Some clients, especially those that are still at that early stage of bonding with their stylist, feel like the consultation time is a gauntlet. A window of awkwardness when your stylist asks you a thousand questions and tries to sell you everything from shampoo to finishing serum and everything in between.
For us consultation time is when we find out how your hair feels, what you love, what you hate. If there are any scalp irritations or allergies and to generally assess the condition of your hair.
So how do we find the happy medium where you, the client doesn’t feel harassed and we, the stylist get all the information we need to make an informed decision?
One thing I do is to keep it to 3 questions. I pick what’s a priority. When we stand behind you running our hands through your hair we are feeling it and carefully looking at it for damage, dryness, product build up and anything that is a contraindication.
What do you use at home?
I still chuckle when a client sheepishly says “cheap shampoo” like it’s a crime. We are not here to judge, simply to prescribe what we, as the hair experts believe your hair needs. This question also turns up on it’s own the question of how many times a week you wash your hair.
These questions are very often linked together, especially if you are using a shampoo specific to a scalp condition or an irritation. The sad truth is that some supermarket shampoos leave a nasty silicone build up in the hair. This can leave your feeling clogged, lank, greasy, dull and generally hard to style. An example of this being, a client may sit down and say they want to do something new with their hair because it’s flat, greasy all the time and has no volume. Just by asking you what you use at home we can establish if this frustration is being caused something as simple as your shampoo and conditioner or if you really do need a change of style. This isn’t always the case, but before we cut off all of your hair we may consider simply prescribing you a new shampoo and conditioner to try instead.
What do you love about your hair?
This question usually throws clients. Why? Well you have armed yourselves with all of the reasons you don’t like your hair. By asking you what you do like, we get to find out both.
The most important thing is that we send you home absolutely in love with your hair. One of our biggest challenges as hairdressers is managing the expectations of our clients. You may be utterly in love with Julianne Hough’s new beach waved bob, but if this style isn’t going to suit your face shape, hair type or lifestyle then you are not going to love it when you get home. Our job is to guide you into something more suitable for you that you will love. We need to avoid all of the things that you have told us you hate and ensure that what you leave with is going to be manageable at home.
What is your routine when doing your hair?
I have lost count of the amount of times I have been asked to cut something fairly high maintenance by someone who likes to “wash and go”. Or the age-old fable that shorter hair is much easier to manage than longer hair. Anyone who has fallen into this trap knows that waking up looking like a shocked cockatoo is absolutely no fun whatsoever to try and style in the morning. I have been there…trust me!
It’s so important that we know you are leaving with a haircut that you are prepared to style at home. This sometimes means that you may need a new styling product, or you may need to ask your stylist for some tips on how to recreate the look at home. Remember this is what we are here for and there are no silly questions. Within this question we also find out just how often you visit your hairdresser and maintain your haircut/colour. Some stylists will insist that you must come every 6 weeks without fail. In certain hairstyles this is the case indeed, but it all depends on how fast your hair grows and the style of your haircut.
The consultation time is the perfect opportunity to establish your commitment to the cut and if you’re not cut out for regular appointments, to suggest an alternative that better works for you and your lifestyle.
The end result is peace of mind for both you and the stylist and a well thought out plan for your hair. After all, its like Coco Chanel famously said..