Contributing writer, Kylee Davis, examines the personality traits needed to be successful in the beauty and barbering industry.
Hairdressers came in fifth in a survey of the most (and least) trustworthy professions, in a recent survey by Veracity Index. The only professions that topped them were doctors, teachers, judges, and scientists – pretty good company to keep, don’t you think? Around 69% of people trust their hairdresser to tell them the truth. However, there is more to the client-hairdresser relationship than meets the eye. In essence, a good hairdresser is one who makes you feel so ‘at home’ that a visit feels more like a treat than a necessity. If you are a people person and you think hairdressing might be up your street, ask yourself if you have these top qualities.
Being a Good Listener
The style you recommend to your client should very much depend on what they are trying to achieve. There is an intricate bond between our appearance and self-confidence. A good hairdresser will know how to ‘read between the lines’ and work out what type of look will suit their client, as well as make them happy. A client may express that they are tired of the same old style, for instance. Still, their way of dressing and their make-up may show a penchant for more traditional looks. Therefore, you might want to suggest a gentle yet visible change (such as going slightly lighter in color or adding a bit more angle or movement to their cut), delicately finding the balance between simplicity and creativity.
Empathy and Adaptation
As a passion-filled hairdresser, you will undoubtedly build up a good regular client base but you can also have many new clients that challenge you in positive ways. For instance, some clients may have anxiety; others may have very detailed requirements (perhaps as a result of OCD or stress). Still, others may be introverted and wish to remain silent during their treatment or cut. You will, therefore, need to be flexible and empathetic, making a beautiful color or cut your main priority in some cases.
Tact and Kindness
A key component of making the right recommendations is knowing which styles suit different face shapes, and which colors will suit your client’s skin tone and personality. Sometimes, your client may become enamored by a photo in a magazine, asking you to replicate the look exactly. What happens if you think the style won’t suit them at all? Finding a median between what the client asks for and what you think will suit them, will require gentle persuasion first. Instead of saying, “That short bob won’t look good on you,” for instance, you might say, “Why don’t we add a bit of angulation, making the front of your bob a little longer to highlight the silhouette of your face?”. There are many ways to say the same thing, but as a trusted hairdresser, you need to deliver your message in a kind way.
Knowing how to listen, putting yourself in your client’s shoes, and making honest but kind recommendations are three of the most important skills a hairdresser should have. However, as you start working in the profession and you come across a wide array of clients, you will surely develop your very own list of dos and don’ts. In addition to being friendly and attentive, try to keep a sense of curiosity about you. As important as your personality, is continually acquiring skills, so always look forward and keep learning so that you are always on top of new trends and techniques.
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