay fresh.
A hairdresser gets noticed because of their originality, and the way they can make any client feel great about the way they look. That means personalizing the approach to each client and their needs. Rather than offering the same cookie-cutter approach, clients will appreciate a look that is uniquely their own, and keep coming back for more.
Sources: Small Business, Salon Today, Modern Salon