Hair Answers: Confidence

Posted in Answers on May 14th, 2013 by Reagan

Tags: , , ,

Q by Kim: I’ve been a hair dresser for a couple of years. I still struggle with my confidence level with people. Sometimes I don’t feel “good” enough in my skill level, but many people like my work. Any advice?

A by Reagan: Yes! I have great advice, if I do say so myself. I’ll break this up into three parts.

Part 1, Self peptalks. Sometimes a bit of a project comes in and sits in my chair. It could be that their hair is harder than normal, that they want something particularly challenging, or maybe that the client themselves are just a little picky and difficult. This certainly isn’t every-day, but it’s not all that uncommon either. In any case, here is how I handle it…I walk away while the client is getting shampood, and give myself a pep talk. I usually say (in my head so my co-workers don’t think I’m a lunatic), “Hey, Reags! you have done this a million times! She/He is going to LOVE your work!”, etc. Sometimes I also tell myself that I’m pretty and good at making nutella sandwiches, which isn’t related to hair, but I’m just a believer in speaking kindly to yourself in general. And it’s nice to hear those things sometimes.

Part 2, Ask lots of questions. Sometimes I humble myself by picking my co-workers’ brains. There is a girl I work with who is a ninja at men’s cuts, so I ask her what she did with that one guy’s hairline. Or if I see someone use a certain product for curly hair that I wouldn’t have thought of using..I like to know why. It helps so much to have a nerdy little industry chat with people whose work you respect.

Part 3, Continue your education. I still take cutting classes. I still go to hair shows sometimes too. My salon provides styling and cutting demos that are so informative. Trends come and go, and as long as you want your craft to stay up to date, take classes! Work on models! Practice on your friends! One of the most talented editorial stylists I’ve ever worked with used to ask me all the time if she could try things out on me. Keeping my skills honed definitely helps my confidence.

Bonus, Trust yourself! Early on, all I cared about was pleasing the client..whether it was at the salon, at a wedding or out on a shoot. And I never felt completely sure of the results. Now, I realize that I attract people who are coming to me because they want me to work my true work on them. I listen to their requests, but do my very own spin on it. They booked me for this job because they like my work and they want my perspective, after all.

What do you think? I have a lot of friends in various careers who feel a lack of confidence from time to time..have you experienced this?

32 Responses to “Hair Answers: Confidence”

  1. Stacy Says:

    Love the advice here! It is definitely spot on. I Think #2 is so important. I have been doing hair for 10 years and have been lucky enough to work in a salon where everyone wants everyone to succeed which allows for “questions” among Hairdressers. I do this often and it only leads to a successful outcome. I have even pulled a coworker over during the consult in front of a customer and asked what would you do here, etc etc……. I may not always follow what my coworker would do HOWEVER , Hearing what they would do, then bouncing my ideas out loud with them helps me come to a personal conclusion, whether I decide what I wanted to do originally was fine, I change it to what they suggest because I decide to agree, or I meet in middle. Even when this is done in front of the customer , I have noticed that they enjoy it! They like hearing “hairdresser” talk. It is definitely not a sign of weakness but a sign of confidence!

  2. hairdressers bundoora Says:

    Excellent blog you’ve got here.. It’s difficult to find excellent writing like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care.

  3. The Screen Siren Says:

    These are such great tips for confidence in any field! Thanks for sharing Reagan!

  4. Frankie Says:

    I think this is such an underestimated part of hairdressing… People for generations have enjoyed the total experience of going to a hairdresser, I think if the skills are adequate, but the experience is superior.. Then that trumps all… People want the whole package… A salon where they are comfortable… Hair they like.. And can manage, and a good relationship with a stylist that can conceivably last longer than their marriage … I love my profession… I started because of the love of the art, and am blown away time and time again by the trust, and relationships that I have developed thru the years, this is such an unexpected bonus, and I am so grateful and thankful every day

  5. Baker Says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. As a hairstylist, I look up to you so much.

  6. Oro kondicionieriai Says:

    I care my hair very mush, so this blog is veery useful :)

  7. Courtenay Says:

    This is really good advice. I especially love that last piece. It’s very important for me to satisfy myself- I I know when I have done my best work. In my career, I have also noticed that men have a tendency to be more confident as well. It’s definitely something I will always have to work on.

