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    Hair Talk How-To

    A hairdresser having a conversation with client on a couch in hair styling salon

    Hair-Speak Tutorial

    Client and hair stylist must speak the same language. I don’t mean Korean, Italian, English, Russian, Punjabi, Pashto, Awadhi, Gan, Dutch, or anyone of the world’s many other languages. What I’m talking about here, are the terms we all use daily when we are engaging in hair talk.

    When the client says “a little bit darker/lighter”, how many shades are we talking. Understanding this one is really important. I have one meaning of lighter/darker, and the client has another. This difference of what the hair stylist and the client mean and understand, will cause someone to be very unhappy with the results.  That someone is usually the client.

    Another term is “Cut just a little”, are we talking split ends, or inches?  Cut more than the client wants or expects, and it’s “forever” for the hair to grow back. Your client will not be happy with you for the many months it takes for the hair to grow-out again.

    The extra time spent talking to the client for a complete and clear understanding of what the client really wants and expects, will create a hair style (the look) the client was hoping for. The result of a happy client is a lasting relationship between hair stylist and client (spell that regular returning client).

    When the client is happy, referrals will be coming my way. The person that is happy with their hair style wants their friend or family member to be happy, so they refer them to the same salon/hair stylist to have the same rewarding experience.

    When you look good, you feel good. When a hair stylist provides the exact hair style the client was hoping for, then the client will be happy and very confident with others. Making my clients feel happy and proud of how they look, is a great reward to being a hair stylist.

    I really appreciate it when a client brings me pictures from a magazine to show exactly what hair style they’re hoping to achieve. Sometimes these pictures come from magazines, but more often they come from the Internet. On-line is a great source for hair styles. Pictures are a great help to close the hair talk gap between client and hair stylist.  Pictures surpass words for being very clear about a hair style. Before seeing your hair stylist, get pictures so that you can be very very clear about what you want.

    Over the years, I’ve learned that I need to listen very carefully and ask my client questions. There are some things that cannot be corrected, like cutting hair too short. In my early years as a hair stylist, I learned that making my clients happy was up to me. If a client wasn’t happy, it was my fault for not taking the time to understand what my client wanted. Today for my clients, I’m a very very good listener.

    Guest contributor Lorie Gutierrez Ford is an experienced hair stylist with Chino One Stop Hair Salon in Chino, California. You can follow Lorie on Twitter at: StylistLorie4U


    1 Comment »

    1. I agree with Lorie when she says communication is key! I also love it when a client brings in a picture. I’ve found that what my client sees in the picture and what I see can even be a little different. Pointing out details about the picture has been helpful. I was talking to my client about a picture she brought in and pointed out that the layers were falling a little below the eyes. She then responded that those layers were too short for her and would rather have them fall below her cheekbone. Pointing out details from the picture that may seen obvious to us may not be to our clients. It’s also good to have the courage to let them know that what looks good on the girl in the picture may not look as good on their face shape and with their hair’s texture. Great article. I think you’re right on. Thanks.

      Comment by Allie — January 3, 2012 @ 10:31 pm

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