Posts Tagged ‘salons’

The Top 10 Reasons Salons Fail

by CurlStylist on Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Sometimes, it’s hard to imagine a good salon failing. After all, customers love coming in to get primped and permed - and as long as you have some great hairdressers and equally dedicated clients, what could go wrong?

The answer is: a lot can. Salons are no exception to the scary statistic we always hear about - that 50% of small businesses fail within their first five years of business.

So how can you stand above the rest? You’re probably doing a lot of things right. So let’s focus on what you might be doing wrong. Here are the top ten problems that bankrupt a salon.

  1. The Salon Offers Lackluster Customer Service

In this economy, personal grooming can feel more like an extravagance than a necessity. Often, patrons are hesitant to part with their hard-earned cash for “impractical” reasons. Therefore, it’s essential salons make customer service a top priority. Go the extra mile. Make sure your clients’ needs are met and then some! Make their visit to you about a lot more than simply getting their hair trimmed or eyebrows waxed - they need to come to you.

  1. You Skimp on the Details

Offer tea, coffee, or water and chocolate. Make sure the waiting area is comfortable and the environment is relaxed. Don’t deny your clients the little luxuries - this is where they come to be pampered. No one wants to spend fifty dollars on a hair cut if they have to sit in a hot room with old magazines and talk to rude receptionists. Ensure your waiting room is the kind of space you’d want to wait for an hour in - similarly, if you employ unpersonable staff, you might wind up with some pretty negative Yelp! reviews. Kick anyone who isn’t ready to be a team player to the curb!

  1. Your Business is Failing to Create a Strong Client Base

Call and ask for feedback about the service customers received. Offer referral incentives, open houses, and special deals for new and repeat customers! You’ll get more business and word-of-mouth buzz! This is hugely important for startup salons that are just starting to establish themselves. Pay attention to negative reviews online, customer complaints, and outright ask clients what you could be doing better.

  1. You Refuse to Adapt to New Salon Trends

A failure to adjust to the evolving landscape is a major cause of salon closings. In the past, the business model required salons hire permanent staff. Now, many establishments opt to rent out chairs to self-employed aestheticians and stylists.  This makes it easier to keep on top of whatever is en vogue while offering all of the typical, traditional services. Many clients come to you expecting to get some in-the-know advice - research, learn, and study your niche!

  1. You refuse to Diversify Services

While your dream may have been to open a salon that specilizes in high-end coloring, or a boutique that offers blow-outs and perms but little else, you may need to broaden your horizons a bit.  One-stop salons are incredibly high in demand - you save clients time, energy, and gas money by offering them anything they could possibly want under your roof. Many of your customers are working mothers, students, and professional multi-taskers. If you can provide them with a single place for quality cuts, facials, waxing, and manicures, you will become absolutely invaluable. Skin care is definitely having a moment in the salon industry, too, and your shop should rise to meet the growing need for licensed facialists.

  1. Your Ambience is Uninspired at Best

The atmosphere is as important as the service! People want to feel pampered and appreciated. Pay attention to key details like lighting, furniture, color, and design. You need to create a cohesive brand, even if that brand is “eclectic hole-in-the-wall stylist.” Everything you have should look clean, purposeful, and true to your aesthetic. You are an artist - create your studio!

  1. You Forget to Plan Ahead Financially

Are you in the business for its artistry? Fine. Just be sure you have a team in place that will help you handle the financial aspects. Part of being a business owner is knowing when to delegate. And those famous haircuts of yours are going to mean little to nothing if you run out of rent money.

  1. Your Location is Inconvenient for Customers

Are you in a metropolitan area but lack any access to parking structures? Are you too far away from the action to attract customers? It’s a cliche, but location matters! Look at how your salon fits into the general vibe of the scene and do some important analysis. Is it time for a move? Try to be honest and objective. If you absolutely can’t move at this time, try to think of things that would make it better - can you offer valet parking? Are there enough signs to ensure new clients can find your location in a packed mall?

  1. Your Business Hours Are Inconsistent or Inconvenient

Make sure you’re open when your clients have free time! Be diligent! Many salon-goers are mothers or working women who simply don’t have time in the most convenient hours of the day. Be willing to stay open if necessary. If you have a client with special needs, see if their stylist can set up a separate schedule to cater to them. People will remember that kind of generosity and customer service, and they definitely won’t be going anywhere else.

