A Sensitive Subject: Talking Client Hair Loss

In line with National Hair Loss Awareness month this month, Thomas Hills, Director, TH1 Hair, looks at how to broach a sensitive subject: salon clients with hair loss.

“Hair loss and thinning hair can be a sensitive subject to say the very least,” Says Thomas Hills of TH1 Hair in Oxted. “It’s one which clients are often reluctant to discuss with their hairstylist. As a stylist, you might feel nervous to bring up. Whatever the cause of balding, partial or full hair loss, or thinning hair in a client, it’s an important subject that shouldn’t be ignored. There are now so many solutions to broaching the subject. The first step to finding a solution for your clients’ needs.”

Here are my top tips for managing the situation:

1) Thinning hair is a sensitive subject, so it’s a good idea to let a new client take the lead. You will generally find that your regular clients will bring up the subject of their thinning hair themselves; you usually won’t need to. However, if you feel a client may need a prompt, you could take a broader approach. This means using their initial consultation to ask if they could change anything about their hair, what it would be. Alternatively, you could take a more direct approach. You could ask whether there is anything that they particularly dislike about their hair. Always adopt a positive first response; let them know which cuts would help to achieve the look of fuller, thicker hair. Also recommend at-home and professional treatments to help on their journey to hair health.

2) It is easier to spot signs of balding and thinning in regular clients; you will already be aware of the natural inclination, texture and normal growth patterns of their hair. You may have noticed that a client has shown signs of a sudden change in the amount of hair loss. Considering that some loss is normal, then it might be a good chance to recommend speaking to a professional.

3) If your client is going through chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment, then you would probably already be aware. In this case you would be able to attribute their hair loss to their medical treatment. However, a change in lifestyle and diet, plus hormonal changes, can also play a part in sudden hair loss. It often helps to recommend to your client that they consult with a trichologist.

4) Anxiety and stress has been on the rise, especially over the last 12-18 months,. Therefore, we’re seeing an increase in the amount of clients suffering from anxiety-induced hair loss. Certain diet and lifestyle factors have also become more popular in recent years. This may contribute to an increase in clients suffering from diet-related hair thinning and hair loss. If you think this may be the case, then it’s worth highlighting this to your clients, encouraging them to pay special attention to their diet to ensure they get all the protein, vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need. Hair is an incredible marker of overall health and if they don’t consume enough of the correct food groups then they will notice a negative effect in the look, feel and growth of their hair, so at TH1 Hair we always have this conversation with our clients if we feel it’s relevant.

5) If your client’s hair loss or thinning is not overly visible, and is likely to be temporary, such as postpartum hair loss, you may wish to advise on a new cut or style that will help to hide the thinning areas. A change of colour can also be incredibly effective at disguising hair that has become finer. You should also advise on any professional treatments they could try, to help boost the condition of their hair in order to make it appear fuller, as well as which products to change to, in order to help the hair plump out and look thicker.

If hair loss is very visible, or shows no signs of slowing down, then a new style may not be enough to create the appearance of a fuller head of hair. In that case you may want to recommend that your client speaks to a hair loss expert for advice on hair replacement methods and techniques. This would be particularly advisable if you notice that your client is becoming affected emotionally by the hair loss.

As a result, approaching the subject of hair loss with a client is something that shouldn’t be delayed. While it may be a sensitive subject, armed with useful information and the correct approach, you will be helping your client step onto a road to hair restoration that can truly transform both how they look and how they feel, and as their stylist, that should be your ultimate goal.

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