Sexy Science Series Part 3: What Your Clients Need to Know That You're Not Telling Them

Welcome back to our Sexy Science Series! If you’ve been following along, you will know that this is our third and final part to our series. If you haven’t been following along, make sure to check out Part 1: What Causes and Prevents Hair Damage and Part 2: Strand Test or Die. 

As a reminder, to bring you this series, we partnered with Gina Cooper, Wella Master Color Expert and owner of Spectrum Salons in Park City, Utah. Gina is also a frequent guest on the Beyond the Technique podcast, so make sure to check out podcast episode 105, our first introductory episode with Gina to learn more about her background.

With all the fun introductions out of the way, let’s jump in! As hair professionals, we often get so used to being in the industry day in and day out, that we forget that our clients don’t hold the same hair knowledge as we do. And sometimes, without even trying, we become unintentionally negligent. Which brings us to our topic today – what do our clients need to know that we’re not telling them? We’ve outlined five items that stylists should be telling their salon clients on a regular basis. 

1). Properly Shampooing and Conditioning Our Hair

Let’s start with the basics, properly shampooing and conditioning our hair. Typically, clients come in with dirty hair. This presents the perfect opportunity to share the basics for shampooing and conditioning. 

Let’s start with shampooing. Clients should expect there to be a lather when shampooing. Now, there are some brands that are specific to different hair textures that actually don’t lather up, but if you don’t fall into that category, most professional shampoos are going to create a lather.  A lather is basically the bubbly soap that’s created by the shampoo. However, it’s important to note that drug store shampoos will lather more than professional shampoos, typically because professional shampoos are more concentrated. This is important to share with your clients!

Gina also likes to show her clients how much shampoo she’s using for their hair. She makes sure to point out that she doesn’t start to apply it before their hair is sopping wet. Even then, she notes how she rubs it in her palms first to start the emulsification process before touching the scalp. 

So, when you are shampooing your client’s hair, make sure to point out how much pressure you are putting on the scalp to clean away build up. Remind them that washing their hair isn’t actually about washing their hair, it’s about washing their scalp and removing that layer of oil. Ask them how many times they wash their hair in a week. If they’ve jumped on the bandwagon of washing a few times a week, stress how important it is to shampoo properly when they do wash their hair. In fact, many times there should be two consecutive shampoos before the conditioner is applied. This is why you often see professional shampoo bottles that are bigger than their conditioner counterpart. When it’s time to clean your hair, you need to really clean it! 

2) Use a Towel Dry (Whenever You Can) Before Conditioning

At Gina’s salon, she encourages her stylists to squeeze out any excess moisture after they’ve shampooed a guest with a towel, and then show their guest how much extra moisture can come out from a towel dry. She encourages her clients to keep a little hand towel in their shower and squeeze out the extra moisture from their hair after they shampoo, but before they condition.

Towel drying, like shampoos, are not created equal! It all depends on your hair and its needs. It’s important to keep in mind the manufacturer’s directions for the products you are using. Some will call for a towel dry, some won’t. If your client’s hair does call for a towel dry, make sure to share that!

After sharing the towel dry trick, Gina also shows her clients how much conditioner to use and how to apply it. She loves doing this with her clients because by teaching her clients about the proper amount of product and techniques to use, she saves her clients money and earns their trust by sharing advice – an easy win at no cost. In fact, your client can save money by using less product and salon owners can save money by having their stylists start with a towel dry before diving into conditioning. 

3) Coach Your Clients

Sharing advice and tips is so important! In fact, it leads us to our next tip, coach your clients! Help your clients understand that the products you recommend are worth every penny! When your clients are at your chair, with a cape around their neck, they aren’t going anywhere. This is the time when stylists need to nurturea relationship of trust with their client. Explain to them why they should be using certain products, show them how to apply it, teach them to use a hot tool, etc. Use it as a coaching session to demonstrate the value of the product and teach them how to create the same results in the salon at home. Keep the products out during the whole session and keep reminding them of their benefits. Building this type of trustingrelationship will help you keep your clients for years to come. You want to be the person your clients turn to for advice on anything and everything that relates to the hair and beauty industry.  

