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‘What It Takes To Be…’ A Great Salon Stylist

August 18, 2022

Sally Brooks, co-owner of Brooks and Brooks, London and three times British Hairdresser of the Year, knows what it takes to be a great salon stylist, both as a manager of a hugely hard-working team and as a hairdresser who still runs a busy salon column.

Think of your column as a business

As a stylist it is your job to bring clients and income into the salon. You will do this in a variety of ways, but for me, the most effective way to be a great stylist is to treat your column as a business within a business. A great stylist needs to think of themselves as a professional and take pride in what they do and do it brilliantly, thereby building a loyal clientele so that their column is always busy and they are contributing financially to the salon as a whole.

Be confident in your abilities

A great stylist knows their own worth and isn’t afraid to offer clients advice even if it means steering them away from a particular choice for their hair. It’s obviously vital to listen to the client and what they desire from their visit, but you also need to be confident enough in your abilities to sometimes explain to them that what they are asking for isn’t right for them and make recommendations.

Offer a bespoke experience to each client on every visit

A great stylist will begin every appointment with a thorough consultation.

However well you know a particular client, it’s important to be aware that their needs can be very different from one appointment to another. A great stylist will never start a consultation by asking ‘So, what are we doing today?’ A great stylist will ask questions that will determine what a client desires and then use their skills and experience to ensure the client gets what they need.

Also, remember to be empathetic and read a client’s mood at the start of every visit. You still need to deliver an impeccably professional service, but if a client’s verbal and body language is screaming that they are in a hurry and really not in the mood for making small-talk, respect that.

Bring skills back to the salon

A salon stylist will often get opportunities outside of the salon environment, such as working on photoshoots, doing education work, or even working backstage at fashion shows. At Brooks & Brooks, we ensure that all these experiences are used to enhance the work of stylists in the salon. A great salon stylist will be able to transfer the skills learnt in the highly pressurised world of session styling to their work in the salon, for example. At Brooks & Brooks we also ask those who experience exciting work beyond the salon to share anything they have learnt with other stylists, this way we grow a team of great salon stylists rather than just having a few stand-out stars.


Did you enjoy this article? Check out our first ‘What it takes to be…’ here