It isnít uncommon for a professional of any type to see the world around him or her according to his or
her particular perspective. Auto Mechanics see a car and immediately process make, model, year, horsepower, engine size, number of
valves, and countless other bits of information. Contractors look at a building and see a tally of materials (lumber, brick, cement,
nails, sheetrock, etc.) and man-hours. Designers look at a room and see the myriad of possibilities.
Itís the same with hair stylists. Stylists are trained to look at more than just the hair when you come
into the salon for services. This is because creating a flattering look requires more than just an evaluation of the hair. You have to
consider the person as a whole and work from there.
A Client Walks into a Salon ...
A person, new in town, chooses a salon and stops in for an appointment. The stylist, whoís been
practicing for a number of years, sees her enter and immediately begins processing information Ė body build, current hair length,
height, overall style, etc. Every person presents a first impression when they are met. For a stylist, that impression is colored
by the things the stylist is trained to judge.
Knowing what it takes to create a style or look, the stylist can see a new client and get a sense of how
much time and effort he/she puts into his/her grooming each day. Is the style casual, dressy, formal, professional? Does the client
come to the salon often for maintenance services (color retouch, perms, highlights, etc.)? What are the likely products and appliances
the client uses on a daily basis?
When the client comes to the stylistís station and sits in the chair, there is an interview of sorts.
Itís a get-to-know-you session for both parties. The client gets to learn a little about the stylistís personality and may look over a
portfolio of the stylistís work. Meanwhile, the stylist is generally asking the client about their lifestyle and routine and what they
are looking for as it concerns their hair.
But more than just questions and answers, the stylist is looking at things like the face shape, the overall
size and shape of the head, the condition, texture, wave patterns and growth patterns of the hair. He/She is also looking at the
overall health of the scalp and skin surrounding the hairline, since any sign of health conditions can affect what services and
products can and should be used on the clientís scalp. (Stylists are also trained to recognize conditions that need to be referred
to a physician for treatment, and which can NOT be dealt with by the stylist because of the risk of spreading infection.)
Everything Looks Fine ...
The stylistís initial examination shows that everything looks good. There is no sign of damage or injury,
the scalp is clean and healthy, and the hair is in good condition. The client has explained her desires with regard to her hair and she
and the stylist have discussed what is needed to achieve those goals.
Letís say for exemplary purposes that the clientís current look is a just-below-shoulder-length blunt
cut with a very soft natural wave. The desired look is a nest of spiral curls. The clientís head is in proportion to her body, and she
is of average build. When thinking of how to give the client the look she wants, the stylist takes into account the amount of volume
generated by the additional curl in the hair, and notes that the hair will likely need to be thinned to remove bulk and maintain the
balance between the size of the head and body and the size of the hair.