  1. You’re “Vibe” is Exclusive and Snobby

Make people feel great! Be friendly! New companies like Glossier and Nasty Gal are proving that being fun and inclusive is an awesome business strategy! Salons are meant to make everyone feel beautiful. Take part in that objective and make every man and woman coming through your door feel like they’re walking on sunshine.

Now, ready your blow dryers - and start proving that your salon is one of the best!

What do you love about your salon? What do you love about your talents? Showcase these things and believe in them wholeheartedly - your clientele will follow.

Would you implement these strategies? Tell us about your salon experiences! Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Real World, Real Curls

by Modern Salon on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

IN THE SALON INDUSTRY, there are two types of people— those who say they can do textured hair and the select group of stylists that specialize in texture hair. Cesar Ramirez, the newest Mizani celebrity stylist and our cover artist, is definitely a member of the latter. Having grown up amidst hairspray and rollers in his family’s small hair salon, the Puerto Rican curl guru knows his way around a diverse clientele base.

Ramirez has trained with some of the beauty industry’s top stylists, and his a-list looks have been featured on shows including Celebrity Apprentice, All About Aubrey, and Lala’s Full Court Life. He also offers his magic to a long list of celebrities (Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson, Demi Lovato, Ciara, Adrienne Bailon and Rita Ora). But beyond Ramirez’s celebrity work, his unique, artistic approach has graced the runways at Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week and have adorned the pages of everything from Vogue and Harper’s Bazar to GQ and Latina Magazine.

With a following of more than 30,000 on Instagram alone (@cesar4styles), it comes as no surprise that the inspiration for this shoot came from social media. While researching, Ramirez found that the super-photoshopped hair images on Pinterest weren’t receiving a lot of attention. Instead, it was the shots of everyday clients and selfies of girls with beautiful hair that were trending. “We wanted to create a ‘real’ feel to the collection; that attracted consumers to see what Mizani can do,” Ramirez says. Mizani products were used on set at the shoot—including the recently released Fiberfyl treatment. “Fiberyfyl is a new strengthening treatment with breakthrough Filloxane technology; a strand-by-strand restorer that fills in weak area of the hair,” Ramirez says. “Traditionally, protein treatments are used for strength, which can result in the hair feeling hard or brittle. Fiberfyl maintains the hair’s pliability and softness.” Since models are constantly on set, the hair takes a beating, so using the Fiberfyl system set us up for success.” With New York City as his backdrop, Ramirez was able to successfully capture the understated cool that every curly girl craves. “Textured hair can be a challenge, but it can also be exciting when you realize the beautiful fabric that you are working with,” he says. “When you successfully achieve the perfect shape and style, it’s so fulfilling.”

The Name Game, Texturrific Salon Names

by CurlStylist on Monday, March 4th, 2013

Salon owners have always used wordplay to find cute names for their businesses. Some salons that focus on curl are spinning that tradition, while others are proclaiming their specialty more directly. Check out these texturiffic names spotted on salon signage around North America.

Amazing Kinkz Natural Hair Studio, Detroit MI

Cally’s Curls & Co., Chicago, IL

Curl Lounge, Raleigh, NC

Curl Ambassadors, Toronto, ON

Curl Bar Beauty Salon, Toronto, ON

Curl Jam, Bethesda, MD

Twist, Philadelphia, PA

Curl Revolution, Frisco, TX

Curl Up & Dye, Carrboro, NC

Curlie Girlz Rock, Smyrna, GA

Curls & Co., Chicago, IL

Curls Gone Wild, Gilbert, AZ

Curls On Top, Laguna Beach, CA

Curltopia, Smyrna, GA

Curly Hair Institute, Toronto, ON

So Curly So Kinky So Straight, South Euclid, OH

Kinky Rootz, Nashville, TN

Coils, Curls and Waves, Freehold, NJ

Joyfully Curly, Charlotte, NC

The Kindred Locs Studio, Oxon Hill, MD

Fabulocs, Capitol Heights, MD

Knatty Headz, Houston, TX

Curly Hair Vancouver, Vancouver, BC

Salon Spirals, Tucson, AZ

Spiral Evolution, Colorado Springs, CO

Ringlets, Oakland, CA

Does your salon have a curl-crazy name? Let us know! Post it on MODERN SALON’s Facebook page, and you might find it in a future issue update!

