Each year, the Institute of Beauty and Wellness brings in guest educators of all backgrounds to support our students’ education and expand their skills and knowledge. This past week we brought in Steffan Bentley, an Aveda Certified Color Educator and founder of Apothecam, Austin Texas’ All-Inclusive Salon & Barbershop.  

Steffan educated our students on perfecting the hair consultation. He started off by having students imagine their perfect service and describing it to him. The education was very interactive, and collaborative based. Steffan showed our students a simple breathwork and aromatherapy ritual they can use on their guests or for themselves during the day. He then dove into the steps of the Aveda Service Wheel: Connect, Discover Needs, Provide Solutions, Confirm.  

Steffan wrapped up his education with us by reviewing the importance of add-ons, goal setting and consultation best practices.  Keep reading to learn more about Steffan and our in-depth consultation education with him. 



Steffan’s initial training took place at the Aveda institute in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 2007. While at the institute, Steffan furthered his education by working with Scott J Salon in New York City, which recruited him to be a colorist and stylist for the Aveda Earth Month Fashion Show.

In 2008, Steffan moved to Austin, Texas and started working with Avant Salon, where he completed Avant’s nationally recognized Advanced Color Training. Since 2008, he has been highly active in the Austin fashion scene. Steffan has produced multiple shows benefiting nonprofit organizations, participated in countless other shows, and has been published in six different magazines. In 2010, Steffan was nominated for the Austin Fashion Week Teams Award. In 2011, he began working with Garbo A Salon & Spa, where he is the Color & Creative Director. In 2012, Steffan became an Aveda Certified Color Educator. In this role, he travels the world inspiring minds and teaching the fundamentals of Aveda Hair Color. 

Steffan is also the founder of Apothecam, Austin Texas’ All-Inclusive Salon & Barbershop. 


Steffan was very passionate about setting goals. He had the students fill out a worksheet that asked them how much money they wanted to make their first year out of school. Then, he asked the students to fill in how many weeks and hours per week they want to work. He then worked with the students to calculate how much per hour they needed to make to achieve their year goal. 

The importance of add on's

Steffan made jaws drop when he shared that by adding just one 10 minute add-on treatment to each service a beauty professionals’ paycheck can increase by $10,000 a year! This set the tone for the conversation of add-ons. 

Steffan shared that add-ons are important for every service and asking a guest if they would like one should never be skipped. He explained that it is best to steer clear from using the word “add-on” during a consultation and instead use “enhancement” since everyone wants to enhance and boost their look vs. adding on an additional cost. 

Steffan Bentley, Guest Educator, IBW, Institute of Beauty & Wellness, Consultation
Steffan Bentley, Guest Educator, IBW, Institute of Beauty & Wellness, Consultation
Steffan Bentley, Guest Educator, IBW, Institute of Beauty & Wellness, Consultation

key takeaways

  • When performing a consultation, sit next to the guest versus standing over them. When you get on their level you become more open and can connect better with the guest. 


  • It’s best to ask open ended questions to a guest during the consultation to get a better understanding of what the guest is looking for. 


  • Be realistic with your guest if the results aren’t going to come right away for them. Explain how their hair journey could look over time to achieve the end result they’re looking for. 


  • If a guest brings a photo of their inspiration to the appointment, ask what specifically the guest likes about the photo. Pro Tip: Turn the photo upside down to make sure the guest isn’t focusing on the face of the photo. 


  • Use, “Because you said…I recommend…” statements to the guest. This helps the guest understand what’s included to achieve the look they want.


  • Find out how often a guest would like to return for their next appointment and give them realistic expectations around the look they want to achieve. For example: fashion colors will require a shorter time between appointments vs a natural balayage.