Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Do We Speak the Same Language??

Earlier this year I had a bride come in for her pre-wedding makeup consultation who asked for a Smoky Eye look for her wedding day. We chatted as I worked about the details of her wedding; she was an afternoon bride, church ceremony, photos inside, windowless reception location, bridesmaids in powder blue... When I was finished with her makeup she looked at herself and said, "No - more smoky". So more smoke I did... Again she looked and said, "I want more smoke, this is not right..." Ok...more depth at the lid...more light on the brow...darker sweep under eye... And STILL - "No, no. More Smoky." I am thinking at this point that we are dangerously close to Las Vegas Hooker, is she serious??I asked her to tell me exactly what "smoky eye" means to her without looking in the mirror. What she begins to describe is not a "smoky" eye, but rather a "bright" eye. HUGE difference! Polar opposite. Left and Right. Up and... you get the point. So with a laugh, I began again.

When you use specific verbiage to describe what you want, you are assumed to know precisely what you are asking for. This can, and as your read above, create confusion and miscommunication. The word "chignon" is the most overused and misunderstood word in formal hairstyling; due to that, when a bride asks for a chignon, I ask her to describe the look to me, without using that particular word (7 out of 10 times, it is not a chignon...). Use your words to describe to us your thoughts, grab your hair and show us where you might want it placed, pull out your lipstick and show us the color you love. As a professional it is our job to understand your layman's terminology not your responsibility to understand us.

We may all speak English, but we don't all speak "hair" or "makeup", and because of this, I am a firm believer that photographs are the best tool to allow the Artist and the client to begin to speak the "same" language. I know what you are thinking, you can find the photo - you have no idea what you want. You don't have to love the whole photo you bring in, rather you can love the back on this one, the front sweep on this one, the height of this one and you hate everything about this one (yes, showing us what you don't like helps us to narrow down what you do). I've had times where I have constructed a custom design from more than six photographs and without them, I would not have been able to get to the end result as quickly as we did.

Ask and ye shall receive - just remember to do it in your own words! Let me know if you need help and I would be happy to translate for you! Jacki Norrie

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