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does your stylist try to influence you?

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duke View Drop Down
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    Posted: February 21 2004 at 5:03am
Does your stylist always do exactly what you want ("the usual" etc) or does (s)he ever try to convince you to change your style? If the latter, do you cave in or do you have no problem telling them "no"?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kuroneko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2004 at 3:04am
Yes, bad experiences with controlling people was the main reason I stopped visiting stylists. Some of them aren't too much of a problem if you tell them exactly what you need down to measurements, but if you even seem slightly uncertain, they'll try to influence you to what they want instead. Others just ignore everything you say and do what they want, anyway. Mostly the latter category is the type I had trouble with, though, as the others would often back down if I was firm with them.
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Yes, my stylist will do exactly what I want. She hardly ever offers an opinion even if I ask, it's always "what do you want?".

Twanda
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JerkyFlea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 26 2004 at 10:40am
At risk of getting my head bit off, I think the stylist should offer ideas and alternatives. I don't think they should push you into something you don't want to do, but I don't think he or she would be doing their job if they didn't offer suggestions. The end result should obviously be what you want to do, but if you are never given any alternatives, how would you know you didn't like them?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hairalways Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 26 2004 at 11:17am
I completely agree JF....I believe that if you are going to go to a QUALIFIED professional (this is probably going to get me in trouble)...not a 10 dollar cut....you should be getting some "vision" from them. They are exposed to trends, yes and they also have their personal preferences....it is up to you to decide whether they are imposing their own tastes on you, or if they are sincerely giving you good design ideas.

But I agree that a stylist is not providing you with full service if he/she doesn't spend some time evaluating, your face, lifestyle, hair and then give you suggestions.

jacqui
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 26 2004 at 11:34am
Isn't that the stylist's job? He knows about styles and what might look good on you. Does your doctor try to influence you? Your contractor? Shouldn't anyone your paying give you their expert advice?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaveDecker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 26 2004 at 6:54pm
Jerky, Jacqui, Rod,

Interesting... so it should be clear to consumers that when they go to a "frills" place (as opposed to a "no-frills" place) that they know what they are going to get (advice). Only trouble (?) is, or may be, that it's not always so easy to tell which salon (or even which stylist) is going to lean toward advising/promoting, versus those that will merely give you what you want and expect. I don't know that the doctor/contractor analogies support your case, Rod, especially contractors, since some people know exactly what they want -- and they just want the contractor to perform the tasks (and even with the doctor, you say "I have this problem," the expected treatment should remedy that specific problem). I guess it really comes down to a stylist first asking what the client wants. If the client knows what they want and it's doable, fine. If the client knows what they want but it's not possible (a), or if the client clearly expresses that they are open to suggestion (b), then the stylist should say "that isn't possible (a), "how about we do x" (b). Should be simple for the stylists, right? Always ask what is wanted, first. Then go from there.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 26 2004 at 9:39pm
When I go to Home Depot or the shoe store or any of the above, I don't want someone who will nod and do what I ask. I want them to ask about me and what I'm trying to do. They know more than me, so if they ask the right questions they may have a better idea.

In my business, it's roughly the same way. The client will get much better service if I take him a step or two back and instead of just doing the request I find out what he needs. Then I discuss with the client my recommendations, and give him some combination of what he needs and what he's asked for that he's agreed upon. If I'm good at my job, he should be better off.

And the stylist is the same way. If you walk into the stylist's chair and say "a half inch off the bottom" or "take it all off real short" and the stylist does just that, he's not doing that good a job. Just giving you what you asked for. What he should do is discuss your lifestyle, the time you want to spend on your hair, etc. and give you suggestions. A smart stylist will know how open you are at this point to anything other than what you asked for. In the end, the stylist will give you a cut you've agreed to, whether it's different from what you asked for originally or not.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kuroneko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 27 2004 at 1:42am
Suggestions are one thing, arguing is another. If the stylist suggests something and it's rejected, that should be the end of that discussion. If you say you don't want to spend a lot of time on your hair, for example, and they launch into badgering you about why you don't have time and what else you have to do instead, that's not a good stylist.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote duke Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 27 2004 at 7:22am
I wouldn't say that a stylist should never, ever give advice. What I'm saying is that:

1) people have their own tastes and don't necessarily need advice. What the stylist likes may not be what you like. The stylist may want to make you CONFORM to fashion. You on the other hand may not WANT advice but would just want the stylist to do what you tell them without arguing and respect your tastes. You may think THAT's their job.

