When Your Client Has a Smelly Scalp
by Antonio Gonzales on Wednesday, September 7th, 2011
I was born in Trinidad in the height of a hurricane. I spent my childhood surrounded by the sights and sounds and smells of Carnival and the other Indian, African and Spanish festivals of the Islands. Loving the amazing costumes, I got my start dressing my sisters and doing their hair and makeup. An opportunity came up to work with Trinidad’s leading costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists. After I left the Island, my career evolved with work in Munich, Los Angeles and now New York City. Here in New York, I am a stylist at the Orlo Salon in the Meat Packing district. Vogue magazine recently named me as one of the rising hairstylist stars in N.Y., I was awarded the best haircut of 2008 by shecky’s.com, Gotham Magazine called me a Shear Genius and Allure Magazine featured me as one of the best cuts 2009.
See Antonio’s blog here.
As stylists, we take so much for granted in terms of our knowledge of everything related to hair. To our clients, we can seem like an encyclopedia. Because clients consider us the “authority,” we must be diplomatic when bringing up potentially embarrassing situations to them. Sometimes clients are unaware there is a problem, so they don’t ask for help, leaving us without a window of opportunity to gently address it. This is where finesse and diplomacy come in.
I know, I know, we all should be aware of our personal hygiene, but at some point, we all have had our hygiene mishaps (dirty nails or bad breath). One area in particular where some clients seem to be consistently clueless is when the hair and scalp are dirty and have an odor. Here are some tips on how to make your client aware of something as sensitive as a smelly scalp or hair.
Don’t feel embarrassed. It is highly likely they would rather know than not. Here are some gentle lines to get and keep the conversation going.
“You may not be aware, but I have noticed you seem to be having a scalp issue. I’m not sure what may be causing this, but it’s important for me to bring it to your attention to assure you we can treat it.”
Notice I say “we.” This way the client doesn’t feel alone at a time when they may feel embarrassed, vulnerable and insecure.
Continue the conversation by asking the following questions until you find the culprit.
“Do you use any excessive oils or inexpensive silicone products on your hair?”
Share with the client how hair oils and silicones can build up on the hair quickly, especially cheap, low grade silicones.
“How often do you shampoo and what shampoo are you using?”
Recommend they increase the amount of times they shampoo, change their shampoo if necessary and that they get a shampoo that contains tea tree or a detoxifying shampoo that can help with keeping the scalp feeling fresh and clean of build up.
“What conditioner are you using and are you rinsing it well?”
Explain that leave-in conditioners are made to be left in. And regular conditioners are made to be rinsed off.
“When was the last time you washed your hair brushes and combs? Do you wear base ball caps or fabric ponytail holders, and when was the last time you washed them?”
Dreaded bacteria is one of the primary causes of a smelly scalp. Hairbrushes and combs should be washed at least once a week, especially if used frequently. Accessories hold bacteria, too, so encourage the use of washable ones so that they can be kept clean as well.
“Are you using hair powders to remove oil, and how often?”
Hair powders are also another culprit and possible cause of a dirty, smelly scalp.
As difficult and uncomfortable as these embarrassing situations may be, honesty is always the best policy when it comes to our clients and their hair. Don’t hold back. Your client may not respect you for not telling them when they ultimately figure out the truth — from someone else. Be the expert they rely on, and you’ll always keep them coming back.
Best Hair Oils for Curls & Waves
by Megan Dorcey on Thursday, September 1st, 2011
There was a time that the very mention of oils in hair products was considered a negative, but an oil boom has transformed the category, with stylists and their clients clamoring for the latest and greatest in hair oils for their clients’ locks.
“Traditionally, oils weren’t considered desirable because they added weight and tackiness,“ recalled John Davis, co-founder and CEO of AG Hair Cosmetics. “Had you asked me two years ago, I would have told you that all of our products were oil free. People see oils differently now.”
Oils themselves aren’t new. For centuries, women around the world have used botanicals and oils in their hair, giving it a healthy sheen and appealing fragrance.
“Botanicals have been around for a long time,” says Dr. Ali Syed, president of Avlon Industries and master chemist for Syntonics formulations.
Curly clients everywhere are asking for more ways to calm their frizz while ensuring health and shine, and the product companies are answering the call with a plethora of hair oils to choose from.
AG Hair Cosmetics will launch The Oil in September, an argan-infused product. The new product is designed to smooth and hydrate the hair without weighing it down. The Oil is part of a boom in professional hair care botanical oil-based products that have hit the market. It is one of the hottest, most buzzed about categories in the industry.
Argania spinosa kernel oil (argan oil) has been the superstar of oils, with companies such as Moroccan Oil, Argadir, Amika and DermOrganic creating entire lines based on the oil. Argan oil is produced form the kernals of the argan tree, which is indigenous to southwestern Morocco. The oil softens thick, coarse and unruly hair, bringing shine to lifeless dull hair and even skin. Josie Maran has a full line of oil products including a Bronzing Argon Oil for the body that boasts the ability to leave the skin with a healthy, moisturized glow.
Argan oils are definitely the most popular in this vast market, but many companies have been infusing argan seed oil with other popular health-boosting ingredients such as Pequi and Amla oil. Macadamia Natural Oil, which combines macadamia and argan seed oils.
Michael Cain, the Macadamia Natural Oil’s education manager, says “with the matching of those two oils, the performance of the product is unparalleled as far as the absorbency and as far as the great benefits you get from it.”
