How to Practise with a Hairdressing Model

By Dean Laming on January 2nd, 2024

As a salon owner, ensuring your stylists continuously improve their skills is key to offering exceptional service. One effective way to advance abilities is by practising new techniques on models. Hairdressing models allow trying creative styles in a low-stakes setting while developing skill.

But how do you source models and make the most of practice sessions? This guide covers tips for successfully working with hairdressing models.

Where to Find Models

The first step is recruiting willing models for your salon’s stylists. Great places to look include:

  • Your existing client base – Some regulars may enjoy being a model for free services. Ask clients if they’d be interested in letting staff experiment with new looks.
  • Local schools and colleges – Beauty programmes have students eager to build portfolios and skills. Offer to collaborate.
  • Salon staff – Consider allowing staff to model for each other while practising.
  • Friends and family – Word of mouth can uncover hairdressing models. Tell your connections what you’re looking for.
  • Online and print ads – Place specific calls for hairdresser models needed for practice.
  • Modelling agencies – Some specialise in hair models and may assist for negotiated fees.

Vetting Practise Candidates

Carefully screen any potential hairdressing models before confirming sessions. Consider:

  • Hair health – Ensure hair is strong enough for repeated processing. Avoid bleach sessions on damaged hair.
  • Hair length and texture – Choose models with sufficient hair to demonstrate desired techniques. Straight hair works best for initial practice.
  • Availability – Confirm models can commit to regular practice times at your salon. Flakiness undermines the arrangement.
  • Agreeableness – Pick models willing to give honest feedback on what works and doesn’t.

Setting Expectations

Once you’ve sourced hairdressing models, clearly communicate expectations before confirming arrangements. Be very detailed regarding:

Session duration

Specify not just the location, dates and times for practice sessions, but also expected duration. For example, book 2-3 hour blocks for colour sessions. Share whether you expect models to attend weekly or monthly.

Looks to be attempted

Don’t just state that cuts and colours will be tried, but share specific techniques and trends. Send model inspiration images so they visualise end results and have models sign consent forms for dramatically different styles if needed.

Product testing

Provide details if you use models to try new professional product brands or formulations the salon is evaluating before deciding to stock. For example, inform them “we are testing a new line of smoothing treatments and will use models to demo application techniques before determining if we’ll carry the line.”

Evaluation methods

Discuss specifics on how you’ll seek model feedback after sessions – will you use verbal questions, written surveys, assessment forms for them to score elements like gentleness of application or condition of hair after processing? Share copies of any forms or questions.

Photo/video consent

Get signed permission forms granting you rights to photograph and record video during sessions for training purposes, portfolios, promotions etc. Outline intended uses like website, advertisements and social channels.

Being ultra-transparent upfront regarding expectations prevents issues down the line and leads to the best experience for both models and your stylists.

Conducting Model Sessions

When working with hairdresser models during practise sessions:

Thoroughly assess hair

Before a session, have stylists do more than just quickly look at hair condition. Require them to run hands along the lengths to check for unevenness or damage, examine the scalp and roots area for issues like buildup or sensitivity. This close inspection prevents techniques that hair can’t withstand.

Adjust processing based on review

If pre-session assessments reveal damage or dryness, have stylists adjust formulation levels like reducing bleach volumes or altering the ratio of colour to developer. This prevents further drying or breakage.

Set timers diligently

Stylists should time all colour application and processing precisely based on the specific formulas used. Rushing rinsing or leaving colour overly long leads to damage.

Adjust temperature

Monitor water temperature during washing procedures. Ensure stylists keep temperature at or just below room temperature for colour treated hair rather than risking heat damage with scalding hot water.

Cross check

At multiple points during sessions, have a second set of eyes reviewing work. Extra scrutiny helps catch unevenness in sectioning, gaps in application strokes, and missed areas needing coverage before they become big issues requiring extensive correction.

Providing Client Aftercare

Ensure models know how to maintain their hair health between sessions. Offer care instructions like:

  • Use bond builders – Suggest bond-repairing conditioning treatments to use at home to strengthen hair and prevent breakage after chemical sessions.
  • Limit heat styling – Advise models to allow hair to air dry naturally as much as possible and minimise hot tool usage to reduce further drying and damage.
  • Schedule trims – Book models for regular trim appointments to nip split ends and keep hair strong.
  • Recommended products – Suggest salon quality shampoos, masks and leave-ins for clients to purchase to prolong vibrancy, boost shine and nutrition between sessions.

Equipping models to care for hair properly lets you experiment worry-free.

Creating Win-Win Model Relationships

Following these tips allows you to create mutually beneficial arrangements with hairdressing models. Your stylists gain valuable experience attempting new techniques and trends in a supportive environment. Models enjoy free services, professional guidance, and salon quality products.

Protect Your Salon Investment with Insurance

While using models generates positive PR and helps staff skill-up, protecting your business from unexpected issues is equally crucial. At Salon Saver, our hair salon insurance policies protect salons like yours.

We offer cover options to shield against theft, property damage, and liability claims so you can operate without worry. Our specialists take time to understand your business to create tailored protection.

With Salon Saver coverage, you get peace of mind and outstanding support. Contact us today to discuss insuring your hair salon business from unforeseen risks.




Dean Laming

Dean Laming is a Chartered Insurance Broker with more than 25 years insurance experience. Through various underwriting, operational and management roles, Dean has built up extensive knowledge of the hair and beauty sector and is now Managing Director of Salon Saver, part of the wider Henry Seymour Group.

All articles by Dean Laming

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