Do Hairdressers Get Anxious with New Clients?

Published 29th May 2024 by Chlo Weldon

Although known for being social, chatty, and having a love of people, it’s common for hairdressers to often feel uncomfortable or nervous around new clients. Recently, we asked our Instagram followers if they get anxious with new clients and the results revealed a whopping 79% answered yes.

We spoke to Tracey Ann Smith, current Midlands Hairdresser of the Year at the British Hairdressing Awards, sponsored by Schwarzkopf Professional, and Hayley Jepson, otherwise known as The Resilient Hairdresser, on why hairdressers can feel anxious around new clients and some top tips on how to help.

“It’s really common for hairdressers to feel anxious around new clients,” says Hayley. “Even hairdressers who have been on the floor for 30 years, experience this – I know I did. Anxiety is essentially fear of the unknown, so we are more likely to feel it with new clients as there are a lot of unknowns.”

Tracey believes it comes down to experience and your own personal journey. “Having been in the industry for many years, I have encountered so many different clients, personalities, transformations, and challenges, that now, I rarely get anxious,” she says. “However, during the early years, the anxiety came with being new to the industry and encountering experiences for the first time.”

Tips on How To Help Feeling Anxious with New Clients

So just how do you keep your anxiety at ease? Many people have their own way of dealing with anxiety, and thankfully, there are many resources that are easily accessible to those who are struggling. Hayley gives us two ways in which can help: introducing top-down and bottom-up. “The top-down approach is more about your thoughts and mindset, so to help with anxiety, try reminding yourself of all your good experiences with new clients – all your clients were new once, and they’re happy!” She advises: “Try keeping a folder on your phone of good reviews and messages with clients to boost your confidence in these moments.”

It's also about working on your resilience and learning that you can rely on yourself. “To build on this, doing things that are out of your comfort zone can help – starting slowly with support. This way, you can build a bank of good experiences to think about when you’re anxious.”

The bottom-up strategies are more about your body in the moment. “I would try things like making sure you are grounded and in the moment with your client,” Hayley says. “Giving them your full attention is good for you and is calming for them. Take a minute by yourself to feel your body.”

One physical sign of anxiety that can often cause more panic is shortness of breath, so breathing exercises are also beneficial. “My go-to breathing exercise whenever I am anxious is the box breathing technique,” Hayley tells us. “Breath in for four seconds, hold it for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds, then hold it again here when your lungs are empty for another four seconds, and repeat.”

Meanwhile, Tracey advises to always remember to be yourself. “Take your time to approach the new client, be yourself and connect with them – don’t rush the process,” she says. “Don’t overthink and go into it with a fresh view and as a new opportunity.” But it’s also important to speak up! “Always share your concerns with your team – a problem shared is a problem halved, and they can also give you their own experiences and advice,” she adds.

And although it may be hard when anxiety does kick in, but always remember: “You are the professional and have the knowledge and skill to back up what you are sharing with your clients,” Tracey says. “The client has come to you for a reason, and you should be proud of that reason, the work you create, and that they have chosen you.”

Chlo Weldon

Chlo Weldon

Published 29th May 2024

Chlo writes regular content for the print magazine and website, as well as scheduling the content for HJ’s social media channels. Chlo has a master’s degree in Magazine Journalism and previously worked as Assistant Editor at craft magazine Tattered Lace. After moving to London from her small hometown to be part of the HJ team, she is loving every minute of being involved in the industry. She loves a good treatment and is on a mission for a longer and thicker mane.

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