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How to be a client that hair stylists love

Is your stylist excited when you come in for an appointment? Or does she run and hide every time you call? You may think you’re a good client, but how do you know for sure? This guide shows you how to be the client that every stylist dreams of.

Hairdresser cutting woman's hair

Salon etiquette

Is your stylist excited when you come in for an appointment? Or does she run and hide every time you call? You may think you’re a good client, but how do you know for sure? This guide shows you how to be the client that every stylist dreams of.

How to talk to your hairstylist >>


Communicate effectively

Have you ever told your stylist that you “didn’t care” what he did to your hair? And are ultimately upset with the result? In that situation, everyone loses. Detailed descriptions are great, but you and your stylist may have different definitions of “somber” or “blunt bangs.” Your best bet? Bring photos. Look on Pinterest and in magazines for colors and cuts that you crave. Take those photos to your stylist (or pull them up on your phone or tablet) and discuss right as you sit down for your appointment.

What not to do

Never tell your stylist that she can do whatever she wants to your hair or that you “don’t care.” Of course you care! Avoid giving general requests. Saying “I want blond highlights” can mean 100 different things. The best way to ensure a good salon visit and fabulous hair is to be as detailed as possible with your stylist during the consultation and making sure you’re on the same page before proceeding.


Be realistic

Say you have naturally black hair, but insist that your stylist take you to a Gwen Stefani blond. That could happen, but definitely not in one visit (and you’d need to start seeing your stylist a lot more often than every six weeks!). Also consider the time it will take you each morning to achieve your desired style at home. If you want your hair to look celeb-worthy each day but don’t have a lot of time to style it and hate using a lot of products, that particular style just isn’t in the cards for you. If you’re a wash-n-go kind of gal, fess up. Your stylist will give you a cut that works without a lot of styling. The key is being open to discussion and managing your expectations.

What not to do

Don’t argue with your stylist. They’ll work with you until you have a style that you love and that works with your hair type and texture. But it’s important to trust their expertise as well as be mindful of what is realistic and what isn’t.


Treat your stylist the way you’d want to be treated

Just like yours, your stylist’s time is valuable. Keep this in mind by arriving to your appointments on time and giving as much notice as possible if you need to reschedule. Renee Summa, stylist and owner of Dyehard Beauty Studio in the Chicago-area, explains, “Great clients respect the time, talent and expertise involved in giving them a wonderful salon experience. That appreciation translates to being on time for appointments… and letting me know right away if they ever need to reschedule. It’s a win-win for both of us because when I feel appreciated, it’s even greater incentive to give my best to them every time they visit!”

What not to do

Never, ever give your stylist a “no call, no show.” Not only is it disrespectful, but it hurts their business. Stylists are human and they understand that life happens. Traffic, caught in a meeting, not feeling well… you name it, they get it. But always give the courtesy of a phone call, even at the last minute.


Take your stylist’s advice seriously

You’d use an accountant for tax advice and a lawyer for legal help. Think of your stylist as that same level of expert. Licensed cosmetologists have received extensive education and are required to continue their education throughout their careers. Your stylist understands your hair type and texture and will base your needs on what’s best for you. If your stylist explains that a particular style of bangs won’t work with your hair texture and face shape, trust him. He’ll help you find the right style that is super flattering.

What not to do

Don’t completely ignore your stylist’s suggestions, especially when it comes to care and products. Using the wrong products can damage your hair. If you’ve just had your hair colored, listen up as your stylist suggests a shampoo and conditioner specifically for colored hair. Stylists are often trained on specific product lines and can give you in-depth info that you won’t find by reading the back of a bottle at the drugstore. Anessa, a stylist at G Michael Salon in Indianapolis, explains, “When a guest takes the steps necessary to improve the overall health of their hair by utilizing the salon quality products that I prescribe, we both get really excited to see the huge improvement. Healthy hair holds color longer, styles better, is shinier and gets compliments!”


Money talks, but so do referrals

Love the service you received? Show your stylist by adding a little extra in the tip column. Telling your stylist how fabulous she is and how great you feel is wonderful, but it won’t pay her bills. However, referring your friends and family to your stylist can help her bring in more business (especially if your stylist is new to the area or young in her career). Shout your stylist love from the rooftops! Leave reviews online and on the salon’s Facebook page. Your stylist may even have a deal for clients who refer new guests her way!

What not to do

Never skip the tip. Did you hair turn out differently than you expected? Think about what you and your stylist discussed in the consultation. Were you on the same page? If you think so, something is off. Talk through it with your stylist right then and there. No stylist wants a client to leave her chair unhappy. Think twice before showing your dissatisfaction with no tip.

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