“Have you ever had a new client come in and say they’ve lived in your area forever and have yet to find someone that can cut their hair?” asks Wendy Bélanger (@wendyabelanger), Sam Villa ambassador, international Redken artist, and owner of Influence.The Salon and Identity.The Experience Salon and Beauty Bar. “It’s usually followed by, ‘I like volume, so I want this part here cut short’ or ‘I don’t like layers, but I want texture, but don’t use a razor, I hate the razor.’”
These clients don’t realize they are telling their stylist how to do what they are professionally trained to do. “If we listen to them and not assert our professional opinion, we’ll be added to the list of people who ‘can’t do their hair,’” explains Bélanger, who says a proper consultation is essential with EVERY visit to avoid this issue.
For this model, the guest explained she continually asks stylists for texture on the ends and volume through the top. And that’s exactly what she received; however, it isn’t what she ultimately wanted or needed.
After a lengthy consultation, Bélanger realized the texture she wanted was really about movement and ease in styling since the client is active and doesn’t have the time to spend hours in front of the mirror. Ultimately, unwanted length was removed from the bottom to create the “softness” she wanted, versus the texture she asked for. Sam Villa Signature Series 7” Dry Cutting Shears were used to cut sections from side to side creating movement throughout the interior, and even more texture was created by coloring her base darker to create dimension.
To figure out what a guest really wants, ask questions . . . a lot of them, including these:
- “Would you like to maintain your current look or change it?” This not only clarifies the service, but it also helps prevent a guest from leaving. Many people leave their stylist because they “just want a change,” not thinking that it can happen with their current stylist.
- “What characteristics do you like about your hair?” It might seem obvious, but if length is their first answer, don’t recommend a short haircut. If they like their current texture, don’t suggest a change. If they are pressed for time when styling, don’t propose a complicated look.
- “What do you dislike about your hair?” Doing hair is essentially problem-solving. Help a guest fix a problem and they are happy and loyal. Sometimes it’s a cut to enhance or minimize volume; sometimes it’s a styling tutorial to help them master a finish; and other times it’s as easy as suggesting a different product that addresses their hair’s needs.
- “What is your regime; how often do you shampoo and how do you style your hair?” Make sure their willingness and skill level will enhance any suggested looks—a beautiful cut won’t look how they want it to if they can’t style it correctly. Take the time to teach guests how to style their hair with the proper tools. If there’s no time to wrap individual sections around a curling iron, suggest a Sam Villa Pro Results Double-Waver for faster easier styling or a 3-in-1 Blow Dry Hot Brush that can dry and smooth hair at the same time.
“Asking the proper questions will help clarify an end result quicker than trying to translate what you think a guest is saying,” says Bélanger. “It will also help keep you off the list of people who think they can’t do hair.” She adds.
Sam Villa is co-founder and chief creative officer of the Sam Villa Company (Allvus, LLC), a leading education and styling tool company for the professional hair industry. He is also Global Artistic Ambassador for Redken 5th Avenue, a L’Oreal brand. Villa is the 2021 NAHA Educator of the Year, Hair Awards USA Hall of Fame Inductee, 2021 AHP Icon Stylist Influencer of the Year, 2020 International Hairdressing Awards ‘International Hair Influencer of the Year,’ the 2017 NAHA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Intercoiffure America/Canada Member, Behind the Chair Stylist Choice Award Winner for Favorite Platform Artist and Educator (2012, 2011 and 2007) and Favorite Overall Educator of the Year (2015). His inspiring education and innovative ergonomic styling tools can be experienced on samvilla.com. The Sam Villa brand brings free digital education to everyone including hot tips and techniques, as well as access to livestreamed educational events. The company also offers professional tools for consumers so they can achieve salon-quality results at home with minimal effort.