27 Stylist Tips For Your Best Hair Appointment Ever

Hairstylists work hard to bring your vision of strutting out of their salon a brand new person come to life. They spend their day juggling multiple personalities, managing expectations and playing *amateur* psychotherapist—all for the love of their craft.

Before you even think about booking your next appointment, take a few minutes and read over the 27 stylist tips for your best hair appointment ever.

1. Warning: “Do whatever you think works best” may result in…

natalie portman getting the haircut she didn't want

Try to think about this from your stylists’ POV. Unless you have zero attachments to your looks {impossible, BTW}, when you say, “Do whatever you think would work best,” you’re opening a Pandora’s box of potential problems.

Let’s say you’ve been bleach-blonde for the past few years {and loving it} but all your new stylist can see is the damage you’ve done, not to mention how a warm, chestnut brown would enhance your eyes and skin-tone. Now you’re in a tricky situation that’s going to require you to speak up pretty quickly. If you don’t—you’re walking out of that salon a new woman whether you like it or not.

2. Now’s not the time for generalizations. Get specific.

It’s easy to think the stylist you’ve been seeing for years just “gets” you, but they’re not mind readers. Telling your hairstylist you just want a “trim” might mean a dusting to you, but they see an inch of dead ends that need to come off. The more specific you can be, the better. Bring in a picture of what you’re hoping for (and even better, what you don’t want) and speak in specifics terms—inches, centimeters.

Related: How Successful Barbershops Get Booked Solid

3. Consultations aren’t on the schedule as a suggestion.

jameela getting a consultation

Most salons offer free consultations for a reason—the time has been set aside to discuss a process (color, extensions, corrections, cut) you’re feeling unsure about—before your actual appointment.

The main benefit of a consultation is the freedom to extensively discuss your concerns and ask all your questions with your stylist without feeling pressured to commit.

Once you come in for an appointment, it’s assumed you’ve already thought the process through and won’t need to discuss it in detail. If you need to spend another 20 minutes going over your questions you’re pushing other clients and the rest of the day behind schedule.

4. Change is Good. But can you handle it?

So, you’ve asked your stylist to give you a new look. Maybe add some layers or take you in a different direction, either way, you’re ready to make a change.

But, if you get up the next morning and style your hair the exact same way you always have, you won’t be happy with your new cut.

Before you go blaming your stylist, remember, a haircut is the foundation to your fab new look but you need to change the way you style your hair to really nail it. Next time you want to make a change be honest with your stylist about how much work you’re willing to do AFTER you leave the salon. Then, if you’re still in, get a lesson on how to style your new cut while you’re in the chair for the next morning.

5. Your stylist can change your hair…they can’t change your face.

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You show your stylist a picture of Margot Robbie, blonde bombshell lob, tanned skin, smiling wide on the red carpet. Hold up. Let’s focus back on the hair here. It’s easy to get lost in the allure of celebrity culture, especially when they involve cuts of the moment (remember “The Rachel?”). But your stylist isn’t a plastic surgeon. She can change your hair, enhance your features…but she can’t change your face.

You might get the laid back style of Margot, but it’s doubtful you’ll land a spot in Quentin’s next big feature.

6. Photos are encouraged but don’t expect a miracle.

While we’re on the topic of bringing in photos. They’re a fantastic reference point for your #hairgoals. But the expectation shouldn’t be you’re walking out of the salon with an identical cut or color to match said pic. Everyone’s hair is different, including the undertone colors, health of hair and texture—so keep that in mind when you hold up your phone and angrily point to your head after your next appointment.

7. Newsflash >>> Incredible hair takes work.

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The secrets out. If you want great hair, it’ll take work—sorry! If you want to go from dark to bleach-blonde, be ready to put in the time, money and effort it’ll take so your hair isn’t a bird’s nest of disaster. The same goes for anyone with texture in their hair. No one rolls out of bed with Sarah Jessica Parker curls, not even SJP herself.

Be willing to put in the effort if you want to have great hair, if you aren’t, you’re gonna have to live with the consequences. #bedheadforlife

Related: The 4 Best Methods for Attracting New Clients to Your Salon

8. If you want Jennifer Aniston’s hair-you’re gonna need her team.

If you believe that Jen wakes up with her immaculately highlighted, just barely mussed, California-cool hair—you’re wrong. Celebs have a team of stylists at their beck and call, extensions that give them volume and texture, wigs, killer hair products and access to processes that would make your bank account cry. Unless you’re willing to mortgage your home, it’s unrealistic for you to have celeb-inspired hair every day. Instead focus on having your best hair.

9. Just say no to dirty hair.

sarah silverman

This issue is a two-parter. First, if you’re on day three of not washing your hair (translation: you’re embarrassed to leave the house without a ball cap) or just finished up a sweaty gym sesh…do your hairstylist a favor and shampoo before you go. Your stylist doesn’t want to put their hands into your grimy hair—and shouldn’t have to.