2) Many people are conditioned to be weak and will accept what the stylist suggests not because they think it's a good idea, but because they don't want to argue.

3) The stylist may not have your interests at heart. For example, the stylist says "you'd look great with some highlights". You trust you stylist and say okay. So it's more money in the stylist's pocket, more fun for her/him, and less money in your pocket, plus a service that you may have accepted, but which you didn't need in the first place.

4) The stylist may change someone's look and that person's spouse may not like it. Of course if the spouse WANTED a change, and didn't want to please the other spouse, it's their right, but it's nice to please your spouse and therefore I think the spouse's wishes are more important than the stylist's wishes, if you yourself do not want to change your style of your own will.

Thus, I think the only time a stylist should give unsolicited advice is if:

1) you ask the stylist for a drastic change and they want to make sure you won't regret it

2) the stylist can't do to your hair what you want or would risk damaging it or giving you a look that's hard to maintain etc

3) the stylist sees you're having problems with your hair etc and thinks a different style would be better for you

4) you want something ridiculous

etc.

Do you know how many stylists say to women with long hair who just want a trim "at your age you should wear it short" and give other such standard, parroted advice? And people often follow fashion "experts" like sheep. I think it's rude. Stylists are paid to do what you tell them and people are competent to ask for advice themselves.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JerkyFlea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 27 2004 at 3:37pm
First to Dave...

You hit the nail on the head. Whenever I cut anyone's hair, I start with "So what am I doing today?". If the response is "Same as last time", I then ask if anything needed to be changed (left longer, cut shorter, etc) or was it fine as before. If it's fine, then I do the same cut, otherwise, I modify as needed. If they had answered the first question that they were growing it out or were thinking of going shorter, I start offering ideas and suggestions based on asking questions about what they had in mind, what they like, how much time they want to spend on it, etc. If I'm cutting it for the first time, I'll usually ask ahead of time if they need just a trim or were thinking something different. If they want suggestions, then I'll offer ideas based on the same sort of criteria I mentioned above, showing pics of styles that I have.

Anyway, the scenario I described is what I think most stylists do (or should do). There are the few that try to impose their will, aka "vision", and there are some customers who want that and pay lots of money for it. I just don't think that's the typical stylist.

And now for duke...

You seem to have serious issues with you hair professional and suspect that they are all out to get you or your significant other (as implied by your first #1-#4). You want a hair technician and not a hair stylist. Technician implies someone who knows the mechanics and will do exactly what you tell them. A stylist posesses that, plus a degree of creativity and artistic talent that can be used to your benefit.

While I can't disagree with anything you say the hair professional should do in your second list of four points, your last paragraph once again indicates a pretty high level of distrust and animosity.

Good luck on finding your technician. Personally, I'd rather have a stylist.

As usual,
JF
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaveDecker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 27 2004 at 6:51pm
Originally posted by Rod Rod wrote:

When I go to Home Depot or the shoe store or any of the above, I don't want someone who will nod and do what I ask. I want them to ask about me and what I'm trying to do. They know more than me, so if they ask the right questions they may have a better idea.

Then it's up to you to set the stage for the retail representative. Tell them that you are looking for suggestions. If they are worth their salt, they will begin the inquisitive process you crave. But if a different customer knows exactly what they want, they might well be irritated that the representative attempts a "purchase counseling" session (thinking "don't waste my time, my wife and I already decided on this particular style and color of x, just telll me where the darn thing is so I can get outta here and install it in the home").

Both the scenario you appreciate best and least are supported by this approach.

The nature of the interaction should be determined first and foremost by the customer. It is the customer who pays, after all.

Originally posted by Rod Rod wrote:

And the stylist is the same way. If you walk into the stylist's chair and say "a half inch off the bottom" or "take it all off real short" and the stylist does just that, he's not doing that good a job.

Obviously to you, and that's fine for you -- but not to me.

Originally posted by Rod Rod wrote:

Just giving you what you asked for. What he should do is discuss your lifestyle, the time you want to spend on your hair, etc. and give you suggestions. A smart stylist will know how open you are at this point to anything other than what you asked for. In the end, the stylist will give you a cut you've agreed to, whether it's different from what you asked for originally or not.

