Want a good haircut? Keep your coiffeur happy


What would a hairdresser say if he or she spoke out, addressing all those pent-up complaints about clients whose necks are just millimetres from the tip of a pair of sharp scissors? S/He would likely agree with James Fillery, a successful veteran coiffeur who agreed to vent his pet peeves — and share what makes a hairdresser happy.

Tip number one: Don’t show your hairdresser a model’s photo clipped from a magazine and ask for the same hairdo. “I hate pictures — they’re my worst nightmare,” Fillery admitted. “Pictures in magazines lead people on.”

Truth is those stunning models may have spent countless hours getting ready for a magazine

photo shoot and then benefited from a hair-enhancing technique such as a giant fan. “It looks windblown because she’s standing in front of a wind machine,” Fillery said with a sniff.

Another thing about magazines: when reading in the hairdresser’s chair, find a single article and stick to it. Clients who flip through magazines, Fillery said, make trouble by rocking their heads with every turn of the page.

“Impossible requests” are also high on Fillery’s complaint list. “Women with shoulder-length hair come in and say they would love a change but they want to keep it the same length and keep the bangs,” he said, waving his hands in frustration. “I can’t do anything.”

Men also give conscientious hairdressers a hard time, especially when they’re looking for a style that they think hides baldness. According to Fillery, there’s no such thing.

“The comb-over doesn’t work,” he said. “It’s an absolute giveaway that you’re losing your hair.”

In general, hairdressers appreciate cooperative clients who yield to their suggestions, though gender plays a big role in customer relations. For example, Fillery said his female clients are more likely to agree with his ideas than they would if he were a woman hairdresser. The reverse is true as well — male clients are more likely to accept suggestions from women hairdressers.

Naturally, busy hairdressers are distressed when clients arrive late for an appointment or show up late and make it worse by dawdling in the shop before finally sitting down.

On the other hand, Fillery said, a time-conscious or at least politely apologetic client can win a hairdresser’s heart and set the right tone for a good haircut.