If you’re constantly trying to put your best face forward, you’d better be on good terms with your hairdresser. Sure, you’re savvy on who and when to tip — but there’s a lot more your stylist wishes you knew. Ever wonder what your hairdresser is really thinking when he’s elbow deep in your tresses? We asked stylists from around the country to sound off on everything they’ve been dying to tell you.
1. I probably can’t give you a celebrity’s hairstyle.
Yes, we’d all love Jennifer Aniston’s shiny, sun-kissed locks. But even if your stylist can match a celeb’s color and cut, she can’t give you access to the team of professionals that the rich and famous have fixing their hair before every appearance. Bringing in pictures is great, but be open to adaptations that take into account your hair texture and bone structure. If you go in expecting a carbon copy of a red carpet style, “you may be very disappointed,” says Don Bewley, cofounder of Eufora International Haircare in Carlsbad, California.
2. Tell me exactly what “a little bit” means—even if you feel like you’re being nitpicky.
“We’re not mind readers!” says Brittany Molina, owner of Brittany’s Spa Salon in Jacksonville, Florida. Be prepared to talk specifics with your stylist. Saying, “Just don’t go too short” isn’t helpful. Show your stylist the exact length you want your hair. And if you request she take off two inches, make sure your definition of “two inches” is the same as hers.
3. Please respect my time.
“A busy hairdresser’s time is very valuable,” says Bewley. Being five minutes late can throw off your stylist’s entire day. If you’re running late, call. And never pull a no-show. On the same note, don’t phone at the last minute and ask to get “squeezed in.” Your stylist will likely try to accommodate you, but it may mean staying late or rushing to finish another client first.
4. I love getting to know my clients — to a point.
Don’t assume your stylist is eager to listen to you vent about your divorce or your overbearing boss. “After 10 clients a day, everyone’s problems start to weigh on us!” says Bewley. Try to keep the conversation centered on fashion, beauty or wellness. And remember: This is your time to relax and feel beautiful — and your stylist’s time to focus on your hair.
5. A salon is not a daycare center.
“Kids should not be brought to a salon unless they’re getting a service,” says Michael Boychuck, the personal hair colorist of Paris Hilton and owner of Las Vegas salons Color, Amp and Primp. Salons do their best to be kid-friendly, but stylists can’t focus on their clients and keep hot irons and chemicals out of little hands. Leave your dog at home, too, urges Emily Howard, owner of Moxie Parlour in San Francisco, California. It’s against the law to have animals in salons, so don’t bring one in unless you’re willing to pay a hefty fine on the salon’s behalf.
6. Put down your cell phone. And your lunch.
Turn off your cell phone before the start of your appointment, recommends Molina. “Not only is your conversation distracting to other customers,” she says, “your hairstylist can’t do her job if you’re reaching for your phone or moving your head from side to side.” And try not to eat when you’re getting your hair done, urges Boychuck. The constant motion isn’t doing your stylist — or your hair — any favors.
7. I’m pushing my salon’s products because they’re better for your hair—not to make a few bucks.
Your stylist stocks products he believes in. It’s frustrating for him to see a client pay good money for great color or a trendy cut but then buy drugstore shampoo and conditioner to save a few bucks. Your stylist can tell you exactly what you need to maintain your hair — and save you from playing the drugstore guessing game. “I’m here to give you the right advice,” says Bewley. “And I’ll gladly exchange anything that’s not working for you.”
8. You know your hair better than anyone—tell me about it!
If you’re visiting a stylist for the first time, be upfront about your hair’s history, says Dickey, founder of the Hair Rules Salon in New York City. Did your last hairdresser use a relaxer? Do you know what he colored your hair with? The more information you have, the better. Previous chemical treatments will affect how the next ones set. And if you have especially thick hair, let the receptionist know when you book your appointment so she can allot enough time for you.
9. If you like my work, please let other people know!
“Referrals are hairstylists’ lifeblood,” says Bewley. If you’re happy with your cut or color, tell your friends and coworkers. Passing on referrals can be mutually beneficial: If a new client comes in on your recommendation, your stylist will likely give you a discount the next time you visit the salon.
10. You’re a walking billboard for my work.
Don’t go too long between colorings or let your haircut lose its shape. Your hair should be a positive reflection of your stylist’s work. If you’re not sure how to style a new cut once you get home, go back and ask questions, urges Bewley. Your hairdresser wants you to look good, and would be more than happy to teach you the proper styling and finishing tips.
By Kimberly Fusaro for Woman’s Day
Presented by Tara F. Ingram