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Hairstylist Communication 101

By Cat Juan Ledesma

You make an appointment with a new stylist everyone has been raving about. You know exactly what you want and as you sit in the chair, you’re pretty sure you’ve told the hairstylist the look you’re going for…only to discover after a few hours and a lighter wallet that your hair looks nothing like what you envisioned.

Hairstyle communication is one of the most crucial steps in your relationship with your stylist. Here are some tips to make the experience go better.

  • Start with length: This is often where stylists go a little overboard so it’s important to stress how short or long you’d like your hair to be. You can use terms like “I still want to be able to tie my hair when I work out” or “my husband likes my hair long.” Length is something very tangible and using phrases like this stresses how this is important to you and the lifestyle that you have.
  • Share info about your hair’s condition: Your stylist will definitely inspect your hair but it’s important to share things about your hair that you already know. Do you have fine or thick hair? Do you have wavy hair if you don’t blow-dry? Is your scalp flaky or oily? When was the last time you colored your hair? This will help your stylist understand your needs better.
  • How much time do you want to invest in styling: It would be good to let your stylist know if you plan to blow-dry every day or if you are the type who prefers to just wash and wear. Do you enjoy using the curling iron? Letting your stylist know the amount of time you’re willing to invest in styling will help in their decision as well.
  • Show pegs for color and cut: Feel free to bring a picture of the hairstyle and color you are going for but bear in mind that a good stylist will alter this to fit your personal needs. Feel free to ask for swatches of the color they plan to use on your hair.
  • Don’t shame other stylists: You can mention how your previous stylist didn’t get what you wanted, but it might be best to leave names out of the story. Stylists feel wary if you’re generous with name bashing.
  • In the end, trust them: A phrase as simple “I trust you” will mean a lot to a stylist. You went to them because you believe in their experience, so relaxing into their styling chair and trusting in their experience will mean a lot for your relationship in the years to come.


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