Second, I know you’ve all heard that *dirty* hair holds a style better than *clean* hair. So, there’s a good chance when getting your hair styled (say, for a wedding) you’re not washing your hair to help your stylist out—please stop. Today there’s a whole heap of styling products and tools to give texture and hold to your hair, without real dirt.

10. It’s time to get real about hair color.

It’s time for an intervention about hair color. One, when your stylist tells you the color you want isn’t realistic, trust they have a legit reason behind it. They aren’t telling you no to ruin your dreams of becoming a cotton candy fairy princess—the truth is, they don’t want all that gorgeous hair to fall out.

Two— the sessions your stylist suggests for major color changes aren’t to suck more money out of you. Just because you saw Emma Stone go from jet black to strawberry blonde *overnight* doesn’t mean it can be done in one or even three appointments without your scalp bleeding or your hair literally melting.

And three, if you’re box dyeing your hair in between color appointments to save some cash—fess up before your stylist goes in there with a new color. Dyeing your hair at home can lead to some major issues at the salon. You’ve been warned.

11. Please stop asking for the impossible.

abbi and ilana having a bad hair day

How much time do you really have to do your hair every day? Are you asking your stylist for a French girl bob (on curly hair), when you only have ten minutes to get ready? If so, you’re flirting with disaster. Be honest about how much work you’re willing to put in so your stylist can help you choose a look that compliments that level of effort and you don’t spend your mornings cursing their name.

12. Your stylist can tell if you’re lying…so stop.

I’ll admit it. I’m a bang cutter. Every time I see my stylist I have to sheepishly admit that rather than going in for a FREE bang trim, I got out my crappy scissors and hacked at them myself.

Now, I could lie or just pretend like she wouldn’t notice…but she obviously does. And your stylist notices everything you do to. So, be honest. If you’ve been touching up your roots at home in between colors, got your haircut somewhere else *gasp* or did a weird at-home treatment that you think may have stripped some color—fess up. They shouldn’t shame you or call you out.

If they do, it’s time to look for a new stylist.

13. Pssst…hair ages just like you do.

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It’d be rad if the salon chair could also take you back in time…but it can’t. And just like your skin and body, hair ages and changes over time. So, though you’d love to have the same bouncy locks you did in your early 20s, it’s just not realistic. Give yourself a chance to be happy and embrace what you have today. Together with your stylist, you’ll be able to work with what you have to be your most gorgeous self.

14. Figure out your budget before you book your appointment.

Before booking your appointment with a stylist, you need to decide on budget. This might sound obvious, but sadly it’s not. Go online and check out the cost for services, figure out what you can afford (with tip) and compare it to what you were hoping to have done.

Once you’ve made the decision to book, there’s no arriving at the salon and saying “why is it so expensive for X.” If the salon you were hoping to book is out of your budget, you have two options:

  1. Start saving
  2. Find another salon that fits the bill

Related: Appointment Scheduling: Why It’s Important for Your Business In 2019

15. A trim is never “just a trim.

anna kendrick dropping the mic

A cut and a trim cost the same. Deal with it. The skill is the same. After all, you aren’t paying for the amount of hair on the floor, right? No, you’re paying for the hair left on your head.

Be respectful of your stylists’ skill and the VALUE of the services they provide.

16. Your stylist is the expert in your relationship. Trust them.

What’s the reason you go to a stylist for your hair instead of say, a makeup artist? Well, I’d say the number one reason would be because they’re the expert.

It’s easy to forget this when they’re telling you something you don’t want to hear. Whether it be a certain color won’t work on your hair type, baby bangs aren’t the best for your face shape or perhaps it’s the fact that cutting your hair into a pixie because your boyfriend dumped you  isn’t the greatest idea.

Open up the dialogue and listen to why your stylist {the expert} feels the way they do. Find a way you can ultimately get the hair of your dreams by working together.

17. Being late affects everyone. Show some respect.

game of thrones - you're late meme

Most stylists have a policy that once you’re 30 minutes late, you’re officially a no-show. But the problem starts well before then. Being just five minutes late can throw off your hairstylist’s entire day.

When you’re running late, make sure you call. Everyone understands that life happens but you need to be respectful of other people’s time. Never, ever pull a no-show. Shame, shame. And as a courtesy, don’t phone requesting to get “squeezed in,” it throws everyone off balance and even if they can push things around for you it makes everyone unhappy.

18. Your stylist is not your therapist.

We’ve all told our stylist something too personal. Now I want you to think about that for just a moment. Compound what you’ve told your stylist by the 100’s if not 1000’s of clients they see over the course of a year.

*Oh, sweet jesus*

Look, all I’m saying is don’t assume your stylist is eager to hear you vent about your cheating boyfriend or your co-worker from hell. After 10 clients in a row like that, the negativity can be soul crushing. Try to use the time to catch up on the positives (if you’re close to your stylist) or focus on non-stressful subjects (fashion, beauty, sports, TV). Not to mention, you’re there to relax and your stylist needs to focus on your hair.

