Trust me I’m a Hairdresser

I remember being at a party when I spotted a woman with the most amazing hair style. The cut and colour suited her perfectly.

I went over to chat to her because it was clear she knew me by the look she gave. Never slow to pick up on an excuse to chat to a lady I approached her.  She told me she’d been coming to Combers for the last ten years with the same hairdresser. Not me I hasten to add, I’m not that forgetful! 

She told me the she’d just separated from her Husband, and said this was the first time she had been out socially and told me it was due in most part to her last salon visit. She explained that she rush booked a late appointment with her usual stylist telling her she wanted a new look for a new life.

Her stylist made her coffee and they sat chatting for ten minutes, during which she took time to proove that her present style was perfect for her and counceled her thoughts on taking a  rash decision. Concerned and empathetic, naturally, it was clear that her guest was feeling depressed because of her emotional situation. She showed her different styles and colours but suggested perhaps now was not the best time to consider changing her style.  Maybe she should leave it for a week or so and then make a decision. She cried, hugged her and thanked her and left the salon with no charge feeling a million dollars.

That story sprung to mind when I saw a poll recently which asked people what professions they most trusted.  Not surprisingly, doctors came out on top (89%) followed by teachers (86%) judges (80%) and scientists (79%)

However, you may be surprised to learn that hairdressers came fifth with a staggering 69% of people quesstream_imgtioned putting stylists way ahead of bankers (37%) estate agents (25%) and politicians (21%) Maybe you were no more surprised the me. However 1% higher than police officers surprised me as they are probably being unfairly judged being that it is so difficult to find one let have a truthful conversation!

Credit: Ipsos Mori The top five professions the survey revealed as ‘most trusted’.

  • Politicians – 21%
  • Government ministers – 22%
  • Journalists – 25%
  • Estate agents – 25%
  • Bankers – 37%
  • Builders – 42%

The lady I met at a party was indeed blessed to have such a strong relationship with her stylist. A more unscrupulous one having booked her valuable time out could have taken advantage and changed her style altogether, making her even more depressed the following day when she woke with a look that neither suited or flattered her – and certainly not one she needed.

Personnel recruitment for any business should be taken seriously and at Combers if you apply to work with us the interview is a process which I control. It has much more to do with values than  skill, as our tribe can more easily teach the latter. We are a tribe and not a team as we don’t all have the same goals, don’t turn up at the same time, don’t talk from a script and don’t wear a uniform. However we love working with each other and love working for each other….This transcends to our guests. I am lucky in that I don’t have to work with people that I don’t like and therefore I don’t expect the tribe to either. So in the recruitment process the tribe has a say in who we recruit be it a new hairdresser from out of town or an apprentice wishing to share our space and energy. One of the values is of course truth and honesty which I believe is one all employers look for. Like all values they  can transgress in any of us if the culture of the group does not support and  celebrate their virtues.

How to build a truthful relationship with your hairdresser

Remember in one hour, a hair stylist can alter how you look, how you feel and how you see yourself, just by cutting, styling or colouring your hair. That is a lot of power to place in one person’s hands.

Here is my guide:

1.       Look for a lifelong partnership between you and your hairdresser, similar to that of a doctor or dentist. You need to know the stylist is looking after your interest.  You can tell if the salon or stylist is just  looking to make money from you because they will not invest in their ongoing education seeing it as an expense and not an investment in you and them.

2.       Hairdressers are by nature creative people. However, don’t become a guinea pig to a stylist who wants to use your hair to experiment. If they are fed up doing the same styles every day, then someone who tells them  they ’don’t know what to do with their hair’ could be the opportunity for the stylist to go to town on your lovely locks and give you a look that is not right for you. Correcting it could be expensive and time consuming, leaving you walking about with a style that makes you feel awful.

3.       Relationships take time to build. Does your stylist take an interest in you and your lifestyle? Do they talk about themselves? Maybe you have a shared interest in fashion or holiday destinations, films, books or TV shows. You should feel as relaxed sitting in the salon chair as you would in a neighbour’s house. That way, you can get the style or colour you want, not one pushed on you by the stylist who might have cut your hair for months, but has never got to know you.

4.       Be sensible. Do you feel the salon and the stylist value you or just see you as another customer to be processed – wash, cut, dry, payment and see you in six weeks. If you are more concerned about losing the stylist than the stylist is in losing you, that might not be a relationship on which trust can be built.

5.       Avoid hairdressers who promise you the earth or fawn uncritically at whatever you say or suggest. A trusting relationship should be beneficial for both sides. Encourage your stylist to discuss your face, nose and in my case count my chins, because until an honest exchange of facts are out there and can agree on the present reflection in the mirror, a successful design process cannot begin and we probably wont agree on the final reflection.

For advice contact Simon at Combers on 01823-334331, info@combers-old or visit, or join us on www.facebook/combershairsalon or twitter @combershair