How to Talk to Your Stylist
Salon LaFaye owner Rhonda Brockington-Brown has come up with the best consultation in the hair industry. She teaches her techniques to her stylist in their bi-weekly classes. Now she wants to share it with you. Here are some tips for you to have next time you go to the salon.
Pictures!!!! Pinterest.com is a great place to start when looking for a new style. Have plenty of pics pinned of styles you like. Even some you don't like. A stylist needs to know both your likes and dislikes. Try to get pics of the style from all angles as well: front, back and sides. When choosing the pics notice if your face shape, as well as facial features, are similar. For instance, are the bottoms of your ears aligned with your chin or are they more in the middle of your face? That makes a huge difference in short haircuts. Is your forehead maybe only a "3 head" (short, not a lot of space) or do you have a "5 head" (tons of space)? This will make a huge difference in fringe (bangs). Try to be realistic when it comes to how thick your hair is compared to the pics you like. If you are not sure, pin the ones you like and the stylist should know if your hair density matches the style. Now you have all your pics ready, time to go to the salon.
Go to the salon with your hair fixed!!! Never in a ponytail or in a headband. Especially if you are new or experiencing any problems with your haircut. This allows the stylist to get a better understanding of the problem you are having with your hair. If you are new, they can see how you style your hair on a day-to-day basis, and get a good sense of your personal style.
Your stylist should sit down in front of you and talk to you. This will help you to feel more comfortable and the stylist will have a better view of you. Looking in the mirror while standing behind you is less personal. Don’t’ change into a smock before meeting the stylist for the first time. The stylist needs to see the way you dress to get a feel for your sense of style.
You should talk first. You need to provide the stylist with everything that you are looking for. Tell them how much time you are willing to spend on your hair in the mornings. What is your day-to-day routine? You work out and want to be able to pull it up; you work on a computer and hate having hair in your face; you are not willing to blow dry your hair; you want to be able to tuck your hair behind your ears; you want to wear your hair both straight and curly. All these things matter. Talk about the best style you have ever had and why you liked it. Also, describe the worst and why you hated it. If some stylist in the past used thinning shears to “texturize” your hair and you hated it, tell them. If you are getting color they need to know your color history. Yes, that semi- permanent hair color you put on it a month ago needs to be known, even if you can’t see it in your hair anymore, it’s still there. If you were blonde then put brown over it three months ago REALLY needs to be known. If you used Henna they REALLY, REALLY, REALLY need to know because your hair can turn green afterwards when mixed with some colors. If you have a relaxer on your hair, your hair could melt off when some color is applied the wrong way. The stylist should only listen and not finish your sentences. They should not be guessing at what you want right now, they should be listening.
Show them the pictures you have found. Tell them what you like about it in detail: you like the way the fringe is sweeping to the side at an angle, you like that the layers are blended and not choppy, you like the angle at the bottom of the cut where the back is shorter than the front, the volume in the crown, you like how it is styled to or away from the face, etc. When describing the cut you want try not to use names of cuts like “bob,” “a-line,” or “shag.” What you mean by a “bob” could be something Jennifer Aniston would wear, when the stylist is thinking a little girls haircut. Rely more on pics to describe the cut. If getting color, the more pics the better. Tell the stylist if you like the way the highlights are small and look very natural, or you like to see dimension in your hair and what that means to YOU. Dimension to the stylist could mean something very different. So the pics help define that better for you. Or what red means to you, how blonde do you want to be, and what color blonde? There are many different shades of blonde, brown, and red. Show the stylist in a pic of what you mean. Show a pic of what you do NOT want to look like. Again, try not to use words like “caramel,” or “chocolate.” What it means to you may not be the same as to the stylist.
If you are getting color you also need to tell the stylist how often you are willing to come in, or ask how often the color you have chosen will need to be touched up. Some colors can require you to come in every 4-6 weeks or even sooner if you do not want to see a root line. Is that in your budget? Are you a swimmer? Make sure the stylist knows, the pool can strip the color right away. Are you outside in the sun a lot? This could fade color faster and you may need some sun products to help with that. The stylist will also need to know what kind of shampoo you are using. Is it color safe? Taking super-hot showers can also kill color. So if you are experiencing some fading issues these things need to be known to your stylist.
After you have shown your pics and done all of the above, now it is time for the stylist to talk. They should first repeat back to you what you have said word for word. This way you know that they have been listening. The stylist will then offer any kind of suggestions they might have. You may not be able to get that exact cut due to hair density, or you may not have the length required in some areas for that cut. But, the stylist armed with all of your likes and dislikes, pics, history, day-to-day routine, and all of the above will be able to give you what you need to have to make you happy.
A great stylist will give you a consultation EVERYTIME you come in. They need to know if the style is working for you. If any changes need to happen. Or maybe you are ready for something new. If you are taken back and your hair is shampooed before you even see your stylist you are going to the wrong one. Or the color is already mixed up by the time you get out of the changing room.