Editor's note: The following post is by guest writer Tabatha Coffey, hairstylist, star of Shear Genius and Tabatha's Salon Takeover, and author of the new book It's Not Really About the Hair.
Ever hear of the saying "honesty is the best policy"? Well, nowhere is this truer than in the salon. To get the very most out of your stylist and salon experience, open and honest communication is an absolute must! Like women who buy jeans four sizes too small in the hopes that it'll inspire them to shed those extra pounds (and often end up with a closet full of clothes they can't wear), salon clients are too often unrealistic about their hair type/hair color, ability as at-home stylists, and commitment to upkeep; resulting in dissatisfaction with a particular haircut/hair color or unfair assessment of a stylist’s
skill. See the rest of Tabatha's tips when you read more.
I often hear clients complain that they got "a bad haircut," but the truth is that they either requested a haircut that they simply don't have the skill to properly style at home, don't have the time to style, or are simply not following their stylist's styling directions. If you request a cut that requires blow-drying to look its best, then you better be prepared to blow-dry your hair every morning. And, if you're a bit lazy about styling your hair in the morning, not consistent about your styling routine, or not particularly skilled with a round brush and blow dryer, then it's best to ask for a haircut that's either wash-and-go or looks great with minimal styling. Same goes for hair color. If a client is honest with me and tells me that they'll more likely come in every six months for hair color (instead of the typical four to six weeks), then I will either suggest a color that is similar to what they want but requires less upkeep, or use an application technique that ensures her color looks as good as it can for as long as it can.
So, with that said, here are my other top tips for a successful salon consultation:
- Be honest with yourself. Do you honestly love Jennifer Aniston's haircut for you, or are you simply in love with her and her lifestyle? Do you really love the way your hair looked at Aunt Susie's wedding 10 years ago, or did you just have a really good time at the reception? When I ask what they like about a particular star's hair, I often find that clients can't identify what it is that they like. Same deal when a client brings in a very old photo of herself. Answers like, "I just think she's really pretty," or "that's when I met my husband," lead me to believe that it really isn't so much about the hair and much more about the star or nostalgia. Bottom line: question your choices for your current (keyword: current) hair type, appearance, and lifestyle.
- Don't overwhelm your stylist by bringing in 20 magazine cutouts of the style or color you think want. Three is more than enough for them to determine the common denominator. Maybe it's long layers, a warm brunette, or certain caramel highlights that you're after. If you narrow it down for us, a good stylist will be able to figure out what it is that you like about all three pictures and suggest a variation that is best for YOU.
- Trust your stylist. Don't forget that your stylist is a professional whose job it is to make you look as good as you possibly can look. If you ask me for something that's impossible or doesn't fit your hair or lifestyle, I'm going to be really honest and tell you it's not going to work. A good stylist will always give you an alternative that will work, but you, as the client, have to be open to that recommendation.
Well, gotta run and catch my flight now. Stay tuned for more tips from me next week.