Ask Chuck: Demand the attention you deserve from your hairdresser

By Charles Colson
May 31, 2012 at 12:31 a.m.

I have been going to the same hairdresser for several years. It seems like she has taken me for granted. It does disturb me when she smokes, takes calls on her cell phone and talks to other hairdressers while doing my hair. Shouldn't I deserve more attention than this?

Most definitely. The general Texas State Board manual, which is taught throughout all beauty colleges, specifically addresses this subject. The training instructions states: No hairdresser will be considered professional if they choose to smoke, use cell phones and not pay close attention to their clients ... even to the point of speaking a different language that their client cannot understand. This creates problems when the client will automatically assume the hairdresser might be talking about them, even if they are not.

During your appointment time, your hairdresser should consider you their most important client. Through the years as a salon owner, I have trained hairdressers to concentrate on their clients' needs because without them, you have no business. It is extremely important that, while you may be getting a perm or color treatment, your hairdresser should constantly pay close attention to your services. There is nothing wrong with reminding your hairdresser of all the above suggestions. You are paying full price and should receive full attention.

I think I quite often have good ideas for ways to style my hair, but it seems like some hairdressers just continue doing as they see fit. Shouldn't I feel comfortable to correct them?

By all means. All hairdressers should remember that you have been with your hair longer than anyone and they should definitely learn to listen instead of being domineering. Oftentimes, it is quite evident that some hairdressers think they are God's gift to the world, when it should be the other way around and realize that you, as a client, is a gift to them from God.

Even in the state board manuals, it highly emphasizes that hairdressers should always be mindful of becoming good listeners. I have always believed that you will never fool the public and the public can teach all of us to attain better attributes. As you become the wise teacher and the hairdresser learns to listen well, how phenomenal do you think the results could be?

I go to a salon that has at least 12 hair stylists. Many times, I walk out feeling I was just a number that came in the door. Am I wrong to feel this uncomfortable?

Not one bit. This can happen to men as well as women. In a large salon that is quite busy, you should always be considered so important that you remain on a first name basis to the entire salon. The salon owner should make it his or her duty to see that everyone receives fair treatment.

In professional surroundings, you should always feel comfortable and be able to request any stylist of your choice. And when you finally find that right stylist, you have the right to demand keeping that stylist each time. You should never be considered client number 18 or 19. I used to supervise a six and even 12 operator salon, and we were taught to continually handle each customer as the most important person that walked in the door. Of course, this has a way of working out even better as the clients let the stylists know they are the best hairdressers in the world. How could you ever have better teamwork?

As a final note, wouldn't it be a wonderful world if every type of business that serves the public always stays mindful, as Barbra Streisand puts it, "People who need people, are the luckiest people in the world."

Charles Colson is a local hair stylist and registered massage therapist. You may email hair or massage questions to or call 361-575-5331.



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