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How to talk to your hairstylist

It’s fun to dig into the latest juicy gossip with your hairstylist, but before you start dishing, be sure to talk about a more pressing matter… your hair!

Woman getting haircut in salon

Whether you’re just getting started with a new hairstylist or you’ve been with the same one forever, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open.

Step 1: Show your hairstylist what you want

When you show your dream ‘do to your stylist, you’re more likely to be satisfied with the results of your visit.

  • Review hairstyle books together
  • Bring in clippings from magazines
  • Share photos of people who have the look you want

Your hairstylist’s experienced eye will help him or her determine what steps are needed to create a similar look for you. And keep in mind that it will be just that — similar. Your unique face shape and hair texture will ultimately determine how someone else’s hairstyle looks on you.

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Step 2: Listen to your hairstylist

We’re certainly not suggesting that you let your hairstylist tell you how to wear your hair, we’re simply suggesting that you be open to his or her expert insight. For example, you may desire a super-layered look, but your stylist might explain that layers will only make your fine, limp hair look finer and limper.

But don’t let your hairstylist monopolize the conversation. “I can’t get a word in edgewise when my stylist is chattering away,” says Peggy K. “I’m too embarrassed to interrupt and she ends up cutting my hair way too short!”

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Step 3: Make sure your hairstylist is listening to you

Peggy doesn’t have to find a new stylist, she just needs to assert herself.

Your hairstylist may be a friend, but she is also providing a service that you’re paying for. Think about it this way: You wouldn’t go to your favorite doctor for a sore throat and let him or her give you stitches, would you? An extreme example, perhaps, but one to keep in mind.

Every time you sit in that salon chair — no matter how many times you sat there before — talk about why you’re there… before the stylist touches your hair!

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Step 4: Be prepared to say, “No thank you.”

“If you book an appointment for a full service but find that, after meeting the hairstylist, you’re not entirely comfortable with him/her, ask for a blow dry instead,” says hairstylist Sura Radcliffe of BYU-TI Salon Santa Monica. “This will honor the stylist’s booked time for you without any permanent ‘damage,’ so to speak.”

Helpful hairstyle how-tos

How to find a great hairstylist
How to use dry shampoo
How to pick the right haircut for your face shape

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