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  10. Adeline Says:

    I recently qualified as a yoga teacher and struggle with the same issues! I think a good part of feeling confident is *looking and sounding* confident, so pay attention to the way you stand and talk to the client. After all they see you as a professional and someone who does a pretty damn good job, so they’ll only have doubts about your skills if you tell them you’re not sure what you’re doing.. It’s all about finding the balance between trusting yourself (hey, if you qualified and people come back for you, you ARE good at your job!) and being open minded enough to know you can always improve and learn. Easy to say.. ;)

  11. Amelia Says:

    I have been dealing with this exact issue. I’m fairly fresh out of school and building my clientele has been slow but steady and I’m faced with a challenge every time someone sits in my chair. I try my best to calm my nerves but then I get nervous that my client can tell that I’m nervous. Not nervous that I won’t succeed, but nervous that different head shapes, hair textures, growth patterns throw me off to the point where I feel like I haven’t been doing this for the last 2 years!! Thank you so much for your advice. I look up to you so much!!! :)

  12. Chris Says:

    I think the more you train the more fun you allow yourself to have. It’s nice to feel confident and not scared about a situation. Of course this is developed more as your experience grows. I can’t speak enough about taking every available opportunity to learn our craft. Models are essential and really help you grow. You can only watch and talk so much so much, eventually you have to get into the game. Make as many mistakes as you can early so you develop good habits. You don’t really grow if you don’t push yourself now and again. Thanks for your awesome blog! I’ve trained with Victoria and few times at Whittemore House and have learned so much. 18 years later i love to learn more now than ever!

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  14. Co-Washing Says:

    This is some fantastic advice, not just for hairdressing but for everyone advancing their career.

  15. Glam Addict Says:

    This article was so helpful. I’m starting cosmo school in the Fall at Paul Mitchell, and i know I will be facing similiar challenges. Confidence is KEY in Beauty Industry!

    Glam Addict Chanel

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    Wow, so sweet! i like the dress a lot! Very nice post! Thanks for this!

  17. Billie H. Preston Says:

    I don’t think what this guy is saying is all that encouraging to naturals, to be honest. I 100% resent him feeling like he has the authority to pass that kind of judgement on women, of any color, but especially black women. To me, this is just voice telling women what they SHOULD be or NEED to be. I am not my hair, not even my natural hair, or my sometimes purple hair or my sometimes straight hair. I don’t need hair to make me “look confident” because I am. I don’t need hair to make me “look sexy” because I am sexy and I certainly don’t need anyone to tell me how I feel about myself. I really hate that black women are judged so harshly for experimenting with their hair like other races of women do. The white woman who has fried her dark lock blonde or destroyed her curly coils straight by over processing, does not get beat over the head by the “self-hatred” brigade Can’t I have the freedom to destroy my hair, like everyone else if I damn well please without someone attacking me? People like him assume that black means this one thing, which is even more narrow minded and backward than the supposed self-hating people he attacks. I’m with the original response to his statement. Sometimes hair is just hair. I am so glad my siggy isn’t crazy!

  18. Zenred Says:

    Wonderful advice there and its funny how confidence can indeed ebb and flow depending on certain clients and expectations. I think it is actually a very good thing when you still feel uncertain about your work – why? Because it means your ego has not run away with its insecurity. It means you are still humble enough to grow and learn. The best stylists are those that are always trying to be better, and not those that think they are the best. Great post!

  19. Quinn X. Wilkerson Says:

    I don’t shave my armpits because I am a hippy, and they don’t show at work. I use beard clippers on my legs because the hair is fairly light and I can more or less get away with that, every week or so. I get my eyebrows waxed or threaded not often enough (8 weeks? 12??), because no one ever just shows up in my house to groom them, and I’m very lazy. The chin though, the massive, lustrous dwarf beard – that I shave every day (mostly. except sometimes on the weekends, or if I just can’t make myself shower). I used to pluck it, but there are too many, and I can’t spend all my time just pulling hairs out. Waxing is no good – even the professionals can only just remove my skin while the big black hairs stay firmly in place. (Scabby beard is not an attractive look, fyi.) I could save up enough for lasers in a few months if I tried (there’s a place in my town that offers 6 sessions lifetime touch-ups for $500), but I have this fear that it will be like waxing – only traumatize my skin whilst the hairs just laugh and laugh… So… I don’t really frame the hair question in terms of $$, but I know where you are coming from.

  20. Chantell Says:

    This is great advice. I especially love that last part. It’s vital for me to satisfy myself- I I know when I have done my best. In my career, I have also noticed that men have a tendency to be more confident as well. I personally will work to improve myself in this area.



