Back to Basics: Understand Your Client Types

Even though client types vary, a client will still expect their hairdresser to correctly interpret their needs. Therefore, an understanding of the different client categories plays an integral part in any consultation.

Reluctant Groomers
There are some people for whom personal grooming is a necessity, like a trip to the dentist, it must be done but is not especially enjoyed. They may not visit a stylist until their hair is in desperate need of a cut. The reluctant groomer will generally opt for the most basic of options in the salon, for example just a wet cut.

Reluctant groomers can be awkward clients, as they are often ill at ease in the salon environment, and it can be hard for a stylist to convince them to explore other available options such as colouring or the use of finish products.

The Prioritiser
Whilst valuing their appearance, maintaining or creating a new hairstyle can be low down on the priority list. For this group, examples may include parents with young children, a busy home life or a demanding career. This type of client deserves time out. Salon visits are probably a rare moment of self-indulgence; make them feel extra special and sympathise with their busy schedules. Try to offer more flexible times in the salon in order to fit in with your clients’ needs, suggest quick techniques and types of product designed to easily refresh a style at home.

Footloose and Free

Younger clients, for example those aged 18-24, may visit a salon hoping for inspiration and are easily influenced by a knowledgeable stylist. Often this age group have few responsibilities, they want to experiment and have the confidence to carry it off! This client type will value your suggestions and be open to using new products and styling methods; however they may also have strong opinions and not be afraid to air them!

Ensure these clients feel at ease and are valued. Give them detailed step-by-step instructions on how their new style will be achieved, have fun and help them to relax by chatting about current fashion topics, music or film.

Younger clients may change their minds regularly, growing their hair long and then opting for a short, spiky style. Decisions may be based on emotional impressions as opposed to rational thought. Stylists should gain their confidence by discussing all the options.

Career-focused clients are confident and have definite ideas on hairstyling, which fit in with a corporate or projected image. They are frequent visitors to the salon and are experienced in the world of hair and beauty. They know how they want to be treated and this can be a little intimidating for junior stylists. This type of client is strongly influenced by fashion and reads quality magazines for styling inspiration and the latest essential looks.

Time is money, and a well-groomed look must be the end result of any salon visit. The career-focused client will have gone through the trial-and-error period of styling and now knows exactly what suits them. They may be less open to new styling ideas, but more inclined to try improved styling products, particularly time-saving products. Decisions will be made on clear, rational fact, such as function and form and will not necessarily be influenced by flashy promotions. Most career-focused clients will pay a lot of money for the right styling products and look.


Active sportsmen and women tend to choose uncomplicated short hairstyles, or long hair that can easily be styled into a ponytail. Fashion taste veers toward casual and comfortable sportswear. Sporty types may have to wash their hair often, perhaps twice a day, and are more likely to shower than bathe, preferring to use refreshing, practical, uncomplicated products that work.

It is possible that a lower cost range is more appropriate for this client type, as they will tend to use up products at a fast rate. Try to ascertain this by using active listening and body language skills. Show them different types of product and try to gauge the response. Suggest buying two or more of the same product in order to ensure they have enough of a supply.

Elegance is all about poise and bearing, it is simple yet sophisticated, graceful and stylish. Elegant clients may want short, choppy cuts, or wear their hair long with an emphasis on up-dos, or let it down to create movement and energy. Pay particular attention to face shape, ensuring that your chosen style highlights their best features.

Look for expensive materials, designer cuts and labels. Function may be dictated by occupation, for example a trouser suit or long, flowing dress. Elegant client types are attracted to timeless classic styles and are generally not interested in the latest fads or with excessive styling experimentation. They can afford a higher price range and are looking for high-quality results.


These clients have their fingers on the pulse, and they are able to communicate their hairstyling needs effectively. During consultation it may be necessary to keep focused to ensure you are both in agreement on a styling direction. Trend-inspired clients will want to change their hairstyle on a regular basis to match the season’s new look and new products: those with a unique and innovative quality are particularly attractive.

Ensure you understand what is expected. Identify the required style by looking in fashion magazines or hairdressing publications. It may be that a client’s hair type prevents a particular cut and style from being achieved. It is essential that you explain that you have your client’s best interests at heart, suggest a compromise and work with them to identify an equally avant-garde image.

Introverted clients can be inward looking, are often reserved and can be more thoughtful and contemplative than expressive and outspoken. They may veer toward safe choices regarding both hairstyling and clothing. Hair may often be functionally styled, as opposed to choosing a specific look to make a style statement. When working with this type of client it is important to be careful and discreet, don’t pressure them into a style that would make them uncomfortable. They may be unduly nervous about any major hair change; if they do request a significant change give them plenty of time to consider the effects, especially with any radical changes to colour or hair length. In particular, stress that the use of finish products is only temporary.