Most hairdressers I've visited truly care. I have friends in the profession, so I appreciate the physical and emotional demands, the hours, the client hassles.
At the same time, a good haircut in Toronto often hits three figures, and the custom of not tipping the owner (as my mother did) has vanished.
These Seven Deadly Sins are behaviours that keep me switching salons. Not all are deal-breakers, but if several happen during one visit, I'm gone forever, and will tell the world about you.
Brilliant cut one visit, and the next I leave wondering if I saw the same person. Yes, consistency is challenging, but it's your business, especially at $100, to get the the June cut as brilliant as the April one.
Is this why my beloved late hairdresser, James, once coloured my hair shocking strawberry (rather than deep auburn), without quite telling me? ("I'm just going to pick up the colour a bit for summer.")
But James didn't have to stand in front of a corporate board of directors looking like an Ozzfest swag-seller, did he?
You can create your line of hair care products but if they do not best the ones I use, I'm not buying. If you want me to try it, a sample would work. Stop asking me at the cash if I need any product. Stop pitching facials, lowlights or satin pillowcases ("to protect your hair"). If I'm interested, I'll ask.
4. Pain in the Neck
Go to one of your sinks and lean your neck back. Hold it at that weird 60-degree angle with no support, not just for a shampoo, but while the shampoo girl takes a call, wanders off to get someone a tea, changes the music or chats with the receptionist.
I've been to precisely one salon with adjustable and padded neckrests (Toni & Guy). I have neck pain for days from the typical salon setup.
5. Values Productivity Over Results
When my bright red faded after a week despite colour care shampoo, I asked why, and learned the salon had changed product. The new one processes faster, but a disgruntled ex-employee said almost all customers complained about colour lift.
However, productivity is king, and they can get 'em out the door faster if the goo steeps for 10 min. instead of 30.
When my colour turns out too brassy, do not recruit the youngest stylists, have them ring my chair and pronounce it "awesome". Their sweet young faces give it away, and you're turning them into the next generation of dishonest hairdressers.
And it's sleazy to tell me that you discontinued carrying my preferred product line (Phytologie) because "the company was sold to Estee Lauder, and we prefer boutique brands." Not true.
Be on time. If your previous client arrives late, rebook her, rather than imposing a domino effect on me, the punctual one. Keep your person, workstation, lounge and bathrooms clean. I especially dislike having the hair whisked from my face with a rancid brush.
I do not want to hear about your mother's substance abuse issues, your boyfriend's failed club. Don't ask me to mention you when I visit a hot restaurant whose chef is a friend. If you want a publicist, hire one; if you see me with a magazine in my lap, reduce your chat.