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10 Common Mistakes that Hairstylists make and How to Avoid them

Jan 15, 2023

These are some of the mistakes, I've witnessed and made myself throughout my time as a hairstylist. Ive been there, done it and learnt from it all, and now so can you ( but without the tears and physio appointments!) 


  1. Communication 
  2. Not visualising the final look
  3. Booking the wrong client
  4. Using the wrong hair products for the clients hair type
  5. Not using a mirror 
  6. Setting up you station in an awkward way 
  7. Seating the client wrong
  8. Not Practising ergonomic habits
  9. Dealing with clients an unrealistic expectation  
  10. Not understanding hair types 

  1.         Communication 
  • Listening to your clients needs and how they like to wear their hair is so important. If the client doesn't like the final look then you have failed your task. 
  • If the final look is something you don't personally like, remember this is not actually for you it's for your client, and their wishes are priority (you don’t have to show everything on your socials)
  • You can help to suggest a better design if you feel it is to their advantage, but  you need to help them understand why you are suggesting that so they can be on the same page. A picture tells a thousand words so using images will help a lot  towards understanding the final vision.


           Ask them questions so you can confirm you have understood correctly

           Example of communication breakdown 

           Client- I like my hair over my ears

           Hairstylist -ok cool so you like to cover over your entire ear or just the top ? 

          Client …oh no I mean I like the hair going over the top of my ears so I can see my                          earring better. 

        2. Not visualising the final look

  • Having an image either in your mind or a physical photo can help you plan how you will execute the look. Knowing where you will start, where you need any foundation points,what hair ( if any) will be left out or added in last, how the finished texture will look, how full it will be, what direction is the hair going. Without a plan and ‘winging it’ can result in product overloading and unsecure hairstyling that risks falling out or hair that has had to be restyled resulting in weak movement and dropping waves.

 3. Booking the wrong client

  • Ask yourself -who is your ideal client. If you love pretty things, work well under pressure, have good time management then weddings could be perfect for you 
  • If you crumble under pressure and find it hard to understand a brief maybe not working under demanding directors should be considered 
  • If your skills are limited and you lack confidence maybe working as an assistant will help you grow as a artist 
  • If you love fashion and want to create editorial looks only, then you need to be marketing yourself to do this work.


Dont position yourself in an environment that you feel uncomfortable in,use appropriate marketing and networking to have those clients.Understand what sort of hairstylist you are and who your ideal clients are and get the right training and skills to confidently position yourself in that network.

Don’t just say yes to every job coming your way.It may not be worth the strain on your mental health. There's nothing worse than being on a job wishing you were at home!. 


         4. Dealing with clients unrealistic expectations

  • Help the client to understand their own hair. Sometimes clients think booking an amazing hairstylist means they can have anything they can dream. Which in a lot of cases is true, but not without extra cost of purchasing or hiring or charging more for extra time it doesn't just happen. We are not magicians we are artists with skills and you will need to explain what is involved so they understand the extra costs or if it is not possible.   
  • If there is not enough length or hair you need to advise the client that you will need to use padding or extensions to create the look they are wanting. Always explain to the client the realistic expectation of what their hair can do and offer the solution that can help it be what they want. Don't promise what you can't deliver this will only end in disappointment. 


5. Using the wrong hair products for the clients hair type

  • Overloading products is a common problem and results in hair looking oily,flat and dropping.
  • Analysing the hair (see tip 6) will help you find the balance of what product will be best for the hair type.
  • Being able to understand how the product works with how much hold, shine volume, grit and protection it gives  is key to knowing how much to use and when to use it. This is covered in The  Fundamentals module 2) 
  • Testing the product on your hand will help you see if it dissipates into the skin well if it leaves a shine etc.


6. Not understanding hair types 

  • If you have no understanding of different hair types you will struggle to know what products will work to your best advantage, what tools to use, what techniques to apply when controlling movement and shape. 
  • Research the difference between fine hair, thin hair, med density,thick hair. The texture ( fine medium and course) relates to the size of hair shaft and the density of the hair (Thin,normal and thick ) relates to how many hairs within an area of the scalp and this can vary within the head of hair. If you are having trouble with this The Fundamentals cover this in module 1. 



7. Not using a mirror 

I have no shame carrying a mirror with me wherever I go! 

  • A mirror can create a better relationship with your client, to help you communicate your intention, for instance showing her how high the hair will be of how much hair will be left out etc 
  • A mirror will help you check your balance of the hair and how it is looking from the front without having to keep going back and forth looking from front to back.It also allows you to see the overall shape from a distance.
  • Talking with the client is made so much easier by being able to see facial expressions sometimes when you are blow waving and can’t hear you may be able to do a little lip reading haha 


8.Setting up you station in an awkward way


  • Make the seating area comfortable for your client. Dont make them straddle a bench or swing their legs to one side, they will be uncomfortable and will not sit straight. 
  • The area ideally needs to  have plenty of room for all your products and tools ( and the clients items ) is a suitable height (dining table height being ideal) and is placed in good natural light.Try to avoid setting up in direct sunshine as you get glare on your mirror and it becomes very warm.
  • Always take a extension cord and multi box to ensure you can have many sources of power close by so your chords will have enough length to use them safely 
  • If you are right handed, set your hot tools on the right side of your station and left side for left handed.Always use a heat pad.
  • Try to avoid setting up in a walkway area where you will have to let people pass or you will block the path to an area commonly used by other guests.
  • Try and have enough space around the client ( ideally 1 metre) so that you can bend over -as this is something we do alot when hairstyling. 


       9. Seating the client wrong

  • If your client is on an angle your hairstyle could end up on an angle too .Seating the client square in the chair and to the mirror with both feet on the floor will make your job a lot easier.
  •  Sit the client in a chair with a backrest, this will mean the client will not slouch.A client with a curved back can make it very hard to use hot tools around the nape and they will become restless with the uncomfort of an unsupported position. So supplying your own chair or requesting the correct chair in advance is ideal.



10.  Not practising ergonomic habits 

Back pain, wrist and shoulder issues as well as sore feet are all ailments that hairstylists suffer from. 

  • equip your kit with tools that suit your hand size,and strength is important. I have recently changed to a dyson hairdryer that I find so much better on my wrist with the dryer not only being lighter but the shorter neck and easy to move nozzle has made my blow drying technique a lot more ergonomic for my small hand.  
  •   Wearing shoes with an inner sole and shoes that you feel comfortable to stand in for a long length of time is a must- ‘beauty is pain’ is not relevant when you are standing all day, so save your heels for when you have the option to kick them off under the table. 
  • Standing directly behind the area you are working on.Moving yourself or the client so you avoid leaning on one leg and twisting your body around the chair or shoulder of the client. 
  • Lowering or raising the chair, so the client is at a better level for you, will help reduce the strain on your back and shoulders. This is not always possible and sometimes you may need to kneel down to be at the right level. Keeping a straight back is key.