The goal of this post is to help you learn how to communicate with your stylist…
Stylist Lack of Knowledge
I have seen and participated in many conversations regarding stylist lack of knowledge for healthy hair practices such as dusting (trimming very little off the ends of hair), texlaxing (purposely under processing the relaxer), stretching (extending the time in between relaxer touch up), search & destroy (snipping troubled ends only), etc. Some of us have gotten downright frustrated and salon hopped or even resorted to becoming a total DIYer (do it yourself). *raises hand* But I question, is this fair to the stylist?
Communication is Key
Let’s face it, how you communicate (with anyone, not just a stylist) determines the outcome of the conversation in most cases. Let’s use work as an analogy — ever had a supervisor come up to you and request completion of a task of which you knew absolutely nothing about? Oh by the way, to further complicate matters, you’re the subject matter expert. You have two options – accept the task and say nothing OR speak up and say you don’t understand. Most of us will say nothing because we’re too afraid to let our supervisor down and/or too embarrassed to admit we don’t know something. After all, we’re the subject matter expert, right? After you complete the task, the supervisor concludes — thank you but this wasn’t quite what I was looking for. What a let down! This is the same communication breakdown that often happens in salons. You make a request, the stylist has no clue but doesn’t want to own up to it, they deliver based on what they think they’ve heard or what they think you want and in the end, it’s a total fail. Sound familiar?
How To Communicate With Your Stylist
Subject matter experts don’t know everything and as a client/customer, we’re wrong for expecting them too. Rather than throwing around healthy hair terms, why not break things down in simple terms that your stylist can easily understand or relate too.
The word texlaxed never entered the conversation with my stylist. Instead, I explained in simple terms that I was looking to achieve thickness and texture without going natural. Therefore, I requested we reduce the relaxer contact time. She suggested allowing the relaxer to sit for 6 minutes after laying & smoothing the relaxer. She normally sets her timer but I’m not afraid to let her know when 6 minutes is up. She promptly stops what she’s doing and rinses out the relaxer without complaint. In the end, it’s a win / win — happy client and consistent results each touch up.
Rather than using the term dusting, I specifically state what I’m looking to achieve — trim a 1/4″, 1/2″ etc. I am not afraid to ask for a mirror and have the stylist show me what will be cut. I’m also not afraid to show the stylist what I want trimmed if my trim tolerance differs from her recommendation. At any rate, I know what I’m signing up for each and every time; no surprises.
Related Article: How to Dust Your Hair to Retain Length
I’ve been to many stylists — some skilled & some not so skilled. There was only one out of many that knew what dusting was and that was because a previous client taught her what it meant — emphasis on the word taught which the theme of this entire post. You, the client, must establish the guidelines in order for your expectations to be met. Assuming the stylist knows how to accomplish your request is a game I rather not play. Teach your stylist what you want but do so in a gentle, non-confrontational way.
Working with your stylist is like working with your partner — they are not mind readers. You have to explicitly state what you want to ensure you get what you want. I no longer rely on terms and phrases that we (DIYers) use. I now use visuals and explanations because communication is definitely the key to any successful relationship, personal or professional.