Thank you to everyone for the overwhelming support and appreciation shown towards me for writing this column.
It’s not easy to share and as many of you know, I’m not one to do things for attention. Instead, I write to you in order to keep myself sharp and provide the support to all of you who read, call, come to classes, and rely on us for information.
With so many of you responding, I have received lots of requests for how I started my business and arrived at where I am now. So, let’s take a trip down memory lane…
Starting Out – Customer Appreciation
When I started out as a stylist, I didn’t have much of anything. I borrowed a lot to open my first salon, I didn’t know much about running a business, and I especially didn’t know about advertising and marketing. I got by with the help of friends and clients, and my appreciation for them ran me right into a great business building idea… Customer Appreciation Night.
I started with just one night at the end of the month and it grew to include several nights throughout the month.
Why did I do it this the way? What made it so successful?
This is going to sound terrible and it is, so if you’re sensitive and have a heart, I understand… but I was hungry and had bills to pay.
I knew everyone had the most money saved up by the end of the month because the first of the month is rent, bills, and life. Hosting a party at the end of the month ensured that people would have a decision to make. Do the right thing, save your money and pay your bills OR be late a week and have really good looking fun hair!
Guess what? Within 6 months of opening the salon, we were able to hire shampoo people and a front desk person. I didn’t have to run back and forth anymore. Within the next 6 months, I had an assistant and hostess to go around cleaning and bringing clients refreshments.
Everyone Loves a Party!
A lot of people especially love private parties… there’s just something to be said about attending an event that is not open to the public. So I presold tickets to my own clients and anyone else that would listen to me for 30 seconds. In turn, my salon created a magical event with the following:
- I used the presale money to get giveaways… because who doesn’t like leaving with goodies?!?
- We convinced the local restaurant owner to cater the event so they could promote their food.
- I knew all the local bartenders because I used to drink back in my twenties. So I had them come in and promote their bar by pouring a few bottles of wine and some drinks.
- We pumped up the music until the police showed up for noise complaints.
- And we gave consultations to our clients and their family members.
Looking back on it now, the amount of alcohol we served was a bad idea but at the time, whoa baby did we have fun! Nowadays, you can have an ‘alcohol sampling’ which is a fancy way of saying, “Get FREE beer, wine, or liquor!”
The point of the night was not to do anyone’s hair. It was to do consultations, get them excited and book them to back in very soon. Some people did get their hair done at these parties, but they had to come back the following week to get the color balanced and haircut evened out. But even then, we would have a laugh about it instead of them being upset.
The entire party created such energy that we started getting a ton of referrals. People naturally felt like they were part of something and wanted to show off.
These customer appreciation parties soon led to some weird occurrences outside of the salon… people would recognize me! I would be sitting at a restaurant trying to eat, at the grocery trying to figure out what to eat, at the hardware store trying to figure out how to fix stuff and people would come up and say, “Hi Eddie! When is the next party?” or “Thank you so much, look at how well my hair is doing!” After a while, I had become a little local celebrity. It was important for party attendees to try and impress me by doing what I told them and showing off their great hair!
My little self who started small began to expand and exact change in my area. I knew everyone, the people who made coffee, the checkers at the grocery, the restaurant staff, bank tellers, dry cleaners, and the gas station guy. It didn’t matter where I went, I knew everyone and most importantly they knew who I was.
We have to remember that we are mini local celebrities. On a day off, the last thing we want to do is get up, dressed and out the door, but we are our own best advertisement.
I used to make myself an appointment at the salon and have an assistant apply my color so it was always fresh looking. I didn’t enjoy getting dressed up all the time, but it was necessary…. we are, after all, symbols of fashion. It was the worst to see someone outside of the salon looking “normal”. It deflated the whole image, especially in today’s social media world.
It’s easier now to advertise yourself but at the end of the day, we still need to physically do hair. Those people are local and come from all around your local neighborhood and a lot closer than you realize. The best social media are your neighbors and neighborhood. Be a brand, be an image, be a celebrity, be the product that they can’t get online or anywhere else!
