Have you ever had a client give you free reign to do anything you want with their hair? They are ready for a change and trust you to make them look gorgeous!
How do you know what style and length will look best on them?
Do you take the time to do a thorough consultation or do you just jump in and go for it…and hope for the best?
Or do you give them a safe haircut – a haircut you’re confident doing without knowing if it will be a good look for them?
The Client Wants You To Choose
It was a few years into Rachel’s hairstyling career when Lynn first sat in her chair. Lynn hadn’t had a haircut in over a year and was ready for a change. She told Rachel, “Just make me look beautiful.”
Rachel felt equal parts excited and terrified. She watched other more experienced stylists in her salon do consultations for clients who asked them to pick which hairstyle would look best but she done it herself.
Lynn’s hair was down to her bra strap with no layers. She had a slight natural wave and it was definitely in need of a new shape.
Taking a deep breath, Rachel pushed the doubts out of her mind and turned her focus to making Lynn look beautiful.
Are You Cautious Or Do You Just Go For It?
What emotions come up when you have this kind of situation where you are the one has to decide what haircut will look best on someone you just met? Are you confident and eager to get started? Excited and terrified, like Rachel? Or do you feel full-on anxiety?
Pro Tip: If you are feeling full-on anxiety and aren’t confident that you know how to figure out what hairstyle will look good on them, don’t guess! You need to be honest with the client sitting in your chair.
Obviously, you don’t want to appear like you don’t know what you’re doing but you can say that you’d like to get a second opinion just to make sure you’ve selected the right style.
Consider asking a more seasoned stylist in the salon to assist you because you can’t undo a wrong haircut.
As the next step, I highly recommend that you get further training so you are prepared the next time this opportunity comes up.
Let’s walk through the four steps needed to determine the right haircut for any person sitting in your chair. You’ll do these steps during the consultation.
There are several important factors you’ll need to look for when establishing what hair length and what geometric shape will work best for the client. I’m referring to the perimeter of the haircut. Will the perimeter be rounded, A-lined or squared? Will it be soft?
1. Body Shape
When you first meet your client, be sure to look at their body shape. Are they tall or shorter? Do they have broad or narrow shoulders? Are they slender, heavy, or more round? How about their neck? Is it long and slender or do you not see much of it? All of these features are important to note so you cut the geometric shape of the hair to flatter their body shape.
Example: If your client tends to be on the heavier side with broader shoulders, it’s best to choose a rounded perimeter to create length and softness.
2. Face Shape
Another thing you want to look at is their face shape. Pull the hair away from their face and look at them straight and step back behind them and look at them in the mirror. Is their face round? Long? Do they have certain features that you want to promote such as beautiful eyes or lips? Or gorgeous cheekbones that you want to bring out? Do they have features that are disproportionate that you want to minimize?
Example: If your client has a round face, a one length bob or A-line bob will look good. The straight angle of the bob helps to minimize the roundness of the face. It softens the features and makes the face appear more oval.
3. Head Shape
Take your hand and feel their head shape. I know it might seem odd but trust me on this one. I had a client who had a really weird prominent crown area, and I’m glad I discovered it so I made sure I gave her a style that minimized it. The main areas to pay attention are the crown area, occipital bone and the area behind the ears.
Example: If your client has a prominent crown, a graduated bob will take the attention away from the crown and put volume at the bottom to balance out the head shape.
4. Hair Analysis
Determine the hair’s texture and density. Is the texture course, medium or fine? Is the density thin, medium or thick? What is the wave pattern? Pull back the hair and look at the hairline around the face and around the nape. How thick is the hair in those areas? Usually the hair around these areas is a little finer and has more swirls and cowlicks. What are the growth patterns?
Example: If your client has a wants a very short haircut and their nape area is not very thick and has a lot of swirls, it’s best to recommend a different cut. A bob is a good choice because it will create thickness in the nape area.
While you’re going through these steps, be sure to explain to your client what you’re doing and why you’re doing it in a favorable way. Of course, you don’t want to announce that they have a weirdly prominent crown or a really fat neck! Just assure them that you are analyzing all these areas to create a look that they will be happy with.
Your client will appreciate how thorough you are, and ultimately, that will build trust and loyalty. Your consultations will set you apart as a true professional. And you’ll greatly increase your chances that the clients will rebook with you.
I can’t tell you how many times I have had a client tell me “You know what, Sherri? This is the first time I’ve ever had a stylist who really took the time to talk me through this and who really looked at my head shape, my face shape and my whole body to make sure the style would look good on me.
Consultation Training For The Win
Do you think Rachel gave Lynn a new style she loved? Or did Rachel play it safe and give her a style that was pretty close to what she already had?
After going through all the steps she learned from her consultation training, Rachel gave Lynn a beautiful classic A-line bob. Lynn was thrilled with the outcome. She never would have thought to ask for the cut Rachel gave her.
She was so appreciative of the time Rachel spent determining the right cut that she left a very generous tip. And she posted a selfie of her new style, tagged Rachel and gave her a shout out as the amazing stylist who made her dream come true by making her look beautiful!
P.S. If you need advice or support with this area of your hairstyling business, I would love to assist you. I’ve been in this industry as a hairstylist and educator for over 30 years and boy have I learned a lot of lessons the hard way! Rachel was wise to observe the experienced stylists in her salon and her proactive approach sure paid off!
On Point Hair Academy and my Own Your Chair program were created for stylists like you who need just a little help (or a lot of help) in different areas of their hairstyling business.
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Take the first step in your journey to hairstyling success and book now. I look forward to meeting you!
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Remember, your work is not about you. Your work is about how you make your clients feel.