10 Things Your Hairdresser is NOT Telling You

Ask anyone to give you secrets of the trade and you might be surprised by what you end up with.  I often visit the gal who does hair from her home in my area.  She is nearby, affordable and really damn good!  Color, cuts, styles and secrets.  Yup.  She is one of the best, if not the best hair magician and one really honest bean.  Being a journalist, I always want to know everyone’s story.  And this one had me taking notes.  Here’s why.

My stylist/friend – lets call her ‘Sam’ – spent years as a hair stylist for everyone else before being her own boss.  And there are many reasons “why.”  The salon industry can be one sneaky business.

I feel so ‘WikiLeaks’ right now but this is information everyone needs to know about.  A little bit scandalous, a little bit uncover and alot secretive!

Here is a list of things that your hair salon ‘may’ not be telling you. A list of things you need to be aware of and some questions to ask too.

1. Hair color application costs hundreds of dollars when really it should cost an average of $70 for a full head – medium to long hair, even a two color mix and full application.  Shocked!?

So was I.  Hair color application is the biggest money maker for salons and they want to make sure you come back like clock work.  So watch to see if the stylist is using “enough” product when applying.  If you feel like he or she is skimping – they probably are.  You should have a rich lather of a coating when getting your hair colored – roots and outward.  If getting the entire ‘do’ done – make sure they have a full bowl and then some.

Finding: ‘Sam’ used almost twice as much as my regular stylists have in the past.

The little layer of so called skin protector some stylists put around your hairline does more damage than good.  It doesn’t let the color properly get into your roots.  So instead, ask your stylist to use a safe product after to get color off your skin.  If he/she doesn’t have that option – walk!

Root application – make sure they go straight to the start of the root – especially when doing highlights or you will be in for a touch up alot sooner than you need to.  This is the biggest money maker, cash grab scam and very common practice. I could never figure out why I was back in the chair a month later at some places while other stylists made sure I was good for a couple or more.

2. Timing is a big thing.  Some stylists say you only need 15 to 20 minutes and others keep the color on for 45 minutes – go with the one that has the time to let you sit longer.  Avoid a rush job especially if you let on that you are a busy person – you can be making yourself an easy target.

3. Product pushing.  If you notice your stylist isn’t explaining and using products in your hair every step of the way. Say something.  Ask for shiner, smoother, gel etc.  And ask for the amount you would use.  Some stylists won’t use anything on your hair and then try to convince you that you need the “special shampoo” and sell you another hundred dollars worth of products you probably don’t need.  Stay natural – use homemade, zero cost remedies.  Here is a good site to start. http://www.haircareathome.net/

‘Sam’ actually put a shiner/protector in the color she used on my hair and what a difference! Why? Here’s her response. “Because I want your hair to look awesome so people notice it.  That’s how I chose to make money in this business.  Pushing products means getting commission at most places. Couldn’t do it.  I can’t lie like that.”

4. Prices – haggle for a rate. Most stylists have chairs they rent at salons and set their own prices. So before you start. Ask for a flat rate and haggle a little.  Ask around, do comparision shopping and don’t be afraid to go to a certified stylist working from home…legally. 

5.  They share YOUR info – are you paying therapy money to your stylist?  ‘Sam’ told me about a stylist we both know.  He would show extra sympathy to clients who needed to talk alot.  He thrived off drama, befriended clients and used the “I’ll make you feel better by looking better” remedy.  Or the classic, “you need this to feel better, you deserve it.”  Then came the open wallet because the customer felt like it was a justified cost.  $300 for a color, cut and style is NOT the norm.

6. Salons know the majority of people won’t say what they really want.   If they don’t cut enough, style the right way or make a little mistake – say something for goodness sakes!

Or you will end up going back in again, sooner than you thought and paying again too.  Especially for guys who want a very short hairstyle.

7.  Clean tools? It costs salons and stylists money to clean tools every time.  Ask them when was the last time they cleaned the curling iron or clips they use during styling.  Say it everytime!

8. Referral fees. If your stylist ever asks you to spread the word and hands you a stack of business cards to give to your friends.  Man or woman up! Ask them what kind of referral system they have.  You should be getting a percentage off your appointments if you bring in business.  Get it in writing – even an email.

9.  Do they know their styles and trends? Not many of stylists spend time upgrading their skills, taking classes and following trends and how to create them.  Ask questions -when was the last time you took a refresher class and do they know how to cut a certain way to create the latest look.  Are you walking out with the same hair everytime? Perhaps you need to walk to somewhere else next time.

10.  Does your stylist brag alot? If they or anyone for that matter has a habit of bragging about their skills and accomplishments  – they are covering up for something!  This goes for make up artists, nail specialist, anybody really.  Let the work speak for itself.

One of my stylist/friends is one of the best in Canada and unavailable for a reason.  But not once has she told me about all the awards she has won year after year.  But for years, I’ve walked out with awesome hair.  She is busy, hence why I went to ‘Sam’ and ended up writing this.

Another stylist in the past – had a wall of fame he would make you look at before starting work on your hair.  Then he charged about three times what the normal cost was and guess what?  I walked out with the same look for almost three years and finally had enough when he tried to charge me $200 for a solid color.  No cut, no style, no way.  Walk!