Do you like to chat with your hairdresser?

by Hair Romance on April 4, 2012 · 32 comments

in Salon Advice

Why won’t they stop talking???

Do you look forward to a gossip when you go to the hairdresser or do you like to relax and have some quiet time out in the chair?

I love salon time, and I love chatting to my hairdresser. We catch up and I get to ask more hair questions. Then while my colour processes I get to read some mags.

On the other hand, my friend hates to make small talk in the salon. She dreads chatty hairdressers as she loves to sit quietly and read while she’s getting her hair done. Going to the hairdresser is just something she has to do, and so she prefers to just relax quietly in the chair until it’s all done.

What do you do when you’re a personality mis-match with your hairdresser? If you love how they do your hair but hate the chat, how do you tell them politely to stop talking?

As an aside, I’m sure it’s the same for hairdressers – clients who won’t shut up and clients who hardly even say hello.

What’s the correct salon etiquette?

I suggested there should be a special table sign like when you go to a Brazillian churrasco restaurant. Have you ever eaten churrasco? It’s a feast where just about every meat you can think of is cooked on a spear and served straight to your plate. Wasting food is poor etiquette so they have a special table sign. You place the green side up to show you’re ready to eat and you turn it over to red when you’ve had enough. Perhaps my friend needs a green sign to indicate conversation is welcome and a red sign to signal silence please?

My salon advice is simple – use your body language. Pick up a mag straight away or bring your own book. Don’t start the conversation. Most hairdressers will pick up on your signals and after a few conversation attempts will leave you in peace.

Are you a talker or do you love to relax in silence at the hairdresser? How do you politely tell your hairdresser to stop talking?

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Fiona :: Acumen Creative April 4, 2012 at 8:54 am

I was only just thinking about that last Wednesday when I was at my hairdressers. I normally chat with Jane, but I had been on the go, so not long after I stopped I started yawning continuously and my conversation dried up. But I think your relationship with your hairdresser is like any other…there get’s to a point when silences aren’t awkward.

I think the talks we have allows Jane get to know me better so she can suggest new ideas that will not only suit me, but also my personality.

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Hair Romance April 4, 2012 at 11:35 am

Sounds like you have a great relationship with your hairdresser Fiona, and it’s great to not have those awkward silences

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Dee April 4, 2012 at 9:37 am

One of the main reasons I put off going to the hairdresser for as long as possible is chattiness. I hate small talk and I’m really bad at it, so I don’t want to talk to a stranger about what I’m doing on the weekend. Aside from that, I have bad hearing, so with all the hairdryers and funky music and whatever else going on in an average salon, I can barely hear what’s being said to me, so if it’s not necessary, I don’t want them saying it, and then me having to keep saying, “Sorry? Beg your pardon?” Super frustrating. I haven’t found all that many who are very good at picking up on body language either. :-(

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Hair Romance April 4, 2012 at 11:34 am

That is frustrating Dee. I like Heather’s comment where you tell your hairdresser you like to zone out. That way you can both get on with it and no-one feels they need to force conversation.

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Maggie April 4, 2012 at 9:38 am

This is always tough for me; I don’t mind a small amount of chatter but I’m an introvert by nature and prefer to just relax quietly during a cut. I’ve also lost some hearing in one ear which can make it really hard to hear what is being said if there is a lot of ambient noise in the salon. The most bothersome thing is if I get the feeling that a hairdresser is only talking to me/asking questions because she feels like she has to – I would never want someone to feel obligated to make conversation!

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Hair Romance April 4, 2012 at 11:32 am

Yes that’s awkward when the conversation is forced. Salons are often so noisy it’s hard to hear even without worrying about hearing loss.

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Maribeth April 4, 2012 at 10:16 am

I’m definitely chatty with my hairdresser because she is my BFF ;-) Even if that wasn’t the case, I think that the more you talk and get to know each other, the better your stylist will know you and your likes/dislikes. I think it makes for a better experience in the long run!

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Hair Romance April 4, 2012 at 11:30 am

Very lucky having your BFF as your hairdresser! I agree, talking to your hairdresser builds that relationship where they know your taste and personality and can suggest styles to suit you.

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Heather April 4, 2012 at 10:59 am

As a hairstylist, I am not able to see much body language when I’m standing behind you staring at the back of your head. Plenty of clients say something like “I love to zone out while I’m getting my hair done” or just flip through a magazine and we know to leave them alone. Personally, I love not having to force conversation so I can focus on what I’m doing with the hair, but I know the busiest stylists are the ones who have very “friend”-like relationships with their clients, so…

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Hair Romance April 4, 2012 at 11:29 am

Good point Heather, you can’t see much with clients hidden under a cape. I like the “zone out” line too.

