A very special kind of hair therapy...

Most people love to have a good chat with their hairdresser. But it’s not usually a ‘how have you been? Isn’t this crazy weather we’re having?’ kind of chat. Oh no. When we step into that chair, and the stylist begins to work their creative magic, some strange emotional magic tends to happen too. Suddenly we want to tell our hairdresser everything, sometimes even the most intimate details of our lives, stuff we’d only usually admit to our best friend because we know that when the appointment’s over our secrets are still safe and we’ve felt a whole lot better for sharing what’s on our minds. Let’s call it a very special kind of hair therapy.

Circle of trust
But why does this happen? Well, just think about it for a moment. When a client sits in the hairdressing chair, a strange kind of body language takes place – the stylist, standing behind or alongside the chair, is in a position of ultimate power. They’re not only physically dominating; they’ve also got the god-like ability to make you look wonderful or give you a haircut so atrocious that you won’t want to leave the house for several weeks. But we know they’re not going to do that because, if they’ve got their customer skills right, they’ve already reassured us that everything is going to be great and in the next hour or so you’re going to stride confidently out of the salon feeling like a new person. So if we’re going to put that kind of trust in them, why wouldn’t we spill the beans on what’s bothering us?

Mirror image
More than that, the client isn’t able to look the stylist directly in the eyes – in fact, most of the time the stylist is a reflection in the mirror – which gives a comfortable feeling of distance and security, which only makes talking about things easier. And you know the odds are very high that, even if you tell your hairdresser something shocking, they’ll always take your side and make you feel better about it. They won’t try to psychoanalyse you and make you dive down into the deep dark reasons it happened like a conventional therapist might. At the end of the day, most hairstylists have big personalities, and they know how to keep everything positive and fun. And because their job is all about meeting people and making them feel good about themselves physically and mentally, you know you’re in expert hands.

Blurred lines
So let’s switch sides for a moment – if you’re the stylist, how can you make sure the line between being a confidante and being a professional isn’t blurred? Well, the secret is in the previous paragraph. Keep everything light and breezy, use your common sense about any advice you give, and if you think the conversation is headed into places you don’t want to go, just steer your client back to what brought them to your salon in the first place which is, how fabulous they’re going to look and feel when the appointment is over! But beware clients who want to pull you completely into the friend-zone by suggesting it would be nice to continue the chat when you’ve finished working – unless you’re sure that this is someone you’d like to let into your life. If not, just politely tell them that that would be a lovely idea but unfortunately, your work is keeping you so busy you’ve barely got time for a social life! On the surface, there might seem no harm in catching up with the client for a drink or two, but what happens if you don’t get on so well in the real world? You might have just lost a good customer.

The main thing is never to forget this is a huge compliment your client is paying you, to trust in your creativity and feel as comfortable as they do about sharing the details of their life. It’s an enviable position to be in. You’re helping them to feel fantastic and happy inside as well as out, and isn’t that one of the big reasons you chose this wonderful career called hairdressing?

Stay in touch

If you are interested in receiving more information about LHAA, our courses and events sign up here