4) Quote Before You Start

One issue Gina has with the hair industry is the norm to not provide clients with a quote before starting on their hair. Think of it this way, when you go out to eat and you see an item on the menu that’s listed as “seafood market price” chances are you aren’t going to order (unless it’s a special occasion or you really want it) because you know it’s going to be expensive. We forget that not providing a quote at the end of the consultation is like asking our clients to order the seafood market price. What if your client only has $200 to spend? She’s probably panicking a little bit hoping that it won’t cost that much. At Gina’s salon, there is an emphasis on focusing on what her services are worth, but not surprising her guests with what that worth costs. 

With that said, Gina shared some tips on how to have the sometimes uncomfortable conversation about costs with clients before starting work on their hair. 

First, always sit down. Grab a floating stool nearby and take a seat. It’s good to be at their level. 

Second, walk them through the basics of what you need to do for their hair and give them a price. And then, feel free to throw in other services you typically do, such as a conditioning and gloss services. Again, share the price for the add-ons. Make sure you let them know that you want to be on the same page with them budget-wise before beginning. 

Gina finds that two things usually happen. One, she gets interrupted from her client who’s excited about the extra treatment and has her add it on. Two, she gets a heartfelt thank you from her clients for being upfront and honest about the price. 

Now, once that initial price conversation happens, you can begin the appointment. But Gina also recommends discussing the price that it will cost to maintain the look they are getting, so that the price is already known for future appointments. It’s also a great way to coach your clients that professional hair color can be maintained on a budget. Which leads us to our last item….

5) Maintaining Color on a Budget

It’s important to help your clients understand there are ways they can keep their professional hair color while not breaking the bank. But as hair professionals, it’s also our job to offer those opportunities. One way Gina does this is by offering her clients mini color touch services. This helps hold her guests over between services. At Gina’s salon, they see guests come in for the mini color service at the four-week mark. Her team will just hit the guest’s part line, hairline and go around the nape of the neck. Her team is using a quarter of the amount of product typically used on a root retouch. And since her team has used the formula before, they know what it will be doing, so their clients have the option to leave with wet hair and reduce the cost of the service by not including a blow dry. 

Another service Gina offers is a mini foil service. This service allows Gina to target specific areas, and it’s especially nice for bright blondes who like to look fresh and keep their hair back. She will put a few foils around the hair line, mohawk area and a few face framing pieces. This is a great service that will help you keep your color on your clients instead of losing them to a different salon, or home box color. 

There are even more ways to help extend your clients’ color! One way is by having them express themselves through retail color services. Gina loves to add fun color to her clients hair by adding a hint of a fashion shade, say a rose gold or an electric peach, with tinted shampoos. It’s a great way to give her clients a fun look, without having them invest in a whole new balayage experience. Gina shares what she is doing with her clients and lets them know that they can purchase these tinted shampoos to give their own hair a temporary, fun color. It’s a great way to send your client home with more retail that was custom made during their salon experience!

If your client would prefer to use a conditioning toner versus a shampoo toner, Gina recommends creating a custom mix conditioner for your guests. For her guests, she will add a direct die to the conditioners for at-home use. Again, it’s a great way for your clients to keep their hair color fresh between visits and it allows them to experiment with fun colors. 

We covered a lot today, but to recap, here are the five things you should be telling your clients…

  1. Properly shampoo and condition our hair. Teach your guests to emulsify the shampoo in their hands and really get into that root area and get a good scrub, especially before a color service! 
  2. Towel drying. Make sure you are following directions and being mindful of the product you are using as well as the fabric of the hair. And if a client is a candidate for towel drying before conditioning, share it with them! 
  3. Coaching sessions. Make your client understands that products are worth every penny. 
  4. Quote prices. Let your guests know what their budget can handle and what your services are worth. Your guests will appreciate the transparency you’ve created. 
  5. Maintaining color on the slightest of budgets. Offer express services on your menu that will help your client stay within their budget and help them express themselves through color retail services.

That’s it for our Sexy Science Series. We hope you found this information helpful. To listen to the original podcast with Gina Cooper, check out episode 115 on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or your favorite podcast app! 

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Emily Kelly