Phenomenal . . .

Phenomenal . . .
Life, Growth, and Connection (This sunflower was nourished by my hands.) 2010; Photography by Benita Blocker. Please become a follower of this blog.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Salon hoppers: Words of Wisdom

Recently, I ran into a hairstylist originally from Tennessee. She said that she likes living in the metro Charlotte, NC area, but as far as hair was concerned -- there are a lot of "salon hoppers." I had to laugh because she is right. People just hop, hop, hop from one chair to the next. It is frustrating to many hairstylists. Many single, professional hairstylists who want to enjoy some of the finer things in life have moved on to larger cities where there is more of a "social butterfly" demand plus more disposable income.

The seasoned salon owners know that our beauty industry has been in a decline for a solid five years or more. Smart salon owners with a large overhead sold their salons about three to five years ago nationwide.

Hair is a practice just like a doctor, attorney, and dentist. A client can go to a celebrity hairstylist and pay $500 for a relaxer service, but if the stylist does not perform relaxer services on a regular basis then the client may find that she could have gone to the "hood" and got the same look for $50.

This does not mean that the celebrity stylist is not good. It just means that stylist and the client were not a good match. Just like all doctors are not a good match. Lawyers are not all a good match. You get the picture.

Also, on a separate note, loyalty is important. Oprah has stuck with the same hairstylist through thick and thin. We all have seen Oprah's hair go through some highs and lows. Michelle Obama is sticking with her hairstylist as well and you know even she has had some high and lows as far as hair.

Clients looking solely for great "style"-they need to find someone who has the same style that they are looking for and the same hair texture and go to that hairstylist for that particular style.

Otherwise, if a client is looking for a hairstylist that cares about her individual hair texture, and the stylist goes to continuing education classes voluntarily to constantly improve their practice, then that is when you find a hair stylist that is a partner.

I have never met a perfect hairstylist. Those who are too closed minded to learn from others are the scariest hairstylists to me.

Also, as a seasoned stylist, I have learned if you talk negative about another hairstylist then you cast doubt on the whole hair profession. We all have the same state issued hair license. When I hear bad things about a hair stylist, I can usually figure out what happened without talking to the stylist. If the stylist is overworked or hungry, then they/we may make a mistake. They/we are human.

If you do not want a sleepy doctor performing surgery on you, then you do not want to be the last person of a 15 hour work day if you need a hair chemical. Mistakes will happen. Stylists must learn to schedule breaks even if it means charging more and booking less clients. I could go on and on about the hair industry, but the real salon scoop is to get to know the hairstylist beliefs, respect her pricing, understand loyalty, and give feedback. See if you can work with the stylist. Most of my clients have their own practice or business - they know that I work to find solutions and all I Do is hair and write about hair.

Finding the right hairstylist can be as simple as going to a "safe" "hole in the wall" establishment.

I have included a quick chart comparing hairdressers to doctors and attorneys. We all are regulated by a state Board. We all are in a practice where practice make perfect. We all can concentrate on a specialty such as colorist and haircuts.

Where hairdressers differ from doctors is that we typically do not accept insurance and there is no co-pay. It is totally out of pocket. Also, many clients expect hairdressers to "nail" it on the first visit; where doctors just keep you coming back for a new prescriptions until they find something that works.

Where hairdressers differ from attorneys/lawyers is that we typically do not clear a six figure salary. We can not raise pricing without losing some clientele.

Most medical and dental procedures have had multiple price increases. Hair service pricing in general have stayed the same for the last 20 years. Yet, beauty supplies have gone up. Gasoline has gone up. Housing and transportation has gone up.

For hairstylists, the passion keeps them in business. I just noticed another local salon/spa was running a flier promoting everything from "weight loss" plans to facials to "waxing" to "botox" to "massage" to "laser hair removal." "Haircuts" were the least mentioned service. No color service nor nail services were mentioned at all. I was totally blown away. This particular salon was known as a full service salon/spa/boutique. It now seems to be steering toward more "beauty and wellness." Probably a good idea. "Styling" can be so visually "subjective." Facials and massages are a "feel good" or not opinion.

