Category Archives: Self Care

Getting What You Want

By Kim Taylor

It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. We state what we want in a way that seems very clear to us, but we get something different than what we are absolutely sure we asked for. This happens all the time in our everyday lives; asking for no onions on your burger only to end up with double onions, requesting fifty single one-dollar bills at the bank and receiving one single fifty-dollar bill instead, texting your spouse to pick up the kids from soccer by 6:00 and getting a call at 6:15 from the coach asking where you are. All of these scenarios can be infuriating (some more than others), but none are uncommon.

As someone who seems to have an inordinate number of miscommunications in my everyday life, I could talk all day long on this subject, but I digress. Right now, I’d like to focus on communication in the salon and spa and how to increase your chances of getting what you ask for.

The Confession

I have had [and heard] countless conversations at the beginning of a hair appointment where a client states that they left their previous hairstylist (who they absolutely adored), because they felt that they could not get what they were asking for. It would be presumptuous of me to assume that none of my previous clients have ever had that same conversation with another stylist about me. In fact, I recently had a client “break up” with me for that very reason. I get it, I really do. After 23 years in this industry, several salon management courses, becoming a salon and spa owner, and trying so very hard to be introspective and honest about where success and failure happen in this industry, I still fall short at times. No one is perfect, but we try to be better Every. Single. Day.

The Truth

Being a provider of services is not always easy. The majority of professionals who choose to work in the salon and spa industry are people pleasers by nature. For most of us, there is an innate desire to boost confidence and make people feel great. When a client is in our care, our strongest desire is to provide exactly what they want and need. Incidentally, this is not always the same, which is one of the reasons it’s not always easy.

Being a client can be equally as difficult. I am not always a service provider; I too am a client from time to time. I love salon and spa services, yet even with my firsthand knowledge of what it is to be a service provider, I still find it challenging to convey my expectations at times.

The Question

We all agree that the end goal is to make each client happy, so how do we make the consultation process as foolproof as possible? How do we lay the proper groundwork for success?

The Answer

Good communication. This begins with a thorough consultation at the start of your appointment. Sometimes, when you are in search of a big change, or are not certain of what you want, a pre-appointment consultation is necessary. This is a 15-minute (give or take) appointment that helps us know how much time we need for the desired result and book accordingly. Having enough time to perform a service correctly is very important.

Professional Responsibility. It is the service providers responsibility to ask a series of questions in order to deliver the best result possible.

Some questions that might be asked include:


What do you like and/or dislike about your hair? How often do you shampoo, and what is your styling routine? What types of products and tools do you use for washing, conditioning, and styling? How much time are you able/willing to commit to styling? How often are you planning to come in for trims, color touch-ups, etc.? Do you have any known sensitivities?


What are you hoping to accomplish in this appointment? What is your routine at home- how often to you cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize, mask, etc. What are you currently using and are you happy with the results? How often are you able to come in for skincare treatments? Do you have any known sensitivities?


Are you using any acne or anti-aging products? Have you have been sensitive to waxing services in the past, are you recovering from a recent sunburn or any type of skin resurfacing treatment?

For most clients, waxing is a great way to remove unwanted hair. However, these questions are very important as some skincare ingredients are contraindicated for waxing and could lead to burning or removing skin. Honesty is imperative, and your privacy is guaranteed.

All of these questions are deliberate. They are part of an investigation, so that your provider can make realistic suggestions of what might work well for you. For instance, if you are only willing/able to come in 2-3 times a year, there are many colors and techniques as well as precision-based haircuts that will not look great for that duration. The same holds true for skincare- big, lasting changes cannot be expected without regular, routine care both at home and in the spa.

Client Responsibility. It is the clients’ responsibility to be honest in their answers. Be as descriptive and clear as possible when explaining and describing your expectations. Pictures of styles and colors you like, as well as those you do not like are helpful- even if there is one element of a picture that you don’t like, it will help your stylist to understand you better. A great example of this is they way we see different types of blonde.  What do caramel highlights look like to you? How light would you like your blonde to be? Do you prefer a blended, natural highlight or a more dramatic placement of color? Also, bringing in some of the products you are currently using might be helpful- particularly for skincare services.