Last week, we broke down the science for what causes a formula to dry out and why hair would fry even when using a bond builder. If you haven’t read these yet you can find them here.
This week we will continue our focus on heat and additives during the color process but with 2 new scenarios.
1. “I added drops but it still didn’t cover.”
I shake my head every time at this question. The short answer, check what the base of your color line is. Compare that with which drops you are using to see what base it’s adding. You are more than likely recreating an “N” or neutralized color and missing the actual pigment you need to cover.
A bit of a warning, I’m going to get on a bit of a soapbox now… We seem to forget the color wheel. There is also a misunderstanding of what the base of color lines are. Some are warm bases, some are cool.
Additive drops usually give additional primary yellow pigment or gold when added. If the hair is missing the balance of primary pigments in red, yellow, blue and you are just adding more yellow (or gold) then the color is going further from balance. There will be no coverage or wanted color achieved.
If the base of the color line is cool or ashy, then adding yellow is going to get you a neutral result in the formula, not in the hair. You just canceled your own formula from being able to do anything… so basically, the client sat there with color for 30-40min for nothing but some conditioning from the color.
Anyone that has sat in on an All-Nutrient color class with me has heard this rant and understands the ever importance of primary bases in color. If you want to know more, sign up for the next class.
2. “I let her sit with color and 40vol and it didn’t lift enough.”
This one is tricky. Did it actually lift enough to what it was supposed to? Or did it just not lift enough to what you wanted it to?
The short answer, the color will never lift as much as bleach. You have to use higher levels of color and developer to achieve similar results as bleach. Remember, using higher levels of color on naturally darker hair will not give you the exact level you are using. It will give you a result somewhere between your clients natural level and the level you used in your formula.
Remember when we mix color, we get half of what we are mixing. For example, to make a level 6, we mix equal amounts of level 5 with level 7.
Another example… the client has natural level 4 hair and wants caramel looking highlights which would be equivalent to a level 7 golden brown. There are a lot more variables and factors to consider when formulating this. Like, we could use level 10 color with 30vol or 40vol developer and that would get us closer to what we are looking for. Level 7 is 3 levels higher than the natural level 4 of the client. Level 7 is 3 levels lower than the level 10 formula.
Bottom line, the porosity, density, and texture would dictate the developer. That’s the simplest way to get the result without me writing a novel.
So don’t be a stylist who gets lazy and comfortable. Instead, stay creative and use chemistry to give your client the exact color they want.
To start, I need to stay that science works the way science works. It doesn’t work the way we want it to, it works the way it’s supposed to. Chemistry doesn’t know all the variables from behind the chair, that’s where we come in. We adjust the formula accordingly so the chemistry can do what it’s supposed to do.
This past month has been a busy one with a ton of questions. I’ve realized that even though the situations are different, the questions have an underlying thread… we as stylist don’t care how science works, we just want it to do what we want it to do lol 🙂
I am no chemist. I enjoy science and find it really interesting. I can’t pronounce 75% of the words, but I’ve come to a basic understanding of how chemistry contributes to why things aren’t working at the salon. This is the reason I make the recommendations that I do and is why I started writing these posts.
I know that with a bit of insight, we can tackle these repeating scenarios. With that said, let’s start with these heat and additive related issues.
1. “I put her under the dryer for 40 minutes and she barely lifted.”
The short answer, the oxidation process is the release of oxygen. Heat sucks up all the oxygen in that area. Your formula dried out and could not do its job anymore so it stopped working.
Moisture is water or other liquid diffused in a small quantity as vapor, within a solid, or condensed on a surface. Thank you dictionary for that. When we are waiting for color to process, the process is only as good as the amount of moisture the product has. During the oxidation process, oxygen is being released naturally over time, which is causing the formula to dry out. Adding heat sources such as
2. “I used bond builder with bleach and her hair still fried.”
