Getting a haircut can be powerful stuff. The transformative abilities of a new 'do are exactly why there are certain things you should never say to your hairstylist because after all, he or she is holding the scissors. Don't get me wrong, these are professionals and they wouldn't dare give you a bad cut or style out of spite; still, human decency tells us these nine things just aren't helpful during a haircut.
Since I've only ever been on the receiving end of a cut (and some truly terrible perms) I reached out to a couple people who have worked behind the stylist's chair for many years. I spoke with Ted Gibson of Ted Gibson Salon (and former hairstylist on TLC's What Not to Wear) and Amber Maynard, a hairstylist at Nine Zero One Salon (whose celebrity clientele includes the likes of Demi Lovato and Hilary Duff) about things they do not like to hear or see at their salons.
Not only will avoiding the statements below lead to a better relationship between you and your hairstylist, you’ll ensure clear communication — which ultimately means getting your dream cut.
1. "We Can Skip The Consultation — I Trust You!"
Consultations are more important than they seem. Both Maynard and Gibson have a consultation with their clients before cutting his or her hair. Gibson explains that this helps build the client/stylist relationship, plus gives you a chance to thoroughly break down the color, cut, and style you would want.
"I always ask a lot of questions because I think the consultation could be one of the most crucial, most important pieces of any service. So, whether I’m working in my salon or What Not to Wear, or I’m doing a cover of a magazine, or if I’m doing editorial, I think it’s really important to have that consultation as a thorough way of getting to what the collaboration is going to be because, yes, I always pretty much know best, because I am an expert. But at the same time, I want my guest, or whoever I’m working on, to have the best experience possible," says Gibson.
2. "I Love It!" (But Deep Down, You Don't)
If you don't like the cut or style, tell the stylist. Gibson truly believes that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. While the stylist may like the cut and style, you may not. But if you don't like it, tell the stylist and you can find a solution together.
Maynard echoes Gibson's statement, saying,"Just be honest. Say 'I’m not really liking this. Maybe this is a little too short.' As long as you’re honest and do this in a nice way, a hairdresser wants to please you. That’s our job. Our job is to make sure you leave happy and our job is to please you, essentially. We’re trying to make you beautiful and if what we did didn’t make you beautiful, come about it in a nice way," says Maynard.
3. "Why Can't I Make It Look This Good At Home?"
"I always say you’re only as good as your tools. So if you’re not using the right kind of product on your hair, you’re not going to have the same kind of results that I’m doing," says Gibson.
Of course, if you can't afford the products on top of the haircut (Gibson confirmed his cuts cost $1600 in his salon), let the hairstylist know. They may have an alternative suggestion. I recently told my stylist I was tired of splurging on dry shampoo, even though it was the only product that worked on my fine, thin, and very lightly colored hair. He suggested another brand he's been using for years and now I'm saving almost $20 a month on hair products.
4. "I Want To Be Blonde, But Not Too Blonde — I Don't Have A Photo With Me."
You might think you're the most talented wordsmith in the world, but ultimately everything is up for interpretation if you don't have a photo. "For instance, the word caramel. Caramel to me is going to mean one color, but caramel to you might be another color. So really digging into the client’s mind and bringing out your creativity of working together," says Maynard.
Even before the consultation, Maynard asks clients to send her pictures via email of the cut or style he or she is trying to achieve. Then by the time of the consultation, if a look won't work for a client, Maynard can explain why and suggest another style.
5. "I'm Fine!" (But You Actually Aren't)
Much like a romantic or friendly relationship, don't give the "it's fine" fallacy to your hairdresser if you're really not fine with something he or she has done in the process. Instead of leaving mad at the stylist and salon, tell the stylist what's on your mind so you can come up with a solution together.
To Gibson, a cut is only part of the experience of visiting a hair salon, and it's his job to create the best experience. And there's no reason to leave the salon with the self-made promise to never go back simply because you don't like one cut. As Maynard said earlier, hairstylists want to please you.
"It happens, right? Because I think that beauty is subjective. I think there are times where I missed the mark, of course. But I do think it’s important to figure out what can be done. If it’s a haircut, you can’t put the hair back on. But if the hair is gone, you can always change the style," said Gibson.
6. "I Think You Should Angle The Scissors A Little More..."
If you asked for a specific cut or color, trust the experts the after that step. Maynard and Gibson both stated they went to school to become an expert in their field. Unless you too are a hairstylist, you did not, and therefore should not, tell them how to cut your hair.
7. "My Old Stylist Used To..."
Breaking up with a hairstylist is never easy, but much like a romantic relationship that ends, you're going to get over it and find someone new that works even better for you.
"Never bring up what your old stylist did on your hair before. I think this is a key point to people moving to a new hairdresser and they loved their old hairdresser and loved what they did. You can just say ‘I liked what my hairdresser did,’ but we’re all different and we work very differently," says Maynard. "It makes the artist uncomfortable and they’re not able to do what they are good at and I think sometimes that haircut or that color might end up looking bad because the client is trying to tell the hairdresser what to do."
Maynard explains cutting hair is an art form. And each artist is going to go about the process differently. But in the end, you'll always get a masterpiece!
8. "I'd Like To Speak With The Manager."
Instead, Maynard suggests talking to the stylist. There's no reason to get the manager or the front desk or anyone involved if it's a style or cut issue. She also stated that every hairdresser wants the opportunity to fix their mistake, if there was a mistake made.
If you want to switch stylists in the salon or no longer want to see your stylist, Maynard says to simply be honest. It should not offend the stylist.
"They can come in when their old stylist is not working and see the new stylist, just to kind of ease it in. Or, just simply be honest. ‘I really like what you do to me, but I’d really love to check out Janet over there. She’s been doing some really cool stuff.' It all comes back to honesty," says Maynard.
Ultimately, honesty and communication are key when it comes to getting your hair done. If you're honest with your hairstylist, then everything should work out! Just keep in mind that they are human, too — not only can have their off days, but they also can't read your mind. If you are kind and communicative about your needs and wants, you will have an even better experience.