It’s the phrase that haunts the conversation following a hairdresser’s appointment at least once in a person’s life…
“I told them to trim it and they chopped all of it off.”
I’m not here to tell you you’re wrong or that your complaints are unwarranted because sometimes, you just wind up with a hairdresser who’s really got no idea – we’ve all been there – you say this much and the next thing you know, they’ve taken off THIS MUCH – it’s a nightmare, and while I’m a firm believer in the fact that usually, it’s because you’re not going to the right hairdresser, there are a few things I’ve observed over the years that have led to much MUCH more successful haircuts.
1. Be clear.
Let me be perfectly clear. Saying to your hairdresser “I want it around this length with a little bit of this done and maybe some colour” is NOT being clear. After finally discovering a hairdresser that I truly love, it’s become easier for me to communicate with (let’s call her B) about exactly what I want.
Prior to B, I was going to a hairdresser who liked to think she always knew best (read: I never got a hair cut or style exactly the way I wanted), until, one day – the night of my Year 12 formal to be exact), I went into the salon armed with a photo of Eva Longoria’s perfectly coiffed curls and said “this. please and thank you.”
As you can see, she came pretty darn close, and for the first time, I realised that while a good hairdresser should definitely consider what the client wants, they can’t exactly read your mind. When you want choppy layers cut, take a photo of a celebrity with a similar hairstyle to the one you want – give the hairdresser a visual to go off and I would bet that you’ll get more successful results than if you’re sitting in the chair trying to explain medium choppy flicked things that could give your hair volume.
Also: PSA – ringlets and waves are two variations of curls.
Ladies – understand what you’re asking for and I guarantee you’ll get a better outcome.
2. Be realistic.
While our favourite celebrities might have teams of stylists, hairdressers and makeup artists at their beck and call, we regular folk unfortunately do not (and if you do, help a sister out – can I borrow them?). With this in mind, my previous point is accompanied by an asterisk…
When you’re sitting in the salon chair, armed with your photo of what your locks will look like when the cape comes off, remember that a lot of the really fantastic hairstyles require some hefty upkeep.
After reaching 18 and still having done nothing particularly adventurous with my hair, I thought that balayage was the way to go for me – a little change up with out being too wild and crazy… until I started searching Pinterest for potential looks and stumbled upon this…
Now, personally, I would’ve been over the moon if I could’ve walked out of B’s with my hair looking like this, however upon further calm and rational discussion, it turned out that my hair was a little too dark to achieve the colour at the ends on my first treatment, unless I was willing to use bleach (big no-no for me). So, we compromised, B instead used a toner and my hair turned up a couple of shades lighter and the completed product turned out better than I expected!
The realistic expectations that you have going into the hairdresser should be more about the follow up of the hair style, rather than the immediate result – for years I’ve been set on and then subsequently talked out of a blunt front fringe not only because of my face shape and what it could do to my forehead (*breakout alert*) but also because of the maintenance. I am pretty diligent with my hair care – conditioners, heat protectors, oils, etc. but the idea of having to straighten my fringe every. single. morning. just wasn’t something I was up for.
Make sure you think about your hair style in terms of what you’ll do with it once you have to wash and style it.
The last point I’ll make here is that your hairdresser probably knows better than you when you need to take length off to restore your hair back to health. If you’re dealing with some seriously scary split-ends and what you want to cut off doesn’t quite cover the damage, chances are, your hairdresser will either a) go ahead and cut it or (and we hope for this one) b) tell you that you need to take length off and explain that split ends usually make hair look unhealthy.
3. Be brave.
If you really want to do something with your hair – dye it a completely different colour, chop it all off etc. be brave!
A hairdresser will usually refuse because it’s just too much pressure if you don’t like it, but if you’re like my mum, who has insisted that B dye mum’s hair red, they’ll cave eventually and do what you want.
If you’re too nervous about doing something radical remember one very important thing that is true for most people:
Hair grows back.
The last thing I want you to be brave about is changing your hairdresser if it’s not working. Having a good hairdresser is like being in a good relationship, if the give and take isn’t there, then why stick around? Good communication, healthy mutual respect and trust is what you need here, and if you aren’t getting what you want from the relationship for any number of reasons, then break up, I promise there’s someone better for you out there.
That’s about all the wisdom I can pass on to you for now, if there’s anything you do to make sure your hairdresser experience is top notch, let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear how you handle it!