This month, Ruth and RARE's director of education, Bradley Irion, dip into our readers' mailbag to answer some questions about handling clients' concerns and requests.

Occasionally a client will come into the salon with a picture of a celebrity, asking for a similar long hairstyle. It's one thing when the client is 20-or 30-something, but when she's older, I find myself hunting for a tactful way to steer her toward something more appropriate. What would you do?

 Ruth Roche
Ruth Roche

Long hair is a big issue for women today, and we believe there's a version for everyone; it's up to us to recommend the right version for them, regardless of their age. The factors to consider include their height, lifestyle and personal style, face shape and the overall texture and condition of their hair. And of course, you always want to find out what they like and don't like.

Longer hair looks really great on tall women—it brings them back down to earth. But it can make short women seem even smaller, so you want to work with the hair, using layers to create a balanced shape. Always keep in mind the kind of person she is, too: Rock-and-roll hair isn't going to work on someone who doesn't have a rock-and-roll personality. To complement her face shape, you can add a fringe or brush it to the side. But most of all, listen to her wants and needs. She's relying on you.

How do you approach clients who have noticeably thinning hair or hair loss? Do you say anything or wait for them to bring it up?

In general, our male clients are usually quick to point out their hairlines, and we often tell them to talk to their doctor about Propecia. It doesn't regrow hair, but for a lot of men, it works wonders in halting additional hair loss. We've also had a number of male clients who've had success with hair transplants, and when it comes to this, our advice to other clients is to research your doctors carefully: You absolutely want to do it right the first time.

Drugs like Propecia are formulated strictly to address male pattern baldness, and cannot be used by women. Stress is often a big culprit when it comes to hair loss in women. Some options you can offer them include a heavier, less wispy fringe around the face or going easier on the highlights so that the haircolor blends more subtly, with less see-through. And always recommend appropriate cleansing, conditioning and styling products, so the hair stays shiny and healthier looking.

More and more kids are coming into our salon asking for haircolor these days. In your opinion, how young is too young when it comes to coloring kids' hair?

We have a 7-year-old client who has a hot pink streak in her hair, and she looks adorable. The foil isolates the color from her scalp, so the chemicals never come into contact with her skin. But that said, there's something really magical about a child's natural haircolor. You have that color once in your life, but try telling that to a kid once she (or he) reaches age 11 or 12; if they want something, and their parents consent to it, there's no stopping them. Personally, we don't believe you should do full-head colors on kids; highlights can be nice in the front. Bottom line: If their parents say OK, it's OK.

E-mail Ruth at [email protected] . To find out more about RARE education with Ruth Roche, visit, or call (866) RARE-NYC.