Unfortunately, hairdressers increasingly and falsely market themselves as ‘specialists’ despite lacking the necessary expertise or understanding of its meaning. Here’s the thing. Any hair salon that offers a wide array of services is a generalist and not an honest, technical or reliable specialist. Clearly, a specialist has a singular focus and service offering. Ultimately, their misleading marketing is why I use the term ‘true specialist’.
As I’ve been working with and supporting challenging hair textures for over 30 years in multiple countries, I believe the following criteria are reasonable before any hairdresser uses the term ‘specialist’ in their marketing.
- The hairdresser or salon provides a singular service, not multiple services.
- At least 75% of clients align with a stated specialist service offering.
- When supporting curly hair, no less than 40% of clients are from culturally diverse backgrounds.
- Results meet or exceed the needs of every client, regardless of their hair type, curl pattern, density, and length.
- Results are not product-reliant and support each person’s individual styling preferences.
- Results are not limited to a singular personal or creative bias—unless that bias is clearly stated in marketing materials.
- Experience within a stated specialist focus for at least ten years.
So, am I a curly hair specialist? Looking back, it wasn’t until I passed the 20-year point of my career that I felt experienced enough to make that claim. That said, while 75% of my clients have curly hair from varying cultural backgrounds, the remaining 25% consists of other challenging textures and situations that also need my expertise. A significant number of these clients have fine or thin hair concerns. Like curly hair, people with fine hair also struggle with blunt cuts that are flat and shapeless. While I feel that marketing myself as a curly hair specialist is honest, I take steps to ensure these individuals know I have genuine specialist expertise to help their needs, too.
Ultimately, my core principles offer a necessary alternative for women that the hair salon industry does not readily support. The combined client situations and their ongoing bookings contribute to thinking I am more than just a curly hair specialist. A women’s haircutting specialist must work with complex hair types equally and exceptionally well. Without a doubt, that is my focus. I thoroughly enjoy working with any texture or situation considered challenging to resolve. Ultimately, providing results that elicit client happiness is everything about why I love my job.