Caroll lets his clients know what looks best on them, but if they insist on long, he gives them what they want. To fill in during “grow-out,” he gets clients to refer their men, because women control the family budget, he says. Sixty-five percent of his clients are now men.
Ali Martinese, owner of Sanctuary Hair Studio in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, takes another tack. She tells her clients that long hair requires a commitment because it must be healthy, shiny and beautifully colored.
“Clients are stretching their appointments, but my retail hasn’t gone down because I recommend what’s needed to keep long hair looking great,” she says.
Martinese encourages change via her website, which has many links to fashion-trend sites. The approach has been very successful in drawing women who want to look sophisticated without looking too conservative. She now has more requests for those textured, layered bobs.
Shane Petsch, a stylist at Van Michael salons in Atlanta and a partner in the Norcross location, agrees that long hair stretches appointments but that these clients still need products, tools and accessories.
“Women want sexy hair but have no time to do it,” says Petsch. “I show them how to use one- or two-inch-barrel irons on just on the top layers and how to work with accessories. The natural trend means women need products so their hair doesn’t look too fixed.”
Anders also taps into celebrity trends and accommodates busy lifestyles by focusing on flexibility.
“Women want to look pulled-together at the office and sexier on weekends,” he says. “To make a look new, take the bob and wedge shapes, add internal texture and change the look with products. Lindsay Lohan and Jessica Alba change their styles regularly; sophisticated women know this and want to learn more about how. Naturally, if you have a satisfied mom, you have a referral hub.”
Many middle-aged clients wear mid-length to long hair, by hairdresser’s standards.
“You’ll always have a mix of clients; some want the inside scoop on where to go next and others just want to keep it long and throw in a ponytail,” says James Pecis, a stylist at Bumble and bumble in New York City.
“The key to making change is to make it less intimidating. Start with a subtle change or a less dramatic version of the popular look. The client has to feel comfortable and believe that the look will suit her.”
Garrison sees a return to natural textures; one client who fought curl for 14 years recently embraced it. Another who wore a very straight, flat bob for a decade has moved to a shaggy, layered look.
“There’s definitely more texture in terms of cuts that blend movement and use natural texture,” says Garrison. “Because women want to save time, they use products to enhance and define what they have and embrace new technologies to change the look on weekends.”
Like Pecis, Garrison advises adjusting cuts with small shifts, such as adding a long bang, an angled fringe, texture and layers, which