Nov 22, 2005

The Bottom Line Hair stylists are professionals. It's not as easy as it looks. Treat us as professionals and we will take care of you.

Why is it so hard to get an appointment with your stylist? Too many clients and too few stylists = BURNOUT. This causes me to ponder the reasons why we stylists quit the business at one time or another. Probably 25% of stylists stay in the business for any length of time or even continue to make a long term career out of hair styling. I put together a list of stylist gripes that you can use as tips about clients gathered by the many stylists I've known over the years. These tips are from the stylist's point of view so I invite any client to put together their own list or perhaps I will do that if you want to post comments on your client gripes regarding this list. I'm sure there are many from you all as clients.


#1 Remember first and foremost that we are beauticians, not magicians. It's a comb not a wand.

#2 The beauty industry is a field that is ALWAYS short-handed. Hair Dressers get burned out quickly. The hair business is also a big health risk industry to a stylist.We suffer from physical ailments such as carpel tunnel, feet and leg problems, back problems and development of allergies as well as stress related ailments. This contributes to our stylist shortages however someone has to do this job so we choose to get into the field out of love for the art - not thinking about the baggage that can come with this career field.

#3 If you find a stylist that you like, ALWAYS, ALWAYS be on time for your appointments. Most stylists run late because their clients before you have arrived late. Some stylists will drop you like a hot potato when you are consistently late because there are seven more clients vying for your client slot. I've seen grown men and women cry because THEY were fired by their stylist! Sounds arrogant I know but this is true.

#4 Be patient. We can not do a color, cut and blow dry in under 2 hours and you may need to add more time for highlights. If you have very short hair it's possible. Anything longer then your ears forget about it.Always plan plenty of time for the service you're getting.

#5 O.K., I'll say it at the risk of ticking many of you off! DO NOT BRING YOUR CHILDREN WITH YOU IF YOU ARE GETTING A SERVICE DONE. I know that children need their hair cut as well but if you can not watch them the entire time that they are in the salon which is impossible when you are in the chair yourself, then bring them for their hair cuts separately. Leave them at home if you want a great outcome on your own hair. Kids that are spinning chairs, screaming and running around the salon and moms and dads who keep turning their heads to yell at them will cause your stylist to rush through your service just to get rid of you all. It also makes everyone else in the salon nervous. No one will appreciate your little darlings like you do.

#6 If you have a child like I did before I got my license who screamed bloody murder and ducks their heads while the stylist is trying to cut their hair or has tantrums in the chair then you really should go to Wal-Mart, buy a clipper and snap a #3 blade on it. Have dad restrain the child and cut the entire hair cut with the clipper yourself. I have seen lots of horrible accidents with kids who can not tolerate a hair cut. Cut ears, faces and foreheads to children have occurred more often then I want to think about. Our equipment is professional and razor sharp including shears and clippers. A law suit by parents may very well be lost since their will be more witnesses against your case then for it. For this reason if your child is unreasonable they may leave with half a haircut or none at all and the law is on our side on this one. I saw a stylist slice her knuckle clean off working on an out of control child. It's not worth the risk to your child or the stylist if you have an unruly child and it is within our right, according to our attorneys, to deny that service without risk of a successful discrimination suit.

#7 Since we are on the subject of kids this will may tick you off if you have a few young ones at home. We usually give you a break on the price of a child's hair cut. Some parents feel they deserve it since a child's head is smaller believe it or not. This does not matter. A child's cut takes longer because you are constantly battling the child to keep his head up or put his head down or stopping to wait for them to scratch, pick or whatever. This price break I'm sure is to get the parents into the salon for their own services. For some reason parents feel they do not have to tip for a child's cut or at least they do not need to tip decently. All I can say is that for many reasons you should rethink this process. Tips can be up to half of our annual income. Many stylists cringe when they see a child walk in the door because we actually lose money on that service between the lower hair cut price and the lack of tips.

#8 If you want a really terrible hair-cut, micro-manage your stylist. It's alright to discuss what you want but to continually check everything while the haircut is being performed will make your stylist nervous. Wait until she's finished (unless he/she's really doing something wrong) and then ask him/her to change or fix whatever it is you need him/her to change or clean up.

#9 Always bring a picture of what you want to a new stylist. But remember, your hair texture, head shape and hair factors will not guarantee that you will come out looking like the model in the picture. If you put seven painters in a room and ask them all to paint a picture of flower you show them, every single picture will be somewhat different. Hair is the same to the styling artist. What they see in that picture will vary from your last stylist. It is impossible for two different stylists to recreate the same hair style exactly.

#10 Remember, it's only hair. It will grow back, and it can be re-colored and unless it's completely fried off your head or cut so short that you can't do anything with it (happened to me once) then don't cry over it. Wear it well with attitude that fits the style. Other then buying a wig that's all you can do. You can complain to your stylist but we can't put hair back onto your head once it's cut. Mistakes happen all the time - even with the most frou-frou of stylists and salons usually due to communication problems or an off day for your stylist. We are not robots. We are human beings and we understand that you are too. (I know it doesn't sound like it from the looks of this list!)

So there you have it. Ten things your stylist will never tell you. If you're thinking we should quit if it's that bad, we do and often.

I hope this helps you to understand what we see every day in our salons. By the way, with frivolous lawsuits (by frivolous I mean being sued over something as simple as a bad hair cut) on the rise against hair stylists you can expect prices to rise dramatically over the next ten years or so due to increased insurance costs - just like in the medical profession though not as crazy I hope.

Oh and by the way, we do go out of our way for our favorite clients and great tippers. By this I mean we come in on our off days to keep them and are more apt to make sure we get them in when they want just because they treat us so well. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. We do have our favorites!

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