You know Rod, this "one-size-fits-all" approach does not work for everyone. I respectfully acknowledge that people hold a variety of expectations for the nature of their interactions with a stylist. I expect stylists (and any salesperson worth their salt) to understand and respect that principle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote StyleGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 27 2004 at 7:40pm
Further replies for Duke:

To expand on JF's post....

As an erstwhile stylist, here's my reaction to those points.

1) People have their own tastes and dont necessarily need advice.....

My response: You bet! And if you are looking for a hair technician who will shut up and do exactly what you want, and who is satisfied to just do what theyre told and no more, go for it. But if you come to me, I assume you want what I do best. Assess. Analyse. Create. Suggest. So thats what I do.

2) Many people are conditioned to be weak.....

My response: How unfortunate. Ive always assumed that my customers are mature enough to engage in an adult discussion of pros and cons of styles both they and I suggest. I never looked on this discussion as an opportunity to force my views on a reticent customer. I looked on consultations as an opportunity to help a customer choose a style that gave them the right combination of style, ease, and personal expression.

3) The stylist may not have your best interest at heart.....

My response: If youre not sure your stylist has your best interest at heart, shutting him out of the consultation is not going to ease your worries. After all, he does have scissors, and scissors can do a lot of damage in a very short time. If youre not sure he has your best interest at heart, leave the chair and find someone who does.

4) The stylist may change someones look and that persons spouse may not like it......

My response: Well. Here is where the mature adult conversation comes in to play. I expect the client to, if not necessarily inform me of the reasons for limits, at least let me know what they are. A simple 'no shorter than shoulder, or chin, or whatever is all it takes.

These rules arent rocket science. Theyre called common courtesy, and all people, whether stylists, customers, or any role we happen to be serving at the moment should be using courtesy as the foundation of our relationships. Were all responsible for courtesy, and a client with a bad attitude will produce a bad result just as surely as a stylist with a bad attitude.


Oh, and one last response.

Duke wrote: Do you know how many stylists say to women with long hair who just want a trim "at your age you should wear it short" and give other such standard, parroted advice?

My response: No. Do you?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote duke Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2004 at 5:08am
Style Guy and Jerky Flea - you seem like ethical professionals so keep it up. I do have "issues" in the sense that I''ve seen/heard about a lot of stylists trying to impose their views and try to get them to accept services they don''t need or want, and look trendy when they want to be themselves.
I cut my own hair, because I just don''t like the experience of even going to an ethical stylist. It goes back to my first professional haircut in childhood and then some. Now say (this is strictly theoretical, I am not planning on this) that I decided it would be easier to go to a professional. I would - as you put it well, Jerky Flea - want a "hair technician". So I would say exactly what I want, that I doubt I will ever want to change it, and would appreciate you not trying to convince me to do something else in the future. I would just want the job done.

Lots of people complain about stylists who cut off too much hair or badger women about cutting their hair after a certain age. Having a long haired mother, I know a lot about this just from the family, let alone from other sources, including this board.

Some people do feel reluctance to say no to a professional''s suggestions, unfortunately. Oprah once spoke of it. When one thinks how passive and conformist society is, I ain''t surprised.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote StyleGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2004 at 9:38am
Well, Duke, just like the `hair technician' in your theoretical visit, I know how and when to just shut up and do as I'm told.

It's a shame, really. I can almost imagine you sitting at home, arms folded defensively across your chest, saying `you can't make me.'

No. we can't. And in not wanting to find a professional stylist you can trust and consult, you're denying yourself a world of possibilities you can't possibly do yourself.

You're denying yourself a chance to see hair for the fun thing it is, to use change as a source of renewed energy, as a catalyst for personal growth. Hair grows, which means we do have the opportunity to play, to experiment, and to reinvent ourselves.

I haven't read enough of your posts to know for sure, but I sense you are male. Maybe a set of Osters with a Number 2 guide is enough for you. Who knows? Maybe you can even give yourself a decent Shattered Grad Bob. But I suspect you aren't concerned with being able to experiment or follow fashion. That's fine. Stay at home, do your own thing.

That leaves me to spend more time on those clients who do appreciate what stylists really have to offer. Many of us chose this field, not because of money, but because we find it creatively and personally rewarding. And, God forbid, if it ever got to the point where my clients told me they were not paying me for anything more than the ability to follow directions, I'd leave.

I guess I never did answer the question that started this thread, though it's probably apparent.

When I myself go to another stylist, I would hope that they try to influence me! Bring it on, I say.

