Hair Corner » Things Your Hairdresser Won’t Tell You

by Barbaraann Rakestraw

A relationship with your hairdresser, like any other association, is a give and take situation. Following basic etiquette will help build a lasting, mutually beneficial, alliance. Let’s discuss some of the difficult topics.

Asking for credit: Your beautician is in business for profit. No matter how friendly she/he is or how much you like to dish gossip back and forth, please don’t forget that this is their business. You expect to get paid from your employer on payday; your stylist expects his/her fee at the time of service. They have bills and obligations just like you do.

Bad checks: Not only is writing a hot check illegal, you put everyone involved in an awkward situation. Your stylist incurs charges from his/her account for the item; not to mention if they in turn issue checks against that money. This is a very selfish act on your part. The amazing part to me is the customers who honestly get an attitude when the beauty operator doesn’t want to “hold on” to the check. If you do not have the money, please don’t resort to theft of services.

Waiting too long between visits: Your stylist has to learn the texture of your hair; your likes and dislikes; and all the other tidbits of information required to give you the best possible service. Bringing your hair to optimum health is very difficult to do when you want to show up at the shop 3 to 4 times a year. And, when you do appear, you expect to be treated as a regular customer. Realize if you’re going to be a CME client (Christmas, Mother’s Day, Easter), then this makes you a new customer 3 times a year.

Desiring Sax Fifth Avenue service with a Wal-Mart budget: The best way to explain this is to tell you that most of the women you see in magazines or television have a stylist do their hair right before they go in front of the camera. Whatever is needed to give the illusion of a head full of healthy hair is added. This includes extensions or weave for length and fullness; color or highlights for a vigorous glow. The cost of creating this fantasy can very easily run into thousands of dollars. Compare this to the $25-$50 dollars you’re paying for a wash, trim and wet-set. I’m not saying you can’t have the look of Gabrielle Union or Beyonce. Just be ready and willingly to pay for creating the illusion; and the cost of the up-keep, as well.

To tip or not to tip? This is definitely a touchy subject. Your hairdresser provides a service to you and service people are tipped for providing good service. How much depends on you. However let me tell you a little known secret. Your operator would rather see you on a regular basis than for you to sweat the tip. I’ve had people tell me they started tipping their operator then it became a part of the price. My answer is… discuss this with your operator, because the cost of services should never depend on your operator’s mood or if they have a bill due. The one time I think everyone should tip is before the Christmas holiday. (Yes, I feel like all service people should receive holiday tips.)

Cancelling Appointments: It is never okay to just not show up for an appointment. However, things come up and life sometimes causes you to have to rearrange your schedule. A rule of thumb is to notify your stylist as soon as possible that you have to cancel or reschedule your appointment. Definitely make the cancellation 24 to 48 hours before the appointment. Appointments are how he/she makes their money. Another thing to keep in mind is that prime time appointments, like Friday evening and Saturday morning, are the most requested. If you have one of these spots and you’re constantly cancelling, don’t be surprised if your desired spot is filled with someone else.

Any relationship is about respect. If you take the time to consider that your operator runs a business and respect the rules of engagement, then you should experience a long and satisfying rapport. Hopefully this discussion will help you not fall into any of the above categories.


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Copyright 2012 – Barbaraann Rakestraw. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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