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Talking Hair: The Dos and Don'ts When Communicating With Your Stylist

Picture this: you walk into a hair salon with the highest hopes for your new ‘do. The stylist performs a consultation then begins working their magic. Before the final reveal, you imagine leaving your appointment like a scene from a movie—que the slow-motion strut, effervescent hair, and uncrushable confidence. But after looking in the mirror, you realize your vision got lost in translation, and that dream cut/color you pictured looked much better in your head than on it. But hey, we’ve all been there. Fortunately, this scenario is preventable with a few tweaks to the overall interaction between you and your stylist. Here are six salon-suggested communication tips that ensure you and your stylist are always on the same page.

Come with a visual reference in hand.

Whoever said, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” must’ve been a cosmetologist. There’s no denying that bringing a visual reference to your appointment can be an absolute gamechanger for you and your hair. Doing so allows your stylist to see you side by side with your chosen image and pose some very important questions—does this cut align with your face shape, will this color compliment your skin tone, and can this style wear well with the texture of your hair? If the answer to any of these questions is no, your stylist will be able to explain why and point you in a more suitable direction.

Speak in terms of both problems and solutions.

We all have our own unique way of describing what we want to our stylist, but the gist of what we’re seeking remains the same—off with the dead ends, in with the “to die for” locks. As important as it is to know what you want out of your appointment, it is equally essential that you know what you don’t want. For example, if you tell your stylist you’ve been thinking about getting bangs, you should also mention that you don’t want a style that requires a lot of upkeep. Your stylist will then be better equipped to guide you to a cut that frames your face while still satisfying a lax day-to-day routine.

Be sure to use the right lingo.

It’s no secret that words can be misleading. As your stylist performs the consultation, this is the time when what you say and how you say it matters most. There are certain descriptive words you may want to be mindful of during the consultation process. Words like “short,” “choppy,” or “thinned” may have a completely different meaning to you than to your stylist. Just to be on the safe side, specify what you mean when using these particular adjectives. For example, say you want your hair exactly three inches shorter, cut into a symmetrical, choppy bob, and thinned only on the ends.

Know what you want before going in.

Decisions can be hard, but when it comes to picking the perfect color and style, it’s best to make them ahead of time. Few things in life are as stressful as sitting caped up in the salon chair, speed-scrolling on Pinterest hoping to find last-minute inspiration. Doing your research and deciding on looks beforehand saves you and your stylist precious time that can be spent beautifying. In short, you have to know what you want to get what you want. Another great tip is having more than one look in mind in case your number one doesn’t end up being a good fit for you. Trust us, your hair will thank you for making the tough decisions before your appointment.

Speak up for yourself.

Wouldn’t life be so much easier if everything went exactly as planned? Nevertheless, we live in a world where wires get crossed. In the event that something ever goes awry during your appointment, never hesitate to speak up. A stylist’s primary concern is that you are happy with your hair. Ten times out of ten, they would rather you say something than nothing at all. Being open and honest about what you’d like to change will simply help guide your stylist moving forward. And if you’re someone that can’t imagine breaking bad news face-to-face, you can always reach out to them over the phone. Just remember, you’re both on the same team.

Ask all the questions.

The phrase, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question,” rings very true in the salon. After all, you are the only one who has to live with the hair on your head. As a client, you should feel free to ask any and all questions you may have during the consultation process. In fact, stylists actually encourage you to do so. They want you to feel as knowledgeable and comfortable about the process as possible. Asking clear questions and receiving concise answers guarantees you both have successful present and future appointments.

Your Hair Dreams Realized

Now that you’re a pro in all things “salon talk,” come see us at GLAM to make your Hollywood hair dreams a reality. Call 205-873-1953 or click here to book an appointment online.


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