People, prices, and "Please Don't Use That on my Hair!"

Spencer Barnhart



In the business that I have chosen for my life, cosmetology, there are loads of different directions we can take our careers.


We can work strictly behind the chair, educate for companies, mold young stylists in the school system, and specialize in a plethora of different things pertaining to hair skin and nails. Some of us do all of these things all while somehow finding time to eat, bathe, and attend our state mandated continuing education (CEU) classes to keep our state licenses in good standing. Don’t even ask about maintaining a social or romantic life.


The last six months of my life have been a blur. Late in 2015 I, along with my work wife, were chosen to train with an incredible family of stylists to become part of the education team at Surface Hair. A salon exclusive high performance hair care line, whose values include respect to your personal health and the earth. Anyone in this business knows that lines like this are hard to come by. And when a company has values that match yours, you stay with them. 



Since then I have travelled to Chicago, Las Vegas, and a handful of other places to provide knowledge and education to other stylists as well as have in depth training myself. In 2014 my first piece with Grit was something along the lines of “All the things your stylist wishes you knew”. For over a year I’ve read that particular piece and gotten tons of feedback from other stylists during my travels about the things they would add to it. I can’t help but find some of these things just hysterical and some of them necessary to repeat.


You’re idea of dirty hair and my idea of dirty hair are very different.


It’s your wedding day. You’re the bride. You have dreamed about this since you were a little girl. Having all of your friends and family in one place to celebrate forever partnership with the person of your dreams.

And you haven’t washed your hair in five days because you heard once that your grandmas, sisters, dog walkers, best friend said that it’s better to come to come to the salon with dirty hair. 


Why? Why on earth would you ever think that the greatest day of your life would involve your unwashed gym-ridden hair? 


Come into the salon the day of your trial run and the day of your wedding with clean dry hair. I personally prefer no oil or styling product added to it but your stylist will specify what they prefer. 


Science fact: When heat is applied to hair we are breaking down and reforming bonds to create a shape. Like a curl. Once you’ve reformed a bond with heat it is very challenging and time consuming to again reform it without wetting the hair. 


Wash your hair the night before. Don’t apply any extra product. Let it air dry. Don’t style with hot tools.


The grocery store does not put a sign on the freezer door when the price of milk goes up. Lucky for you though, your stylist will usually give you a 6-12 week advanced notice on giving themselves a raise. I was lucky enough to be able to raise my prices last year without any real effect on my business behind the chair. I though you know what I have paid my own way through 90+ hours of voluntary education, I added Origins Artist to my resume, work at one of Elle Magazines Top 100 Salons in the country, my rent has increased, the cost of groceries has increased, everything in my life that costs money has increased, why hasn’t my income increased? 


I sent out emails, had clearly visible signs posted at my chair, and prepared my guests for weeks in advance over an average $10 service price increase. I do have lots of guests who live on a fixed income and did not want to be priced out of my chair though. Lava Salon was able to come up with a referral rewards program to accommodate everyone!


We have certificates that you put your name on the back of and when a new guest to Lava comes in and hands me that saying you reffered them you get $20 off your next service. And on top of it you can redeem up to 

$60 of those certificates at a time. FREE HAIRCUT?!


Even though I gave myself a raise last year I now have my regular guests sending me three people per month which means they are spending $60 less than they were before. We made it work for everyone.We care about you the guests and your budget. Sometimes I lose sleep over it. 


Don’t be offended when your stylist gives themselves a raise. Loyalty has its benefits. A referral is the best compliment you can give us. Ask your stylist what type of referral rewards they offer.


Oh, I absolutely cannot use a razor on your hair because of that one bad razor cut you had in 2005? Tell me more about how every single cut with shears you’ve ever gotten has been perfect?


Look I get it. Razors are scary. Or at least we’ve been taught to believe they are. But unless you’re allergic to the type of metal that my razor is made of please do not just say no because of the one bad haircut you got. Its ok, bad haircuts happen, but is it the razor or the fool behind the tool?


I would never walk up to my mechanic and tell them not to use a socket wrench because I tripped over one once. When a stylist suggests the razor, ask questions! Ask them why they would choose that tool for your hair type, density, and texture versus another tool? I love to educate my guests and am always happy to explain the method to the madness. Any other decent stylist would be as well.


Please ask questions, get involved in your own hair, and trust that your stylist will be able to educate you properly. My next stops are closer to home in Charlotte, Columbia, and Savannah. I will be travelling around helping with the launch of Surface Pure Blonde and Hy-demi gel color. An all organic, ammonia free, luxury blonding system. Finally one more chemical I can cut out of my life to allow me to do what I love for many more years. The stories I bring back should be an interesting addition.