You must properly evaluate the condition of the client’s hair before moving forward with a process that is aggressive such as high lift,
So, have an intervention. Improve the condition of the hair first and then move forward with the service and bond builder.
I do have a point of contention with bond builders. I know the point of bond builders is to strengthen and improve the quality of hair, especially during the coloring process… it does work. However, I also know that there
Try and think how many deep conditioning treatments and repair/restorative products are out there. Over 9000! Why is there so many? We know the hair is going to get wrecked by the client at home after we painstakingly took the time to achieve the look they wanted while trying not to compromise the condition of their
Tune in next week for 2 more scenarios for us to work through.
The Complacent Stylist is someone who has gotten into the mindset of comfort zones, laziness, stifled creativity.
These are the worst things that can happen to us but unfortunately, sometimes we find ourselves in one of or all of these scenarios and that’s when we run into most of our issues… complaints, RE-do, unhappy clients.
It’s brutal mentally, physically, and financially to have to be in that situation. Let’s talk about how or why we became complacent and get back on the road to confidence!
It is a full time job in itself answering coverage questions. As the old saying goes, ‘if I had a dollar for every time I got asked this question…’ Lucky for all you, I don’t get a dollar every time. If I did, I’d be retired 3 times over by now 🙂
I know there are strong opinions out there, some of you will not agree with me on this one. What we are talking about today is not which color is right or wrong, good or bad. Ultimately at the end of the day, follow manufacturers direction for once and measure how much is mixed, and time it properly for how long it’s supposed to process.
What we are talking about today is the schools of thought as to which developer is supposed to be used when formulating for gray hair coverage. Time’s change, technology evolves and we are getting new information every day. Let’s remember that although all this information and technology is great, we still are doing chemistry 101 and there are certain rules that we have to remember when formulating for coverage.
What is Developer Strength? Why does texture, density, and porosity matter?
Developer Strength is the percentage of Hydrogen Peroxide in our developers. It’s the developer that diffuses natural pigment to make room for
Texture, Density, Porosity. We all know this too!
Ammonia is designed to open and swell the cuticle allowing artificial pigment to enter the hair. The combination of Ammonia with Hydrogen Peroxide starts the oxidation process and depending on which level of developer we use, determines how aggressive that process will be.
So using low volume developers will only activate the ammonia in colors a little bit making the process not so aggressive whereas, using higher levels of developer will activate the ammonia in colors more making the process more aggressive.
Developers are tools that we use to do our creative work.
Developers do not know what we want them to do, they have one job.
If the client’s hair is thin, soft, sparse, or the condition of the hair is porous, using 20vol developer is going to be more aggressive than we anticipate, causing up to 2 levels of lift which will make the final color look lighter than we wanted, resulting in the client thinking there was not enough coverage.
This is when 10vol or sometimes even lower volume developer needs to be used so that we do not activate the oxidation process so aggressively resulting in less lift and more deposit in this situation so that we can achieve anticipated results.
This is also true for the opposite. If the hair is thick, dense, coarse, or the person has hair enough for 3 people, then often 20vol isn’t enough. In these unique cases, we may need to break through that extremeness with even 25vol or sometimes, even 30vol developer to get the anticipated result.
The normal average hair client is easy enough and 20vol developer formulas work just fine. That’s why no one ever calls me to say thank you for this formula… it already works great.
Don’t be lazy, don’t get comfortable and complacent.
Stay creative and solve the puzzle of what your client wants even when they have difficulty communicating it.
While women exercise they want their hair secure and out of their face. The hair is usually thrown in a bun or ponytail and off they go. It’s also very likely that it’s the same ponytail or bun every time… because humans are creatures of habit.
As a stylist, you are likely cringing at this point because you can begin to see the damage that can come while your clients get their calorie burn on.
Ask your clients about their hair routine while they exercise and turn it into an education on damage and prevention. Plus, I’m going to make this super easy for you by breaking it down into easily explainable chunks.