The Bottom Line

It is understandable to be disappointed when your stylist or esthetician tells you that what you want is unrealistic. It’s a bummer for us too. Remember, we want you to be satisfied. As professionals it is our responsibility to steer you in the direction we believe is going to yield the best result for you.

Ultimately, this is your world and we want to make you happy. If you have your heart set on having a certain service done a certain way, we will do our best to oblige. We do however have a responsibility and obligation to decline services that we deem unsafe based on professional knowledge, experience, and consultation.

At Essence, we pride ourselves on being thorough so you leave feeling great. Nothing is more gratifying to us than a satisfied client and we are committed to always doing our very best to make that happen.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

By Kim Taylor

It’s official. The holidays are coming and they are closing in fast! Some of you are already busy preparing, and some of you are about to become very busy, in a frantic sort of way. As much as I love the holidays, I never seem to pull it together early. I always tend to fall into the frantically busy category. When things are hectic it is easy to become irritated, making the celebration of the blessings in our lives seem a bit like a chore. As we struggle with shopping lists and party invites, compounded by December’s cold weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same.

If you find yourself struggling in the final weeks before Christmas, perhaps you should stop by Essence and enjoy a complimentary cup of hot tea. We have some amazingly relaxing services available to help restore your sanity, along with plenty of great gift ideas and stocking stuffers to help with your holiday shopping.

Gift Ideas

Nothing beats the gift of beauty and relaxation and we have several options for you to choose from:

  • Signature Spa Four Pack- $277

Choose any combination of four signature facials and therapeutic massages.

  • Specialty Spa Four Pack- $317

Choose any combination of four specialty facials and deep tissue massages.

  • Classic Massage Package

Purchase 6 services and receive the 7th free of charge.

  • Classic Facial Package

Purchase 6 services and receive the 7th free of charge.

  • Gift Cards

Available in any amount for every occasion.

In addition to our usual boutique items, beginning the Monday after Thanksgiving, we will have a great selection of stocking stuffers, candles, jewelry, cozy scarves, hats and mittens, great hand bags and wallets, gourmet tea and tea cups, and artwork; the list goes on and on. You simply must come in and see for yourself.

And one final gift suggestion….

To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.

— Oren Arnold

What a beautiful thought: the world we would live in if every person made an effort to fulfill this list at Christmas, and year-round. It is fun and easy to give gifts to those we love, but there is therapeutic value in blessing each other with intangible gifts from the heart.


Which brings me to charity. Sadly, need knows no season. A few years ago, I found an organization that I believe does the work of angels. Mountain Peace Shelter provides a safe haven for individuals in our mountain communities that are affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and other relationship violence. Each year, my neighbor, my mom, and I make Christmas stockings and sell them in the salon for a donation (they are really cute!). Every penny goes to MPS- we don’t even pay ourselves back for the fabric we use. This year, we are also collecting items from their “Top 10 Most Needed” list: Feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, Clorox wipes, laundry soap, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, trash bags, and coffee. So, whether you need a cute stocking or just feel compelled to drop off a supply or two from the most needed list it will be greatly appreciated.

As an added bonus, this year we are giving away a basket of salon goodies to one lucky kind-hearted person. Here’s how it works: Purchase a stocking and/or donate something from the “Top 10 Most Needed” list to have your name entered into the drawing. We will be collecting donations through December and will draw our winner on Saturday, December 30.


Being a small local business in a smallish community can be challenging at times. Essence has been so very blessed this year (and every year) with great staff and amazing clients. Thanks to all of you who walked through our doors and allowed us to care for you, it is truly our pleasure and we look forward to doing it for years to come!

We wish you a Merry Christmas and an extraordinarily Happy New Year!