Also, on a separate note, a few years ago, the Ratner company sold all of the hair salons in SC and NC to the Regis Corporation. Remember the "Hair Cuttery" turned into "Famous Hair?" Also, Salon Cielo also sold their NC and SC hair salons to Regis Corporation.

Between salon hoppers and the "family focused" lifestyle of the South, the hair industry in the South will continue to be lower paying than the more metropolitan areas of the United States of America.


  1. Interesting article. I am a salon hopper, but I really don't want ot be. I have found two great stylists in the past and because I am mostly diy with my haircare, by the time I need a relaxer, color or trim I can no longer get it touch with them. Do I need to plan on visiting my stylist at least once a month? How do I find a stable stylist? How do I know if my stylist is financially stable? I am really easy. I always get a roller wrap so styling is not an issue for me. I just want the above-mentioned services...any tips??

  2. Hi LaQT/Ty! With the economy being in a downturn, most people can find their lives turned upside down at any moment. Only the independently wealthy are financially stable. I do suggest that you visit your hairstylist at least every 8 to 10 weeks for at least a protein treatment or for your chemical service if you prefer doing your own treatments at home. Or even send your stylist a note on how you are doing with your hair. If you are looking for a hair partner, then consider scheduling free hair consultations with local hairstylists. Inquire about their opinions on the latest hair trends and how often do they attend continuing education classes. Ask about their certifications! Most manufacturers offer certification and some have very nice certificates to post. If you can find another lady at an event that you like her hair, then you can get a referral, but ask about curl patterns and what length of hair that the hairstylist excels in. For example, almost all of my clients are medium to long in length. I usually turn clients away who want to maintain a short cut. Micro short cuts are not my specialty. I can do them, but it takes me longer to style them, and I do not barber much.
    Also, the stylist should be able to look at your curl pattern and hair and tell you when your last touchup happened and how often you should be receiving them without you saying one word. I hope this helps you with your search. Best Wishes on finding a hair partner!

  3. Thank you so much for this info. I will definitely try to get back in touch with both of my old stylists or find a new salon. I will see about meeting up with her when my relaxer & trim are due. I feel so motivated to find a long-lasting stylist.

  4. I agree with you completely. A customer should say what she wants for her hair, and the stylish should listen to the clients. That way, learning never stops. The combination of those two would allow for a mutual understanding between clients and stylist.

    Justine Cricks

  5. This is a wonderful blog? Thank you for your hard work and discipline to educate others. A "hair partner" is justwhatyoucallit- a partner. Ever since my stylist passed away, I cannot find anyone I have creative chemistry with. Lesean just understood me. Hopefully, I find another one day. Until then, no compromising. :/

  6. Thanks so much everyone for your comments and feedback. I so love hair and teaching! Thanks for visiting my blog and continue to share my blog with others including your hair partner/stylist!

  7. A public school teacher reminded me that their profession was similar to our hairdresser profession. Teacher's salaries have not had an significant increased over the year, but education requirements have increased. Teachers feel underpaid, and they find it hard to retire as a sole income source.

  8. Where I am from it's so hard to find a stylist who cares about the health of your hair. They usually don't take individual needs into mind. What might work for one might not work for the other. Then you have all these do it yourself sites that have people not trained to do hair telling you what's best for yours. I applaud you for taking the time to write and answer questions for people who want to learn how to take care of their hair the right way.

  9. Chenoe123: I firmly believe that you can learn from everyone. A lot of great discoveries are learned by accident. Also, in one of your previous comments, you mentioned a "Sabino Moisture Block" - it led me to a few other blogs to check out. LOL! I like researching new products and techniques. If it is a styling enhancement, then I am all for it! It eliminates some extra trial and error sometimes.

    Thanks for the compliments! I am glad to offer customized solutions especially after visually seeing and feeling a client's hair.