  21. Fidel C. Vaughn Says:

    Maybe you’ll like me better in writing. Maybe this time you won’t notice that the once fit and friendly girl has grown into an aged rotund version of her former self. I hate it that I have let myself go. I hate it that I am single now, alone. Maybe this time I’ll make better decisions. Maybe this time I’ll hide my heart away, swaddled in cashmere and soft cotton. I feel as though I am being slowly swallowed by a snake. The poison has been swirling in my blood in the back of my brain, swelling the once useful frontal lobe. Well, maybe not the frontal because then I would feel nothing. I could look past you. I would say anything and maybe this time you would just take it. I have the master and he says to me, “You are not your thoughts, you are the awareness behind them.” I say yes, but oh to be behind them, with my back turned to them. Feeling no nuisance of their presence, leaning forward to the press. I am not my thoughts.

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  23. Silver Price Says:

    i woke up feeling like mini bites i look nothing there. its like i feel my hair moveon my leg, i look nothing there., i Ate abowl of coco puffs before bed. chocolate nope. i itch on my neck, armes, legs, upper back, & chests. chest gets it the worst. looks like pimples but goes aways in days but i itch like king kong,lol., 42yrs old. been dealing with this for years. i finally had enough tonight to do a search, it’s 3:38 and this sucks. i feel like its heat rash sometimes, like right after you shave you itch under my chin area. i dont know, just changed sheets still getting the itchies.. i read all the post and why can anyone send it to a dermatologist so they can get a grip on this. a good shower in the morning i hope will help. ive read all the posts some have it worse than others. so i gatjered about 4 reasons or four possibilities from reading hoe i can put it together and repost. i have to sleep bookmarked this page and market the post # to find this later post #96 think might be 1 of 4 reasons. but dont hav time to analyze this thread tooo tired.will be back to repost what i think the majority is of possibilities. we need a forum so we can all reply on this as i bet it never accourde to get on google for when i sleep i i wake up itching. I hope we all get help. how come the doctor md who posted this is not trying to help, or is it about frickenads and making money.. pretty sad… well talk to you all later.

  24. brittany Says:

    i have been doing hair for 11 years and I think there will always be alittle anxienty with each new job you go to. I freelance so I really never know what Im going to be dealt with that day….But that is one of the reasons I love being a hair stylist and makeup artist is the unknown! Its exciting to me! I always tell myself that I was hired for a reason! You cant please everyone so use your creativity and do the best you can do and you will be able to sleep at night! Just joined this blog and love being involved and reading about the passion of hairdressing:)

  25. Silver Price Says:

    I have a love hate relationship with my hair sometimes, especially when I see someone wearing a cute hairstyle & I try to recreate it on my hair & it doesn’t turn out good. Then I have to get the tangles out of my hair from trying to do something different, when I tell myself afterwards I should have just stuck with my twist. Which is why I had done a new hairstyle in the first place cause I was bored with the twist. When I end up over maniupulating my hair it makes for an even hard detangling session on wash day & it makes me despise my hair even more & I want to cut it off. So now when I see a new hairstyle I try to remind myself of the aftermath & I come back to my senses, my hair knows what it likes & I just have to listen.Brooke B.

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  30. James Paulson Says:

    Confidence is always the key to rocking out a certain style. My wife sometimes gets looks because of her unusual way of layering her curls, but she owns it!

  31. Jessica Says:

    I am not an hairdresser myself, but mine recently retired and I had to find a new one. I 100% understand why you don’t always feel confident about yourself. Especially if it’s your first time with the customer, I mean you have to know what she wants, it’s almost a relation you have to built. Asking a lot of questions is the key!!!

  32. Philippa Says:

    I am not a Hairdresser, but am a long suffering client over many years with the problem as most people have – being the same mind-set as the Hairdresser, them understanding what you are asking for, and your hoping they understand what you are wanting? It is one thing to look at a style in a magazine which looks amazing on the model, but will it look the same on you? This is where the ‘trust’ factor stands or falls between the Client, and the Hairdresser.
    I am developing an Application designed to end the pain with this problem. You will be able to see from an iPad, or your iPhone, what you look like before it is even cut, coloured, and styled? It will have the ability to be able to detect the right style for the persons face-shape, and skin tone – a sneak-peak of the finished product so you can make an educated choice of whether you think you would like the style or not?
    I would really value feedback from Hairdresser’s, and people in general (everyone who gets their hair cut anyway!) to see if this is something they would like to have in their salons, and as an App, on their cell phones? I would also like feedback of what Hairdresser’s, and Clients would be prepared to pay for the App?


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