10 Things Your Hairstylist Wants You To Know

I’ve often seen articles about things your server wants you to know. Well, as another type of service industry professional, I have some hints to make your salon visit significantly less confusing for you, give you realistic expectations, and help you to not annoy the hell out of your stylist.

1. “If you want your hair to grow, you need to keep getting it trimmed.”

Before I started doing hair, I never understood this because no one took the time to explain it to me. What your stylist means is that when your ends split, they will split up the strand until that hair breaks or falls out. The more hairs that do this, the thinner and “scragglier” the bottom of your hair will look (BECAUSE THERE IS LESS HAIR THERE). If you get a “dusting” which is a miniscule trim (.25-.5 inches), to remove the split ends and keep them from splitting up, roughly every two months, you’ll maintain and keep the hair you have longer- enabling you to have longer, healthier hair.

2. I am not a magician, but I do have magic potions, kind of.

Do you see a lightning scar on my forehead? Am I carrying a wand? No, because I am not Harry Potter. I don’t magically change the texture, density, or curl pattern of your hair when I style it. I manipulate it with products. The reason your hair feels so much better after I smooth it than after you do, isn’t my hands, it’s the $33 dollar heat-protecting, smoothing spray I use. So don’t complain “I can never make it look like you do,” when we both know you’re using Suave shampoo and Aussie hairspray when you get home. It’s not magic, it’s science

3. Why my products are better than Walgreen’s.

Piggy-backing off that, the reason salon products are so much better than drug store ones is simple: Chemists. The highest expense in any industry is salary/personnel. When developing hair products, the most qualified (hence highest paid) chemists are working in the labs of brands like Oribe. For Oribe to make money on their products after paying these geniuses, they have to make their products more expensive than Pantene Pro-V who simply make cheap knock-offs, laden with cheap ingredients.

4. Coloring your hair and lightening it are not the same.

In fact, they are opposite processes. “Coloring” your hair darker, or to a different shade about the same color level, involves DEPOSITING color molecules into the hairshaft. Lightening it (“highlighting,” “blonding,” and God-forbid “frosting”) is the process of removing the melanin (color molecules) from your hair, causing it to look lighter (blonder) or if all the color molecules are removed, white/platinum. Number 5, is the reason you need to get this.

5. “Color doesn’t lift color.”

While taking your color darker isn’t a problem, if you come in with dark brown hair and want light-brown hair, I cannot just put a light brown color over it. It won’t do any more than if you put light brown ink on top of black ink. I’d just be stuffing more molecules into your hair-shaft. To give you lighten brown, I have to lighten it all over to a blonde-ish color, and then put the light brown on top of that. This is very time consuming and damaging to your hair. If you want to go lighter, the best option is just highlights.

6. Just because that’s your “natural hair color” it doesn’t mean you have natural hair.

As stylists, we refer to “natural” (or virgin) hair, as hair that has never been touched by chemicals. Your hair grows about 6 inches a year. If you have 20 inches of hair and haven’t colored your hair in a year, you’ll have 6 inches of new growth, and 14 inches of previously colored hair, so even though it looks natural, it isn’t. I need to know this so I can formulate your color appropriately. I’m not judging you if you’ve colored your hair, I’m judging you if you lie about it and your ends turn bright red. Savvy?

7. Time is money.

Most stylists work on commission or in a booth-rent situation, they pay a weekly rent to their salon owner. When you no-call, no-show, or call to cancel at the last minute, your stylist doesn’t make money. You’re messing with their livelihood and if you do it more than once, you’re messing with their patience and do you really want to mess with the person who’s about to be inches from your head with sharp metal objects?

8. “Tipping ain’t a city in China.”

Tip your stylist. Unless your salon has a no tipping policy, your stylist is really hoping and sometimes depending on tips. Go on a percentage system, give what you can or feel is deserved, but give something. It’s always better than nothing.

9. I’d rather fix your hair than you be unhappy.

Most stylists are happy to fix your hair if you’re unhappy with it. If you hate your hair and go around telling people that I messed up your hair, that’s bad for my business. Most good salons have redo policies where you can come back and see your stylist for tweaks and fixes, for no charge. Simply be polite and let us know. If someone truly messes up your hair (cuts it wonky, fries it off, turns it an off color), maybe just bite the bullet and go somewhere else. If they didn’t recognize and note their mistake, they’re either lazy, dishonest, or they don’t really know what they’re doing. Lastly on this point, if you go for a change and don’t like it, that doesn’t mean your stylist did a bad job. There’s a difference between you changing your mind and the stylist doing something wrong. Which leads us to our final hint-

10. You’re not Jennifer Aniston.

You will never look or feel exactly like her, because you are no her and just because you bring in a picture of Jennifer Anniston, it doesn’t mean your hair will be identical. You don’t have the same hair (or hair history) as her, you aren’t going to the same stylist as her, and you don’t have your hair professionally handled on a daily basis. Pictures are GREAT, we love them and we’ll do our best to get as close to them as we can and to help make modifications that will make it better for you, but PLEASE have realistic expectations.

I hope these tips help you and your stylist. Most stylists are happy people who are excited to make you feel your best. So help them help you. TC Mark

Like this? Pick up this book of hilarious true stories. Perfect reading for the next time you visit the salon.

TC Site-2


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