Expert Advice

Two Pictures

Patrick McIvor | January 25, 2016 | 10:17 AM
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Technology is like salt, a little bit can really bring out the flavor of the experience, but too much can be overwhelming. If you have ever had a guest come in with a full Pinterest board of the one haircolor they want, you probably know what I'm talking about. (15 different pictures on 15 different people but the blush pink a guest wants is actually 15 different pinks.) Yes, this gives some leeway, but it's not good, if they have the exact color they want in mind.

Historically, we have used images to illustrate, to both service providers and guests, we're on the same page and we're anticipating the same outcomes. The classic example is the man who asks the stylist to cut his hair over his ear. The stylist proceeds to cut the hair short on the side of his head using a scissor-over-comb technique to cut it “over the ear”. After the first cut the man exclaims loudly, “I wanted my hair cut over my ear!”, meaning he wanted his ears covered. Salons and barbershops have a long history of pictures on the walls, pictures in look books, hairstyle magazines in the reception are, and more recently hairstyle magazines in checkout lines at grocery stores and pharmacies.

All of which have helped us for years.  Why? Because there weren't that many pictures most guests liked anyway. These sources generally offered 1-3 pictures that really spoke to a guest and then “trends” meant there were not that many styles popular at any one time. 

But times have changed. Today, many guests spend considerable amounts of time looking at hundreds of images allowing them to find, sometimes, overwhelming amounts of images to illustrate “exactly” what look/color they want for themselves. Can this be helpful, sure, but can it be harmful?

You bet. First, all of these pictures can sometimes make a person feel like they can be any color they want, which is true to a degree. Just because Kim K did it, doesn't make it's a good idea. So how do we set ourselves up for success? I like two pictures.

Two pictures is almost a game, but it helps to create a conversation and allows the salon professional to ask the right questions. So which two pictures?

Ask for a picture of the hair they love, and one that is similar that they don’t like. If necessary, this can be done for each service if we are talking about a makeover or change of both a shape and color. So for a color that is hair painted, show me a picture of what you want and then show me one that is too much or too little, but is close to what is wanted. How about a copper red that’s perfect and one that is a little too bright or gold? How about a LOB you love and one that just misses. Show me over the ear that you want and over the ear you don’t want. When there are two pictures it’s easier to be on the same page.

I love technology, as most of you probably know, and when used properly it really can make human engagement better, offering more connections and possibilities. But went technology takes over our lives, all the possibilities can get in the way of actually finding happiness in real life. The truth is too many choices can create regret and two pictures helps me make sure I can do my job, making guests love the way they look.

Follow Patrick McIvor on Instagram.

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