After 14 years behind the chair, I’ve pretty much seen and heard it all. Here are some of the behind the scenes secrets that us beauty professionals don’t usually tell you. Here are 15 things that stylists like to keep quiet, and I bet you’re guilty of at least one.
1. Bleach and “Lightener” are the same thing.
Sorry to break the news to you, but when you tell us not to use bleach on you and that “lightener” works so much better for your hair, we nod our heads in understanding and then go mix up some bleach. Lightener is just a fancy schmancy term for bleach. It’s the same thing. Cream Lightener, Powder Lightener, Blue Lightener. It’s all the same. Sometimes salons like to ease the pain from the term “bleach” because it can cause negative feelings, but it’s really the same stuff.
2. It pays to be a good tipper.
We know who the good tippers are, and we remember you. We brag about you, and you make our day. Great tippers get booked first, in the most wanted spot, get all sorts of freebies, like samples, products, “front of the line” privileges and even deals. We are more available to those who are generous, and more apt to give them discounts, deals, or even a free service here and there. Same goes for those of you who refer tons of clients. Tips are a HUGE part of our “paycheck”. Tip at least 20% of the entire service (BEFORE discounts), more if your stylist is doing some special for you, like giving you a discount, coming in early or on a day off, or doing you a huge favor.
3. Free Conditioning Treatments buy us time.
Stylists run notoriously late. Sometimes it’s our fault, and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes we’ve got someone waiting and another about to show up and we need to get some color on someone before we freak out a little on the inside. So we offer you a FREE conditioning treatment, under the dryer, to buy us that extra 10 minutes we need to help our next client. This also sometimes means that we forgo our lunch to make up for lost time, so be nice, because we’re probably hungry.
4. We sometimes “fire” clients.
It’s not pretty, but sometimes we just need to fire a client. It’s not us, it’s you. You cancel last minute, you complain about the price of services, you’re a bad tipper and you’re just not very fun to be around. Life is too short to deal with horrible clients and sometimes we need to fire you. You may not even know it, because another stylist secret is, we don’t really like confrontation. If you call and we’re always booked, too busy to squeeze you in and you’re referred to another stylist, you’ve probably been fired. No hard feelings.
5. We know when you’re always late.
We all have them, that perpetually late client. If it’s you, guess what? We already know you’re gonna be late… so we book your appointment at 12, but write you down in the books at 12:15. Yes, it happens every time. Yes, you’re predicable. Yes, we still love you, or we would have fired you years ago.
6. We HATE “squeezing” you in.
Nothing drives us more crazy than that last minute client that calls on a busy Saturday at 12:30 to ask to be squeezed in. 9 times out of 10 the answer is “You’re crazy, Lady!” Here’s a good rule of thumb… if the service you’re trying to get squeezed in for takes longer than 30 minutes, chances of you getting in are very, very slim. Better to call at least the day before and ask, because more can be done for you with a little bit of beforehand knowledge than trying to get in in the next 15 minutes.
7. You need layers.
We know the last lady that cut them “ruined” your hair, but layers are essential for a beautiful, soft, and flattering cut. You don’t need big chunky Rachel layers, but a few expertly placed ones can brighten up you look, thin your face, and compliment your cut and color. If your stylist isn’t comfortable doing many different types of layers, it’s time to find a new stylist.
8. Hair texture changes.
Sad to say, but you aren’t 20 anymore, and neither is your hair. Hair ages with you, so it’s insane to bring in a picture from 30 years ago, or try to convince your stylist that your now frizzy hair can be cut into a sleek bob that you wore in high school. News flash! Hair changes! Texture, color, even density. You might have had long blonde, stick straight hair at one point in your life, but you need to know that it’s now 50% grey and that grey is course, kinky and resistant to change. Embrace your new hair, and you’ll be happier.
9. Don’t cancel at the last minute.
When “something comes up” at the last minute, we lose money. We don’t work on salary or hourly wages. It’s unbelievable to expect that the 2 hours we had booked for you will be filled up in the next 5 minutes. It’s rude, it’s tacky, and it’s grounds for being fired if it happens more than once. If you foresee something happening and you think you might not be able to make it in, cancel with at least 48 hours notice. It’s the right thing to do.
10. “It’s just a trim” doesn’t matter.
You might just need “just a trim” but to us, it’s the same process whether we take off 1/4″ or 6″. Wash, comb, section, cut, dry, style. It doesn’t matter if it takes us 20 minutes, or 60. You’re not paying by the hour, you’re paying for the years of education and experience behind those scissors.
11. We’ll give you a deal, if you ask.
If you’re really hurting for a trim and you’re low on funds, we would honestly rather do it at a discounted rate than watch you go to a chop shop to get butchered for $14.99. You’re our clients, and we care about you and your hair. It never hurts to ask, especially if you’re one of those great tippers who refers a lot of people.
12. We know when you’ve strayed.
We get it, sometimes you’re out of town, or we are, or something comes up and you stray. You go to your best friends stylist to try them out, or you do a quick bang trim at home. It happens! But don’t think we don’t know, because we do. We’ve cut enough heads of hair to know our technique, style and recognize our own work.
13. You’re not a celebrity.
Yes, Jennifer Aniston has beautiful highlights. Yes, Rachel Bilson has amazing ombre. Yes, Sandra Bullock has great layers. But you are not those people. You do not have an expert team of stylists preparing you for the day. Most of the photos you bring us of celebrities, are of them expertly coiffed and styled, with hair pieces, lighting and a lot of stuff going on in the background that you can’t see. Not to mention Photoshop. We can do our best to give you a similar cut, color and style, but once you leave the salon the rest is up to you.
14. A license doesn’t mean much.
It’s true. The only thing beauty school is good for is getting a license, and the only thing a license is good for is finding a job in a salon. It doesn’t mean we know what we’re doing, have any real world experience, or any extra training. It just means the state legally allows us to do hair.
15. Hair isn’t going to change your life.
We all have that one client, who’s so miserable in her life that she thinks getting her roots touched up is going to magically make everything better. It’s not. If you’re unhappy, no amount of color, or treatments, or blowouts are going to make you happy. Stop taking out your misery on your stylist. We’re beauticians, not magicians and we can’t solve all your problems with a haircut.
Do you have any questions? I’m going to be doing an FAQ post in the near future, so fire away! Email me and you might see your question on the blog!