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The Girl ...
Tigi girl, 21.
Dedicated to Andrew Kalapaca & Steve Tcherkezian

Andrew at Toni & Guy
180 Bloor Street West
Steve at Other sites

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tonight the blog entry is going to be directed at beauty professionals. I know that it seems strange for someone who is not in the beauty industry to give advice to people in the beauty industry, and it seems especially strange for me to give advice to those who have been in the profession for many years. However what I have learned can be of great use to the beauty professional who is not aware of the issue I'll be speaking of or how important it is. This is an issue that I have learned much about from my two hair guru's and other great beauty industry leaders. Sometimes however I think people in the beauty industry forget just how important educating the client is so that is something I want to touch on....I hope this is of use to all beauty professionals, after all it is the client who can sometimes make you a better industry leader.

"Educating your Clients"
You get a new client who walks into your salon and you think to yourself, "my gosh look at their hair!" you are amazed at how unkept it looks and you tell yourself "if the client did this and that, or used this and that etc. their hair would be so much better." So the new client ends up being your client, lucky you! You analyze their hair.....while doing so you wonder why the client has not tended to their tresses. So you preceed to go about doing their hair, it looks amazing when you are done, after all you are a great salon professional and of course your work looks great when it walks out the door...but what about after the client washes their hair and it dries?
You see, as a beauty industry professional you can make even the worst hair listen to you and look like a photograph from a magazine. Here's the problem, can the client make their hair look half as great?
Remember the client who walked into the salon with the unkept hair that made you think how the client lets their hair look like that? Well it is not that the client (in most cases) wants their hair to look like a mess, but the client who doesn't know how to work with their hair or haircut. Sometimes clients try to replicate the style that you have created for them and they fall short of achieving the outcome, why? because they have not been taught, and they do not know how to approach styling their hair so they either try and fall short or do not try at all (which will happen after a few attempts) So your work may look good on the client as they leave the salon but once the client washes their hair your work is lost if the client does not know how to style or work with their hair/cut/colour.
Now it is important to note that alot of clients leave their current beauty industry professional (stylist especially) because the stylist has failed to teach them how to work with their hair/cut. For the client it is important to be able to achieve or come close to achieving the salon look at home....okay truth be said no client can get their hair styled as well as a stylist can for them but being even somewhat close is good enough for most. Clients who are not taught what products to use, how to use them and even why will tend to move on to another stylist, and if they can't replicate the style even similarly then they are more likely to move on as well.
So now I hope that the idea of educating the client is becoming clear and more important to you if it was not already. If you educate the client you are more likely to retain the client...why? because the client can get fairly similar results at home, because the client does not have to worry about frizz setting in or excess volume or reversion because you recommended Bedhead's Control Freak Serum (oh sorry that's stylist recommend this product to me and I love it so much!) Educating the client also makes the client feel that you care about them and their hair, that they are not just another "client" but someone important to you, and that you care about the way they look and about making them look good and feel good (geez that's Toni&Guy's philosophy, "look good, feel good" wow look at the references I make, see I told you it was inspired!)
Firstly let's look at educating the client about the most basic thing...their hair! Sure it sounds silly but seriously, as a stylist you need to educate your client about the type of hair they have beyond the obvious....curly/straight etc. You need to tell them more detail, that they have for example thick curly hair that is prone to frizzing in the humid or rainy weather. You need to explain to them what sort of cuts/colours will suit them and why. You need to sort of tell them what will look good on them and what won't and what the hair will and will not do. Another good idea is to talk to them about cuts, no seriously, tell them about their face shape and their features and what cut will suit them and why. Same with colour. This also applies to make-up artists, many clients are not aware of their actual skin tone, ask them to describe it and they will tell you the basic skin colour, white, black, probably will not hear, olive skin with yellow undertones (or something like that) anytime soon. Why won't you hear that? Well, because clients do not know that, they are not really aware and half probably do not know what an undertone even is. Clients also need to be told what colours will suit their skin tone and why as well as what colours will make cetain features stand out. For example a client may want to play up their eyes and have a supple lip, as a make-up artist you need to suggest ideas for them in order for them to achieve the look, and the ideas must suit their skin tone. You may suggest they do a smokey eye with a neutral lipstick, or maybe just a gloss (this is just a thought)
Next you need to recommend products and tools for your clients individual needs and products to achieve a certain outcome....for example if your client has thick hair that is prone to frizzing you may want to suggest an anti-frizz product. If your clients goal is to have straight shiny hair then you need to suggest more than just an anti-frizz product, you need to suggest to them a flat iron and maybe a product to enhance the shine. So after you thought about the clients desire for the end result you need to think of the products and tools that will get them there.....if they are trying to re-create the look you gave them in the salon then it is a great idea for you to suggest the products and tools you have used on them (I am aware that not all salons sell the tools that a client would need, I'm getting there!) Now if your salon sells a certain hair care line you can suggest something to them from that line, I am assuming that you use the same products/line on your clients that you sell (one product line is way more than enough to have in the salon!) But if the client in the above example wants to straighten her hair she will need an iron to do so, if you sell the iron in the salon (assuming it is ceramic and has a heat temperature control, which are two extremely important features of an iron in my opinion) then great suggest that one, but if not you can tell them what to look for in an iron.