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Mindy April 4, 2012 at 11:15 am

Being a stylist myself, i would have to say that the good ones can tell when someone wants to talk and when they don’t. I am naturally a chatty person but sometimes i just do hair. There is a lot of things that go into making a great stylist and doing great hair is only one of them.

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Hair Romance April 4, 2012 at 11:28 am

I so agree Mindy, a good hairdresser has to read people, balance emotional expectations, manage a business and be a skilled and creative stylist. It’s an underestimated job.

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Ashley April 4, 2012 at 11:29 am

As a stylist myself, I can always tell when someone doesn’t want to talk. And having worked with actors and singers, I’ve had a few flat out tell me they are saving their voice.

AND I LOVE THE SILENCE.

I lovelovelove my job. And I love getting to meet and chat to the amazing people I meet. But you know, too much of a good thing…. The reality, I’m ok with silence if you are.

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Hair Romance April 4, 2012 at 11:37 am

Love to hear from the stylists Ashley, thanks for your comment. You have to talk ALL DAY so a few quiet clients would be welcomed I’m sure.

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Karen T. April 4, 2012 at 12:54 pm

For years my stylist was a bestie! I would book the last slot she had on Friday afternoon and we’d sipp wine while she did her magic, then we’d do our makeup, get dressed and head for happy hour. By that time there were four or six of us and we were girls on a mission. But she moved and now I have a chatty cathy who prattles on about her kids and her husband, etc. So I’ve got to find somebody else and ease my way out. :-(

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Hair Romance April 4, 2012 at 5:42 pm

That’s so sad Karen! Make her move back. But I’ll have some tips on breaking up with your hairdresser soon x

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Tracy S April 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm

This really hits home. I had a hairdresser whose work I loved. I trusted her completely. I would just say “I want my hair to look like summer” and she’d do the perfect cut and highlights. She kept meticulous notes and diagrams about each time she did my hair.
But she would not shut up. And I mean, I could barely talk. I just would murmur “mmhmm, yeah” and that was it. I tried having conversations, but she was very opinionated, and I did not always agree with her opinion. In fact, I felt offended by some comments regarding my infertility (she noticed my hair falling out and growing back in due to IF meds, so she was one of the few people who knew a bit of what was going on). Finally, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore, and I quit going to her.
The last time I saw her, she was cutting someone’s hair going on and on about how someone at her church was so skinny that she couldn’t bear to sit next to her during the service. And she wouldn’t even say hi to me.
Now I go to an old high school friend, and we can have a full conversation. She’s only cut my hair once, but I was happy with it. She showed me some new techniques on fixing my hair. I haven’t tried color with her yet.
I miss my old hairdresser but I do NOT miss her commentary! By the way, I know people who have quit working in the salon because she drove them crazy. She actually is in a corner by herself, the owner literally remodeled so that there were dividers between her and the other hairdressers.

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Hair Romance April 4, 2012 at 9:04 pm

She must be a great stylist but she sounds like a nightmare to work with! I can’t imagine sitting in her chair for hours.

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Liz April 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm

A good hairdresser should also be able to read body language! I don’t like small talk, and most hairdressers I visit get that from the way I’m stuck into my book/phone. Happy to talk about the hair cut/colour – but I see it as my ‘switch off’ time.

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Tom April 4, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I think you can usually tell if your client wants to engage in conversation. A good hairdresser will be a strong communicator, not restricted to purely talking but listening and reading body language also. It’s an important skill to make your client feel comfortable/trust in your chair. Personally I like to focus on what I’m doing so I’m completely comfortable with a ‘quiet cut’. It’s a case by case scenario though. Most importabt thing is to ensure your client is happy/comfortable either way. Interesting blog topic!

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Becky April 4, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I was always one of the people who preferred silence while getting my hair cut, and was annoyed by overly chatty stylists, until I found my amazing stylist that I’ve been going to the past three years! I think part of it is just that I’ve been going to her for so long (and my best friend and boyfriend also go to the same salon) so we know each other pretty well now. But there are also times where she’ll be silent for a bit so she can focus on what she’s doing to my hair. I always look forward to getting my hair cut because my stylist is just such an awesome person!

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Maddy April 4, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I used to hate making small talk to hairdressers that I didn’t know that well but my one now is one of my close friends so I look forward to getting my hair done to catch up on the gossip!