Read the digital version of Texture!

Salon Sanitizing Tips for Customer Loyalty

by Ivan Zoot/The Clipper Guy on Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Salon sanitation is not a fun and sexy topic, but the reality is that selling sanitation—in a big way!—can build (and save) more clients than learning the next big trend haircut.

For best results when selling sanitation, you need to use good sanitation principles and practices to grow your business.

Here’s how:

Get Caught Sanitizing

Sanitizing should happen in plain view of your clients. Disposable razor blades should be changed at the beginning of each service after the client is seated. Remember, if I did not see you change the blade, you did not change the blade.

Even if all tools are cleaned before the client sits down, a fast shot of spray sanitizer on a clipper blade sends a powerful message. Spraying scissors before you start a cut will be noticed.

Pulling a nasty hairball off of a round brush in front of a client sends the wrong message.

Clean Every Client

Every client should walk up to your chair and see a chair that looks like the chair the first client saw at the beginning of the day. Reset your tools. Sweep the floor. Check the mirror. Each client should feel like the first and only client of the day.

Don’t Top Off

When the liquid in your wet sanitizer is no longer bright blue, and the hairball at the bottom is the size of a hamster, it’s time to dump it out and start over.

Do not just top it off with water. Adding water alters the strength and effectiveness of the mix. The lighter blue color screams of this.

Accept Gravity

When a tool is dropped on the floor, leave it there. Grab another comb. Have more combs on hand so you can do this. Kick it out of the way so no one slips and falls. Do NOT pick it up, wipe it off and keep cutting.

Sanitizers need time to work. If you pick up the comb from the floor then your hands are no longer clean either. Clients notice these things. They may not comment on them, just as they may not come back.

Make Sanitation Easy

Spray can products like Andis Cool Care 5oinONE clipper spray are easy to use. The easier they are to use the more likely they will actually be used. Stock all the necessary cleaning products in a convenient place so they can be easily accessed by anyone as needed.

Move the broom. If the broom is way in the back of the shop and it takes too much time to go get it, use it and put it back, move the broom to a more convenient location. Do NOT just skip it and sweep every few clients (more on sweeping next blog post).

Good sanitizing practices build businesses and customer loyalty. Word will spread - diseases will not – and that is a win-win for everyone.

Sell clean!

Schedulicity Transforms Online Scheduling for Salons

by Megan Dorcey on Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Schedulicity Transforms Online Scheduling for Salons

Remember the days of complicated software and useless customer service when it came to online scheduling? For some of us in the beauty industry, that might not be so long ago. We had heard of Schedulicity last year through the grapevine of a few stylists who use the service to fill their chairs, and were instantly curious about this company who boasts no-fuss solutions to building your business.

We had the pleasure of hopping in a limo with part of the Schedulicity team at ABS Chicago this year (it’s not as strange as it sounds), and learning more about the growing company and their recipe for success. The main goal of the 2 year-old company is to help you make money.

We were instantly curious about how this service works in a real salon for real stylists, and reached out to curl expert Jennifer Cortez, owner of Hive Salon in Minneapolis. See what Jen has to say about the service below and sign up for a no-strings-attached free trial with the company. Our gift to you: we will award a free year to one lucky curl stylist each month!

CS: What made you decide to use Schedulicity for your online scheduling?

JC: In my experience as a chair renter a receptionist can often be more of a hindrance than a person who runs a salon smoothly; when you have numerous rental stylists who all charge separate rates, offer different services, have different schedules, booking times, etcetera, it can be very hard for a receptionist to keep all of that information straight and do their job to their best ability. Schedulicity allows our salon and it’s stylists to clearly define who does what, and when, and for how much.

Other key points that helped us decide to go receptionist free with Schedulicity was the ease of use and cost. We’re living “on the internet” these days and everyone from ages four to ninety-four seems to have a smart phone attached to his or her left hand and is used to an insane amount of information at their fingertips.

With Schedulicity, our clients no longer feel like they have to “bother” a receptionist with multiple appointment time requests, play phone-tag while their at the office, or wake up in a cold sweat because they forgot to pre-book a major appointment and we’re closed. All they have to do is go online and bam! Crisis averted. The cost of Schedulicty is so affordable; instead of paying several hundred dollars a week in reception wages, we pay a flat fee for the use of the system.

