Destroy The Hairdresser’s Top 10 Leadership Red Flags!

Last night, my partner and I, were watching a baking competition show. I couldn’t help but pay close attention to the woman who was freaking out and yelling at her staff.  Why did I instantly dislike her the second she opened her mouth?  Besides her freak outs, the cause of which is undoubtedly a producer off screen encouraging her to have them, not only did I not care about her sympathetic back story I genuinely wanted her to lose.  After the fourth side interview I realized that she reminded me of all the toxic leaders and owners I have distanced myself from throughout my salon career.

“I’m the best baker, and I will win”. Meanwhile, her cake is resembling the leaning tower of Pisa (delusional).

“I only accept perfection.  I can do no wrong”. It was clearly her assistant’s fault for choosing the wrong ingredient (lack of personal responsibility).

I used to work for a salon owner who told me not to stay home with my sick son.  When I told her I needed to take him to the doctors office I was forced to listen to a twenty minute lecture on how she had been a single mom with no family raising a baby and running a business.  Instead of using her experience to be a strong leader and relate to me, she felt I should ‘suck it up’ and ‘stop whining’. The bizarre fact about these ‘leaders’ is that they are under the impression that they take care of everyone and everyone takes advantage of their kindness.

So, this baking show got me thinking…

What are some of the red flags stylists should be looking out for in their bosses? When should a stylist get ready to move on? When is enough… enough?

Destroy The Hairdresser’s Top 10 Leadership Red Flags!

  • Diminishing empathy: Most leaders start off with the best intentions. Overtime their empathy diminishes and their bitterness increases. When this starts to happen it may be time to move on!

  • Paranoia: We see this all to with salon owners who have been screwed over one too many times. Paranoia usually sets in after the ‘bad’ employees are gone, leaving the good employees in the wake of their damage.

  • Hiding/ denying their mistakes: No one wants to feel shame or embarrassment. However, when a leader runs from vulnerability they tend to become aggressively defensive. If you call them out on a mistake they made, it can sometimes get ugly.

  • Blanket statements: This may seem like a regular leadership tactic but it just may be the most toxic of them all! Blanket statements are used to address a problem that is affecting the few but the leader would rather address the many. For example, a repeat offender in the salon leaves their mess sitting around so the boss holds a meeting to chastise everyone about the messiness.

  • Gaslighting: This happens when a leader manipulates an employee into questioning their own sanity by using doubt and guilt. This usually leaves the employee questioning their perception.

  • Inability to take criticism: Oh boy, this is a big one. Bad leaders are unable to withstand a blow to the ego. If they have acted inappropriately, said something out of taste, or done something wrong it is hard to confront them. This trait is hard to break and usually breeds a fear based culture.

  • Mania/ flying off the handle: We have all worked for that one crazy boss. We laugh about it now but it wasn’t so funny when we were working for them. Mania is high high’s and low low’s. You never know what you are going to get with these leaders. Working with them is like working with a grenade, you never know what might set it off.

  • Promises, promises, promises: When interviewing for a job there is one red flag that stands out in the most obvious way, promises. Some leaders promise so many things in the beginning to get you to work for them. Good leaders underpromise and overdeliver, bad leaders overpromise and underdeliver. Beware of the promises!

  • Bullying: Some leaders use bullying techniques to manipulate their staff. Bullying is abusive and is never ok, it can quickly turn into gaslighting.

  • History of walk-outs: Working for someone who has had their team walk out on them is a HUGE red flag. Can you guess why?

Don't Wait

As a coach, I speak with many people working behind the chair. Many of these professionals are frustrated in their current employment. Yet through all of the complaining and the blaming, there is really only one solution. 


If you’re unhappy with your current salon: leave. As quickly as possible. Jump into the idea of working for yourself. Flirt with the possibility of opening your own space. The frustration you’re feeling is not because of other people, it’s because your insides are yearning to get outside of their comfort zone. Your soul is desiring more than your brain can comprehend. 

This blog is a call to action. For all of those talented beauty professionals out there that have been standing on the precipice for too long, jump. Can’t do it? I’ll push you.  

My teacher told me something beautiful the other day. She said, “our negativity is not measured by the amount of darkness we have. Our greatest negativity is measured by the amount of light we could have revealed, but didn’t”. 

If you feel you are meant to reveal a great amount of light in this world, make sure you jump so you can spread that light through your career! 

