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Melissa shares things your esthetician/stylist wishes they could tell you:
I’ve worked in a few different salons. I have fond memories of working with strong women, harsh chemicals, and tedious tasks. Don’t get me wrong here- the people working on your hands, feet, faces, hair and body parts LOVE THEIR WORK- but there are a few things that you should know, that will make their lives a little bit easier. Now that I’m not working in the industry, I have nothing to lose by writing, and sharing this with you. I hope that my former coworkers, some of the most amazing people I’ve ever known, will benefit from it.
1.) Prebook your appointments
If you have a positive experience and like the person who does your service- book your next appointment with her before you leave the salon/spa. I cannot stress this enough. Many of the shifts in the salon industry are given based on appointments booked- so if this awesome stylist/esthetician that you just had doesn’t have pre-booked appointments- she also might not have work. I know you’re busy- and you don’t know what your schedule is going to look like in the next few weeks/months… but by prebooking (you can always change your appointment later) you could be ensuring that your esthetician has a job. Even the greatest, most experienced salon professionals depend on their repeat clients. Plus- you’ll only be able to blame yourself if you don’t pre-book and suddenly you can’t get your christmas-tree nail art done on Christmas eve because the ONLY girl who does nail art is totally booked. BE THE REPEAT GUEST!
2.) Show up
If you make an appointment- show up for it. If you can’t make it- call to cancel. Often times, if you don’t show for a 2 hour hair appointment, it means that your stylist loses 2 hours of pay. If you call to cancel, your stylist will likely be able to find someone else to take your spot, and not lose money. I would hate to think that my actions directly impacted someone’s ability to pay their rent, but when you don’t come to your appointment, and you don’t give heads up, that’s exactly what can happen. Not to mention, if you make a habit of it, you could get blacklisted and not be able to get your favorite person to work on you next time.
3.) Don't expect Miracles
These people WILL do their best. You are literally a walking advertisement for these professionals. So, when you ask for something, they will do everything in their power to make it happen. HOWEVER- if you box-dye your hair black, and are expecting to leave the salon as a platinum blonde, you are likely to be disappointed. If you want a beautiful french manicure but you pick at your cuticles and bite your nails, you are likely to be disappointed. If you tweeze your eyebrows between visits, but want to look like Kim Kardashian, you are likely to be educated in the wonders of makeup (and possibly disappointed).
Realistic expectations aren’t always easy- but they’ll make everybody’s life better. TRUST these stylists when they advise against something, and know that if an esthetician says that a french manicure might not turn out like you hope- she’s going to try her darndest to make it happen anyway.
4.) Waxing etiquette
Body hair needs to be long enough to lay flat, or it won’t get picked up by the wax. HAVING SAID THAT- if you your hair is long enough to curl around your finger… it’s too darn long. Hair that is too long WILL wax but it will hurt about 13,250,000x more than if the hair was the appropriate length. What’s that length? About as long as your pinky fingernail, or the eraser on a pencil. That’s the sweet spot. Too much longer, and it’s gonna hurt significantly more- too much shorter, and the hair won’t lift. If your esthetican provides you with a wipe or cleansing option- use it. I don’t think I need to explain that one- just be considerate. If you have questions about waxing- ask them. DO NOT TAN! For goodness sake! This might sound like anti-cancer propaganda (but seriously- it’s 2015), but your skin can legitimately lift right off… leaving you AND your esthetican scarred for life. Don’t tweeze between appointments unless advised otherwise. There’s probably lots more- but those are the main ones, I think.
5.) Tell them what you want
Some people like things to be done ‘Just Right’. Nothing wrong with that, folks. You like your french lines thick? Like your bangs SUPER-blunted? Want light pressure during your massage? GREAT- give your service provider a heads up. They might be great at chit-chat, and remembering how you like your coffee… but they’re not mind readers. They would MUCH rather (I promise) have you give explicit detail as to what you want, then have you ask them to redo their work after completion. I can verify that there is honestly nothing more frustrating than finishing a job to a point where you are satisfied and having your client say- “Oh… those french lines are really thin- could you make them thicker?”
If you notice that something isn’t quite what you like- tell them right away!
6.) If you are very sick/contagious - consider rescheduling
Massage therapists and estheticians especially work in very close, closed-off quarters. If they’re rubbing your face/head/etc and you’re breathing your very thankful, but infected breath all over them… they’re going to get sick. They know it too, as they’re sitting there. You’re breathing through your mouth, or dripping from your nose all over the place- and they’re thinking *I can feel myself getting sick already*.
They 100% can’t afford to be sick, I promise. So if you’re a walking illness factory- rebook for when you’re feeling better.
7.) Cash tips
Tip with cash. Tip with cash. ALWAYS try to tip with cash! This doesn’t just apply to the salon environment- but every environment. Cash tips are easily accessible, and often can be spared the vigorous taxation process that debit/credit tips go through. Also- try to remember to bring a tip, even if you’re using a gift card. **If you’re not tipping, start tipping**
8.) It's not always their fault
If you are late, for example, and are booked for a manicure.. and you request a french manicure, with extra glitter and a painting of the statue of liberty on your index finger, and your middle name spelled out in Hebrew on your thumb… your nail tech/esthetician will do their best to make it happen. IF, however, they can’t- it’s probably not their fault. There’s a good chance that she’s already running late for her next client, has had to skip/shorten her lunch, or was done her shift 20 minutes ago. Try hard to be patient and understanding. They will always try to make you happy- but some things just can’t be done.
9.) Tell your friends how great your experience was
There’s nothing more flattering than a client referral. Word of mouth is a salon professional’s best advertising. Spread the word. Post pics on instagram/facebook/tumblr… tell the world that YOUR STYLIST/NAIL TECH/MASSAGE THERAPIST/ESTHETICIAN is the best!
10.) Give the front desk a break
If your esthetician nips your cuticle accidentally or doesn’t quite capture the brow shape you want… or your hair stylist just can’t quite match the Jennifer Anniston picture you brought in (she’s probably crying about it in the staff room), it’s totally okay to let front desk know. It’s SO NOT OKAY to give front desk a third-degree about customer service, standards, business, or anything else. The front desk people who work in spas and salons have to deal with SO MUCH MORE than you will likely ever know- so just be patient and kind to them, and it’ll pay off.
11.) Listen to their advice
If they’re giving you product recommendations, lifestyle tips, food recommendations, service recommendations… listen to them! They want what’s best for you, I SWEAR. If your nail tech says ‘hand lotion would really help with your hangnails’- she means it. If your stylist says ‘you really should try to come in for a cut more often, it would help your hair to grow longer’- she means it. If your esthetician says ‘drink more water and your skin won’t be as flaky’- she means it. If your massage therapist says ‘practice some deep breathing and stress relief techniques to help your tense shoulders’- she means it. You see what I’m getting at here? They don’t have a hidden motive. They really just want to see you be the best you can be! Listen to their advice, and ASK for recommendations if you need them.
12.) Be kind
Okay, last one. This applies to everybody all the time, of course- but I’m speaking specifically about salon/spa professionals here. Think for a moment about the work they’re doing for you. Clipping your toenails because you just haven’t had time? Washing your hair for you and doing that amazing scalp-rub thing? Rubbing the stress-knots out of your butt-cheeks? Try not to drop lines like: “Ugh.. if I had to touch feet, I’d gag.” or “I don’t know you can put your hands on people’s bare skin like that.” or “I could never wash someone’s stinky head.” - That’s actually really insulting. These people have CHOSEN this career path, so respect it. These people do some incredible things for us. Let’s all be nice to them.
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