When we’re with clients, we just let the phone go to voicemail. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the caller doesn’t leave a message and will book their appointment online. It saves us the stress of having to juggle clients and answering the phone, and the clients appreciate our undivided attention when they’re in our chairs.

When a stylist is out sick, they have the access to their client’s info and are able to reschedule them without having to come into work. The pros of using Schedulicity are huge! It’s really a refreshing change to the traditional salon atmosphere.

NC: Has the system increased bookings?

JC: Absolutely. People love that they can access us 24/7, and clients that we would normally see infrequently due to issues with making appointments are making multiple appointments at once!

NC: What is your user experience with Schedulicity? Tell me a little about the customer service, if there have been any glitches and how they were solved, etc.

JC: We’ve had only one glitch, and it was resolved via email within 24 hours–on a Saturday! There used to be an option on our page where instead of picking a stylist or price preference, you could allow the software to direct you to the first available stylist, but all new clients were being directed to only one of our stylists. We messaged Schedulicty, and they resolved the issue by removing the “I have no preference, please choose a provider for me” option. They have been super helpful with all of our small questions, and have always responded within 24 hours regardless of when we message them.

Curly Salon Gives Big

by Megan Dorcey on Friday, March 18th, 2011

Capella Salon

The stylists at Capella Salon.

We have known the curl experts over at Capella Salon in Studio City, Calif., for a long time and we are always impressed with the new and exciting things they bring to the salon (Lorraine Massey of DevaCurl stopped in a couple of weeks ago!).  This time when Shai Amiel, salon owner, told us they were doing something big, we had no idea how big, but we had to find out!

Shai and his team are raising money to provide clean water for developing countries through their salon.  It’s not often that we run into a salon that wants to give back, and what a better way to give back than to provide others with something as basic as water?  When asked about the charity water campaign he’s running, he said that clean water is something that everyone should have access to—water without parasites or leeches.


Many communities in developing countries need clean water.

Charity: Water is a simple, web-based campaign that permits individuals or organizations to set and meet fundraising goals to fund clean water projects in developing nations.  Capella Salon has set a goal of $2,000 which will give water to 20 families, or roughly 100 people.  To help Shai and his team of curly experts give more to this charity, learn more about their Charity: Water efforts here.

Salute to Stylists Contest Reveals Boom in Curl-Friendly Stylists and Salons

by Michelle Breyer on Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Recently, launched its two-month long Salute To Stylists contest, asking for your vote for your favorite stylist. Here are your picks for winning stylists!

Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner Sandy Marino of Santo Salon & Spa in Pepper Pike, OH!

Regional Winners:
Region 1 (WA, OR, ID, MT, WY):
Tracy of 7 Salon, Bellevue, WA - 2 reviews

Region 2 (CA, NV, AZ, UT, CO):
Melanie Brown of Curls Gone Wild, Gilbert, AZ - 96 reviews

Region 3 (ND, SD, NE, KS, MN, IA, MO, WI, IL, KY, IN):
Natalie of Natalie Clark Studio, St. Louis, MO - 5 reviews

Region 4 (NM, TX, OK, AR, LA):
Anna Craig of Trashy Roots Salon & Spa, Round Rock, TX - 102 reviews

Region 5 (TN, MS, AL, GA, FL, SC, NC):
Stacy Hill of DyeVerCity Salon, Augusta, GA - 127 reviews

Region 6 (MI, OH, WV, VA, MD, DE, PA, NJ):
Sandy Marino of Santo Salon & Spa, Pepper Pike, OH - 155 reviews

Region 7 (NY, CT, RI, MD, ME, NH, VT):
Julie Washington of The Estuary Salon & Day Spa, South Portland, Maine - 25 reviews

Region 8 (Ontario, Canada):
Nadine Bastien of Aphrodite’s Sanctuary, Toronto, Ontario - 4 reviews

The number of reviews were calculated from 12/15/10 to 2/15/11

Vicki Vela-Cambruzzi

Business is booming for Vicki Vela-Cambruzzi at Curls On Top in Laguna Beach

If anybody had told veteran stylist Vickie Vela-Cambruzzi five years ago she would be opening a salon dedicated to curlies, she would have told them “Get out of town!”

