For many stylists, the phrase "editorial hair" often invokes the feeling of high expectations with avante-garde finishes. Ammon Carver wants to change that notion. The Chief Artistic Director for Ulta Beauty recently paired with Cosmetologists Chicago to teach stylists to embrace editoral hair and see how it can change the salon space.
"If you're trying to build your books or your business, you want to create hair your clients want to walk around with. It's about taking hair that is editorial and aspirational, and translating that to your chair," Carver says. "Editorial hair is different than avante-garde because clients can still seem themselves in an editorial look; it's who they want to be. I don't see a lot of customers coming in requesting to have their hair look like a bird."
Carver demoed two different styles: a twisted pony and a voluminous lob with hair accessories. The looks were magazine-ready, but could also be easily transitioned to a client service.
He offered advice throughout the class, but these five tips were key:
1. Create a designated spot in your salon for photos.
When he opened Ammon Carver Studio in New York, Carver decided to split the space between an area for salon chairs and photo shoots. He originally rented out the photo shoot space, but his clients became so intrigued by the setup and watching the shoots while getting their hair done that Carver soon realized a huge potential: using the set and lighting to make his guests feel like stars. He quickly saw his salon gaining buzz around the city (so much so that it was named one of the top five salons in New York City) from photos his clients would post to social media.
"Your clients feel special when they get invited for a photo session after a service, even if they're shy," Carver says. "I promise if you love their hair and you're so proud of the work you've done on their hair, even if they're like, 'Oh, don't take a picture of my face,' they will feel proud that you want to post about their hair. When they hear you say that, all of a sudden they feel like they're wearing hair they can brag about and that makes them feel like they look great."
2. Branch out from typical Instagram poses.
For Carver, true editorial hair is timeless. So how do you take a bob or French twist and make it stand out?
"It's all about movement," Carver says. "How you maniplate the hair and create movement is what takes a very simple and classical look and brings it to life. It's about finding a look guests actually want to wear and giving energy to it. You want the hair to tell a story. So many times right now, I see stylists taking the same photo they see other stylists take. And I understand why, but they lack a bit of creativity and energy."
Instead, Carver recommends playing around by adding wind, thinking about texture and contrasting with angles.
"I see a lot of hairdressers start with the end in mind," he says. "For example, they build everything from a side part. And once it's locked in, you're limited. Give yourself the freedom to get multiple looks out of one client, if you want to maximize your content creation. Think about one guest with great hair. Take an extra few minutes or build in extra time and archieve photos. Do a quick upstyle or a pony. Then give it a side part or from the back. Take pictures from different angles that can be sprinkled throughout your feed at different times."
3. Think of your Instagram page as your own personal magazine.
"You are the editor-in-chief of your own page," Carver says. "When you flip through a magazine, you don't just see images. You see images, text, graphics, etc. Your page shouldn't be the same thing over and over; it should tell a story while still sticking to a central brand. People crave going to a stylist they can relate to, they want someone who has a story."
He recommends taking advantage of as many moments you have with your clients as possible.
"At the same time, you don't want to sacrifice the guest experience for content," he says. "Gage the situation. You can tell whether your client is loving the photo experience or feels like she's just being used for your feed. It's about the approach and knowing your clients."
4. Work as a salon team to make the most impact.
Think about editorial hair as both a stylist and a salon owner; the opportunties both vary and differ.
"As a salon owner, I can also say encouraging your stylists to share the photos that they've done is a huge part of this," Carver says. "Often salons have their own page, and it can be used as a collection of all your artists' work. Help your stylists create content you'd be proud to have represent the salon. That's a great way to build business. For example, if you are known or want to be known as the salon in town with the best color, then make sure that your salon Instagram or other social media pages are just flooded with incredibly beautiful color."
5. Use accessories and products to your advantage.
"You don't have to put all the bells and whistles on one head of hair to prove that you're able to braid, that can do a set or that you can stack hair like a house," Carver says. "You can achieve beautiful finishes with a few products and minimal accessories."
By adding in statment pieces or accessories to your style, you can grow your ticket while making your client look and feel special. It elevates the hair and makes your styles unique. When it comes to products, Carver emphasizes the importance of choosing products that work instantly and allow a client to see the difference it makes before their eyes.
"A good shampoo will make a client's hair healthy and soft," Carver says. "Which is good, but bad for a style that we want to have grip and last all day. By showing your client why a hairspray or texture product transforms or maximizes your look, you're demonstrating to them why they need to take this product home with them. And then the shampoo and conditioner can be sold as away to maintain that hair health and get the product out at the end of the day."