You would be surprised how often a client will come in with no idea of what she wants for her new style and leaves that decision up to me, the stylist. Now if we are both strangers, it is impossible to know what she loves and what she hates. One time I had a new client do just that. She gave me carte blanche and I gave her a cute short style I loved. At the end she wailed, “I look just like I did in high school!” I guess she had a bad time in high school because she was not happy. Most people would love to look that young again, but not this lady.
I obviously recommend that you decide what will NOT work for you, at the very least. If your appearance is really important to you, why not go and buy some hairstyle magazines and cut pictures out that you really like. Maybe there is a theme to what catches your eye. Please be realistic about the density and texture of your hair. Ask yourself, will the styles you like look good on your face? Don’t pick narrow faced models if you have a chubby round face. You won’t get the same effect.
You may find a picture with the bang fringe you love and another that has the sides just perfect and yet a third photo that shows how you want the back. If the pictures can be synthesized into one style on your head, bring all the photos in! Pictures are worth at least a thousand words. Unless you are a very good sketch artist, do not try to draw what you want. I’ve had this backfire a couple of times. Stick with photos that match your hair texture, unless you are planning to have a texturizing service like a perm.
Also, when considering a style change, decide if you are willing to take the time necessary to do the styling every time you wash your hair. If you don’t have the skills or the time, pick something that works with your schedule and your ability to control your styling tools. You will hate your look if the only time it looks good is the day you come to the salon. I am always willing to offer styling instruction and advice as to which tools might best suit you and your new “do!”
So here are some things to consider:
• BLEACHING: If you want a complex process done, find a seasoned stylist who possibly specializes in the area you are wanting changed. For example, I met a gal at the bank just a few days ago and she told me about having spent hundreds of dollars to have her very dark hair bleached white/blonde. The stylist was young and after several bleach applications, the banker’s hair was breaking off. I told her that if she approached me for that service, I would be honest with her and have rejected the opportunity and directed her to a master colorist I know who is a good hairdresser and is VERY experienced with dramatic color change. You do not want someone just out of school to try this. That said, taking almost black hair to blonde is tricky. I will do blonde highlights on Asian hair, but would not bleach the entire head.
• TRIMMING: If you want only a half inch of your ends trimmed, ask the stylist to show you her idea of how much hair is actually in a half inch. Having been a seamstress all my life, tiny measurements are easy for me to eyeball. I cannot tell you how many times a client comes in complaining that the last person who cut her hair, cut off THAT much (usually the fingers are spread 3 or 4″) when she said she only wanted to trim the ends. Again, young stylists may be scissor happy, so you need to get assurances. I often will cut a tiny amount off the back perimeter and show the client how much is coming off. This is very reassuring and often the client will say, “you can take a little more,” with a sigh of relief. I do the same thing with bangs, as it’s easy to cut more, but impossible to glue it back!
• BACKCOMBING OR TEASING: If you come in wanting a shampoo set (that’s a wet set on hard plastic rollers that is dried under a hood hair dryer), expect that the stylist will backcomb and spray your hair if you don’t mention NOT wanting backcombing or NOT wanting hair spray when you first sit down. You tie our hands when you leave those little details out until the very end of the service. I may change the way I set the hair or which product I apply if you have considerations about spray or backcombing.
• PERMING: If you really would like to have a perm but have had bad experiences getting your hair “fried,” tell me everything you can remember from that last experience. I will want to know if you EVER had a good experience. I will want to know if you remember the color of the perm rods that were used when the experience was good. I will want to know how long the first chemical was left on your hair, or in other words, does your hair “take” quickly or is it really resistant? If you have experience, share it. It takes a lot of guess work out of the equation. I have decades of perm experience, but with a new client, the first time is always an experiment. I ask a LOT of questions when I have a new perm client. All that said, it’s still an experiment. You may have areas on your head that get frizzy and other sections that seem to relax quickly. I will want to know all that information. It helps me to get the best result when I have the most accurate information.
• COLOR RETOUCH: If you come from a former stylist who colored your hair, it’s great to have her color formula with you. If not, I will have to guess what to use in my line of color to approximate the color on your hair. If you have waited MONTHS to recolor, I will have no way to know how the color looked when it was rich and fresh. Color should be redone every month or 1/2″ of outgrowth. Waiting longer means that your hair has grown past the heat-zone produced by your body heat, which affects how the color develops. All chemical services are accelerated by body heat, which extends about a half inch from your scalp.
• NEW COLOR ON NATURAL HAIR: OK, so you want to look 16 again. Did you try on a wig with that color so you can see how very different you will look with THAT color against your complexion? If you didn’t, be prepared to have an adjustment period with an all-over color that is vastly different from what you have had. If you start out lighter than your target color, it’s really easy to darken it up as you come back for your monthly retouches. It is quite a different situation if the color is too dark. Highlighting is another service you may be willing to pay for to lighten an overall too dark look, but it would be better if you had done a wig experiment before you committed to covering your natural hair color with something too dark.
• HIGHLIGHTING: There are many ways to put highlights in one’s hair, the most common involve using a cap and using a crochet hook to pull many tiny sections of hair through, to which the lightening product is applied. LOW LIGHTING is a similar process but we use a darker shade of tint. FOILING is a technique that isolates sections of hair that are either sliced or weaved, placed on a piece of foil and the lightening or darkening product is applied. What’s the difference? Foiling is labor intensive, so it’s more costly, plus it puts the lightened hair in straight lines that sometimes look striped if the hair parts. If the hair does not lay flat with a part, this is of no concern. Highlighting (or low lighting) with a cap is random so there are no stripes, and the look is more integrated and natural looking. Each of these services should be retouched every 3 months or when outgrowth is one and a half inches.
OK. You now have some idea about a hairdresser’s view of hairdressing. I hope this information makes it easier to get what you want the next time you visit your stylist…or, better yet, just call me!
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