That was before Vela-Cambruzzi, a curly herself, saw the light. Or in her case, experienced the magic of a Deva cut, a cut at the hands of “Curly Girl” author Lorraine Massey at a hair show. The cut was her best ever—changing her whole perception of her curls—and she saved her money to go to a DevaConcepts Curlaboration to learn the dry-cutting technique herself. Less than a year later, she opened Curls On Top Salon in Laguna Beach, a salon focused on the needs of curlies. Business is booming at the 1-year-old salon, where curlies travel from outside California to get a Deva cut. “It’s been incredible,” says Vela-Cambruzzi.

Many curlies grew up at a time when few stylists knew how to work with curls, and most now have numerous war stories to tell about the bad haircuts and the botched chemical services they received. When launched 13 years ago, a handful of stylists and salons focused on the needs of women with wavy, curly and kinky hair. Most stylists once viewed curls as something to “fix” by straightening it or shearing it short.

Vela-Cambruzzi is part of the growing legion of stylists who have made curls their focus to help girls—and guys—with curls love their natural texture. This trend has been fueled by rising demand from women who want to work with their natural texture as well as the increased availability of curl training, thanks to curl specialists like DevaConcepts and Ouidad.

During the two-month Salute to the Stylists contest, which wrapped up yesterday, more than 315 new salons were added, promoting the skills of stylists around the United States and Canada.

Texture: Salons Set Themselves Apart with Curls

by Michelle Breyer on Wednesday, September 1st, 2010


Learn more about Texture!, a collaboration between CurlStylist, NaturallyCurly and Modern Salon

High-profile salons like New York City’s Ouidad, Miss Jessie’s and Devachan have proven that salons can successfully focus on the curly niche. Their chairs are filled with wavy-, curly- and kinky-haired clients who flock to them from around the world for their stylists’ expertise in working with texture.

But this trend isn’t limited to the Big Apple. Salons from Toronto to Tucson also have proven that texture can be a powerful way to set themselves apart at a time when everyone is looking for ways to get the edge in a challenging economy. With a large population of people with wavy, curly and kinky hair — people willing to spend a lot of money to make their hair look its best — this trend is only likely to increase. And with more women embracing their texture than ever before, the salons that know how to work with it are likely to reap the benefits.

“There’s a salon on every street, but if you specialize, you set yourself apart,” Kim Wicks of Frontenac Salon. “Our salon chose to specialize in naturally curly hair. It’s been huge. It’s really helped us through this recession.”

Here’s a look at some standout curly salons—from a one-chair stylist to a salon that recently opened a second location to accommodate the demand form curly clients.

Curltopia, Smyrna, Ga.


Curltopia opened in Smyrna, Ga. in May 2008 as a salon where “it’s all about making peace with your hair.”

“We know how difficult it can be to find a stylist who can work with curly hair,” says Curltopia Flavia Medina who opened the salon with fellow curly Tricia Joyner.

Inititally, they envisioned a small salon with one chair. But demand grew quickly, and today they have seven stylists. All stylists must be licensed and experienced and must assist a senior stylist for six months before working on their own. During this training period, they learn what types of products and cuts work for different textures.

Curltopia sends clients home with a prescription of what products they should use and how they should use them—education that is especially important to curly clients. They like to see their clients two weeks later for a follow up.

“We want to make sure we’re teaching them about product use,” Medina says.

Curltopia, like many curly salons, attracts a diverse clientele, who travel to the salon from as far as North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee.

“There is nothing that walks in that door that we can’t handle,” Medina says. “We’re not a black salon or a white salon. We’re a hair salon.”

The salon’s decor mirrors this philosophy, with its black and white stripes.

Spirals, Tucscon, Ariz.


“It started small,” says Tonja Chagris, who opened the salon six years ago with two other people.

Chagris, who has curly hair herself, worked as a hairdresser for 17 years.

“I wanted to address curly and textured hair,” she says. “It was an immediate success, We had an article in the newspaper, and we were not prepared for the crowds. We couldn’t even let the people in. It was scary.”

Today, the Paul Mitchell salon has seven stylists, all trained in how to work with curly and textured hair. Although the salon does have curly clients, 90 percent of its clientele has textured hair.

