Many times hair extensions are not a good idea for clients facing hair loss. Clients with extremely fine, thinning hair may not be suitable for extensions, as any type of extension may cause slight stress to the cuticle and scalp. Their hair may just be too fragile, short or damaged, so the last thing the client should want to do is add more weight to it with extensions.
“As women there could be many contributing factors [contributing to hair loss],” says Meghan Stringham, Utah-based stylist and extension expert. “From having a baby, stress, alopecia, drug addiction, chemical damage, disease, aging, I like to understand what is causing the client to lose their hair first, before I commit to any hair extension solutions.”
“When a client is losing hair dramatically, due to something like chemotherapy, an unbalanced thyroid, or postpartum, I will always recommend waiting until they have actually stopped shedding hair to consider extensions as an option,” says Lauren Salata, stylist and extension specialist at Base Salon in Chicago.
If the client doesn’t know the cause of their hair loss, Salata recommends they see a medical professional to make sure they are properly diagnosed and are reaming the hair loss. In this case, it’s important to create a relationship with a nearby specialist to refer clients to, or start a list of doctors your customers swear by to become a trusted resource for others.
Once the client’s hair isn’t shedding anymore, they can become a viable candidate for extensions. But in the meantime, or in the case their hair loss is a chronic condition, you can offer other solutions.
Even knowing various extension options in terms of material and attachment type, Smith will turn down an extension service if she knows the client isn’t a good candidate for wearing extensions, and will instead recommend other hair systems.
“Sometimes the client seeks out hair extensions when they are no longer an option due to the amount of hair loss they have,” says Susie Smith, owner of Makin’ Waves Salon and Hollywood Hair Extensions. “If the hair extensions are not going to stay in or they are going to show too much, hair replacement is a great option. At times I may recommend a wig. Every situation is different depending on the hair loss scenario. As a stylist, knowing the right solution for the client comes with education and experience.”
If a client is still adamant that they want extensions, even after sharing your concern, in instances like these and otherwise always have extension clients sign a waiver!
“It is important to spell out all of the risks in the waiver, as they are basically agreeing that you did inform them of every risk, and they would like to go through with the service anyways,” Salata says. That way, if they come back saying that the extensions are making their hair fall out, or don’t look right, or whatever the problem may be, you can have your bases covered in showing them that they signed off on that risk.”
When all is said and done, if you truly don’t believe your client is not the right candidate for extensions, do not feel bad saying no! It is always okay to kindly and politely tell them that you don’t think you are the person for the job.
“If a client was demanding to have their hair done, you need to remind them that you have their best interests in mind and you would be happy to re-evaluate their hair once they have an OK from their doctor and sign a release waiver,” Stringham says. “If their hair is in that bad of shape and you are not comfortable doing the service, by saying no, you are potentially saving yourself from any malpractice issues. They should respect you as a professional.”
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