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Nora April 4, 2012 at 9:54 pm

I generally like chatting to my hairdresser, but she is a very chatty girl and all we talk about is her life and it does get a bit tiring sometimes :p But she’s a lovely person and I think she just doesn’t like awkward silence. Very different from my previous one who’d go “Alright we need silence now so I can concentrate and not stuff up your pixie”

Nora

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Amie April 4, 2012 at 11:13 pm

I think of it as my “Me Time.” I like to relax and enjoy the spa-like treatment of having my scalp massaged, hair brushed and blow-dried. I do chit chat while she is cutting. But then I go silent when she is styling because I am trying to pay attention to how she gets my hair to stay wavy for DAYS.

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MiMi April 5, 2012 at 1:16 am

I love chatting with my hair dresser! My monthly appointments are a combination of catching up with a friend, therapy, and a beauty treatment all in one! Having a friendly relationship with my hair dresser is a MUST.

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Karen O April 5, 2012 at 2:51 am

My clients are all different. I have little notes on them in my files about conversation starters and if the like to read or relax when they are in my chair. Sometimes those notes help if I am the one that needs “down” time.

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Melody April 5, 2012 at 3:16 am

Depends on the hair dresser. Ultimately I’d prefer to just relax, but some of them can make it fun to chat. Sometimes I nod off a little while they’re doing my hair, so that usually signals I’m not up for gossiping.

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Gaynor Alder | The Modern Woman's Survival Guide April 7, 2012 at 12:27 am

“What are you doing on the weekend?”

“Going anywhere special this weekend?”

“Oh goodness, who cut your hair last time?” {Whilst making disapproving noises in a bid to make you feel like every other hairdresser besides them is completely incompetent.}

“What shampoo are you currently using?” {Cue similar to above but insert whatever brand of shampoo they currently stock in salon.}

“Oh. My. God. Please don’t tell me you use Pantene!”

… needless to say, I am not a chatter. BUT, I have found the most fabulous hairdresser who I actually enjoying chatting with, because she doesn’t bore me senseless with the above drivel. We have the perfect hairdresser client relationship this side of hair nirvana. She knows when to talk and then when I want to bond with the latest issue of Marie Claire. She even brings me wine.

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Aisha April 7, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I normally hate taking,even in my normal days…
If i visit my regular salon,i would chat and catch up with my hairstylist…if a new place,i never talk..

I agree on the (pick a magazine or a book)..it always works!

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Cindy April 12, 2012 at 7:00 am

When I was in college, I had a hairdresser, JoEllen, that was so great that I really looked forward to getting my hair/eyebrows done, not only because she was good at what she did, but we had interesting conversations AND she knew when I needed to just be quiet and destress. It seemed like she just knew when I needed to come in, grab a cup of coffee, and be still.

It’s been a few years since college now, and I’ve not found anyone like her (I don’t live in MI anymore). Like others who have commented, I’m an introvert and don’t like small talk. I loved JoEllen because we talked about interesting things – she raced trucks in her “off time.” If I can’t quickly find something interesting to talk about, I’d prefer to just sit in silence.

What I really disliked about my latest attempt (and failure) to find someone new is that my hairdresser ARGUED with me about my own hair! I’ve had this hair for three decades now, and I know how fast it grows (very!) and how impossible it is to have it hold a curl, yet she argued that NO ONE’S hair grows fast enough to need to be cut as often as mine, and that my decades of trying to find some way to get it to hold a curl have been failures because of my own ineptitude. Surely *she* would be able to get may hair to behave. I don’t doubt that her training in hair is more extensive than mine, and I’ll try anything once, but to be told that I was clueless and inept was just too much! Needless to say, I’m not going back there again.

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Hair Romance April 12, 2012 at 8:41 am

Cindy, I hate when hairdressers argue about your hair. Their off-the-cuff comments about how weird your hair compared to their other clients are awful. I’ve had that happen to me too and I just go elsewhere. Hope you find a great stylist soon.

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Jane March 30, 2013 at 8:45 pm

I have been going to my hairdresser for over ten years and we have got on well. I told her last year that I would be taking regular short breaks at a hotel in the sun in a country where I worked many years ago and have very happy memories. It is not on the map for holiday destinations of anyone I know. It is my special place i have promised myself i would return to. My hairdresser has just returned from a holiday in the same city/country and told me that she visited my hotel and loved it and it it was perfect. My Get Away From It All is now only a get away.

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