- The hair life ain’t easy.
- A hairdresser, a salon manager, and a design director told INSIDER there are a number of annoying things clients do that can impact their appointment.
- From vague directions to poor hygiene, here are the worst things hair salon customers do.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Once you’ve managed to choose the right hair salon, you might feel like your job is done — you relax, sit in the chair, and assume everything else is up to your hairdresser.
However, according to a hairdresser, a salon manager, and a design director who spoke to INSIDER, there are a number of annoying things clients do that can negatively impact their appointment.
From vague directions to poor hygiene, here are the worst things hair salon customers do.
They have gross or crusty scalps
Hannah Jafferji, a hairdresser at Blade Hairclubbing in Soho, London, says a client with messy hair is actually “quite fun” because it’s “like a challenge.”
However, showing up with “gross” hair is another story.
According to Jafferji, some clients, most often men, come in with “crusty scalps, either from product build up without using correct cleansing shampoo or just severe dandruff, which is actually gooey.”
“[It] sometimes flicks back in your face when you’re cutting,” she said, adding that it can even smell and sometimes makes her gag.
“It’s something I’ve never got used to after all these years,” she said. “I always recommend tea tree or ginger shampoos if they don’t actually need to see a dermatologist.”
They cut their own hair between appointments
Jafferji added that clients who cut their own hair can also present a challenge.
Put down the scissors.
They have unrealistic standards
“Clients [come in] with extremely dark hair [and] expect it platinum blonde or a fashionable pastel color because they’ve seen some video on YouTube or some backstreet salon did it to their friend,” Jafferji said. “It’s not possible in one day, and if your stylist has integrity they would explain why it’s not possible.”
Gavin Hoare, the Salon Manager at Richard Ward Salon in Chelsea, London who has 19 years of experience and has worked with L’Oreal in hair education for nearly 10, told INSIDER that the client has to understand what’s achievable.
“One of the worst nightmares for me is, you’ve had a regular client that’s blonde who wants to go brunette. ‘You won’t like it,’ ‘Yes I will.’ It goes back and forward and eventually they go brunette. ‘Oh I don’t like it, I want to be blonde again.’
“They don’t realize that blonde again is going to take a year, maybe 6 months, of cleansing, re-highlighting, to get back maybe to the blonde you were before. You have to have that expectation.”
He added that some clients also expect their hair to stay the same as they age.
“The other thing clients are doing is bringing hair pictures from when they were 24 and they’re now 54. Their hair density has changed, they’ve gone through quite a few crises, we’re never going to get you back to there.”
He’d probably never say it to a client, he said, but he tells the students he’s teaching.
“We’re not plastic surgeons, we’re hairdressers,” he said. “We have to keep it real and be honest. Let’s not overpromise and underdeliver.”
Unrealistic standards also apply to how long an appointment will take.
Yureesh Hooker, Design Director and Master Hair Stylist at Broome Street Society in Soho, New York, told INSIDER: “When you’re booking the appointment, ask ‘When should I expect to be out of the salon?’ Sometimes there’s this expectation if you come in at 1 p.m. for an hour-long appointment but skip a blow dry you can leave at 1.30 p.m. — not true.”
Hooker, who has worked in the beauty industry for more than 19 years and is an international artists for L’Oreal’s Professional Products Division, added: “Really check and stay around for the whole process — there’s a reason why all of those things take place, and if you can’t stay from start to finish, you don’t get the result of that.”
They move their head too much
Jafferji gets annoyed by “people who constantly move their heads.”
“Sharp movements of the head mean the haircut takes twice as long as we’re trying to be careful not to cut a chunk out,” she said.
They have no idea what they want
Hooker told INSIDER that coming into a salon without knowing what you want can go very badly.
“I acknowledge I’m the professional, [and] you may be in a place that’s just like “I just need something new,” [but] I would say that’s the moment that can go right or wrong,” he said.
“If you have no idea what you want one of three things is going to happen: 1. Your stylist is going to wind up rushing at some point, [because the] consultation will take up an inordinate amount of time; 2. Every person after you is now going to be running late, [and] everyone will be stressed out for the rest of the day; 3. You’re not going to get your professional stylist’s best work.”
Hoare agreed, adding: “Do your homework, do your research, look at your reviews, have a clear idea of what you want, what your budget is, and let the salon work to your budget. What are your priorities?”
They make vague demands
Hoare says clients who use “vague terms” are one of his biggest pet peeves.
“‘I want my color to look like Jennifer Aniston.’ What is that?” he said. “In every picture of Jennifer Aniston her hair is different. What is that color?
“We need to get visual. You need to say ‘this is my color’. One person’s blonde is another person’s gold.
“If they’re that vague and they don’t know what they want, listen to your gut instinct. We’ve been in business long enough to know you can create more problems for yourself.”
Jafferji added: “You get certain clients who’ll watch something on YouTube or Facebook and they’ll want their layers a certain way, but they way they explain it is quite funny sometimes, just for us from a technical point of view, saying ‘just two over here,’ it doesn’t really work like that.
“That’s why I think it’s so important to have a stylist that is patient, willing to listen, even if they’re saying something that sounds totally mental, to fully understand what they’re trying to say.”