Meet Lucy. She is stressed out. Her hair isn’t working. The cut is all wrong, the color is off. The last stylist she went to “ruined her hair”. I’m on the phone with Lucy and we’re having trouble finding a spot because she “NEEDS TO GET IN TODAY!” Her hair has reached a place where she just can’t stand it anymore. Can we help?
Well… yes, and no.
Even if I have an available stylist I will often choose to send Lucy down the road. The reasons are many-fold but the main one is… she’s probably not going to be happy with her hair whatever we end up doing for her, and she’s probably not going to end up being a return client.
The sad truth is, the Lucys of the world are generally doomed to crummy looking hair until they figure out what they’re doing wrong. So, what are they doing wrong?
Well, for one thing they aren’t working with a stylist they’ve built a relationship with. Lucys jump from stylist to stylist, looking for the one who’s gonna just nail everything right out of the gate. Lucys are impatient, Lucys are unrealistic, and Lucys are trouble. Hair is a tricky thing. It’s art and it’s a science. It’s a dance and it’s a conversation. There is no one “right” way to do this or that hair cut or color. There are stylists who care and are talented and there are those who don’t and aren’t. If you have one of the former, you’ll know from the way they treat you. They will ask a lot of questions, they will look you in the eye, they will stand behind their work and they will make adjustments for free. They will seem peaceful and confident, and the two of you will click. Will your hair look perfect that first time, though? Maybe, maybe not. The thing is, if you go back in 6 or 7 weeks and tell them what worked and what didn’t, the NEXT cut or color will be better, and the one after that, better still. A good stylist will get to know you and your hair over time. Pretty soon, getting your hair done will be a relaxing experience even if you’re making a big change because you’ll know, “This is my stylist, they care about me and they’ll work with me if I don’t love it out the gate. I can take some risks now.”
But Lucy doesn’t care about that. Lucy is looking for whoever is available right now. Often Lucy is looking for a bargain too. The truth is, Lucy doesn’t plan her life out that much and crummy hair is just a logical extension of that life style.
Here’s the truth Lucy keeps running into, the truth that no salon is going to tell you: If someone is available at the last minute (especially on an evening or weekend), unless they’re new to the area, they’re probably not that good. There is a good chance they’re the rookie on the team, the young stylist who’s just starting to get experience. Sure you may get lucky and land a rockstar stylist who just had a cancellation but chances aren’t good. Great stylists are hard to get last minute because their loyal clients book all the good spots out far in advance. That’s just life. Now, there is nothing wrong with seeing a rookie stylist if you’re a laid back person with an easy cut or your just someone who’s not to particular about your hair. Thank God there were enough people like that when I started 20 years ago! Trouble is, Lucy’s not laid back at all. She has a picture! She has an idea! She has an inspired vision that’s driving to get her hair done TODAY!! That’s why it’s an an emergency! Which brings me to my next observation…
Getting a dramatic change on same day you’ve finally gathered enough courage to do that big thing you’ve been thinking about for a long time is generally a bad idea. As I’ve said in other blogs, your hair is the hat you wear every day. Changing your hair changes your look more than just about anything else you can do. If you were going to reinvent your whole wardrobe, wouldn’t you want to go somewhere with a personal stylist who can help you figure out the best look for you? You’d never just start calling clothing stores to see who could fit you in—you’d want to work with someone who knows what they’re doing. The same wisdom applies to big hair changes. If you just charge out one day looking for whoever will do what you want, things may end badly.
So what’s the point of all this?
At Hair By Joey, we want you to love your look. Therefore, we don’t hire rookies. Since we only have great stylists, we have busy stylists. When the Lucys of the world call at 11 on Saturday needing to get in that day for a big color project, I feel sorry for them. They are often crest fallen when I suggest they book a consultation next week or send them down the road. They usually choose to keep looking, and that’s too bad. Chances are they’re going to end up seeing a rookie and being disappointed. Bottom line, I want to help you have better hair, so do a favor for yourself, your hair, and your stylist by following these simple steps:
1. Do some research and find a good stylist—“your” stylist— before you start making big hair changes.
Yelp, Citysearch, Google… it’s easy to research stylists through online reviews these days if you can’t get a personal referral from a trusted friend. Take your time and find someone who’s already got people raving about them. Go in for trims or simple touch ups at a few places if necessary until you find a stylist you really click with. Once you find stylist X let them know you’re thinking about some big changes and work with them to achieve your goals.
2. Once you find a good stylist, stick with them.
If you get home and decide don’t love your cut but you think you’ve got a great stylist, give them a call. Ask if you can drop back in for an adjustment. It’s no big deal for us. It’s not uncommon for hair to need a tweak or two from time time. A good stylist will appreciate your honesty and will be more than happy to get you back in, but remember, if they’re good they’re probably pretty booked. There are few hair fixes that can’t wait a week, so if your stylist can’t get you right back in, take a deep breath and relax. Who knows, what seemed a little too this or that with your new style may grow on you over the next few days to the point where you may end up not even needing the adjustment.
3. Once you’ve found your stylist, pre-book.
Most great stylists will offer you an opportunity to pre-book your next appointment with them at check out. They do this because they know how long it will take your cut or color to start falling apart. They know people usually forget to call until one day they wake up and can’t stand their hair. They know if you don’t have your appointment on the books on the day that happens you may be stuck with goofy looking hair for a week or two before they’ll be able to fit you in. You can always move your appointment around but having it gives you a good trading position for your stylist to work with should you need to move it. Especially if you need an evening or weekend, you’ll be glad you have that spot secured.
4. Never consider a big change without first getting a consultation with a seasoned stylist.
Modern color techniques such as Ombre and Balayage can vary wildly between different hair types and colors both in terms of time and cost; likewise with dramatic colors like all-over bleach blond or high impact rainbow shades like purple, blue and fire-engine red. If you’re getting in “same day” for one of these types of services with a rookie I can guarantee it’s going to be a disaster. Remember, salons want to be busy. You can bet that front desk girl is going to book you with whoever she can and the word “Rookie” or even “New” will not be mentioned. Don’t risk damaging your hair. If you’re going to do it, do it right.
5. Don’t be a Last Minute Lucy.
Lucys make them selves miserable. They also make stylists miserable. They ruin their hair. They make everyone run late. If this is you… stop, just stop. Slow down, plan it out. Find a great stylist and be a great client. Be patient, be communicative, be realistic. Stylists will bend over backwards for clients they like. Remember a little planning, love and appreciation go a long way.