Learning the Language of Hair

By Maree Chavez - November 3, 2015

Speaking the language of HAIR can often feel like a foreign experience. There’s something about sitting in a stylist's chair that even the frequent salon-goer can get a little intimidated by the ever-changing and trending descriptions of hair. Recently, I attended a seminar and learned the number one reason women color their own hair or avoid going to a new salon is a deep seeded sense of FEAR! Fear of many things. The unknown, not knowing how to describe their needs, not knowing what the end result will be, or the fear of being paired with an inexperienced stylist.
This little nugget of knowledge inspired me to put myself in the chair, so to speak, and think about what it would feel like to walk into a salon for the very first time. How would I choose a salon? How do I figure out who to see? How do I describe my hair needs?
After thinking it all through, I put together a FEARless list:
Do your research. Think about how you would best describe your hair or your desired hair. Take the time and use these words creatively in your salon search. Then (hot tip), keep digging! Let your search take you to salon locators, then to the salon's web site, then Facebook page. Read reviews as those usually have stylist names and explain what that the client was happy with. Get the owner's name, as they know their staff's passions and skill level and should give you an honest recommendation.
Plan ahead. Avoid the last minute 9-1-1 emergency calls otherwise you’re rolling the dice with who you get matched with. Calling at least two weeks ahead will give you a better shot at a stylist who will best suit you, and also allow the salon to book the proper amount of time. Then (hot tip) make sure you mention all your needs and concerns. Write it down! For example, don’t say color, instead let them know you need a root touch up, or you’re thinking of a change, or you want highlights and color. Be specific.
Keep the language simple. Ombre, SombreBalayage, oh my! Ask ten stylists and you’ll get 100 different interpretations of these trending techniques. My suggestion is describe where you'd like to see color variation and then let the stylist repeat what they’re hearing back to you. Then (hot tip), before the stylist heads off to the mixing room be sure you have a crystal clear understanding of what the upkeep will be, how long the service will take and the cost.
There's something comforting about having an honest and realistic conversation with a stylist. Putting it all out there and both parties agreeing on a plan. Sure, there’s still the reality that someone is doing your hair for the first time and it might not be exact, but starting out in a relaxed and honest fashion will absolutely soften that element of fear and put the one sitting in the chair, as well as the one standing over the chair, a little more at ease.

Maree Chavez is the owner of Hair People in Denver and has over 25 years of experience in the industry. She can be reached at 303-377-0304 or at www.hairpeopledenver.com.
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