I've always figured if the stylist doesn't care enough to have an opinion about my hair, it's not the right stylist.
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It's interesting that StyleGuy (see quote below) talks about maturity in the relationship between stylist and client.

While I am a successful and frequently mature professional guy in my mid 40's, when it comes to my hair, I am not. I am still locked into emotional responses more appropriate to the adolescent boy circa early 1970's that I once was. It was a barber and not a stylist at that time, but all decisions were made by parents, despite my objections (which were mostly repressed at that time, for other reasons). I am still trying to break away from the anger and sadness of that time in my life, and "in the chair" is a place where that is the most difficult.

I realize that I am a relatively extreme case (a self-aware fetishist), but I want to make the point there are reasons why some folks have real difficulty with that stylist-client. relationship, and it has nothing to do with the stylist. While stylists are not required to have a PhD. in psychology, they should at least be aware that many people have complex reactions to somebody with the power of the scissors in their hands.

Just my $.02, YMMV.

Mr. Happy

Originally posted by StyleGuy StyleGuy wrote:


2) Many people are conditioned to be weak.....

My response: How unfortunate. Ive always assumed that my customers are mature enough to engage in an adult discussion of pros and cons of styles both they and I suggest. I never looked on this discussion as an opportunity to force my views on a reticent customer. I looked on consultations as an opportunity to help a customer choose a style that gave them the right combination of style, ease, and personal expression.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote StyleGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2004 at 10:24am
Mr. Happy.

I'm sorry for what you've had to go through as a child. I'm thinking that the combination of fear and helpnessness while caped in a chair under the control of a man with scissors could be quite overwhelming.

As a stylist, though, I have to bring the assumption to each client consultation that for the most part there are no unusual and unpleasant connections with hair. I can't see doing the opposite. I can't see coming to every new consultation with the expectation that this client has fear or trauma issues.

I'm not insensitive, though. I think I can feel when someone is having difficulty, even if I don't know exactly the reason why. If I do detect something unusual, I think it's just common courtesy to just try to listen to, and read, a customer.

Best of luck.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote duke Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 29 2004 at 4:54am
I'm continuing this discussion non-polemically:

1) yes, StyleGuy, no offense, but you'd pretty much have to "do as you're told" if you were my stylist. And yes, I'm a guy.

2) Not all of us like change. I also have a disdain for the fashion industry. I don't want to be fashionable. I want to be myself. To each their own. Saying you're missing out on wonderful opportunities because you don't want to go to a stylist and experiment with your hair is like saying you are missing out on wonderful things because you don't have the same hobbies as the person next to you. Each person has their own preferences. You like having fun with hair. Good for you. As long as it's not at another's expense.
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And a followup question for the stylists:

How often do clients seem to have "difficulty" with the situation? One of the greatest issues for the fetishists among us can be the feeling of loneliness about our emotional reactions, and the feeling of being different. Although I am straight, I liken it to the feelings of being a closeted gay (or in this case, a closeted fetishist.

Thanks for your responses.

Mr. Happy

Originally posted by StyleGuy StyleGuy wrote:


As a stylist, though, I have to bring the assumption to each client consultation that for the most part there are no unusual and unpleasant connections with hair. I can't see doing the opposite. I can't see coming to every new consultation with the expectation that this client has fear or trauma issues.

I'm not insensitive, though. I think I can feel when someone is having difficulty, even if I don't know exactly the reason why. If I do detect something unusual, I think it's just common courtesy to just try to listen to, and read, a customer.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote StyleGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 01 2004 at 10:10am
Well, can I turn this question around?

Mr. Happy, if there was such a thing as a stylist you could be honest with about your feelings, would you want that? How open are you prepared to be?

To answer your question, I'd say out of every 100 new people I see, 55 are looking for lots of input from me, 35 are pretty sure of what they want, but ask for input.

The rest, at least on the first visit, want all the control. For these people, I stay quiet. Sooner or later, even these people ask what I think, if not on the first visit, then on subsequent visits.

Maybe once in a hundred, I detect what I would call difficulty. It's clear something else is factoring into this situation. I'm not judgemental. If the person feels like they don't want to be open, fine. If it feels like they don't like me, I play it evenly, and focus on execution. (The haircut, not the person.)

But here are things I never do;

I never start a haircut unless the Client and I have completely agreed on length and style.

I never start a consultation with the question `What are we doing today?'

I never start a consultation with the question `The usual?'
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