Saturday, April 16, 2011

Beauty Blunder 12: Stylist From Hell

I've had it.  All. Of. It.  Bad manicures, bad makeup, ugly haircuts, and spray tans even the cast of Jersey Shore wouldn't want.

Thankfully, I learned from my own eyebrow mistakes early on to never let another soul go near my arches.  It's one thing if you have the ability to be your own beautician, but it's a whole other ball game when you have to rely on others to turn you into your most flattering self.  Trust becomes very important, and if you have dollar signs in your eyes instead of quality, you may end up paying much more to correct what was done.

Here is the story of my stylist from Hell and how I learned to grow into a more informed client.

This is a beauty blunder I think everyone has to deal with at some point in their lives.  You have a vision for your hair, nails, makeup, eyebrows, whatever it may be, but your technician or stylist just does whatever they want.  Perhaps you wanted a trim but wound up with a whole new, shorter do.  Maybe you like your eyebrows thick, but the person you go to doesn't do custom brows, so you wind up with the same over plucked or waxed arches as everyone else.  This is one of my pet peeves about salons: when stylists completely take over.  Clients are not all out of touch when it comes to beauty.  Some do like to leave their entire look in the hands of someone else, but those types are few and far between.  In fact, a lot of women and men I know have specific likes and dislikes when it comes to appearance.

Here's a little industry story:

At one of my very first gigs I worked for a woman who was in her fifties.  She'd been in the industry so long, I bet she could blow dry a head of hair in the dark.  When I came in for my first day of work, she asked me to sit in her chair.  My long raven-colored locks were pulled back in a messy ponytail.  She asked me to take my hair down.  My beauty school teacher had cut dramatic layers that left me with lots of height on top and just enough length to keep me happy.  The woman scrutinized my do, her long soft fingers tugging the ends to see where they truly fell, her eyes squinting in the mirror as most stylists do, I'm sure to imagine how her idea of a style would look on me.  For the most part, I was happy with my hair before she cut it, but when she uttered the words I'd hear her say countless times to women with beautiful long hair I was immediately sucked into a place that would leave me with much shorter hair that would take years to grow out.

"I'll make it look one-hundred percent better."

I fell into the trap.  She dry-cut my locks (that means no water or shampoo before) up to the shortest layer, pieces of sharp hair ends raining on my face and arms.  There was nothing I could do, or so I thought.  I was still a teenager and speaking up for myself hadn't been a part of my comfort zone.  When she was done, I swept up my lifeless hair so the next client could sit down, and I began to learn how important it is to protect my wants when going to someone else for a service.

Here are some tips to getting what you want in the salon:

  • Research and talk to people first. Do you have any friends with fabulous hair?  Ask them where they go for a cut and who they go to.  Having a referral will immediately make your relationship with the stylist of importance.  After all, if you're unhappy they know you'll tell all of your friends, and one unhappy client can be more powerful than ten recommendations.  If you don't have any friends with enviable hair, spend a day visiting salons.  Walk in and ask the receptionist for a brochure and tour.  Don't be afraid to ask her who she recommends for cuts, perms, color, etc.  Check Facebook and Google to see if there is a website with reviews.  Sometimes specific stylists are mentioned for their work, good or bad.
  • Have a consultation only.  If you aren't absolutely certain it's something you want, you can always book a time for a short consultation.  
  • Bring in a photograph of exactly what you want.  Don't assume that your idea of "funky" is going to be the same as the stylist's.  Don't be afraid to exude confidence.  
  • Act like you know what you want; a good stylist will follow your lead, unless it's an impossible feat. Then, he or she will tell you.  If the stylist is domineering or bossy, don't even think about booking an appointment with him or her.  You'll regret it.
  • If the consultation finishes and everyone's hoping you'll receive the service immediately, simply say "I have to check my schedule and call in for an appointment." Being put on the spot makes some people nervous, but if you expect that the salon is going to want to book your appointment, you can avoid an impulse commitment to something you're unsure of.
  • Take time to think about it, and ask friends for their opinions.  You might want to visit other salons for consultations and a second opinion.
  • It's important to feel comfortable wherever you wind up.  If your stylist does something different from what you discussed, don't be afraid to politely point it out and put them back on track.  If you feel very uncomfortable, it is your responsibility to stop them.  You are the paying client, and you will have to live with whatever style they give you.
There are great salons out there and amazing stylists.  When it comes to you, do your homework!

Do you have any stories of a bad experience?  Have you found your favorite stylist?  Share below and help a sister out!

For more Beauty Blunders, click here.


Kelly said...

First of all, this post has some GREAT advice. I had let my hair grow out, the longest it had been in several years but I am one of those people who loves to get her hair cut and I wanted a change (and my bangs back). I went to Julia at Avanti Salon in Boston and she was fabulous, her strengths were cutting, particularly layers and bangs! I went in, told her what I wanted and she did a great job. I will admit that the layers she cut were a bit shorter than I had probably wanted (although I still loved the cut), but I will just be more explicit about the layers I want. I also want front bangs, and honestly she did such a good job I am definitely going back.