How to Talk to Your Hairdresser to Get the Style You Want – and When to Move On

We’ve all been there – and it just plain sucks. When you can’t communicate with your hairstylist, bad cuts (and color) happen. To find out how to avoid this literally forever, we tapped Andrew Carruthers, Education Director for Sam Villa for his easy to follow consultation tips.

Know Before You Go

Before you get to the salon, have an idea of what you want – whether that means bringing in a reference picture or talking openly about your goal. The first appointment is crucial for establishing joint hair goals.

If what you want is unrealistic, your stylist should let you know – and at least you’ll be on the same page. “Have an open dialogue to develop trust and confidence in the hairdresser as a professional,” encourages Andrew. 

“The worst thing to do is to dictate exactly how you want the look to be achieved. This puts the hairdresser in an awkward position and they may not be willing to tell you it’s not a technique they are uncomfortable with,” he notes. While you should have a general idea, be open to possibilities and understand that there might be limitations. “A good hairdresser will be honest about how close they can get to the image based on the variables involved, including texture, color, the health of the hair, face shape, facial attributes).

Focus on the Results

Instead of getting fixated on a technique you’re hypnotized by on IG, pay attention to the results.“If you’ve seen a video technique, share it and get their feedback – they are literally trained to know what looks good on people and 9 times out of 10 they will have a solution for an issue,” he says.

Don’t Give Up

While we wish we could blink and go from black hair to platinum, this is rarely a possibility. Depending on what you want, it can take 2-3 trips to get your dream style. “The first appointment is all about communication – hair aspirations/grievances, lifestyle, personality, etc.,” notes Andrew. This is the most important appointment for establishing communication.

“If after that appointment something needs to be altered, talk about the desired result so improvements can be made,” he says – for example, if hair is falling flatter than you’d like. “Don’t give up if the hairdresser is headed in the right direction, every head of hair responds differently to techniques and it takes a few appointments to really learn each guest’s preferences and the intricacies of their hair,” he continues.

When to Move On

You should have faith in your hairdresser – until you shouldn’t. Andrew suggests moving on if you’re look isn’t where you want it to be after your second or third visit. It’s a bad fit in both directions if you’re unhappy, because your stylist is probably frustrated too.  “It’s not an insult to switch hairdressers, if there is no common bond, it’s better for everyone to part ways rather than struggle in a relationship that isn’t working,” he explains.

HERE’s what not to do when giving yourself a blowout, according to the pros.

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