David Bosscher, co-founder DtH

Queer Culture + Gender Terminology

Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

Perhaps you haven’t had many experiences with queer, gay, lesbian, transgender, or genderqueer people. It’s okay. We all come from different experiences in life and what is important is that we acknowledge differences, respect them, and learn from our interactions with others.


Homos, queers, and trans folk are not secluded to liberal bubbles of the world. Slowly the empowerment to acknowledge one’s true self is trickling into all of our souls. I am a cisgender, queer, femme woman from Wyoming. It took me a long time to come to this confidence of who I am.  I’ve always wanted to make others feels safe and confident - this is why I’m a hairdresser, right? - but I’ve messed up, like a lot. I look back at things I have said, assumptions I made, and cringe. Everyone makes mistakes, everyday we learn something new, and when you get corrected, or someone tells you that you offended them do three things: apologizeacknowledge it and move on. Do some research, teach yourself something, and then pass on the information. Learn from that experience, don’t make the same mistakes. You might live in a small town Nebraska or Alabama. You may be in San Francisco or NYC, and have a client who comes in who you are unsure how they identify. People of different gender expressions, and identities are everywhere. Do you want to create a safe space? If so, here is some basic information that you might find useful.  It's glossary time.

Sex Identity (Sex): The physical, biological, chromosomal, genetic, and anatomical makeup of a body, classified as male, female, intersex, or (in some schools of thought) transsexual; 2) The categorization of a person's physiological status based on physical characteristics; 3) Label of bodies based on a socio-cultural concepts of physiology (e.g. what is a male vs. what is female).

Gender: A social combination of identity, expression, and social elements related to masculinity and femininity. Includes gender identity (self-identification), gender expression (self-expression), social gender (social expectations), gender roles (socialized actions), and gender attribution (social perception).

Sexual Orientation: An individual’s physical and/or emotional attraction to and desire to sexually or emotionally partner with specific genders and/or sexes. e.g., homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual, asexual.

Cisgender: one who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth, based on their physical sex (aka genitals)

Transgender: one who identifies with a gender different than the gender they were assigned at birth.

 Genderqueer: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity is outside of, not included within, or beyond the binary of female and male; 2) Gender non-conformity through expression, behavior, social roles, and/or identity; see also Fluid, Non-Binary, Gender Non-conforming

 Gender Neutral: Used to denote a unisex or all-gender inclusive space, language, etc. Ex: A gender neutral bathroom is a bathroom open to people of any gender identity and expression.

Pronouns: Grammatical element used to reference a person on the basis of gender. Traditionally he, him, his, himself and she, her, hers, herself. *If you’re unsure of someone’s identity and pronouns, ASK almost all of the time when you ask “hey what are your pronouns?” Trans, genderqueer, and down people are going to be stoked and feel safe that you cared to ask. As a cis woman, the first time I was asked for my pronouns, I was a little taken aback.  I realized  that you never know and it was super respectful. Not all femme presenting folks are women or use she/her pronouns and vice versa.

Androgynous: a person who has traits attributed to both male and female or masculine and feminine.

Femme: A person who expresses and/or identifies with femininity.

Ally: Someone who confronts heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, heterosexual and cisgender privilege in themselves and others.

"you don’t get to label yourself an ally, you get labeled an ally because of your actions"

Most of these definitions were taken from the Trans and Queer Glossary.

Also important is intersectional feminism. Not just gender issues, but race, classism and ableism. This is a really rad and simple read to help you connect and learn from other people with different experiences, and create better safe spaces! So You Wanna Be An Intersectional Feminist


As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Addison Martin, guest blogger

Kala Boisvert , guest blogger


Stop Budget Judging

Let's start with the 3 don'ts

1. Don't assume

2. Don't assume



Why is it so hard for hairdressers to enter this industry with the confidence necessary to be able to state proper pricing?


Is it because as hairdressers we normally start our careers with debt of our own, or perhaps we have financial issues of our own? Maybe we grew up in a home that didn’t talk about money. No matter what our reason it creates an issue when charging our worth.

I had a guest who dressed like a social security pensioner from Ft. Lauderdale who used layaway at Kmart.  I later found out that this same person also owned half of downtown. Lupe Voss, platform artist for Aveda and founder of Haircolormagic, once shared a story with me about going to Nordstrom to buy shoes after a workout.  The clerk, based on her post-exercise casual look, made assumptions about her ability to afford the shoes she asked to see.  