Chagris believes the curly niche has helped the salon survive and thrive, despite tough economic times.

“It really has kept us afloat,” she says. “We consistently get new curly hair people, and they are willing to travel. It enables us to draw from a larger area.”

But the curly world does have some challenges, she says. The curly client tends to be gun shy, usually having had many a bad haircut in her past.

“Most people with texture have had bad experiences,” she says. “We focus on slowing down and making sure each time they’re there.”

The Curl Ambassadors, Toronto, Ont.

The Curl Ambassadors

Curly tops Caroline Muir and Betty Di Salvo were frustrated by the difficulty they had finding stylists who knew how to work with their hair. They heard similar frustrations from other curly friends and family.

“We realized it was time to provide a place that specialized in naturally curly hair,” says Muir.

In October 2006, the duo opened their first location in downtown Toronto. They openend a second salon in the Toronto suburb of Vaughan in November 2009. The Curl Ambassadors’ clientele travel from as far away as Vancouver and Chicago,

“Our clients’ motto seem to be ‘Have curls, will travel,’” Di Salvo says.

For other salons considering focusing on texture as a niche, Muir suggests locating in a cosmopolitan, multicultural area.

“Are there a lot of people with curls?” she says.

One of the most important things, says Muir, is to recruit the right stylists for the salon. It’s not enough to be well-trained.

“We’re looking for those that will want to really care for curly hair with all their heart,” Muir says.

Hello Curls, San Diego, Calif.

Hello Curls

Beverly Neeland learned how to do a wet set when she was 3 years old, playing with her stylist grandmother’s tools to create styles. She began cutting hair when she was still in grade school. She intuitively knew how to work with curls, perfecting her technique on her mother’s hair.

“My mother would come home from the hairdresser and her wavy hair, and I would fix her bad cuts,” says Neeland. “I had a knack for hairdressing.”

Although Neeland always wanted to be a hairdresser, her father convinced her to get a college degree. She gravitated toward the world of theater, working as a stylist, costume designer and wigmaker for professional theater companies for 15 years. While working on wigs, she would style them dry, cutting them based on what they need rather than any particular formula.

She never lost her desire to be a professional hairstylist. So when she had the chance, she got her cosmetology license.

At beauty school, she began externing at a salon and naturally gravitated toward curly clients.

Neeland said she initially hated salons because of her own traumatic experiences with stylists who would roll their eyes when she would sit in their chair with her thick curls.

“I started thinking, what if I opened a salon and just worked on curly people,” she says. “Having my own understanding of what it’s like, I thought I could make my clients more comfortable.”

She rented space at salons in Sacramento, specializing in naturally curly hair. Earlier this year, she opened a studio salon in San Diego and has teamed up with another stylist who specializes in curls.

Neeland says focusing on this niche has been a definite selling point for her

“When they find out I only work on curly hair—I don’t even have a round brush in my salon—they relax,” she says. “It’s a deciding factor for them. They feel comfortable before they come in. They know I talk the talk.”

She gets most of her clients through word of mouth, an especially powerful tool in the curly world. She recalled one of her clients who was stopped by a curly woman who wanted to know who did her hair. Suddenly, she found herself with 10 new clients who traveled more than two hours to get their hair cut by her.

But working with curly clients also has a downside, she says. They tend to go longer between cuts—an average of every 12 to 14 weeks rather than every six to eight weeks. Some of her clients only come in once every two to three years, she says.

“I feel like I have to have more clients than the average hairdressers so my book stays full,” she says.

The Shears Can Make or Break The Cut

by Megan Dorcey on Monday, August 9th, 2010

I have heard it all  from stylists about what you should and should not do when cutting curly hair, which got me thinking: What is the difference between shears and how they shape your hair?


The right shears for the job

For more information about this, I went straight to my local curly expert, Ron Valdez at Estilo Valdez Salon in Austin, TX.  There are so many different types of shears on the market, each claiming that it is one and only tool you will need.  Ron Valdez sings a different tune, “I cycle through six pairs of sheers.  You can’t tell which you will need to use until you cut down into the curly hair.  Every head of hair is different, so it responds differently to each pair of scissors.”

How can you tell when you’re using the right pair or scissors?  Valdez offers some advice, “Start off with one pair and (it) may change throughout the head.  One pair won’t always cut it.  When you close the shear and it glides through the hair and doesn’t push it out, that is the right type of shear for that hair.”

