How to Get Exactly What You Ask For at the Hair Salon

Maybe it’s just me, but I find haircuts/hair coloring traumatizing. Okay, so I guess it’s not quite as simple as that, though. It’s more of a 5 step process:


  •  Step 1: I’m super excited for a new look, so I Pinterest ideas, brainstorm, and settle on what I want
  • Step 2: I’m at the salon second guessing, but convince myself to go ahead with whatever I had planned
  • Step 3: The stylist executes my vision and I freak out; the amount of hair on the floor is usually the biggest trigger of said freak out (note: there is no difference in the severity of freak out if I get 5 inches cut off, or just a trim. The freak out is of the same magnitude)
  • Step 4: I’m at home with my new hair trying to like it, but realizing what it can and can’t do, and weighing the pros and cons; can’t go up in the same sort of ponytail, but it does take less conditioner sort of thing
  • Step 5: Inevitably, I always get used to it, and end up loving it. Time heals all things…even brand new haircuts/colors

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I think this whole haircut aversion started as a child when my dad insisted on letting his friend cut my shoulder length curly locks, and I emerged from his styling chair (a metal stool in his garage) with a bowl cut. You can imagine that I was just a bit scarred. Therefore, over the years I’ve worked on ensuring that I always get what I want at the salon, and never again end up the wide-eyed school-aged girl that wasn’t expecting to have her curls hacked off.

How to Get Exactly What You Ask For at the Hair Salon

Build a Relationship with Your Hair Stylist: It’s so important to have a good relationship with your hair stylist. You want someone you’re comfortable talking to, and of course someone that you trust with your hair! I’m super lucky because I’ve only ever had 2 stylists my entire life, and they’re both great friends. Having a friendship with my stylist and not just a strictly business relationship means I’m super comfortable communicating what I want, and correcting her when she misunderstands. It also means that more often than not, she gets it exactly right the first time around because she knows me so well!

Look for Ideas/Inspiration: I’m sure Pinterest is both a blessing and a curse for hair stylistsWhile it’s always helpful to have a photo to show your stylist, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s more of a guideline than an exact depiction of what you’re going to end up with. So, definitely bring pictures as they are a great visual for your stylist, but keep in mind that all hair is different lengths, textures, and colors so your end result may be a bit different.

Share Ideas Before the Appointment: Along with the photo inspo, feel free to just talk through what you’re thinking. What things do you love about your hair currently? What things are bothering you? Sometimes just talking through the fact that you think you’re hair is flat is enough to lead your stylist to suggest some fun layers. Hair changes don’t always have to be dramatic to give you a whole new look, be sure to talk out loud and share your thoughts! Your stylist will appreciate knowing what’s on your mind before they picks up their shears.

Reiterate What You Want Before the Stylist Starts: Just continually make sure you’re on the same page! I like telling my stylist what I want regarding cut and color, and then having her repeat back what I asked for so I can make extra sure it sounds right. My stylist is also really good about showing me color swatches, and lifting my hair to demonstrate where it will fall after it’s cut. She’s a keeper!

Speak up!: If during, or after your cut and or color something isn’t how you like it, don’t be afraid to speak up! Stylists don’t want you to leave upset, they want quite the opposite! So, if at any point you’re second guessing, just let your stylist know. This past appointment I got my hair colored darker with some blonde highlights underneath. My stylist had decided to pull some of the blonde forward, to frame my face a bit more. By the time I noticed I wasn’t loving it, my hair was cut, blow dried, and styled. However, she could sense I wasn’t 100% loving it, and I admitted I wasn’t crazy about the blonde pieces in the front. She mixed up some more color, toned them down, and I walked out so much happier than if I had decided to just live with it.

Ask for Styling Tips/Demonstration: I feel as though I can never get my hair to look as good as it does that first day I get it cut. I’m sure lots of you out there feel similarly. So, when making a change, feel free to ask your stylist some tips on how to wear your new hair. This can make you feel more confident going forward, and maybe give you some ideas you hadn’t thought of!

Ask for product recommendations: A lot of how your hair looks and cooperates is related to its health. Once you get the cut and color of your dreams, ask about products that will help maintain your color, get you more volume, and hold your styles for hours.

Bottom Line? It really comes down to  good communication throughout the appointment. From start to finish, you should never be afraid to speak up and let your stylist know how you’re feeling. After all, they cut and color hair, they don’t read minds!

Photos courtesy of Ben Elsass of Ben Elsass Photography and HomeBody Photography

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