Expert Advice

When Dreams Come True

Rosanne Ullman | August 8, 2014 | 8:34 AM

When Dreams Come TrueThe hair they see is the hair they want—and they see it all. From Pinterest to movies, from fashion blogs to the fall TV premieres, style is a constant presence in your clients’ lives. Because of the intimate quality of social media, glamour is as close as their phone, as your guests will be happy to show you. Celebrity style feels achievable, and even the fashion runways have become relatable.

“What I like about the shows in New York is that there is a touchable quality to the women,” says Paul Hanlon, a session stylist for CHI at this year’s New York Fashion Week. “Women believe they can look like the model. It isn’t detached from their reality.”

Still, not every guest has a clear idea for a holiday look. Targeting your questions will help you to design the perfect look, says Sexy Hair Master Dawn Atkinson, who recommends asking your guest about the formality of the event, the dress neckline, her jewelry and her normal everyday look and regimen. Her responses will point you toward the products and techniques to create the style of her dreams.

Trends of the Season

1. Clean, classic, chic. “An amped-up look with Old Hollywood, vintage appeal continues to be a sought-after style,” observes Atkinson. “Hair accessories will be glitz and glam this year to work with fashion’s broaches, furs and scarves.” Atkinson suggests updating formal looks by incorporating curls, braids or knots to give them a tousled, textured vibe.

2. Sleek, well-conditioned blowouts. Healthy hair is always in style, but this season’s straight looks and polished upstyles, as seen on the autumn catwalks, are unforgiving; observers at Farouk say to pull them off the hair must be exceedingly vibrant and shiny. “We’re seeing an emergence of blowout bars,” adds Stephanie Ulmer, brand manager for Kenra Professional. "We want to be on the forefront of this trend. In September, we're launching a new Blow-Dry Shampoo, Conditioner and Foam that will join our widely loved Kenra Platinum Blow-Dry Collection. All products in the collection reduce blow-dry time by up to 50 percent." For salons that have been considering jumping on the blowout bar bandwagon, the holidays make a great test market. If client demand rolls it into January, all the better!

3. Party hair. Whether it’s neon clip-ins, mega-volume or a simple sleek pony, clients want to have fun with their look at holiday time. This doesn’t have to be Hair Style Right; it can just be Hair Style Right Now. Don’t hold back!

4. Naturalist movement. “Organic and earth-inspired trends from fashion to food have arrived in the world of hairdressing,” says Curlformers’ Deborah Blake, managing director of Shirley Valentine Salon in Manchester, England. “We are supporting more naturally curly styles and being more conscious about chemicals and heat damage.”

When Dreams Come TrueInstead of shunning thermal tools and chemical services, however, today’s clients are demanding the most advanced technology so that they don’t have to worry. Gentle smoothing formulas, thermal-protecting sprays, heat-free options like Curlformers to create texture and a hair-and-scalp preparation like Malibu C all contribute to clients’ peace of mind. “Offer clients a Malibu C service before you design an upstyle, perform a chemical service or use a thermal tool,” advises Trisha Rice, director of global business development for Malibu C. “If you keep your canvas healthy, you’ll deliver consistent, top-quality services.”

Biz Builder: viral buzz.

“Tap into the joy of the season,” advises Goldwell and KMS California Artistic and TechniCulture Director Patrick McIvor. “For all guests who post a picture on social media of themselves with their ‘Favorite Stylist’ and write what they’re most thankful for regarding their hair, you’ll reward them with 10 to 25 percent off retail purchases.” Everyone wins! The guest receives the discount, the stylist typically picks up a few new clients from among the friends who see the post and the salon gains free advertising along with a bump in retail sales! If the owner is short on time during this busy season, Matrix Artist Dan Csicsai recommends delegating social media tasks to someone on the team. “At first, it was hard to let go,” recalls Csicsai, co-owner of SalonGlo in Valencia, California. “However, I learned that my team members had fresh ideas and more time than I had to focus on it.”

Biz Builder: know your Boomers.

People in their 50s and 60s have the wealth and willingness to spend on services that “reflect their spirit and taste, not just their age,” observes Simon Ellis, international creative director of Schwarzkopf Professional. “We have to up our game and offer a sense of style that’s relevant to them,” Ellis says. “They also have a high purchase rate of take-home products, provided they understand usage and benefits.” Biz Builder: the gift of education. “This holiday, invest in another salon professional.” suggests Lindsay Quaglia, CosmoProf’s national education manager. “Help further someone’s career by purchasing a class for the person to take. Ask your CosmoProf sales consultant to review all of the educational opportunities available through CosmoProf, or visit”

Biz Builder: eco-friendly initiatives.

Impress clients with your concern for their wellbeing by inviting them to bring in a sample of their home tap water, suggests Trisha Rice of Malibu C. Your analysis may lead them toward products that nourish the hair and scalp and counteract minerals and chemicals in their water. You can purchase testing supplies from Malibu C or from any pool supply store. Eco-conscious guests also respond to Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree line. Piggyback on Tea Tree’s “Think Outside the Bottle” contest, rewarding five winners for their inventive ideas for reusing the product bottle.

Biz Builder: product prescription.

Recommending home-maintenance products does more than bring in retail dollars; it also recruits new clients. “When people send their friends to their stylist, often that conversation starts with a product,” explains Taylor Hooker, PR coordinator for TIGI. “One friend will tell another, ‘My stylist had me try Masterpiece Hairspray, and it’s the best!’ That builds your credibility and gets clients into the chair.”

Excerpted from MODERN SALON HOLIDAY 2014, an exclusive custom edition with CosmoProf and Armstrong McCall to help salon pros plan and grow holiday business. See the complete digital edition at

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