Let’s begin with the damage talk. Explain to your client that hair cuticles are cells that overlap like fish scales. When the hair is healthy and smooth those scaly cells fit nicely on top of each other. When those cells don’t lay smoothly it causes these 3 signs of damage.
- Frizz – Dry and bleached hair is caused by exposure to UV light.
- Split Ends – These unflattering ends are caused by too much sun exposure and sweat.
- Breakage – Women who exercise a lot may find that their hair is breaking at the place their hair tie lies.
Now, onto the prevention part. Here are 5 things to share with your client to prevent damage to their hair while they exercise.
- Wear your hair differently each time you workout. That way, you’re not pulling at the same spot all the time, causing breakage.
- Wearing your hair in a loose bun or braid to avoid matting and contact with sweaty skin. Tangles and sweat cause your hair to dry out.
- Use hair ties made of ribbon or fabric. Saying no to elastic makes sure the hair isn’t too tight.
- Run early in the morning or late in the afternoon. This way you avoid the sun’s most harmful UV rays.
- Use a conditioning and/or keratin treatment occasionally to keep hair, hydrated and strong.
Lastly, you can use this prevention chat to pitch a hydration product or a smoothing service. By expressing what to look for and how to prevent damage, your exercising clients will thank you with their loyalty.
Pitching products can get an audible groan in a room full of stylists, but it doesn’t have to.
Here’s an easy lead-in to introduce and pitch products to your clients. Not to mention, it’s an easy chance to share your exceptional knowledge.
As your clients prepare for travel and vacation they head to their local drugstore to stock up on travel sized bottles and products. This is where your opportunity lies… yep, their summer toiletry bag.
Easy pitch topic: Vacation and travel
As you engage your client’s on their upcoming travel plans its easy to bring up sun protection, frizz-inducing weather, chlorine protection and, of course, looking fantastic for those Instagram worthy pics.
You have the trained knowledge of what they should use to look fabulous and keep their hair healthy on their trip. Don’t let them walk aimlessly at the drugstore and guessing what small sized product would work best.
Introduce a suggestion or two and explain why they would be especially useful to your client as they travel. Free samples can also help in this situation. As well as product sizes that are travel appropriate.
Again, remember that you are the expert and have a ton of knowledge to share. In turn, this insight is a simple lead into pitching a product fit for the situation.
You could even offer to fit them in for a keratin treatment before they leave. That way they have lasting smooth locks that battle any weather they may face. This is what savvy stylists do and now you can too!
I’m curious, what do you find most difficult about pitching products and services to your clients?
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Sharing Knowledge in Hair
Change the angle of your blowout!
To give clients a big, bouncy blowout after installing their SHE Hair Extensions, finger-comb the hair upward and follow with the dryer pointed at a 45-degree angle. If your clients want a sleek, sexy blowout, apply the same technique but in a downward motion. But never just blow-dry the hair haphazardly. You’ll spend the rest of your time correcting the damage.
WHAT IS CERAMIC TOURMALINE TECHNOLOGY ANYWAY??
The terms ceramic and tourmaline get thrown around often when speaking about the tools that we use in the beauty industry every day. But do you know what ceramic tourmaline technology really is? Did you make something up the last time your client asked you about the importance of ceramic and tourmaline in their beauty tools?
Ceramic plates are always preferred when it comes time to purchase a flat iron and here’s why:
Unlike aluminum or even gold plated plates, ceramic glides through the hair without pulling and tugging at it, reducing breakage and damage to the hair. Ceramic also heats up quickly and evenly, requiring less passes of the iron through the hair. Look for irons that have ceramic plates and not just a ceramic coating.
Tourmaline is a crystal boron silicate mineral that aids in the hair smoothing process. Tourmaline emits negative ions that counteract the positive ions present in dry or damaged hair. This results in smooth, shiny hair. The tourmaline even helps to seal moisture into the hair and counteracts frizz. Tourmaline is added to the ceramic plates by first being crushed into a fine powder that is then baked into the plates and other elements of the iron. You can also find tourmaline technology added to brushes, combs, curling irons and more.