How To Get The Most Out Of Your Haircutting Consultation

Sometimes it can be a lottery on what the client wants when they sit in the chair.

The hardest thing to do is to fully understand exactly what the client wants and expects for us, and trust me sometimes they think we are magicians!!


The process for a good, thorough hairdressing consultation is to get as much information from the client as possible. This can be difficult at times, especially if the client doesn’t know what they want, and ultimately if they don’t know what they want, how are we supposed to?

The biggest thing stylists need to remember about the consultation process is that this is an information-finding mission; we need to get as much detail from the client as possible to help us build up a clear picture in our head. If they don’t know the right way to explain this to us, we need to get it out of the client somehow, it’s about advising the client when they are not sure what or how they want it, this again is all about the experience level of the stylist and a vital skill to a good, thorough consultation.

Whenever possible it’s a good idea to sit next to the client on a stool or salon seat, the reason for this is it can be very intimidating to the client if you are towering above them while expecting them to answer questions that you are asking them.

Before we actually start the service we need to know the complete picture of their expectations/requirements, I always start by using open questions, questions that require more than a “YES” or “NO” answer. Things like, “how are we cutting your hair today?”

This will give the client the opportunity to explain what it is they would like you to do, more often than not; the client will only give you some of the information that you need. In this situation you need to go into more detail using closed questions, questions that require a “YES” or “NO” answer. You can narrow down your options here; “do you want a fringe/bang” is a closed question.

There are many different factors that may limit what you can do for the client, examples are hair type, condition, previous chemical treatments on the hair, head and face shape, how much time they have to do their own hair, if they do it at all, previous cut shape.

You have to be realistic with the information you give them during the consultation, as they might want a style that their hair isn’t suitable for, All these factors will limit what you can do, so don’t talk them into something that they don’t have the hair to achieve.

A great way to make sure you get all the information you need to build up the picture in your mind is to cover all the areas of the head.

Start with the top front and just work your way around and down the head.

Starting with the fringe/bangs, how do they like to have this, if they have one at all, do they like to wear it sweeping across the forehead? Do they like it to be a blunt straight fringe? And so on. You need to advise them of the different options that are available to them taking into account how the fringe is at the time, remember, you can only work with what you have at the time. If they are wanting something that their hair isn’t long enough for, the most you can do is to start the style to allow them to grow it to the desired length and shape, move onto the sides, do they wear the sides straight down? Do they like it to go back behind the ears etc.  

Follow this process until you have completed the whole head. This should give you the clients desired style/look they are wanting and expecting from you today.

So once the client has told you in their words what it is they want to have done, we need to clarify exactly what they have told us. When we are explaining this back to the client we need to use words that they understand, not technical jargon that might not make sense to them.

We can do this because we should have the style that they want as a picture that we build up in our heads from questions asked during the consultation. 

So at this point we have had a good, in depth consultation with the client, they have told us exactly what they would like us to do, we have clarified this again back to them in a manner that they understand and they have agreed they are happy for us to continue and start the cut.