Reference photo only. Tom does not photograph clients.
Let's begin this writing exercise with a strong opening statement; a thoroughly researched and well-considered observation distilled through an abundance of first-hand experiences. Ahem. Hair salons that choose to curate and actively maintain a social media presence are pretty much all the same, regardless of their individual focus. The following post will attempt to validate that statement by asking some important questions. The purpose of which is to shine a light on a fatal flaw regarding that which I believe to be of utmost importance, a great haircut.
Since I tend to attract a lot of people with curly hair, let's consider two different, yet familiar scenarios. The first is a person who has just started to embrace their natural texture, is overwhelmed by what they've heard about or read online, and feels like they need some guidance to help make reasonable sense of it all. The second is a bit further along with this process. They, on the other hand, are well versed in all things curly and are simply needing an exceptional haircut to pull it all together. Despite their differences, each has needs which ultimately hinge on someone who is skilled with scissors doing something special for them. Here then, are the important questions which need to be asked.
If throughout a booking your hair was positively supported, then meticulously styled and photographed for an Instagram post, does any of that matter if the cut itself proves to be underwhelming when you get home and live with it day-to-day? If the cut requires more products, time and energy than you are willing to spend, does the fact the salon was curly hair supportive really make a difference? More importantly though, how is this result different from a conventional hair salon? If both places perform a fairly average haircut which was then social media showcased in a manner that you likely won't replicate, aren't they effectively the same? Sure, one place may have offered a lot of useful information and didn't touch your hair with a flat iron, but is that enough? If their haircut didn't deliver exceptional results, are you really going to be happy a few weeks later? Regardless of any haircut though, salons that choose to spend an impractical amount of time and effort flawlessly styling their work to assist with promoting their business online are not actually helping you. This is yet another reason why I believe they are all the same.
More important though is that a hairdresser should not be setting an unrealistic expectation for you or your hair by engaging in styling which primarily seems to support their social media needs.
I have found that for a lot of my first-time clients this exact situation is all too familiar. Unfortunately, and regardless of hair type, it tends to define the salon hairdressing experience for many of them. Sure, curly hair education and product knowledge are definitely important but without a high-functioning easy-living haircut, things will consistently fall flat. Yes, both literally and figuratively. Some puns are intentional. The problem appears to stem from a short-term creative focus on the version you leave with instead of a thorough consideration of the days, weeks, and months ahead. Let's not kid ourselves here, a haircut which doesn't start out as high-functioning doesn't magically get better as time passes. This particular facet, above all else, is paramount and has been the subject of numerous articles written over the years.
As we continue, it must be stated that there clearly are many individuals out there who absolutely love the salon-styled, Instagram-ready results they get and that's wonderful. Absolutely, to each their own. I believe the community needs every one of the various options they currently have available to them. Despite the arguments made in this article, there are some salons that cater to a specific type of personal need and that is really important to maintain. That said, from the unending queue of clients outside my studio door, it is obvious that there is a growing number of individuals who are seeking an alternative to what is typically offered. If you're reading this, you may be one of them. To that end, my practice has a well-established history of determining the practical failings of conventional salons. Then, through careful analysis and discussion provide something better. I find this approach to be especially vital in our current era of smartphone camera influenced hairdressing. The following is a point I repeatedly make on this website. The benchmark of a great haircut is one which is both functional and flattering independent of the styling efforts a hairdresser opts to engage with inside their salon.
It's really quite simple. If a haircut is reliant on things like root lifting clamps, heaps of products, and time-intensive ritual in order for it to look good, it isn't a great haircut. End of discussion. Too, how is any of that different from standard salon haircut which promotes a flat iron-dependent aesthetic? As was written in an earlier article, both are unrealistic beauty expectations. Yes, an agreed-upon and reasonable amount of effort at home can make a great cut really come to life, but it should never, ever, require it. More important though is that a hairdresser should not be reinforcing impractical ideals by engaging in styling which primarily seems to support their social media needs. We instead need to actively encourage and embrace a more natural, low-fuss, and realistic aesthetic which is better aligned with the reality that is a busy, modern life. We are all born with an abundance of natural beauty, both internally and externally. Let yours shine.
As always, if you've got something constructive and well-considered you'd like to communicate regarding this post, feel free to get in touch.
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