After working in a salon, I’ve seen it all. The desperation in a person’s eyes as they walk in after cutting their own bangs. The disappointment when someone believes grocery store color will give them Kardashian hair, but instead they end up resembling The Real Slim Shady. And worst of all, I’ve fixed many other stylist’s mistakes simply because the client didn’t know how to communicate what they wanted from the beginning of their salon visit.
Recently, I was on the receiving end of this scenario. I opted for my first salon visit as a client (in my entire life), and walked out of the salon with unmistakably blue hair. I knew that I didn’t get what I was asking for because I didn’t communicate well. It wasn’t until this blue hair (um… DO care) that I realized how important it is to communicate what you want. So here are a few tips to help you get what you want out of your salon visit.
1. Know Your Hair Type
Unless you wear a hat every day or your dreadlocks haven’t seen a brush in two years, you should know your hair type. And if you don’t, do an online search for “How to tell what my hair type is”. Here is a great article by the professionals at Redkin that can help you further.
It’s vitally important to know the diameter, density, porosity, and shape of your hair. For example, porosity matters because it changes the way product and chemical treatments react to your hair. It’s the reason many people end up with green hair if they’re going from light to dark. And it’s the reason I ended up with blue hair. This knowledge allows you to search styles and color that are going to best suit your hair type. And it allows you to be realistic about your expectations for your next salon visit.
2. Be Realistic
Unless you’re willing to pour hundreds of dollars into your salon visit, you need to be realistic. Yes, Kim Kardashian once went from deep brown to platinum blonde. But what you don’t see are the hours, money, and sheer expertise required for that transition. Be patient, and don’t sacrifice the integrity of your hair so you can have it done in an instant. Do your research and prepare pictures. Pinterest is your best friend! Which leads to my next point…
3. Have an Idea of What You Want
Don’t go in all willy nilly, not knowing what you want and leaving it to chance. If you know you want to cut it short, look for short styles that you like on Pinterest. Get specific. A pixie cut is much different than a long bob, but they can both mean going shorter. Saying “I want it shorter” doesn’t cut it (pun intended). If you know what you want, then you know what to ask for. And who to ask for…
4. Call Ahead
It’s not rude to call the salon and ask if you can book with a stylist that specializes in what you’re looking for. Ask the receptionist to give you an honest recommendation for the specific style you want. Also, most stylists are happy to do a free consultation, especially if you are edging toward a dramatic change. They’ll be more prepared with the supplies and time to give you what you want.
5. Take Pictures With You
I’ve already layered this in with previous points. But I’ll say it again. TAKE PICTURES WITH YOU. The more, the better. Different people interpret the same statement differently. So your version of honey blonde most likely varies from your stylist’s idea of honey blonde. Pictures are the best way to avoid this kind of miscommunication.