How to Choose a New Hair SalonThe Secret to Choosing a Salon or Stylist
I am regularly asked by new clients and readers to explain why stylists behave a certain way or why clients tend to remain with a stylist who does not seem to listen to them. These are never easy questions to answer, as they require one to be able to know the motives behind an individual's actions.
When discussing the client-stylist relationship, one can only speak in generalities and potentials, since the specifics are never easy to pinpoint, except by those involved in the relationship.
After examining the relationship between the client and stylist, we will look at the things a potential client should pay attention to when looking for a new salon or stylist. Now that we know what we are going to discuss, let us get started.
The Client / Hair Stylist Relationship
There are many different service professions that we, as consumers, partake of on a regular basis. However, hairdressing is probably unique among these. If you need a car repaired, you should take it to a mechanic or bodywork specialist, and if the repairs are successful, the car should run or look as it did before it needed repairs. If you become ill, you should see a doctor, and if the doctor's services are effective, you will get better.
Even the closely related spa specialists have a different definition of "success," since their goal is to make the client feel relaxed, refreshed, and pampered. As long as the client feels good when the spa service is finished, it rarely matters what another person's opinion might be.
Yet the hairstylist provides a service whose success is completely subjective, and can only be quantified by whether or not someone likes what was done. Generally, the clients need to be pleased, but if they are unsure of what they want or uncertain of their aesthetic judgment, they may be convinced that something they would otherwise be unhappy with is good for them.
Before we get into the concept of clients being weak-willed and painting stylists as manipulative, we need to note that the client-stylist relationship itself is complex. A woman goes to a hair salon professional because she wants to look her best. She may have chosen a specific stylist for any of a number of reasons: referral by a friend who is a client of the stylist, the stylist's reputation, or because she likes the work the stylist has done in the past. She may even have a relationship with the stylist outside of the salon, such as a friendship with a hairdresser. These situations can lead the client to defer to the stylist in matters of subjective opinion.
There are plenty of clients who are sure of their tastes and know what they want. These clients are determined to get what they are looking for when it comes to their hairdressing service. However, they are usually in the minority.
Then there is the stylist’s side of the matter. Most hairdressers choose their careers because they enjoy working with hair and have a genuine desire to help others look their best. And people want stylists who are sure of themselves and what they can do.
In order to make the client feel comfortable, the stylist must project a sense of competence and confidence; however, in some cases, this can become a false sense of self-importance. The stylist gets accustomed to projecting the image of the "expert" and believes it extends to the aesthetic rather than the techniques. In other words, some stylists come to believe that what they think looks best is the only thing that really matters.
When a client is unsure about a possible look and defers to the stylist, that is fine. However, when the client has definite ideas of what he or she wants, the stylist should accommodate those wants if possible, and explain why it is not possible if that is the case.
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