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Industry • Best Practice

Empower Clients With These No-Dexterity Needed Hairstyling Tips

Clock these killer styles that aren’t hard on your hands

Almost all hairstylists are happy to provide beauty advice, but some topics might leave them stumped. Helping people without fine motor skills is a great example — some people live with disabilities, suffer from arthritis, or simply lose hand and finger dexterity with age. But looking your best is a birthright, and hair is a crucial component of identity and expression. To help these clients, add these no-dexterity hairstyle ideas and tips to your repertoire.

Find a gorgeous, low-maintenance hairstyle

One of the easiest ways to manage hair is choosing a low-maintenance look. The fewer steps you need to look great each morning, the easier it will be on your fingers and joints over the long term. All that’s required is a style that’s easy to maintain, matches the client’s personality, and — most importantly — looks fantastic.

The good news is there are countless combinations for clients to choose from. Here are just a few examples for inspiration:

  • Natural texture? Keep it simple: If you want to highlight hair’s natural texture, then ponytails, hair buns, and simple braids tend to be the most accessible options.

  • Go long with layers: Be careful when it comes to layers. Short and choppy layers are generally more challenging for clients to manage than a long, layered cut.

  • Go short with curls: For curly hair, focus on a mid-length cut that only requires a quick spray of styling product to maintain. A layered bob or a pixie cut are excellent choices, while a protective twist keeps curls natural and lasts for weeks.

  • Embrace the bun: For clients with thick hair, buns are your best friend. They can be as messy or tight-fitting as the client can manage while still offering a variety of looks.

When all else fails, the easiest option is usually a short cut. Go with a style that can be maintained with easy applications of conditioner — as a bonus, you could use coloring products to make their hair pop out visually.

Recommend the right beauty products and appliances

Sometimes the biggest limitations are less about the client’s disability than finding the right products. As a hairstylist, try to recommend purchases that allow for the easiest possible home maintenance:

  • Skip the shower with dry shampoo: Dry shampoos are easy to apply, extend the time between washings, and add extra volume to your hair.

  • Keep appliances small and light: When buying appliances, choose items that anyone can carry. A travel-sized hair dryer may be easier to operate than a standard model for long periods.

  • Don’t skip conditioner: Recommend a high-quality conditioner that protects hair and reduces the time necessary for brushing.

Try a wet brush: Look into wet brushes that breeze through post-shower tangles with the bare minimum of fuss.

Break out your creative beauty hacks

Sometimes a simple, outside-the-box trick makes all the difference for clients with limited dexterity. Instead of teaching the standard process for styling or maintaining hair, get creative!

  • Clip it, wrap it: Instead of focusing on hair product applications, think about easy-to-use objects. Bandanas and clips are easy ways to elevate even the messiest look into a charming style.

  • Flip it and reverse it: Instead of lifting your arms to brush your hair, why not bring hair to your hands? Try leaning forward and flipping your hair over your head — the position might be more comfortable for brushing, bundling a ponytail, or even braiding.

  • Socks as beauty tools: Are you having trouble putting your hair in a bun? Abigail S told The Mighty that she puts her hand into a sock to collect hair then turns it inside out. Instant bun!

Hairstylists should never get discouraged when helping someone dealing with dexterity or mobility issues — there are countless solutions to help anyone experiment with great looks. Stylists should work closely with clients to understand their limitations, recommend products, and create a style that’s perfect for them.

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