Haircoloring For Minors
When it comes to highlighting or coloring minors…what do you do? If the client is a teenager and willing to pay for a service on their own without a parent…do you go ahead and do the service? One frustrated stylist posed this very question:
“I had a consultation with a young lady (17) who wants heavily highlighted hair. The consultation was with her mother, and as I understand, Mom is paying. Well, after a heated argument between them and the mother stating “absolutely not,” I see the young client on my books. So what I want to know is, if the young girl shows up alone and is paying on her own, do I perform the service? Even after knowing what the mother thinks? Help!”
Get the Real Story
An overwhelming amount of members felt strongly that the only way to solve this problem was to keep it simple—call the mother and get the real story. Kristi Becker says, “I’d call Mom. Just tell her its standard before performing any service on a minor to get the parents’ consent. You never know, Mom may have changed her mind.” Besides a courtesy to the mother, many BTC members were also concerned that the client was underage, which could cause potential legal repercussions. Tina Maxey explains, “It falls under the liability law because of the age. [Doing the service or not] has nothing to do with a tip or if they are pleased. Even if they love it, they are still a minor. I will not even do a haircut unless the parent or guardian OK’s the service. Some parents are okay with this but it still has to be approved.”
Brooke Tobias-Pike says, “I have been in this situation and I called the mother. I am so glad I did because the girl was lying to me about what her mother would allow.” Caroline Morra adds, “I would call her and say you need her mother to sign a release because she’s under 18; have the service and the price listed there, too, and have her initials beside it. Then, if you want to be extra safe, consider having them pay upfront. If she won’t come in and sign a release, then say you can’t hold the appointment for her. Don’t borrow more trouble than you need!” Tiffany Shaw Seddon agrees: “I would never service a client who is a minor without consent—especially because you already know the mom’s position. It’s not worth losing your job—or worse yet—your reputation.”
Speaking of laws—always be sure you know EXACTLY what the regulations are in your area, so that you can avoid any legal mishaps by knowing what is within your rights to do—and not do.
A stylist at Hair by Melony at Bliss the Salon says, “I feel that those who think it is okay to go ahead and do a chemical service on a minor should look into the legal age of consent. No matter what a hairstylist with a license thinks she can do, she better know [state laws] and follow them to a T. Because if you don’t and you are sued, the law will go by the book and you could lose. Is it really worth chancing the financial loss, as well as possibly losing your license, too?”
Just Do It
On the other hand, some respondents insisted that a paying customer is just that—a paying customer, and should receive the services that he or she requests—age and/or “momma drama” aside. Kellie Thomas says, “She is 17, and if she is paying herself, don’t get into the politics of mother and daughter. Do a great job so the mom can’t complain.” Sharon Marsh also agrees, saying, “Their argument is none of your business. Perform the service.” After all, “If she is on your book , an agreement has been reached. Sounds like you are doing highlights!” says Corie Slauson Multari.
Many stylists believe that even if your client isn’t quite 18 yet, but she has the means to pay for her service, it is your job to provide the services she wants, and her mother should not be part of the question. Erica Lawyer says, “Hey I don’t care who’s paying; the Mom should know where her daughter is. It’s not my job to babysit…if you have money, you can get your hair done.” Kelly Pollock agrees: “She is 17, not 8. I would do it! If she can pay for it, go for it. It’s just blonde, not the end of the world.” Alina Montanez says, “I would do her hair. She’s a paying client, and if the mom hates it, she can pay for the recolor! The fact that her mom won’t like it is her problem.” Katie Moore says, “If she is on your books, take her. You are just doing your job and you have to earn a living. You can’t have someone else’s arguments affect your business. Make that money.”
For those stylists that still want to make this sticky situation work, they suggest finding some middle ground—without sacrificing their reputations in the process. Sharon Shazzam Watson advises, “If the mother spoke to me during the consultation and I was made fully aware that she did not want her daughter to have the color, I wouldn’t do it. I would offer a softer alternative. It’s better to make both parties happy than to risk having to do a re-color, which would cost you and the salon more money.” Bonnie Morrison makes another great suggestion: “I am very close to my clientele and their families are important. I would most likely talk to the mom and keep the kid’s trust as well, by doing a “conflict resolution” with some “baby lights” and a hidden pink piece, or something similar.”
Jessica VanSumeren says, “Your client is the one that needs to be happy. Even if the mom was to pay, I believe that a compromise should be met between the two before even starting the service. And it’s important to remind the mom that it’s “only hair” and there are plenty other things to be worried about with a teenager.”
Jessica VanSumeren says, “Your client is the one that needs to be happy. Even if the mom was to pay, I believe that a compromise should be met between the two before even starting the service. And it’s important to remind the mom that it’s “only hair” and there are plenty other things to be worried about with a teenager.”Communication is key, and the solution to this dilemma could be found in a simple conversation.
Brendon Shave says, “It would be easy to refer her elsewhere, but I see potential clients here. Offer to consult with both of them again. Sit down in a quiet place and play therapist. One obvious factor coming into play is a power struggle at home—that does not belong in the salon at all. Inform them of your position and how the salon is NOT a place for the two of them to work that out. I’m sure you will be happy to retain them both as clients, but not until they have resolved their struggle. Stand your ground and be the professional. Consider when the 17 year old is turning 18. Identify with the young client and share some fun future ideas about hair fashion and Mom may jump on board.”
Augusta Maldonado Brenes remembers being in a similar situation. “The Mom wanted the daughter to keep being blonde and the daughter was crying because she wanted to be an all-over brunette (level 4 or above). I had to find the middle—not exactly what the mom wanted, not exactly what the daughter wanted, but both of them left really happy and I was relieved. Sometimes we have to play the judge and find the middle, and if they are still not happy with the decision, then tell them to go home, think about it for a bit longer and come back when both have a solution. It’s your time and your money.”
No matter what you choose to do, make sure that you are completely comfortable with your decision—and the possible consequences.