I know that trying to sell all the products you use on your client to the client makes it seem that you are just using the products to sell to the client but trust me it is important that you talk to your client about the clients needs and desired outcome. You do not have to say buy this and that, but simply see what it is they want out of the service you provide them and is it something they want to recreate at home...this is why telling the client why a particular product or tool is important for them. As you style their hair you may inform the client of what you are using, and say to get rid of the frizz I'm using Bedhead's Control Freak serum, tigi girls favourite hair care product in the world (just kidding, but you may want to tell the client what you are using and what it is for) Believe it or not telling the client what you are using on them and why actually creates an interest for the client, what I mean is that the client may think "well if so and so uses this and I get this awesome outcome, it would be this good if I did it " (of course flat iron and curling wise with a bit of practice and being frustrated as to why it never comes out as good as so and so does it) So telling them actually sparks their interest in the product and using it on them allows the client to see the results that the product can delieve and if it lives up to its promises.
After you recommend the products and the client says "oh I'd love a bottle of that" you need to teach them how to use the product it's kind of obvious how to use shampoo and lipstick but there are techniques to doing these things well. Believe it or not their is an actual way to correctly shampoo the it and you will find the answer, plus I've posted it on my site as well. There are many ways of applying lipstick as well, some apply it straight from the tube, while others use a lip brush to apply it, either way you want the client to use the products properly. I know that many hair care products tell the client how to use it, think those treatment products "apply, leave on for 10-15 minutes, rinse thoroughly" are they really that clear? I think not. Let's investigate....
" Apply", where? No seriously, do they mean to apply it only to the scalp? to the ends? all over the hair?
"Leave on for 10-15 minutes", why? How do I know if I should leave it on for 10 minutes or 15 minutes? What if I leave it on for less will the product not perform properly? What if I leave it on longer?
"Rinse thoroughly", for how long? Should I scrub my scalp? Should I feel any change in texture/softness?
Not so clear is it?
I remember when I bought both Bedhead's Control Freak Serum and Bumble and Bumble's Deep, that my stylist instructed me on how to use the product....for Bedhead's Control Freak Serum Andrew (my stylist) showed me how much I was to use and how to apply it (he used the product on me) and when...I was told to apply a small amount, rub it in my hands and then spread it on my hair right after I came out of the shower. See that is detailed instructions! Okay so you may not have the time to demonstrate the product but if you are going to sell it you may want to use it on the client so that at least they think it's important in creating that look....after all if you try to sell them a product you have not used on them the client may think "well if you didn't need to use it on me now, why and when will I need to use it" ....Clients may think that you are just trying to sell them products if you are not using it during the service.
Teach clients what to look for in styling tools, such as what to look for in a hair brush or comb...there are billions of styles and types out there, paddle brush, round brush with boar bristles, sythetics bristles, etc....clients need guidance in choosing them! Also teach them the importance of high quality you do with hair care/make-up products. Remember that I say salon brand professional products are important and far more superior than drug store brands for so many reasons that I outlined in previous posts (but you can say tigi girl said so...just kidding!) With make-up brushes show the client what the brush looks like...hate to say it but sometimes I don't know what a particular make-up brush is for unless it says it on the package....too many! Also teach them how to use it....demonstrate as you are doing the service!
Finally educate the client on often should they be coming in for a haircut? how often do they need to get their eyebrows done? I mean as clients sure we can get puzzled, I used to be....I'll be honest half the time clients walk in when they think it doesn't look as great as it did....notice the clients with eyebrows that look like they have not been done in ages because the client did not have maintain her brows as often as she should have had? Well she comes in when she does because you have not told her else (in most cases) you should tell her "in order to maintain the shape of your brows you should be coming in every four weeks or so" You do however need to establish how quickly the hair grows back in the case of eyebrows to determine the proper maintaince schedule. With hair you need to firstly know what the client is doing to their hair style wise and chemical wise to determine the appropriate time frame, but you also need to know on average how much it is growing per month...some people's hair grows slower than others...some people's hair splits more than others because of heat styling damage or damage in general, so their spacing may be closer then say the one who doesn't really use heat styling tools or chemical services.
Just as a side note, clients will bring up some of the aforementioned issues even before you get a chance to tell them, I did. I remember asking my esthitician Jessica how long I should wait before doing my brows again, so every how many weeks do I need to have this done....I now go every 4-5 weeks. Once the growth pattern was established it was easy to set a time frame. Clients may also bring up their issues with their hair/make-up etc., which should signal you that your client is looking to you for help and for example your client tells you "I have been having alot of frizz lately" or "Look at all these split ends" then you need to make a suggestion, for the first one you should suggest an anti-frizz product and the second spacing the haircuts closer together.
So let's re-cap shall we....
Educating the client is extremely important when it comes to client retention because the client is looking to you to help them look good and feel good (Toni&Guy's philosophy yet again) Clients are looking to you to help them maintain what you have given them.
What to teach them...
1- Their features (face shape, colour) and what will and will not work for them (cut wise and colour wise) and what their hair will and will not do and why
2-Recommmend products and/or tools to help the client achieve that look at home and tell them why you recommend the products
3-Teach them how to use the products/tools or better yet as Andrew does, demonstrate how to use the products (of course you are using it to create the look on the client while they are there for the service)
4-Teach the client what to look for in tools (styling/make-up brushes) even if you do not sell them in your place of employment....they need not only the right products but the right tools to do the job
5-Teach the client proper maintaince, how often it needs to be maintained and how to maintain it
Now I hope that you do see the importance of teaching the see Steve taught me what happens to the interior structure of the hair when I do this or that to it....very important to know in terms of caring for the hair and avoiding damage. Andrew taught and inspired me to style my hair...ah the good old flat iron, once I learned that skill oh man I was soooo happy! He also taught me what products to use and how to use them...who else do you think introduced me to Bedhead and Bedhead's Control Freak Serum? Greatest product out there!
"Great teachers can inspire their students, and with a little help and some time the student does succeed"

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