Just the Facts

Just the Facts

Just the Facts By Barbera

I have been a hairdresser now for more years than I care to admit. During that time I have seen a lot of statistics go by that seldom change. But one thing has always been true. The shorter the hair the more it needs to be kept trimmed… the blonder the hair the more it needs to be retouched. and if it’s really blonde or heavily streaked that means the more professional skills are needed. The bottom line is indeed the bottom line… profit and business. Very short hair and very blonde hair are both good for business.

Statistics show that of all girls over 21 who cut their hair from below their shoulders to something shorter, less than 10% ever grow it below their shoulders again.

About 7-8 years ago I came out of the closet a bit and openly advertised we specialized in precision short cuts. Immediately this acted as an anti-flak measure when a girl would gasp as she stared at her new look and exclaim “Oh God ! Is it ever short!” I mean of course its short… we specialize in that kind of style; that’s why she came here wasn’t it? But another strange thing happened, we actually saw more long-haired clients coming in for a “change”. We also know that on average a woman today will go back to the same stylist less than 3 times. If I introduce a girl to new shorter hair I will immediately try to book a follow-up appointment since of course a new style takes a while to settle in and a follow-up trim makes all the difference, and more sales, even if I have to offer her a discount coupon.

If a girl asks me to cut more than 2 inches I figure she wants a change. If she wants a change she is probably being cautious, so if I cut more I am probably doing what she wanted in the first place. I have no hesitation in cutting more than a client asks. In fact the more she asks the more I cut extra. I usually cut about double knowing that the sooner I get her to a short style the more often she will come for trims; if not with me then at least with someone.

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I’ve been accused by husbands and lovers of being scissor-happy and a lot of other 4-letter words I would not dare print. But the facts continue to show few of those clients ever grow their hair back, and indeed fall seduced to the feel and ease of shorter hair.

I love terms like “easy to look after”, “carefree”, “wash and wear”. These are seductive expressions for what I interpret as “let’s get it cropped close and worry about the style later”. So anyone suggesting to me they want a change that’s care free can expect to leave all but the last inch of their hair on my floor.

If the girl is the least bit nervous I will start well up the back. Working at the back the client can’t see and I can get the first cut away without any warning. I also have learned if you hold the hair tight as you cut, it seems the scalp is less sensitive and it’s harder for the client to know just how much came off. Once that first chop drops to the floor there isn’t much anyone can do to prevent the rest from following but if I am being very aggressive I will try and get at least three good handfuls off before she knows what happened. I have to gauge the girl’s tolerance for shock reaction. I really don’t want a revolution in my salon. As a result it’s the quiet ones who just sit there that have the most to lose. If they don’t speak up I just keep cutting. If I’m going nice and close then I love using the clippers. They work close, precise and fast. I can sweep up the back of a girl’s head in just a second or two and presto… she’s getting a really close cut with no way to turn back.

Just a word about hair colour. Streaking or hilighting in my salon is only one thing. I try to do a complete head so the final result at the ends is a complete blonde look. I use very light frosted toners, depending on the skin tone but go through a lot of ivory white. This is very neutral and works with a lot of different skin colours and makes home touchups impossible. I will retouch the roots so after 2 or 3 treatments it will be possible to just do the roots and the whole head is turned frosted blonde. If this damages the hair and it gets dry, well of course we have to cut it shorter.

But you have to look at the trends over the past 10-20 years. In the TV commercials 10 years ago one rarely saw a woman with hair above her shoulders. Now we have role models like Meg Ryan, and Sharon Stone, yes and even Demi Moore. Most commercials show women with short hair even if not cropped. It’s only those die hard shampoo commercials that show the long hair waving around. It won’t be long before those girls too realize their long hair has to go the way of the dinosaur.

I cannot say there haven’t been tears shed in my shop. There is always a bit of shock when someone first sees oneself with a big change, especially if they were not ready for it. Some girls are attached to their long hair and trimming 4 inches sometimes means 4 inches so if I whack off a foot they aren’t pleased. But I tell them if they don’t like it, hair always grows and they should enjoy the change while they have it.

There are occasions I have misjudged the girl’s tolerance for a change and tears flood all over my salon floor. Seldom does this become anger, although I have had angry calls the following day. I have found that the younger clients, 16- 25, usually express their shock at the moment, and vow they won’t return. But I have to admit there are still days I just feel like cutting someone’s hair and the flak can fall where it may. But we have to realize there are worse things that can happen in life than a short haircut.


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