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Why does my hairdresser try to sell me products?

There are a few reasons as to why your hairdresser tries to sell you products after your appointment.  Seeing as I’ve spilled most hairdresser’s secrets already, let me fill you in on the insider info as to why this may be.  

They genuinely think it will help.

I know some people find this quite hard to believe. Yes, hairdressers do actually care about your hair. Well, some of them do.  If you are experiencing a significant issue with your hair – itchy scalp, dry ends, frizz etc.  They may just sell a product to your because they believe it will help.  I have some that I refer to as “desert island products”.  These are the few things I simply can’t live without and genuinely wonder how the rest of the world survives without them.

If your stylist recommends something to you based on a problem that you have shared with them or agree you are experiencing, then discuss it.  There’s nothing wrong with asking a few questions – they should be able to answer them for you.  If they don’t know the answer, they will have someone who distributes that product to them who will.  Don’t feel like you can’t have a quick look online to read reviews if you feel necessary.  But any questions please do ask your stylist.

They do have targets to meet.

Yes, you probably knew or suspected this.  It’s not as malicious as it sounds though.  We all have targets to meet in our jobs, and retail sales is one of our targets as hairdressers.  Hairdressers do make commission on these sales. Much like anyone in any sales role.  If you do not want a product you do not have to take it. Remember that.  Stylists that are employed by a salon are expected to sell a certain number of products are heavily trained, so they have the best knowledge to do so. 

They will not recommend something that won’t work.

The reason for this is quite simply because if they do, you will not return.  Client loyalty is far more important than pushing a bottle of shampoo.  If you take home something that is not suitable for you, are you likely to return to the hairdresser that recommended it?  When this does happen, please do contact the salon and let them know.  If you have loved your hair but ended up buying a product you dislike, let the salon know this.  They will likely exchange it or refund you.  As a small salon, this is something we would always do.  Don’t think that we won’t be able to resell it. We won’t, but it can be used on the salon floor, so it is not wasted.

We want you to come back.

This is partly the reason why retail is good from a stylist’s perspective.  The thought behind this is that every time you wash your hair you will think of your hairdresser. That bottle will be a constant little reminder.  I realise that sounds super creepy.  As I’ve said, loyalty is super important to a stylist.  We do look at things like client retention when building our columns.  It’s much more beneficial and pleasant to have regular clientele than having to try to bring in new clients all the time because you can’t retain them.

Professional products are better than store bought.

They are more expensive than supermarket or drug store products for a variety of reasons.  Key reason being they are better for your hair.  These products also have better ingredients in them and less harsh detergents.   For example, things like sulphates are used in cheaper products as a cleanser and to make the shampoo lather.  Fun fact; shampoo doesn’t need to lather to work.  Neither does toothpaste. Or soap.  We are now so used to it though that we don’t feel clean unless we see bubbles.  These sulphates can be very harsh, removing natural oils and stripping colour from hair.  Professional products will have alternatives such as potato starch.

They last longer too.

This is my all-time favourite argument for spending a bit more on a bottle of shampoo.  It’s cheaper in the long run.  I know you’ve probably heard this a few times when your hairdresser is trying to sell you products.  Again, being more expensive and having better ingredients means they are more concentrated.  Therefore, you actually need to use less so a 250ml bottle of professional shampoo will last longer than a 250ml bottle of store bought.  For this to work you do have to use less product.  This can be hard to get your head around sometimes; I do recommend starting with less than you think, and you can add more if necessary.  I always tell people to add more water before they add more shampoo when washing!

Please don't find it cheaper online.

As we all hear far too frequently – online shopping is the demise of the high street.  Professional products should only be purchased from legitimate stockists if they are bought online.  Not that I’m condoning it at all. My point is that you may find it 1/3 cheaper on Amazon, but it may be fake or old/gone off.  As with any shop, salons put a mark-up on products so that they do not sell at a loss.  They will not sell them for more than the RRP.  Usually websites such as Look Fantastic and Feel Unique will have discount codes available and you may be able to get £2-3 off.  Really for the sake of a couple of quid, if you would like to buy the product, support the salon and do it.  As I said earlier, most salons will accept it back if you feel you’ve been wrongly advised.

It's not selling, it's advising.

When you feel like your hairdresser is trying to sell you a product, turn that thought around into “they are trying to advise”.  Again, I’m trying to destroy the stigma that comes with salons and hairdressers.  We’re not all bad.  The reason a stylist is advising you to take home a decent shampoo after your colour service is to prolong your colour itself.  They ultimately want you to be happy.  If you’ve just invested £100+ on having your hair done, do you not want to maintain that fresh hair feeling?  It seems counterintuitive going home and shampooing your professional hair colour with something that will remove it. 

The worst part of this is that the hairdresser would be to blame if your colour faded too quickly.  The first question I ask if a client is having trouble with colour fade is “what shampoo do your use.”  As I said harsh detergents will strip your colour.  You will ultimately have a better hair experience if you look after it properly and you will trust and respect your stylist more.

That's what it all boils down to.

Trust.  You must trust your hairdresser.  This can seem utterly terrifying.  If they understand your hair and respect your needs, them trying to sell you products is just them trying to make sure you continue to enjoy your hair.  Now you understand how it works our end, you can make your own decision.  If cost is an issue, you can say this to your stylist.  They can recommend things for different budgets. A lot of salons now carry more than one brand and can accommodate all budgets.  Yes, they may go straight to the most expensive because it’s probably the most enjoyable to work with.

They use these products day in and day out.  If it’s not something they use on their own hair, they know what they enjoy working with.  I hope you find your desert island product soon.  Please reach out if you need any help or advice. See my other posts if you’re still struggling to find the right hairdresser.

The Hair Bones

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