To quote Pretty Woman: “BIG mistake.”

 Do not spend your clients' money for them

Don't assume you know how much they are willing to spend.  It's like a stylist version of mansplaining.  This is not kindergarten, this is business.  Run your business successfully in 2019.

  • Give each client options for their hair service and communicate the price for each choice. Let them decide.

  • Tell each client what you recommend they use to maintain and recreate their look at home. Let them decide.

  • Don't be afraid to talk money. This is business but it is a business that involves connection and nurturing. Listen with a caring heart, offer options if budget is a concern. But have that conversation. LET THEM DECIDE.

Share your stories and thoughts with us in the comments below! 

Kate Wright, lead blogger


Failed Consultations

There's one rule of thumb that we don't discuss when it comes to consultations and it is this:




Why is that?

Indecision, indecision indecision.  There is a difference between offering options to a client, and a client having too many ideas and is unwilling to decide on an option.  You will know these clients from their behavior:

  • Shows multiple pictures each with a different look.  Includes phrases such as 'I like this but I also like this.'

  • Needs constant reassurance about their choice.

  • Fusses with hair while talking, doesn't meet your eyes.

  • Indecisive even after agreeing to a look.

  • Might use industry terms to describe their goal but those words and what they want do not match up.



What is the best way to work with these clients? Start at the beginning. Instead of asking for pictures, ask how the client wants to feel. Younger? More modern? Happy? Bohemian? Sexy? Who doesn’t want to feel sexier…

If the client doesn’t know how they want to feel, be assured they know how they DON’T want to feel. ‘I don’t want to feel like a soccer mom’ is a phrase we hear often.

Avoid industry terms. This client does not care or even know what amazing technique you just learned in class. Keep it simple. Use feelings, use names of hues (opal, buttery, wheaty, chocolate) instead of what level you want to take them to. Don’t use specific measurements in a cut, use ‘collarbone’, ‘below jawline’, ‘shoulder blades’. Why? You are a craft hairdresser. We don’t go into restaurants and tell chefs how to make their entire meal. We don’t tell doctors what treatments to use.

If the clock is still ticking down and an agreement has still not been reached, remember to stay in control.  Sometimes these clients will require you to reschedule their appointment.  There have absolutely been situations where the client is so indecisive that they talk their way through the entire color consultation and the next client is waiting.  Stay in control. Control can mean saying ‘no’. This is not the end of the conversation; know the skills of the stylists near you and refer the client to them if it is within their specialty or reschedule the client on your books at a different time. ‘No’ does not have to be the final answer.

It's not called being a hardass.  It's called being a professional and refusing to be bullied into services that wont work.  Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and kindness, even the indecisive clients.  There is also a difference between being reasonable and being a doormat, and we give you permission to be open and honest with the client in your chair.

Kate Wright, lead blogger

Tones & Gemstones

No one wants caramel highlights anymore, well maybe they do but caramel isn’t everyones favorite flavor. We don’t even know what caramel means anymore; is it an 8 gold? a 7 auburn? It’s time we start elevating our color services with new descriptive words.



Introduce your pale blondes to a more golden, softer dazzling Citrine root while keeping them light and bright in areas that compliment her face shape. 

For a client who wants to awaken a new personal power, Tigers Eye is such a beautiful chocolate-y, golden combo that’s sure to keep your client feeling fabulous. Brunettes can have fun too!

Try a Black Onyx root melting into Ruby for your fiery red-heads.

There are hundreds of dazzling crystals to get inspiration from: a few of my favorites include Smoky Amethyst, Jasper, Garnet and Amber. The transition can be so easy and rewarding. Wow yourself with how creative you can be and experience a new world of hair color! 

What are some of your favorite descriptions for hair color? Leave your responses in the comments below.

Kate Wright, Lead Blogger


10 Steps For Proper Netiquette

Dear Abby,

It has come to my attention that with the predominance of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as the primary means of communication in today's world, some people don't know how to behave.  Cyber bullies and trolls and even normal netizens with opposing opinions lead the users of these platforms to act atrociously at times.  What's a gal to do?