Vitamin E provides natural UV protection, which is especially beneficial for color-treated hair but works on all hair types. According to Cain, the combination also “gives your hair elasticity which prevents breakage and split ends.”
Although some people expect hair oils to leave a greasy residue, Cain says these oils can actually have the opposite effect, even with daily use.
Hair Oil Benefits
“A lot of people that have finer hair will typically have an oilier scalp,” he explains. “This helps even out the porosity in your hair.” The oils also speed up blow-drying time, similar to the way oil and water separate.
Certain extracts like aloe vera, which is said to heal minor skin injuries, can help repair a scalp that’s been damaged by chemical processing when combined with oils.
“If the scalp is on the dry side, most of the time, you have to have a combination of the natural and some of the synthetic materials,” Syed says.
“Botanicals have been around for a long time and as the passions and styles changed, things become sort of cyclical,” says Syed.
He adds that botanical oils are gaining popularity among health-conscious consumers who have been “pushing the envelope towards natural ingredients in food, personal care, and health.”
Dana Amador, who works in business development at Amika believes hair oils serve a number of functions.
Protection from the Elements
“Not only do [oils] make your hair smell wonderful, but they also protect your hair against the elements,” Amador says. “Oils are a very natural way to not only condition the hair but to style it and make it look effortlessly perfect.”
Oils can also help to define curls without making the hair look greasy or weighing them down, adds Amador, who happens to have curly hair herself.
One of the pioneers in the recent oil boom is Moroccanoil, which introduced its signature Moroccanoil Treatment three years ago. Driven by the success of the initial products, the company has been introducing new products ever since, says Moroccanoil artistic Director Antonio Corral Calero.
The popularity was especially evident among curly stylists and the stylists who work with them. As a result, the company answered with several curl-specific products containing their argan oil. The popular line now boasts a curl defining mousse, curl control cream, and intense curl cream.
Moroccanoil infuses their argan oil with Vitamin F, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E to protect against free-radicals.
“What makes our curl line so unique is that the formulas work on dry and/or wet hair,” says Calero. “Their formulations not only make styling so much easier, but they also decrease frizz, make curls more manageable, and restore moisture back into the hair. We are all about having the hair feel soft and natural, with no sticky residue.”
Now there are a number of great oils available, including Mizani Supreme Oil, Oscar Blandi’s oil product containing Jasmine oil and Alterna’s Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil, said to promote healthy hair while delivering shine.
Equal time (almost) for longer hair
by Ivan Zoot/The Clipper Guy on Monday, May 10th, 2010
Ivan Zoot is the director of education and customer engagement for the Andis Company and the founder of Zoot! Hair professional hair care products. Ivan identifies, recruits, trains and manages Andis’ team of professional beauty industry educators. Ivan continues to be a featured presenter at industry shows and events, sharing his unique blend of information, education and enthusiasm for clipper cutting and the entire professional beauty industry. Ivan’s background includes experiences ranging from salon ownership to achieving 3 Guinness World Haircutting records.
We have spent a few weeks discussing the benefits and selling strategies of short and springy hair cutting. Let’s give the long hair lovers just a bit of equal time. There is opportunity in all markets. The long and curly one is big, but the strategies to maximize it are just a bit different.
Here are my top five tips for building your long and curly business.
1. Respect length—Long haired clients love their long hair. Nothing will drive them off faster than taking them too short… and remember, just a teensy bit too short is a LOT too short to many of them. Use all the consultation tools in your kit. Use pictures. Paraphrase what you hear the client say. Remember how much length curly hair appears to lose as it dries… this alone is a great argument for cutting curly hair dry… but that is another blog entry. You remember the carpenters’ rule…Measure twice, cut once.
2. Focus on conditioning—All that long hair is all about needing to be healthy. Daily care and conditioning is more important to the long hair client than cutting. They will do very little cutting over the course of a year. They will do a lot of cleansing and conditioning. Remember their focus is different from yours. Busy hair cutters perform dozens of haircuts in a day. Long curly-haired clients might not get a dozen haircuts in a decade! If you see them twice per year they think that is a lot.
3. Be a relentless rebooker—If you are to send them off for a long period of time with little contact they can get lost in the system and land in another chair or salon when it is time for the next haircut. It is essential that they not leave your salon without their next appointment on the books. My eye doctor does this. I only see him once per year but I make next year’s appointment every time before I leave. The busier you get, the harder it will be to get in when it is time. Rebooking is key. You will also need to find ways to interact with them between appointments. Again, this is fodder for a great column another week.
4. Sell take-home hair care product aggressively—If these longer-haired clients are all about care and condition and they will see you less frequently we can address two big concerns with one small but important skill. Sell. Sell. Sell. Get these profitable long-hair lovers on a home care plan. Suggest and recommend good products, ideally suited to their needs. Suggest big sizes. See to it that you are keeping their bathroom full with ongoing offers, discount club cards and other strategies to have them stopping in to shop product in between hair cut appointments. This keeps the relationship fire stoked and keeps dollars flowing in your direction.
5. Ask for referrals—You will need them. Long hair lovers love their long hair and the professional service providers who keep it looking great. Since they stay away longer you will need many, many more of them to keep your book and the shop full and keep your chair hopping. Leverage the passion in this market to your advantage. Keep in mind the family factor. Genetics will see to it that your curly client has a whole lot of curly family. Be sure to ask for and earn the business of all of them.
Long and curly is a great big market. Be sure to get your share. Please share your adventures in building business in this lucrative segment. Please share great images of your long and curly work too.