September 18, 2010 8:56:00 PM
True story: Once when I suggested an au current chin-length crop to a certain lady, she paused, shook her head from left to right and said, "It''s sounding like a bob, and I have one of those at home." Turns out she was right. Bob was her husband. Apparently, one was enough!
In my 20 years of coifing tresses, whether in one of my salons or during those final seconds backstage at a fashion show, one constant remains -- women know what they don''t want. The mention of a bang might send one woman back to the ''80s, and not in a good way. Or the suggestion of layers could render the bravest of souls frightened beyond belief. The same ideas, however, proposed to a different client might garner rave reviews. Too often when a new client settles into my styling chair, her past salon experience reads like a bad script from a reality show that became all too real for her. It began with high expectations and ended just short of making the cut.
"Why can''t I just get a stylist to snip away at the ends with reckless abandon?" asked a frustrated new client the first time I consulted with her. "I want my hair to look as though little cats have chewed on the ends ... it works for me!"
You don''t have to be a New York Times best-selling mystery writer to know what you don''t want. My now longtime friend and client knew the precision cuts from her past went against the daring, colorful persona she evokes. Why rob the zip from someone''s zipadee-doo-dah, for heaven''s sakes? One-size-fits-all hairstyling is a thing of the past.
Within moments of meeting a new client, any great stylist will become a Sherlock Holmes of hair, consulting with open-ended questions. "Tell me about the worst hairstyle you have ever had and the best," one might say, and then, most important, listen to her response. This approach helps me better serve the moment''s most important woman in the world, the one in my chair.
She might not know about Brazilian blowouts, French hair painting or the benefits of vanilla bean treatments, but she does remember the hair extensions that made her head hurt for days, those promised caramel highlights that turned heads for all the wrong the reasons, or the fringe bangs that are still growing out a year later. She remembers the mishaps in full color and does not want an encore. Such encores are easily avoided by recognizing that every woman is different, that every client has a right to decide and to expect what she wants, and simply by paying attention to what she tells you.
You''re worth it
When selecting the person to polish your poof or put some hooray into your hairstyle, first make certain that you feel comfortable and validated. You should never have to demand the attention you deserve. The consultation should always be complimentary, informative and never rushed. Within the first few moments you will know if it''s a "go" or a "no" for sure. You and your stylist do not have to become best friends (although you might), but you must communicate well.
When something doesn''t feel right, by all means hit the pause button. A professional stylist recognizes that you are his or her walking billboard, the best or the worst advertising available, depending on how pleased or unpleased you are with the result.
Remember--if you don''t feel extraordinary whenever you walk past a mirror, it is high time you did. There are so many great stylists out there it is not too much to expect!
Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful With David salon in Jackson and has 20 years experience in the beauty industry. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.