Sick Of Idiots ~ NY, NY


Dear Sick,

Facebook doesn't offer a finishing school, so I get it.  As a society we have forgotten the old adage: 'If You Have Nothing Nice To Say, Don't Say Anything At All.'  People with extremist views can connect with ease to hype each other up.  The ability to do honest research is plagued with fake news sites whose content is swallowed as the honest truth.  The soapbox set-up these sites allow us to stand on and shout our views often lead to real world consequences and every time the original poster seems surprised.  To limit collateral damage to mental health and actual careers, I have compiled a Top Ten List of Behaviors to Strive For And Avoid on the Internet.  Good luck!

  1. Adhere to the same standards you would use when communicating in real life.    

  2. Don't post angry.  Posting when under extreme emotion starts flame wars.  Use your internal pause button and really ask yourself 'would I be ok if my mom/best friend/grandparent/child read this?

  3. Use proper spelling and grammar.  In a world that is dominated by words, using them correctly boosts your online image.

  4. Be forgiving of other people's mistakes.  Sure, the same question asked over and over and over again might be frustrating, especially with search functions in Facebook groups and Google searches for the rest, but remember: not everyone has the same user savviness as you.  It takes less effort to scroll past an annoying post than it does to engage in it.

  5. Social media should not be updated more times than the amount of glasses of water you drank today.  Feed hogs are usually annoying.

  6. Don't mass message people.  Included in that are don't create groups and invite every person on your list to it just to hock a product.  

  7. Big Brother is watching.  Don't go in industry Facebook groups and be negative.  Most likely there are higher ups/salon owners/potential mentors seeing you act like a shit.  You could (and we've seen it happen) lose business opportunities.

  8. Instagram has a ton of bots.  Get a rush of adrenaline when a quasi-celeb likes your photo?  Don't.  The likelihood is that it's their PR firm or a 22-year old in marketing re-tweeting while on the 405.  Strive for the real life compliment, not a like button on the internet.

  9. Don't Feed the Trolls.  Conversely, don't be a troll.

  10. Say 'Please' and 'Thank You.'  Seriously.  This goes a long way.

Top Hashtags For 2019

We all use them, we all <3 them, and we all hate them.

Face it: hashtags are wonderfully overwhelming. Most of us in the beauty industry are using Instagram, more than any other social media outlet, to beef up our online presence. Why?

Because a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Taking a decent photo of beautiful hair and posting it online is not enough. To build a following on Instagram, proper hashtaging is of the upmost importance. Hashtagging categorizes your photos that fellow Instagram workers can see when they hashtag surf.  Some hashtags are for personal use and some are followed daily by millions.

It might feel sleazy and manipulative but the truth is that there is an art and an algorithm for success with hashtags. Users are more active at different times of the day and even on different days, so posting during the busy traffic times will help get more attention.  Keeping the initial tags in the picture description to a maximum of three keeps the post clean when you cross it to other social media (i.e. posting to Facebook and twitter simultaneously from Instagram). Don't worry, your picture will still be surf-able.


Instagram has allegedly started to implement shadow-bans on accounts using too many and repetitive hashtags. What does this mean? Shadow-banning is the when we post a photo on Instagram but it does not go into the categories we hashtagged, the location we posted, or show up on our followers feeds. Essentially no one will see our post unless they visit our page. Our advice is to use only three hashtags in each post, changing them up each time. This will help you avoid the shadow-ban.

CLICK HERE to see if your photos have been shadow-banned by Instagram.

Throughout the last few years Destroy The Hairdresser has been experimenting with industry hashtags to see which ones get us the most attention. Feel free to copy and paste the following hashtags into your Instagram posts (only using 3) to get more followers and likes. Make sure you save the hashtags in your notes or somewhere on your phone so you can easily access them when you need them!

#destroythehairdresser #modernsalon #hairbrained #saloneducation #behindthechair #hair #salonlife #beauty #hairstyle #haircolorists #haircolor #hairtutorials #hairtrends #trendyhair #beautifulhair #hairpainting #bayalage #hairdresser #style #hairporn #balayage #haircolor #haireducation #hairoftheday



Which ever company you are working for or what ever products you use. Tag them.


People love a #Transformationtuesday or a #tbt so have fun with it. You can also make up your own like #sassybitchsunday or #SBS (I use that for brunch time) 


Hashtag your location. When clients are trying to find new stylist in their area they will search hashtags.