The consultation is, hands down, the most important part of your experience in a salon. In those 5-15 minutes your fate for the next 6 weeks is determined. It can make or break your trust in your stylist. It is vital to your happiness and satisfaction with your end result. Stylists spend hours of continued education, after we receive our license, learning the art of a perfect consult. (most of us anyways). So how can you ensure that you are being heard, that you will get the cut or color you picture in your head? Communication, confidence and clarity.
Communication: A consultation is a conversation. There should be time for you to talk and time for you to listen. When it’s your turn to talk, be honest about your hopes for your hair. Discuss length, how you will style it, tools you are comfortable with or wanting to learn about, products you use, where your part is, what colors you would like to see and where. When it is your turn to listen you should hear your stylist repeat back to you your hopes that you have stated so you can confirm that she heard you correctly, what her opinion is on how this style and color will work for you, the process she will use to achieve your desired results, and the cost of the services. You should then have time to make any corrections and ask any questions you may have.
Confidence: Do some homework! It’s hard to be confident if you haven’t done any research. Take some time before your appointment to consider your desires. Collect photos of styles and colors that you like as well as ones that you don’t like. Look for images where the model has hair that is similar in texture and density to your own. Picking out photos of girls with very thick curly hair when you have thin straight hair will not give you a realistic goal. Once you have compiled a good size group of photos look for similarities and consistency. This will help you decipher what you actually want and what you have questions about. Bring the photos with you to your appointment! This is the fastest way to know for sure that you and your stylist are on the same page and visualizing the same image.
Clarity: In the event that you haven’t taken the time to map out what you want (I mean hey, I know life gets busy… I have 4 kids… good grief do I know how time escapes us!) Using clear descriptive words is your next best bet. So many times during consults with my own clients I find myself helping them find the right words. It’s hard! Us hair people go to school for months, sometimes years, learning and using a glossary of terms. We know them inside and out which creates a gap between stylists and clients. Its our job to educate you, to share our wealth of hair facts and information and equip you to love your hair as much as we do! So here is a list of my most used yet least understood words that I use behind the chair every day…
Thin & Thick- describes the number of active follicles growing hair on your head and the amount of space between them. The volume of hair shafts on your scalp. The average number of follicles per square centimeter is 75.
Fine & Coarse- describes the size of each individual hair shaft. The density of the strand of hair. This can be determined by rolling one strand of hair between two fingers. If you can feel it very well it is coarse, if you can feel it a little it is medium and if you can barely feel it at all it is fine.
Layers- describes the length of the hair falling from your crown (on top of your head) in comparison to the hair that is falling from your nape (down by your neck). There are many different methods and styles of layering. It is best to determine your bottom line length and where you would like the shortest layer to fall.
Bob- a specific type of haircut that is achieved by under-cutting the hair at the nape and leaving the hair from the crown longer so the hair turns under easily in styling. It does not move much and is very solid in appearance.
Texture- breaking up the density of a haircut, is sometimes referred to as thinning. This is achieved by removing weight from the hair not length. It allows for the haircut to have more movement and a more casual finish.
A-Line- a term that can be applied to any haircut and refers to the back of the hair being shorter than the front. This can be done as dramatically as desired.
A-Symmetrical- a term that can be applied to any haircut and refers to one side being longer than the other. This can be done as dramatically as desired.
Level- Refers to how dark or light the hair is in color. We break this down in numbers from 1-12. 1-4 dark brown/black, 5 brown, 6 light brown, 7-8 dark blonde, 9 blonde 10-11 light blonde and 12 platinum (as close to white as possible)
Tone- Refers to the hue in the color of the hair. We break this down into 3 groups. Gold, Copper, Red and Red Violet are Warm Colors. Grey, Silver, Blue and Green are Cool Colors. Beige and Naturalare Neutral Colors containing equal amounts of Warm and Cool tones in one.
Hombre/Ombre- describing a smooth transition of levels between the scalp and the ends. This can be done as dramatic as desired.
Highlights & Lowlights- adding colors that are lighter or darker than your current color. There are many methods to doing this, foiling being one of them. We break this down into three categories. Applying color to strands of hair from the crown to the hairline all the way around your head is called a Full. Applying color to strands from the breaking point (just past the crown where your head begins to round down in the back) to the hairline of your face and not below the temples is called a Partial. Applying color to strands along your part-line only is called a Flash.
Solid Color- the application of one color applied to every hair. This is broken down into two categories. Applying color to the area of hair that has grown out since your last visit up to the line of demarcation (the line where the previous color starts) and measuring no more that one inch in length is called a Retouch. Applying color to any new growth more than one inch in measurement through the ends of the hair is called a Global.