Depending on where in the country you live and practice, chances are pretty good that you’re currently in the midst of lockdown and social distancing.
While social distancing is an important part of keeping our communities safe from COVID-19 and flattening the curve of infection, it’s also tough—on us as stylists and salon owners who want to be out there working, yes, but also on our clientele who are looking for a change.
We are, all of us, living through a period of incredible stress and upheaval. We don’t know what is going to happen from week to week, let alone from month to month, and this has caused many of us to lose a sense of control that is really a necessary component of life. We’re in a holding pattern right now, waiting to be told that everything is going to be okay. We lack a sense of agency. It’s easy to feel defeated.
(Spoiler: There is no doubt that it’s been a tough few months, and it may be tough for a while longer, but it IS DEFINITELY going to be okay! We just have to stick it through!)
In situations like this, where we feel like we don’t have a ton of control over what’s going on around us, people tend to exercise even more control over the things that we can change.
It’s why so many people drastically change their hair after a breakup—going from, say, brunette to blonde, or from waist-length locks to a bob. And now that people can’t turn to salons to make these transitions happen, it’s also why so many people are right now taking their hair into their own hands and trying at-home treatments without really knowing the risks involved. All you have to do is spend five minutes scrolling through the latest “hairstylist reacts” videos on Facebook and YouTube to see the kind of damage that this can cause.
Are you worried about your long-time clientele potentially trying to take matters into their own hands to change up their hair with an at-home color or lightening? Below is some advice you can use to have a constructive conversation that educates them about the risks involved, both during the pandemic and after it’s finally over.
How to Educate Your Clients About At-Home Hair Disasters
1. Lay the groundwork behind the chair.
If you read our content, then you know we are always talking about the importance of educating your client about what it is that you’re actually doing during a treatment. A big part of this is to help them understand why your prices are what they are. The other part? Making clear just how much of a science our work is.
We’ve found that the clients who truly understand what goes into a treatment—all of the science and factors that can impact the end result—are the ones who are least likely to try to do something at home. They know enough to know that they don’t have the skills or experience to get a good result, and that they should leave it up to the professionals.
This is why we always push so hard for hair consultations. Educating your client about anything and everything that could go wrong behind the chair will always be a win for you and your career.
2. Talk specifically about DIY hair treatments.
Do you have a client who’s mentioned thinking about trying something herself at home? Have you heard her talk about her “one friend” who always does her hair herself, and who always looks great? It’s important that you talk to that client about the risks involved with at-home treatments so that she knows what she could be getting into.
Just some of the potential consequences include:
- Damage to the hair caused by over-processing, potentially leading to breakage or even hair loss (especially when you’re dealing with bleach)
- Missed sections or patches which were not saturated fully, leading to splotches, streaks, or blorange hair
- A one-dimensional look, because every strand of hair is treated the same instead of painted freely as you would with professional balayage
- Difficulty correcting or changing colors later, especially if you use a permanent color
- Double or even triple the price of the at-home treatment to have your hair corrected in a salon
- In extreme cases, not being able to fix the problem because additional processing could lead to breakage and hair loss
Simply put, your client needs to understand that they should leave things up to the professionals. At-home treatments tend to over-promise and over-simplify, so even in the best case scenario, your client probably isn’t going to be happy with the end result. In the worst case, they could damage their hair beyond repair.
3. Find ways to be supportive.
We as stylists are always, in a way, a support team for our clients. They look to us for advice and guidance—not just on hair issues, but in all aspects of their lives. In a sense, we’re like their therapists. Good or bad, we’ve seen it all.
While it’s important to have healthy boundaries and not take on too much of your clients’ baggage, it’s also important for you to show that you’re there for them in these stressful times. Reaching out to see how a client is doing, sending them a product sample, or even recommending them products or at-home conditioning treatments will help them feel like they are still connected with you even when you can not see them!
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