7 Tips for Telling Your Hairdresser EXACTLY What You Want

haircutWe form many important relationships throughout our lives. There's our first love, our best friends, the teacher who changed how we see the world. There's also the relationship we form with our hairstylist, and for some of us, that's almost just as important. Because, way deep down, we're all vain monsters. You laugh, I speak truths.

I've always had a hard time finding a hairstylist. Once I grew up and moved away from home and the lady who kept the tresses of my entire family tamed, I couldn't find a place that felt like my hair-home. If I'm honest, I'm still a bit of a stylist-slut. I bounce from chair to chair, satiating my own base desires and seldom returning, except for the quickie. And by quickie I mean bang clean-up.


My years of hairstylist hunting have made me an unequivocal expert on what happens once your butt is in that chair. Nine times out of 10 when I've come away unhappy from a salon experience, it's in large part due to something that was in my power to control. Here are 7 Dos and Don'ts when it comes to talking to your stylist. Follow them, and I guarantee you'll both come away from the next appointment happy.

1.) DO Bring a Photo

If you've got a specific cut in mind and you can get a magazine clipping or a pic from the Internet printed up to bring along with you -- do it! You might not be able to clearly express what you want with your words ("Choppy, fluffy, short but not too short, you know?"), but a picture can say it all.

2.) DON'T Bring Unreasonable Expectations

I was guilty of this as a younger person. I'd bring in pictures of Paltrow or Barrymore and come away disappointed because no matter how good the haircut, I was still me. If a cut won't suit your face, a good stylist will try to reach a happy medium with you during your initial, pre-shampoo consultation. Trust them!

3.) DO Keep an Open Mind

If your stylist asks to try something new -- ombre highlights, long side-bangs, or other current hair-trends -- don't be afraid to embrace the new. They aren't doing it for their own health -- they think it will look good. Shooting them down without thinking it through is doing yourself and your mane a disservice.

4.) DON'T Keep Your Mouth Shut

Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. It doesn't have to be small-talk, but keep the lines of communication open. A good stylist answers your questions before you ask them, talking you through what they're doing and why. If they don't -- ask away! If something they are doing doesn't look or feel right -- you have every right to speak up. It might be hard, but steel yourself and do it! They'll be a lot happier to have you as a happy repeat customer than crying because you didn't talk to them.

5.) DO Tip Well

If your stylist does a great job -- show your appreciation via tip. Twenty percent is customary, and if someone else shampooed your mane, don't forget them either. Showing your appreciation for all the hard work will make an impression. It forms the foundation of a return customer and ensures an eager stylist the next time you go in.

6.) DON'T Be a Stylist-Slut

Do as I say, not as I do. Once you've got a good thing going with a stylist, forge that bond! Stay loyal! Over time, you'll be have a trustworthy hair-buddy who will be more willing to try things and will always be there for you and your hair.

7.) DO Dress Your Best

I'm not saying formal-wear or black-tie or anything, but dress well. How you look sends a message -- like it or not. If you present in sweatpants, pulled back hair, and no makeup, it sends a message about how likely you are to style your hair daily. If you want something complicated with a blowout, show them you mean to rock it. That said, if you're a makeup-free sweatpants-lovin' fool -- embrace that too and you'll get the no muss, no fuss cut you crave.

Are you a hairstylist slut? I'm actually trying a new place today.


Image via© Kai Chiang/Golden Pixels LLC/Corbis

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