By Kate Hahn
Your clients can lift weights to bulk up biceps, but they need a personal tress trainer (you) to pump up locks. "Clients with fine or thinning hair make up 15% of my business," says TEDDIE KOSSOF, owner, TEDDIE KOSSOF SALON SPA AND WELLNESS CENTER, Northfield, IL. "Providing services that add muscle to manes can swell your salon's profits and profile."
So how do you fortify your menu? Kossof teams with BOSLEY MEDICAL, the world's most experienced hair restoration practice, and carries Bosley Healthy Hair Formulas. Other owners like CLIFF POPE, THE IMAGE CENTRE, INC., Hueytown, AL offer NIOXIN, a specialized therapy regimen for the scalp. Still other pros focus on in-salon treatments or other home-care products.
So get the skinny on all the options for thinning hair. Then start a workout plan for your salon (no procrastinating allowed), and watch revenues and respect rise.
First, pinpoint the reason for your client's fine or thinning locks. About 95% of hair loss is due to androgenetic alopecia, an inherited condition that affects both men and women as they age. Other causes include thyroid disease, anemia, and stress - both physical and emotional. Hormonal changes from pregnancy, menopause, or discontinuing birth control pills can make locks thin out, as can medications like Vitamin A, and prescriptions to treat blood pressure and gout. Temporary loss due to chemotherapy requires a specialized approach.
If your client doesn't know the root of her problem, tell her to check with her physician. Kossof is a member of the Bosley Core Salon Program, and has instant access to hair loss consultation centers all over the country.
"Partnerships between doctors and salon professionals can take our industry to a new level," he says. "It gives us credibility, and helps build business on both ends." His salon has worked closely with dermatologists, dentists and other medical professionals for many years. In most cases of hair loss, the combined effort of physicians and hairdressers offers optimum results.
Be sensitive when discussing ways to invigorate tresses. It's a difficult subject, but many times a client will bring it up before you do. "Remember people are hungry for information on this topic, so don't be shy," says Pope.
With men, focus on specific facts. For example, many assume that baldness is genetic and inevitable. However, something as simple as a new cleansing routine can help mitigate the problem. If you are predisposed to pattern baldness, an oily scalp can help deliver the hormone that leads to hair loss. With the right regimen, you can help neutralize the situation by cutting down on the oil. With women, jump-start a conversation with lifestyle oriented questions like: "Have you been under any stress lately?" or "Have you been going through any life changes?" Once the issue is out in the open, women are likely to be more receptive to a discussion than men.
"Avoid pressure, and make it clear that there is no rush," says Kossof. "Nine times out of ten, a client will decide that they want to start treatment right away."
The easiest place to start is with the client's home product workout routine. "People with fine or thin hair dislike their locks more than anyone else, so they tend to fuss with them more," says TAMMY KINGSFORD-IZBICKI, stylist and colorist, SALON RIVIERA, Redondo Beach, CA. "However, the wrong products or techniques can make the problem worse."
So stock shelves with potions that promote healthy hair. Both Nioxin and Bosley offer a series of home care products. Bosley Healthy Hair Formulas were developed for patients for use after surgical hair restoration. This super-gentle line of shampoos, conditioners and styling products is all natural and contains no petro-chemicals. Ingredients like grapefruit, mint, and vanilla soothe and invigorate locks. Nioxin offers a series of shampoos that create a healthy scalp environment and encourage growth. You can also try volumizing shampoos like MATRIX Amplify, and REDKEN Headstrong.
Choose styling products carefully. Using thick, dense goo on thin or fine hair is like trying to bench-press 150 pounds on your first trip to the weight room.
"Avoid heavy products or things that will build up on the scalp," says Kossof. "Don't block the follicle." And apply properly. "I tell my clients who want more volume that they need to think of the Eiffel tower when styling their hair," says Pope. "Wide at the bottom, thin at the top." Start with root volumizers, and then use products with progressively less weight at the ends. Go for Bosley Body Booster and Bosley Finishing Spray. Or opt for Nioxin Liquid Volumizing Mist, NioGel, NioSpray and more. Also try Matrix Amplify Root Lifter, Redken Guts, and TIGI Root Boost — all finalists in the BTC Stylist Choice Awards Volumizer category.
