Regine Mahaux/Digital Vision
The client comes in expecting a blowout. That’s what she’s always had, so that’s what she expects. But, deep down, that’s not always what she wants. What the client wants is to feel beautiful.And for curly clients, the road to feeling beautiful has, well, twists.
Sometimes it’s a blowout or straightening service, while other times natural alternatives can give curlies a fresh look for a day or an entire season. Driven by celebrity and fashion trends, stylists across the country are taking curly clients by the hand and guiding them down the winding path that leads straight to the heart of who they are. The “true texture” benefits are obvious to the client—but also powerful and profitable for the salon and stylist, given the range of new curl-enhancing products and service opportunities that the professional beauty industry has created to help clients celebrate texture as well as tame it.
“In the consultation, I ask about the client’s goals and get her hair history,” says Tracy Aaron, a stylist at 7 Salon in Bellevue, Washington.
Many times, she finds that women want to embrace their curl but have not been taught any styling strategies except how to dry their hair straight.
“Consultation is a huge part of the service even with clients you’ve had for a long time,” agrees Jessica McConnell, assistant manager at Frontenac Salon and Spa in St. Louis, Missouri. “Clients leave you because they can’t get something new. They may want something fresh or fun just for that day, so we help people discover their curls.”
Some days, the weather impacts which style will fare best. In the Northwest, where it rains a lot, Aaron says a smooth, straight look can lose its “wow” factor when the client walks out into the drizzle.
Mindi Umbrell, a stylist at Akada Salon in Columbus, Ohio, is an advocate for working with someone’s natural texture to “mix it up” and offer options. “If someone is flatironing or blowing it out every single day, I teach her how to wear her hair in a natural way instead of fighting it,” she explains. “But if I have a client who absolutely hates her curl and isn’t going to change, then I will teach her how to keep her hair healthy.”
When you assume every curly client wants a straight look, you forfeit the opportunity to educate her about her options, adds Aaron. “I lose the chance to watch that client leave the salon with a big smile, thanking me for opening up her world to something she already had but didn’t know how to bring out,” she says.