A Letter to Hairstylists

I find it rather unfair that most marketing associated with thinning hair products uses models with ungodly amounts of hair. As someone with thinning hair, I know that these particular end results are unrealistic. What I have gotten really, really good at is working with my own hair to make it look more pleasing to my eye. 

As a hair stylist for over 20 years, I've had access to fabulous hair products, conditioning treatments and a salon at my disposal to test out different color ways and cuts on my heads. I am a very tough customer and really know what I want when it comes to my thinning hair.

Aside: One observation I find fascinating is that most women, and I am even talking about women with Kardashian amounts of hair, think their hair is thinning. Some of my clients with a ponytail the size of their leg, wax poetic about how thick their hair USED to be before kids, before they turned 50, and these women still have very, very thick hair. So, you can understand what those of us who have thinning hair are up against. My guess is that you come across these clients and friends weekly and have observed many of the same things.

Those of us with thinning hair can ever feel enough empathy or love - strong as we are. And none of us who are stylists can be assuring or positive enough. It's a tangle - as it were. More than anything, I hope each of you will give your thinning hair clients the best customer service and haircut for their hair, knowing that you cannot approach them as you would 80% of the clients that come for a turn in your chair.

Here are my tips for you stylists out there (and thanks for listening):

  • First, let your clients know that they are not alone. Over 25% of women face hair loss issues.
  • Many women with fine or thinning hair are afraid to cut it, often leaving them with a translucent amount of breakage on the ends. These women need to come in more frequently and baby their hair. Listen to their unique needs and have a very thorough consultation with them.
  • Thoroughly examine the perimeter of the hair to see how much strength is there. This is one of the most important areas on a thinning woman’s hair and must be approached with caution.
  • PUT YOUR THINKING CAP ON. Don’t go in blindly. Have a plan and cut with caution.
  • 95 percent of hair loss is genetic. Reminding a client about this fact can give them relief.
  • Ask if they are using topical solutions before you color their hair. When coloring their hair, follow the Hippocratic oath…first, do no harm.
  • Bleaching or harsh colors may not be right for your client and it is your job to help them get the healthiest and strongest hair possible.
  • No flat irons or curling irons. Damage from heat is real. These clients have delicate hair.
  • Direct your clients to marketed products that work. Mine are here. 
  • Do not try to diagnose your clients and make recommendations on medical issues. Instead, send them to trusted websites (like this one!) and help them with language and ideas of what to ask a dermatologist and doctors.
  • Only sell them what you believe in and other clients have tried with positive results.
  • Use topical items like Xfusion or root concealers. Show them how to use these products.
  • Show them how to style their hair to camouflage areas of thinning.

Be a trusted person in their life.

IF you cannot rise to the task, please send them to another hairdresser who has the language and tools they need. There's never any shame in doing the right thing.

I have thinning hair and I am a great hairdresser.

Trust me. ALL women are afraid of thinning hair.
In our culture, hair is the ultimate sign of health and femininity, and those who have it know its power; those who don’t, might do anything to get it. The reality is that there is not much that women can do to get more hair. 

So, work with that they have and show them respect and love.