Expert Advice

Hair Enhancement Alternatives

Rosanne Ullman | July 10, 2011 | 6:23 PM

Do you have certain clients who just won’t give extensions a try? Or do you have clients who need hair enhancement, but not extensions? Try one of these methods. Your client will feel better about herself and you’ll see more profits in the salon.

Topical and Ingestible Products

While you may know that some of your clients take the pill Propecia or apply Minoxidil (also called Rogaine) directly to their scalp, the product in this category that is exclusive to salons is Nioxin, which is applied topically but includes a multi-vitamin supplement in the line as well.

“At Nioxin we approach hair thinning as a skin care issue,” says Trevor Attenborough, vice-president of marketing. “Nioxin is a skin-based, anti-aging solution for the scalp.” Attenborough explains that the product aims to cleanse and detoxify the skin on the scalp without stripping the hair.

“The best quality hair you can have is the hair that’s just leaving the scalp,” he adds. “Chemical, environmental and thermal damage affects it after that. So start by improving the skin on the scalp. The resin build-up from ordinary styling products impacts the hair, while our styling products actually benefit the scalp skin.”

Nioxin has provided salons primarily with a retail opportunity with its eight systems that cater to different needs and hair textures. However, the latest offering, Scalp Renew, is an in-salon service. The company suggests charging $50 to $75 for the 18-minute service, which includes ten minutes of processing time.

“The average facial resurfacing treatment is priced at about double what we’re suggesting,” Attenborough sayss. “Spas that already have a resurfacing treatment on the menu tend to push the price to $75 for the scalp, and you can do two of these in the time it takes you to do one hair color.”


As the latest entry poised to potentially sweep the market, laser light hair therapy is the “one to watch.” Gradually turning skeptics into believers, the technology is based on research indicating that light can promote healing and growth. Clients with anything short of  “shiny bald” heads are candidates for laser therapy; as long as the follicle is not dead, it can be nudged to grow more hair—and better quality hair. Success rates border along the 90 percent range.

“This is cold laser,” explains Robert Ward, president of Surf Side Lasers. “It has no thermal component and cannot harm the operator. Thermal refers to every other type of laser—laser for eye surgery or to remove a tattoo, for example—and the difference is night and day.”

Ward suggests a 26-week treatment protocol with the client coming in for 25-minute sessions twice weekly during the first 20 weeks, then reducing it to once a week and following up with three final treatments. Salons charge between $1,500 and $3,500 for this package, according to Ward.

From the expenditures side, salons pay anywhere from $5,000 to $23,000 for Surf Side Lasers, with financing plans requiring as little as $150 per month.

Retail revenue is also part of the laser story, because lasers tend to come with their own line of hair care products that salons normally incorporate into the price of a full package. As a further retail option, the laser comes in a hand-held version that retails to clients for roughly $300. Equipped with only a fraction of the diodes supplied by the in-salon machine, the hand-held covers a much smaller surface area and  will therefore require a lot of the client’s time, but it still can be attractive to the client who wants to do this at home.

The very latest laser equipment bridges the gap with an at-home, stand-alone model that’s more powerful than the hand-held but still not nearly as efficient as the in-salon laser.

“There are huge opportunities for owners to incorporate both hand-held and clinic lasers in their salon,” says Bill Blatter, president of Hair Loss Control Clinic. “You can pay a couple of hundred dollars per month and charge clients $2,000-$4,000; it’s a good return on the investment.”


Interested in hair extensions? Read Grow Your Business with Hair Extensions by Stacey Soble.

Check out products from our sponsors who specialize in hair enhancement. Click here.

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