If you tend to chat about the state of your locks with your stylist, you probably learn a thing or two that can help improve your hair. But stylists are a wealth of knowledge about their trade, and for every tip they give, there's another they probably just don't have time to share. And I don't know about you, but I want to know all of those secrets hairstylists usually don't tell you. After all, it's not like they purposefully withhold key info. In fact, many may even prefer that their clients know a little bit more about caring for their hair and the best ways to interact with their stylists.
So to find out some of the things stylists wish you knew about everything from booking appointments to the types of products to use, I emailed with five experts. And boy, have I been doing some things wrong. Good thing it's almost never too late to get your hair back on track. So you can get the most out of your hair appointments, and keep your locks happy and healthy at home, here are 14 things stylists may not always mention, but think it important you know:
1. Clarifying Products Are Actually Good For You
Orlando Pity Play Hair Purifier Vinegar Cleansing Mask, $32, Ulta
When many of us think about clarifying products like shampoos and masks, we probably think about how drying they can be. But according to Joe Martino, celebrity hairstylist and colorist, "It's important to use a clarifying shampoo or mask once a week, especially in the summer months if you swim." He explains that if you find one that won't strip color, a clarifying product will actually help replenish moisture, eliminate product buildup, and keep hair looking shiny and heathy.
2. Bring A Photo
Both Martino and Lucy Flora, stylist at Frederic Fekkai Soho, say that bringing a picture for inspiration can go miles in helping your stylist give you the 'do you really want. Because many descriptors in hairstyling like "blonde" or "long" can be subjective, says Martino, it helps to have visuals when communicating with your stylist.
3. Flat Irons Give Better Waves
According to Martino, the trick to achieving natural-looking waves is actually with a flat iron, not a curling wand. Not quite sure how to curl your hair with a straightener? Check out this tutorial or as Martino suggests, ask to record your stylist using the technique and practice replicating it at home.
4. Smaller Curling Irons Make Waves Last Longer
Anjou Curling Iron, $30, Amazon
While it seems logical to think that a larger-barrel curling iron would help create looser, beachy waves, celebrity hairstylist Clyde Haygood says this actually isn't the case. Because curling with an oversized iron can make waves fall out sooner, Haygood says to use a smaller iron (around 1.25 inches) instead. To get perfect waves, he recommends twisting and wrapping 3-4 inch sections around the barrel, and slowly stretching out each curl as it cools.
5. Prep Your Hair Before A Style Appointment
Sheila Stotts Removal Brush, $31, Sheila Stotts
"If having your hair styled for an event, it makes it so much easier if you can prep your hair for your hairstylist beforehand," says Haygood. All you need to do, he says, is wash your hair, apply a detangler, and then brush your hair. Be sure to use a brush specifically for wet hair or a wide-toothed comb to help prevent breakage though.
6. Use Multi-Dimensional Extensions
If you opt for extensions, Haygood says it's important to make sure they properly match. (Especially if you have blonde or light-colored hair, it could be more obvious when your extensions don't match, he adds.) So your extensions blend in seamlessly and look more natural, Haygood recommends using a line that has varied tones throughout the lengths and the right color roots (if you dye your hair). This way, you know it'll be a perfect match from root to tip.
7. A Good Cut Shouldn't Need Hot Tools
IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel, $27, IGK
While it can be fun to try out different styles, Franck Izquierdo, co-founder of IGK Hair Care, says the right hair cut for you should still be able to be styled without the use of hot tools. If there's no way to style your 'do while it air-dries, you may want to consider a change.
8. Book Appointments In Advance
When scheduling a hair appointment, Izquierdo says it's best to always book in advance. Or, if you're on a text-friendly basis with your stylist, check in to see if there are any cancellations you can take advantage of if you need something last-minute.
9. Schedule Cuts Around Seasonal Changes
For regular cuts, Flora recommends scheduling your appointments around every seasonal change (about every three or four months). "Hair always starts to feel drier and undernourished around the end/beginning of a season. It's also when the hair starts to shed the most," she says.
10. Practice Using A Curling Iron
Whether you want to achieve beachy waves or tight ringlets at home, wielding a curling wand can be tricky. One of Flora's favorite tips is to therefore practice curling while your iron is off. Once you feel comfortable with the motions is when to switch it on. You'll be less likely to burn yourself this way.
11. Always Use Hair SPF
Fekkai Pre-Soleil Hair Mist, $20, Amazon
"SPF for the hair is just as important as for the skin," says Flora. Especially during the summer months, she recommends trying a hair mist with UV filters to keep hair healthy and protected.
12. Everyone Needs Regular Treatments
Benjamin Mohapi, owner of the Benjamin salons, says the secret to healthy hair is a good treatment. Whether that's an intensive smoothing, healing, or conditioning mask, he says, "Everyone should be doing treatments regularly to maintain their color and overall health of their hair."
13. Cut Before Highlights
If you want to add highlights to your hair, make sure to always get your hair cut first, says Mohapi. This way, your highlights will look natural instead of choppy.
14. Schedule A Consultation First
If it's your first time with a new stylist or colorist, Mohapi recommends scheduling a consultation first. So you can get the most out of your consultation, Flora adds that it's important to show up with your hair in its natural texture. This way, your stylist or colorist can see your hair in person, get a better understanding of what you want and need, and book the right services.