The busiest stylist in my salon, by her own admission, is not the best stylist. She is booked three weeks in advance because she starts off every client visit with a traditional, attention-to-detail consultation. I work two stations away from her and often eavesdrop on her consultation skills. After years of salon work, we can overlook the value of an extra ten-minutes to get to know the client and make her/him a forever client.

A salon consultation is all about the client, not about you, since the objective is to discover that which allows a client to feel great about her look, and it may not be the latest, trendiest style. Some clients want to look groomed but “blend in” and not attract attention in an office setting, at an event or their social circles—one client said to me, “I don’t want to look like I tried too hard.”  Others want to spend minimum time on styling and are happy with a relaxed look. Then, there’s the client who really wants to make a statement with their hair—they are so much fun, yes. Every client, all of them, fear looking dated. The big mistake is to hurriedly create a trendy style on a conservative client or vice-versa. This is why a great initial consultation will keep you in the safe zone and out of creative trouble. The brain tickler questions below can assist you in delivering a great consultation. Clients really like hearing their styling options and the reason behind these based on your professional training. In the end, the client will decide what they do and don’t like. They may pass on your suggestions, but will respect your expertise, and trust to recommend your professionalism to others. 


Client name_____________________________  Cell phone___________________  email_______________________

1.  Can I text you appointment reminders, alert you if I am running late or if you can come earlier?   Yes______ No________


2.  What Do You like about your hair?  Determine client’s hair texture: fine, straight, wavy, coarse, curly and frizzy


3.  What Don’t You Like About Your Hair? Begin mentally formulating solutions but wait until the end to give the whole idea.

4.  Can you think of a Celebrity whose hair/style/color you admire?

5.  Would you describe your personality as:

 reserved ___ outgoing ___observant ___participative ___quiet ___ talkative___

6. How long does it take you to style your hair?  ___________mins.

    Can you blow dry your hair? Yes ___No ___  Can you use a curling iron or flat iron? Yes ___No ___
    Which product(s) do you currently use for styling your hair? What do you like about them?

7. How do you feel about the fullness and movement of your hair?
    Do you want more movement?  Yes ___ No ___ More Fullness? Yes ___ No ___
    Do you like to wear your in different ways Yes ___ No ___

8. What do you like or dislike about your color?
     Remind client: light makes things brighter and brings out details. Dark hides details but on pale skin brings out features-- nose, chin, ears
     full cheeks and wide foreheads.


9. Hair adapted to face shape: describe to the client their face shape in terms of adaptability below:
     Long Face: The longer your hair is, the longer it will make your face look. It's often best to go with shorter styles or those that have
          plenty of volume. Bangs are great as well.
     Oval Face: Nearly every hairstyle flatters this shape. If yours is on the longer side, follow some of the suggestions for long faces.
           Finding a good style for your hair texture is probably more important.
      Round Face: Some of the better options include haircuts that are below your chin. With curly or wavy hair, going too short may add
           more width to the cheek area. Short styles that add volume on top can elongate your face.
      Square Face: You may want to play down a strong, angular jaw add softness, texture, curls or choppy ends.​

10  Adapting to features: explain how volume/color in certain areas can bring out/diminish features.
       volume accentuates the opposing feature: occipital volume=look at my nose/eyes; top volume=look at
       my height/sides, nape volume=look at forehead, side volume=look at my facial features, etc

11.  Hair proportion to height/weight. Taller=wear more hair,  shorter=less hair, xtra pounds=less hair/volume, thinner=more hair/ volume

12. Using photos from your cell or tablet, give the client a quick overview of today’s trends---long hair styles, mid length styles, short hair, micro hair. Try to select styles that include current color trends.

Here is what I recommend for you (explain the style). Use photos, if possible.
            ~This is how long it will probably take you to style it daily:
            ~This is how long you will be here today:

            ~This is how much you will spend today:

            ~This is how often you will need to cut or touch up your color:

            ~After I cut and style your hair—the styling portion is really a how-to lesson on how to style your hair at home:

            ~If you cannot style your hair, make an appointment for a complimentary shampoo and style class:


Carlos Valenzuela is a hairdresser, educator, ex-salon & school owner. His focus is guiding salon professionals to a more fulfilling career & lifestyle. @carvale19

More from Carlos: 

On Self-Care for the Stylist

On Avoiding Salon Burnout

On the Temptation of Gossip and Negativity in the Break Room--and Why and How to Stay Away From It


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