The 10 Most Annoying Stylist Habits

We all pick up bad habits during our careers, no matter what we do for a living. These habits or bad traits seem to progress as we get older. Stylists and estheticians might pick up these habits in cosmetology school, from co-workers or even from you.  

No matter what the circumstance, these bad habits often are the things that annoy your clients and become the things they complain about the most. While these habits might not seem like a big deal to you or your team, let me reassure you they can be a big deal to your customers.

Have you found yourself or your team members doing any of the items listed below? Discuss these habits and the consistent way you want your team to handle them at an upcoming staff meeting:

Just a Trim: In theory, the word ‘trim’ means something different to a hair stylist than it does their clients. Trim means to make neat by taking a little off of the hair. Most clients expect “just a little bit.” Many times, clients leave the salon feeling like the stylist took way more than they expected. They came in asking for a trim and left like they were on the chopping block.

  • If they come in asking for a trim, give them a trim, ask if this is what they expected when you are finished. You can always cut their hair shorter.

Doesn’t cut short enough: Along with cutting hair too short, comes the problem of not cutting the hair short enough. Many customers feel they leave the salon and get home to realize that their hair feels and looks the same length as when they came into the salon. What’s the deal? Your customer sometimes feels that you may be doing this to get them back in your chair sooner by not cutting their hair short enough just to get an extra paycheck.

  • If a client comes in looking for a haircut give them one. The key is communication—show them how much you intend to take off and ask them if that’s what they were thinking. After the cut, ask if the length meets their expectations. Blow their hair out and show them how this cut or style has changed their appearance, and demonstrate how they can change it up with different styling products.

Buzz Cut: Many clients see a great haircut or style on TV or in a fashion magazine and they think this style may look fabulous on themselves. If this particular style requires the buzzer, you better make sure your client understands what the outcome may be. The resulting look better be what your client is dying for.

  • The best solution to this problem once again is communication. If you think your client doesn’t have the right face or head shape for hair this short, explain that to them. Once you get the buzzer out, there is no turning back.

Highlights: Clients today want to cover the gray, look young and not have the same color that everyone else does. One way to boost a color is to add highlights, which can  achieve that youthful, hip, sexy look. But the service requires extra time and money, and this might be a problem for your client.  If suggest highlights to your client every time they walk in the door to the salon, they think you may be taking advantage of them. Your simple suggestion may make them think you are trying to cash in every time they come in for a simple service.

  • I find that when a client comes in and you notice their highlights may need to be fixed or completely redone make the suggestion. Let them know that their hair needs a pick me up. Show them by using the mirror. If they think they are ok, you made the suggestion. You can only bring the horse to the water you can’t make them drink.

Overbooking: If your client comes in and they find themselves waiting longer for you than a doctor’s appointment, something is amiss in the salon. Whether it’s the fault of the reception team or the stylist is overbooking, not being on time for your customer is a big ‘No-No’ and will quickly top their complaint list.

  • There is no better rule than to be on time for you customer. Sometimes you just can’t help but run late. A simple fix for this is when your customer comes in walk right over give her big hug and say hello and explain you’re running a few minutes late. Offer a beverage while they wait. If it’s longer than expected, offer a discount or a free blowout or service. More importantly, say you are sorry and make sure it’s not a habit.

Adding products to the hair without asking: Most client’s don’t like hairspray. It’s almost impossible as a hair stylist to not add some type of gel, mousse or hairspray to a client’s hair. But, be aware, most clients don’t want to leave the salon with the ‘Don’t touch my hair’-syndrome.

  • If your client wants the stiff look or wants a nice gel or mousse, simply ask them if you can apply the product to their hair. Explain what type of texture, it may leave on their hair. Tell them how long it should last.  Spray some on their hand let them smell it, touch it and see how it dries. If they say go for it, spray it. If not, that’s ok to.

Chit Chat: If you are lucky enough, you will find a mutual bond with many of your clients. You can be perceived as a true confidant. You can share stories with them and they can do the same back. There is nothing wrong with cozy chit chat.  Many times, your clients may just not feel like sharing stories nor do they want to listen to yours. They could have had a bad day at work, family problems or may just be tired and don’t feel like communicating. Remember the salon is supposed to be a sanctuary to get away from the everyday trials and tribulations of life. Peace and quiet is sometimes better than the service you may be offering your client. If you’re a chatty stylist who likes to dish about everything that is going on in your life, your client may be worried that you’re not focused on her hair.

  • When your client comes in to the salon ask how their day is going. Communicate that you may have something to share with them. Ask if they need some peace and quiet and downtime. Depending how they respond will give you an indication on what type of appointment you will have with them.

Cell phone: There is nothing worse than talking on the phone or texting at your station while you have a customer in your chair. If you feel the need to tend to your personal life and social needs while at work, stay home. Your client is not invisible and should not have to hear what is going on with your personal life while you are doing their service.

  • This has been a growing problem in the workplace today. Cell phones should not be allowed while you have a customer in your chair, case closed. If you have a need to make a call, excuse yourself and do so in an area that no one can see you or hear your conversation.

Giving your customer the look you want: Many clients feel that their stylist takes matters into their own hands. Don’t ask your customer what they want for a new look, then do what you think will look good on them. You may have a better understanding and know their hair better than they do, but they are the customer. Give them what they ask for.

  • If your customer asks for an off-the-wall style or color, it’s up to you to make them understand why it may not be the best idea. If they persist and you do what you think will look better, that is not what they asked for. Communication is key and vital to good customer relations. Give them the courtesy of letting them know what you think is best for them, but make sure you agree on what you are going to do before you do it.

Double Check Checklist:

Did you do the things below when meeting with your client to make sure they were happy?

  • Ask them how much hair they wanted to trim and if that was enough when you were done.
  • Confirm that the length you cut was what they expected. If not did they want more cut off?
  • Make sure they knew you were using a buzzer, if the cut required one.
  • Make a suggestion that they may need a touch up on their highlights. and show them why.
  • Apologize if you were running late.
  • Ask if you could use hair products.
  • Ask how their day was going and assess how much talking to do during the appointment.
  • Put you cell phone in your drawer and out of sight when your customer came in for their service.
  • Give your client the look requested instead of the one you want.


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