Tuesday, 30 November 2010

8 Worst Mistakes That Hairdressers Make and How to Avoid Them


Friends of Bettie love hairdressing and hairdressers, but are you finding that your salon experience can sometimes be an anti-climax?

Here's our 8 Worst Mistakes That Hairdressers Make, and what you can do to avoid them.

1. The cardinal sin most reported is that hairdressers don't listen. Whether it's ignoring all the verbal clues from a client trying to express who they are and what they want, or simply taking the attitude they know better than the client what the client wants.

2. Next up is having a limited repertoire. You know how it is, no matter what you want, somehow the hair cut turns out exactly like the hairdresser's previous client, and the one before that, and the one before that..... You get the idea. It feels like that's all the hairdresser can do, and they stay in their comfort zone rather than entering yours.

3. Rushing through a consultation or no consultation at all. Your hair is totally personal, it's obviously literally part of you, but the hairdresser who fails to find out who you are will be struggling to give you the individual service you deserve.


Davines Shampoos and Conditioners in window display at Vintage Hair Lounge

4. Not knowing their products. The benefit of going to a hair expert, as hairdressers should be, is getting that expert advice on how to maintain a healthy head of hair and be able to style it as you want in between salon visits. Professional hair products have a purpose, and can make a huge difference to how your hair looks and feels. Hairdressers that work on the basis, one size (product) fits all, are selling you, and their expertise, short.

5. Treating the waiting area as a waiting area. Think about it for a minute, your me-time fabulous feelgood experience starts the minute you enter the salon. Being made to feel you're waiting for a bus, or a doctor's appointment isn't much of an "experience".

6. Having confusing price lists. This is a bit controversial as it's common for hairdressers to have a scale of prices according to the experience of the stylist. But that's not for your benefit, it's all about incentivising staff by having promotion goals - they hit targets, and they get to move up a notch and charge a few more pounds. How can you possibly judge whether the service you want, and are going to pay good money for, is capable of being delivered by the "rank" you pick. With up to 7 or 8 levels of stylists in some salons, the decision on who you chose may come down to price, before you even know what you're going to get for it.

7. Inane chat. Hairdressers are creative technical artists. Public perception still downgrades hairdressers as a profession. But if they don't show you any knowledge, passion or interest in what they're doing, you may be left feeling a bit deprived of what you thought you were paying for.

8. Using the Junior or Saturday Boy/Girl to gown you up and shampoo your hair. This is a common experience, and of course youngsters and trainees need to get hands on experience in order to learn. But don't forget, you are not there for the Junior's benefit. Consultation and Shampooing takes up at least the first 15 minutes of your salon experience, and it's usually longer. This is time you should be having with your expert stylist.

Avoiding these mistakes is possible. If you are happy with your hairdresser, that's fantastic, there are some brilliant inspiring and accomplished people out there in the profession. But if you're feeling a bit hard done by, a bit disenchanted, and you've experienced any or all of the above mistakes, there's still good news!


Elena at her Vintage wedding at Beaulieu Palace, hair by Gloria at Vintage Hair Lounge

1. Know exactly what you want from your hairdressing experience. Know how you want to feel whilst you're in the salon, with the hairdresser, and most importantly how you want to feel when you leave. If you're not on top of the world, something's gone wrong.

2. This is your time. You're not just buying a haircut, you' are buying your stylist's experience, expertise and creativity, and every minute counts. It's OK to be the centre of their attention, that's why you're there. Ask for what you want and ask the stylist questions (lots of "why's" and "what do you recommend" will tease out that expertise that can make a positive difference to you).

3. Listen carefully to what others say about their hairdressers. Are your friends and colleagues expressing disappointment with hairdressers or are they raving about the experience they have when they go to a salon?

4. Have you kept the same hairstyle for ages even though you've wanted a new look for a long time? If this is because you don't trust your hairdresser, or they're failing to listen to you, then change your hairdresser to someone who pays as much attention to you as a person as they do to your hair.

5. Watch out for opportunities to have a dialogue with your hairdresser. And that means not just during the time you're sat in front of them. Is your hairdresser making it easy for you to contact them for advice at any other time and through any other process?

6. Value your hair as you value your health : feeling good about your hair and your hairstyle is good for you and your wellbeing. A great salon experience can be a real boost, and that's as it should be. Demand more from your hairdresser and enjoy them exceeding your expectations.

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