19. Unless you’re going for an asymmetrical cut…stay still.

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Not everyone takes direction well, but you should be able to follow simple instructions while you’re in the styling chair. If your hairstylist asks you to tilt your head down to the right, it’s for a reason. Hair-cutting has a lot to do with geometry and last time I checked our heads were pretty abnormally shaped. So, if you’re in the chair, sit still and follow instructions, your new straight edges will thank you for it.

20. Keep your arms and legs inside the ride until it comes to a full stop.

When you’re staring in the mirror at a floating head with wet hair sticking out at odd angles with harsh overhead lighting, it can feel uncomfortable. But please, leave your hair parted or placed whichever way your stylist has it for the sake of the cut. As they’re moving through their process, it may not look how you want it to, but it’s the way they need it to be so the end product is A-1.

So, close your eyes if need be, just keep your hands off your head and touch nothing!

21. Cell phones, sandwiches, and scissors don’t mix.

megan fox, whatever

These rules should be common sense and courtesy but many times they’re not. When you’re getting your haircut, there’s just no way your stylist can effectively work if you’re texting or talking on your phone. Not to mention it’s crazy rude and your conversation is distracting to other clients. Same goes for food. No one wants to see you eating while they’re providing you a service.

So, plan ahead and eat before you arrive. Once you sit down in your stylists’ chair, turn off your cell phone and put away your sandwich.

22. Don’t expect your hair to look fabulous without hair products.

You know that moment when you leave the salon and check yourself out in the rear-view? You wonder why your hair never looks this good when you do it at home. Well, there’s the part where you’re not as talented at styling, but the other missing piece is likely hair products.

Your stylist is using the products they know work on your specific hair type and style. If you want your hair to look salon fabulous—it’s time to use pro products. Once you’ve got the right products make sure you get a lesson from your stylist on the correct way to use them: amount, placement and timing. After that you should be golden.

23. Your hairstylist isn’t happy unless you’re over the moon.

lily allen smiling big with cool makeup

The number one thing that drives hairstylists crazy? Clients that lie to them. You may believe that telling them you like your new cut or color is helping, but you’re wrong. Your stylist wants you to look good and feel fantastic about yourself.

Out in the wild you represent their talent, skill and name. The end game is for you love your style, tell all of your friends about your experience, and then come back in six weeks still raving.

The reality is, you’re paying for a service. So, if you’re unhappy, speak up so your stylist can fix it immediately.

24. Word of mouth is the lifeblood of the styling world.

Referrals are how stylists grow within their community. If you’re stoked about your cut or color, make sure you tell your friends, family, and share before and after pics on social.

You’re also a walking billboard for your stylist so make sure you don’t go too long between coloring or let your sweet new cut lose its shape. Keep in mind that for most salons, passing on referrals can be beneficial to both parties. It’s a new client for your hairstylist, and often a discount for you next time you visit.

25. Stay home when you’re under the weather.

nina dobrev feeling sick

If you’d rather be laying on the couch watching Succession cause you just can’t stop coughing…please reschedule your appointment. Same goes for the times when you have a strange rash, scab on your scalp or even a weird-looking patch on your face that’s causing you concern.

Just don’t come in.

It sucks to have what should be a pampering experience ruined by the fever burning inside your head. As much as your stylist would love to see you, she’d much rather you use the time to make a doctor’s appointment. Get your health sorted and reschedule the beauty treatment for another day.

26. A salon is not a daycare center…

…or a doggy-daycare for that matter. When you’ve booked yourself in for highlights or even a color, you’re looking at being on lockdown for at least 90 minutes. You can’t chase your rugrats around the salon while you’re tied to the chair—so who’ll be responsible for your children or pup while you enjoy the freedom of getting beautified?

Please don’t pass the babysitting buck to the salon. Leave the kiddies and puppies at home so we can all enjoy the tranquility of an adult environment.

27. Wanna get rewarded? Be loyal.

we belong together - last man on earth

It can certainly take a while to find the one. That stylist who just gets you. But once you do, don’t stray. If you’re a person who shuttles from salon to salon, just booking whoever’s free or whichever place has the best Groupon deal—you’re doing it all wrong.

Not only are you playing with fire when it comes to trusting a new stylist with your hair EVERY time, but you’re missing out on the rewards bestowed upon loyal clients.

Once you find a stylist you click with, stay with them. Loyalty is rewarded and not just with discounts. We all run into those one off’s when we have a first-world emergency and need our hair done yesterday—you can’t ask for that favor if you’re not already in the good books with your stylist.

I think you’ll be a better client from now on, what do you think?

Getting your hair done can be one of the most relaxing, luxurious experiences in your week, but it’s not one-sided. Building a solid relationship with your stylist is in the best interest of both parties.

You’ll be able to communicate exactly what you want, resulting in a look that makes you feel like a million bucks, and your stylist will have a glowing client walking around town representing their work.

So, how’d we do? What pressing concerns did we miss? Let us know in the comments ⬇️.