Not surprisingly, there are many types of haircutting scissors available on the market, including: barber shears, thinning shears, styling shears, tempered shears, left-handed shears and more.

One glance at these scissors will tell you just how different they are from each other. Each is designed to perform a specific task—some are used to create subtle effects while others are perfect for basic haircuts.

What Type of Shear is Best for You?

You have some choices to make before you select the right pair of scissors. Of course, you’ll also want to shop around for the best prices.

Type of Blades

Beveled blades feature one serrated edge and are ideal for layered cuts, tapered cuts and the “scissor over the comb” method.

Convex blades are razor sharp and promise a clean, smooth, flawless cut. They are ideal for slide cutting.

Type of Handles

Opposing grips feature handles of the same length that are symmetrical to the center screw. It is perfect for individuals who cut with the thumb and middle finger.
Offset grips feature a short thumb handle and a longer finger handle. This allows natural, fluid movement and is ideal for individuals who cut with the thumb and ring finger.
Crane grips feature a long finger handle and an angled thumb. This ensures less strain on the wrist and shoulder and allows a freer, open cut.

Types of Thumb Grips

Standard thumb scissors feature a removable and reversible finger resting piece that can be attached to either the left or right. This allows individuals greater versatility (with left and right hand use.

Cutaway thumb scissors do not feature the reversible finger resting piece, but does provide exceptional comfort.

Anatomic thumb scissors allow for greater radial movement due to its curved design. Thus it provides more freedom of movement for the stylist.

Rotating thumb scissors are a new advancement in the haircutting industry. They reduce hand and wrist strain and feature an open-hand grip design, which reduces thumb “travel” and creates a more comfortable experience for the stylist.

Length of Blade


You can only use one at a time, but switch if you need to.

Choosing the blade length is really a matter of comfort and preferred styling methods. You will find you probably need to utilize several different types of scissors, but your hand should feel comfortable no matter what size it is.

Short blades are useful for detailed touchups, such as cutting around the ears or very close to the skin. This type of blade is recommended for all stylists; chances are it will be used frequently for more intricate cutting. The blade should be no longer than 5.5 inches.

Long blades are ideal for cutting thick hair, slide cutting, scissor over comb methods, and bobs, to name a few.

Some other features that stylists may choose to focus on include the production material of the shears, the method of production of the shears and the tension system the shears provide.

So how can you get hands-on experience using various shears with different curl patterns?  The new stylists at Estilio Valdez ask their curly friends to come in for a cut, and Valdez even puts an ad on Craigslist for all types of curls to receive a free cut while the stylists are learning how to shape and style curls correctly.

The best advice Ron could give me was, “It’s a craft and just like any other craft, you will master it over time.”

Cashing In on Client Feedback

by Megan Dorcey on Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

One key to building your business is taking the good with the bad and knowing how it can help your business. One way to get honest responses is by taking your clients’ feedback (even those pesky negative comments) and making it work for you through comment cards.

Comment cards may seem like an old-school feedback method, but they are still very effective. Some clients may feel uneasy about filling out the cards in the salon, thinking their opinions may not be confidential. A good way to promote honest feedback is by offering a comment card already stamped and addressed and letting the client fill it out at home, where she can be totally comfortable.

Encourage ;people to write reviews.

Many salons rely on this form of communication to better their practices. The most current trend in customer satisfaction has been the online review. Many websites offer reviews on anything from restaurants, to groomers, to salons. Our sister site,, is the first and only site that focuses only on the needs of curly clients and their honest opinions of their stylists. The site’s salon/stylist finder helps clients find the right stylist and offers the most honest opinions you can find, from real people.

Teddy Romero, an educator at Avenue Five Institute in Austin, says that he reads reviews out loud so that the students can all hear what the public thinks. This is a great way to keep yourself motivated, knowing that each person who sits in your chair will be reviewing you somewhere. Word of mouth is something that stylists will always heavily rely on. also helps curl experts promote their services by offering advertising next to the reviews section. This shows potential clients that you are proud of your reviews and truly care about curly clients (to learn more email Megan Dorcey). Any way you look at it, knowing how your client perceives you is going to pay off big time, either through comment cards or online reviews.

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