Making Time to Relax and Unwind

By Kim Taylor, owner and stylist

I’ve been a busy bee my whole life. I always have something brewing and a list of what’s next. Between career, family, school activities, doctor’s appointments, etc. I am swamped. I love to be busy and I am happy in my life, but I AM TIRED. Sometimes I need a little time to myself to unwind and put things in perspective. Sometimes I just need to relax and rediscover my peace with the world. But it’s hard. I expect a lot out of myself and I hate to let anyone down. It’s an unrealistic expectation, but I try. Sound familiar? Of course, it does! We’ve evolved into a society where accomplishing more in less time with greater results has become the “norm”, and while each one of us is unique, we are all very similar in this particular way.

When I opened Essence in 2011, my goal was to take care of people in a way that would encourage and assist them in taking care of themselves. I believe that our most significant responsibility in life is to be good to each other. However, one can only carry that mantra so far if they are not also being good to themselves. It’s really hard to give our best to someone when we are running on empty.

I realize that this issue is complicated, finding time for one’s self is difficult and committing to it can feel more stressful than relaxing. I have learned over the years that no matter how busy I am or how guilty I allow myself to feel, I never regret taking time for myself once I do it. I return to my crazy existence ready and eager to continue giving my best to the world because I am cultivating the best in myself.

I know from experience that nights alone and weekends away are not always practical. Oftentimes an hour or two away from our hectic lives is all we need to feel rejuvenated. From the moment you step through our door, you are our priority. Our purpose is to give you the time, attention, and relaxation that you need and deserve.

We believe everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. One of the most basic ways that we do this is by offering beverages and small snacks. We always have refreshing iced tea and water as well as gourmet hot tea and coffee when you want something cozy and warm. We also offer Chex mix and pretzels in case you need a little snack to sustain you.

We pride ourselves on listening to your needs and do our very best to meet them. If you are cold, we can provide a warm neck wrap to take the chill off, or perhaps you would enjoy a nice warm paraffin hand treatment added to your service? We never require you to remove your shoes in the salon, but if your toes are cold and wet on a winter’s day, we’re happy to loan you a pair of cozy socks to warm your toes during your stay with us!

Our spa services have been carefully crafted to deliver relaxation and results simultaneously. The staff in our spa is well trained, experienced, and talented. Every service we offer is designed to be customized to your needs. If you have a special request, just ask your service provider and we will do our best to accommodate.

We have learned a lot over the past 6 years. Each day brings us a new opportunity to do a better job for our clients. As we grow, we are faced with new challenges. In an effort to address a few of the more pressing issues that have come to our attention, we have implemented policies within the salon and spa that help to ensure your quiet and peaceful enjoyment.

Fairly recently, we implemented a policy in which children under the age of 13 are welcome in the salon and spa by appointment only. Furthermore, we maintain an expectation of good behavior during their appointment. We ask that parents commit to and indulge in the rare treat of time to themselves by arranging for childcare during their appointments. This is all done with our best intention to preserve an enjoyable experience for all.

We try to be considerate of all of our clients by avoiding controversial and potentially upsetting topics of conversation. We appreciate that everyone is entitled to their beliefs and see value in sharing those beliefs in the right setting and under the right circumstances. However, we have seen how upsetting and emotional some topics can be and make an effort to chat about things that don’t ruffle feathers and interfere with one’s ability to relax and unwind.

We do our best to maintain a relaxing feel in our hair salon, but oftentimes it is very busy, and in turn it can be a bit noisy. We encourage all of our clients to schedule a relaxing spa service in addition to their hair appointments; a massage and/or facial does the trick nicely. We offer massage and facials in thirty, sixty, and ninety-minute increments so you can relax in spite of your busy schedule.

The bottom line is that we all need and deserve a break from time to time. We are happiest when we make ourselves a priority in our own busy lives. Perhaps the best part though, is that the people who matter so much to us benefit from the wonderful gifts of love, patience, and compassion that are unlocked when we are feeling refreshed and valuable.