This post is all about how to talk to your hair stylist, how do you get the most from your session with your hairdresser.
Many people say “I wish that my hairdresser could do this or I always come out of the hair salon with something that I wasn’t expecting.”
There are things that could really be changed if the communication style change. That’s partially your challenge and partially the hairdresser’s challenge.
But we want to set you up with what you need to know so that you can go in and feel like you have the best experience possible when you leave the salon.
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The first thing that we need to do is we need to enter the salon with realistic expectations because a lot of times the challenge comes when we come in, expecting to walk out like the photo that we’re bringing to our hairdresser.
By all means please bring pictures. Hairdressers love photos because it really takes a lot of the guesswork out, if we can discuss things from a visual standpoint.
When you bring those photos in, what is really helpful is for you to understand what you like about the photo, because, to be honest, a lot of times what you like about the photo is that it’s very pretty.
What you don’t realize is that there’s maybe ten pounds of extensions in there and thousands of hours of styling and retouching involved in the end result. So if you come in hoping that you’re going to look exactly like the image that you’re gonna walk out with, you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.
Again please bring photos but here’s what you can do.
Start looking at the photos and start to distinguish “well I really like the texture in the photo, I like how wispy that ends are.” Or maybe it’s the opposite maybe you like how blunt and heavy that ends look, maybe you like how full and voluminous the top is and how skinny the ends are.
Those are the things that you want to try and figure out as you look at those photos.
Next step is to involve the hairdresser into a conversation.
One of the greatest things that will get in your way of having a great experience with your hairdresser is telling them what to do.
You might think “people tell their hairdresser what to do, isn’t that their job?”
You probably have had the experience where you go in and you say I want my hair cut like this. I want this length to be this, I want this length to be this, I want you to do it in this way.
You probably just imagine you’re being very helpful to the hairdresser. What you might be doing though is actually putting them in a really awkward position.
Here’s one of the things that happens. Here’s a perfect example.
You see a lot of videos on YouTube and Facebook and the thing is that those of you that aren’t hairdressers, you’re watching those videos and you’re seeing the end result and you’re thinking “oh man I want that end result, I would like my hairdresser to cut my hair in this way.”
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But if you go to your hairdresser and say “hey I saw this technique on a YouTube channel or Facebook and it goes like this, you do this, you do this, you cut it like that,” they might not feel secure enough to say to you “well that’s cool, but actually I’m not comfortable with that technique, it’s not a technique I’ve ever done before.”
And if they’re not comfortable to say that to you, they might just go for it and it might turn out really bad because they’re doing something just based on your instruction.
Here’s how you remedy that situation.
When you enter into the salon, talk more about the results that you’re looking for and less about the approach to get there. Allow the hairdresser to determine how they’re going to get from Step A to step B to step C to step D.
One of the things that we’ve suggested to people as if they have seen something on a video that they think “oh wow this might work really great for my hair,” what we would suggest is you go to the hairdresser and you say “hey I saw this thing on YouTube, could I send you the video and you tell me if it’s something that you feel would work for my hair or if you have a better solution to give me the results that they’re getting in the video.
What that does is it still puts the control back into the hairdresser’s hand and it doesn’t feel like a demand.
I can tell you even from experience, I’m a pretty strong person, but I’ve had people set in my chair that had really incredibly strong personalities and they said “I want you to do this.” They said it with such conviction that I felt obligated to do it that way
Shame on me, I should have been willing to say “hey I don’t feel comfortable approaching the haircut like that,” but even for me that was an uncomfortable position to put myself in and I ended up doing it and hopefully it turned out good and they were happy, but maybe it didn’t.
So if you talk more with your hairdresser about what you’d like to see in the end, what’s the silhouette you want to see, what do you want to see in the end result and then ask them the question of how do you think we could get there, what are your ideas, especially if they’re a little bit more of a shy person.
They might be technically fantastic hairdressers, but if they’re a little shy and might not have the confidence level to tell you “hey this is what I think we should do because I think it’s going to be best for your hair texture, the best for your face shape,” if you’re coming in with everything already decided.
I hope that makes sense. Again we want to come in and we want to create a conversation because if that hairdresser feels confident that you are putting your confidence and your trust into them, we promise your hair is going to come out so much better.
The other thing is that it can often take two or three visits with a hairdresser to really get things right. Again this comes from experience. We know that the first time a guest sits in our chair, it’s kind of that getting to know you period, we have to kind of find each other’s boundaries and our balances and our likes and our dislikes and our
So the first time you go to a hairdresser, if it doesn’t turn out exactly how you wanted, it might be worth a second or third shot and be willing to go in and say “here’s what I loved about that last haircut or color, here’s what I didn’t love about that last haircut and color.”
Again talk about results, not so much that this was longer than this or that you felt like the top was flat. Just
express to them “I didn’t feel I had enough body in the top last time” and then they can come up with the solutions for you of how to get there.
Granted, you’re all intuitive people, so if you sit in the chair and things just don’t feel right, then follow that. The point is that it can take a few times to get things just right. So don’t give up on someone that you feel a bond with, you feel the connection with and seems like they’re getting to that right point.
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Also don’t keep going back expecting a different result. If you’ve been there three or four times and consistently you’ve been disappointed, please stop going to that hairdresser. Again this is from experience.
We’ve all had guests that came to us time and time and time again and it becomes so draining and so frustrating for both you and us, if we continually have that guest that sits in our chair and is continually disappointed in our work.
It can really be draining and it can be really disappointing to both of us. If you’re not happy with your hair, please continue to search for that perfect hairdresser. It’s not an insult to that hairdresser. It’s just that you guys haven’t found your common bond and your common relationship.
Finding a hairdresser that does find a common bond with you is just better for everyone. In the end, the point here is we all want the same thing. We want a successful salon experience as a hairdresser, as a salon client, all of us are looking for the same exact thing – happy clients.
Come with your ideas but also open that dialogue up so that the hairdresser feels like you trust them to be the professional that they are. They’ve had lots of training, they have lots of experience, they know how to work with face shapes and different textures of hair, so they’re going to be set up to offer you exactly what you need if you come in with an open sense and a trusting mind.
Hopefully we’ve offered you a few things that you can use to get the most out of your experience with your hairdresser but we also know that sometimes these conversations can bring up even more questions so please leave us a comment and we’d love to start a discussion with you.
Remember we have one end goal in mind and that’s your happiness.
Samantha is a hairstylist with over 12 years of color and stylist experience. She enjoys using her knowledge to create what her clients really want when they sit down in her chair. Her passion is creating unique looks that her clients feel great in.