And remember to add a bit of extra conditioning power. "By nature, fine hair is usually delicate," says Kingsford-Izbicki. Women sometimes go over the top with curling irons, backcombing, and setting to add lift. Unfortunately, what they end up with is overprocessed hair. Izbicki recommends Redken Extreme PPT in the salon, and Redken CAT for take-home help. Use conditioner on ends only.
Many salon staples, from scissors to bottles of strawberry-blonde, can make hair appear thicker. "With a good cut you can add volume to locks," says Kingsford-Izbicki. The keys: the right length and the proper tools. "Many women cling to longer manes because they believe length equals lush, but the ends tend to be scraggly and separated," she says. To snip hair into a thicker look, clip it to just one-inch past the shoulder blades or shorter. Avoid razors, as they make the hair look fuzzy and shredded. Opt for shears. They leave the weight that razors remove. As always, consider face shape and features to personalize the cut.
"Haircolor can help make locks appear fuller," says Kingsford-Izbicki, who offers some tips on how to turn your brush and bottle into body building tools. Choose dimensional color instead of a solid. The light and dark areas create contrast and make locks look thicker. Since the eye moves towards lighter sections first, make sure the areas where the client has the most hair are paler in tone. You can design this look with lowlights using a deposit-only color first. If you want more oomph, try lightening. "With limp locks, opening up the cuticle can make it swell or puff, adding volume," says Kingsford-Izbicki. "Clients love it - but make sure their hair can handle it." Use a lower volume developer, and start slowly.
Texture services are another path to hard body hair, especially for men. "A body perm can increase the volume of hair two or three times," says Kosoff. Curl-making mixtures can also pump up locks for those who want to remain waveless. For extra thickness without ringlets, Kossof skips the rods and rollers, applying perm solution with a bit of baking soda. "The mixture swells hair enough to give it extra volume," he says. Work through locks with fingers, keeping away from the face. Let process five to ten minutes. Then neutralize as you would a perm with a light shampoo rinse. "Guys love this method," says Kosoff. "It doesn't change the intrinsic character of their hair, but it makes it look thicker."
Another way to add brawn to browns and other shades is to create a scalp environment that promotes healthy growth. "Keep the skin in optimum condition by preventing build-up of oils and toxins," says Pope. If you don't, follicles become clogged, which can limit the amount of hair that can grow, decreasing density. The condition of individual hairs can change too, going from strong and sturdy to thin and shrunken.
Nioxin's treatment regimen can help. The four-step system includes Bionutrient Cleanser, Scalp Therapy, Follicle Booster NX3 and either Bionutrient Treatment or Cytogen. There are formulas within each category tailored for men or women, and for various hair and skin types. These can be combined to create a personalized program. You can even adapt the system to fight either early-stage hair loss or more advanced cases. Even for those without thinning, the products are popular because they keep the hair so healthy. "I could sell nothing but Nioxin, and still have strong retail profits," says Pope. "People actually drive across town to buy it."
Nioxin also offers Seeing is Believing, client education sessions held after hours at salons. Pope has hosted two, and plans more. A Nioxin speaker gives a presentation on the causes of hair loss, and then offers hands-on analysis for each guest. This includes viewing the scalp with a handheld microscope, which projects the magnified image onto a video screen so clients see up-close the condition of their hair follicles. Clients often buy $100 worth of products at these events.
Pope uses Nioxin in his salon before perms and other services. "Clients know you care when you choose a specialized product line," he says. "It has helped build up our reputation for customer service."
At a certain point, some clients may opt for hair replacement surgery to restore the locks they lost before they hit your chair. The Bosley Core Salon Program helps stylists refer clients to experienced hair restoration experts through their national network of consultation and surgical centers. It also provides Bosley Healthy Hair Formulas for retail sales, as well as support for salons in education and marketing. Your salon information is even linked to the Bosley website, to provide maximum exposure for your services.
"Bosley brings to our profession what we always ask for - more education, and more knowledge we can use to help our clients," says Kossof. "It teaches you how to communicate with clients post hair-replacement, and how to approach cutting and styling their hair." Many of Kossof's stylists have been educated in this area, and see a steady steam of business because of it. "People who have had hair restoration want to go to a stylist who understands the procedure," Kossof says.
Bosley was founded 27 years ago, and the medical doctors on staff have performed over 130,000 hair restoration procedures in 60 countries. "Because we're associated with Bosley, clients trust our ability to provide them with the best treatment," says Kossof.