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Being Open to Change, Going Short and Switching Color Line

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For more than two decades, I used a color line in my salon that I really liked so much. I wasn't just comfortable with the products, I was confident in the way they mixed, the application, the process and, of course, the outcome -- consistent quality that I could count on.

I suppose that my satisfaction was linked in part to my familiarity with the line, and my clients were never dissatisfied. I was reluctant to try something new. Then I did. I'm ecstatic. And this column is about change.

Let me step back a few months. The decision I made to switch color lines closely followed another change -- I cut my hair short. Very short.

I loved long hair, but the familiarity, in this case, became a rut. I was just feeling kind of frumpy with what had become an everyday look. I felt like I needed a big change. So, last May I went short, and I love it. It's great. It's fun. I feel younger, not just because of the edgy, contemporary style but because it is a change.

I had another motivation for making a switch: my clients. Some of them had talked about changing their "hair life" -- a term coined by friend and fitness model Torrie Wilson -- "hair life" is a perfect description for the greater aura encompassed by our hair, and my clients wanted to change their hair life. Some of them, however, were afraid of just that - "change," like I was. Cutting my hair was a way to point to the confidence they had inside.

The results were stunning. Not only did everyone support my decision to go short, but several clients finally took the leap they'd been pondering and changed their hair, and several stylists in the salon where I do hair three times a week went short, too!

Originally, I went very short and platinum blonde, with the sides and back shaved pretty close. It was very liberating for me to go with a dramatic cut. And having changed once, I realized that I could, and should, change again. I soon went with more natural colors and a softer edge, and I change the shape frequently now, often subtly.

The bigger change, really, was switching hair color lines for my clients. Another friend and colleague, Robert Edick, has been talking about this product for a few years but it wasn't available in the United States until recently. He found it while training in Europe. Even knowing how great this product is, though, changing was oddly challenging. Now, though, I could not be happier. The improved quality of my work is distinct. The results have given me new confidence.

Like so many stylists, I am devoted to my clients, and maybe that contributed to my reluctance. As the saying goes, "if it's not broken, don't fix it." My clients have been happy for years. And why would I take a risk with those smiles, that beautiful expression of warmth and satisfaction on their faces. I live for that. But we owe our clients more than consistency. We need to provide them with the latest and best developments in the art. That requires us to pursue continued education, to review and refine our skills, to look for the best that our industry has to offer.

I know how difficult it can be to attend a class or research the latest products online when you have a business to manage and kids to carpool across all creation, but this is so important. You must find ways of upping your game and pushing the boundaries of what you know. The task may be tedious but you'll probably feel more confident and energized, the education will make you more valuable, and it's what your clients deserve. Be open to change!