If you ask people what
they expect when they visit their hairdresser, they all say "one
that listens to them and understands their needs". If you ask
hairdressers what they think went wrong when a client has complained
about their hair service, they will undoubtedly say "they didn't
understand what the client actually wanted".
Like with most professions, often
the best hairdressers in the world are not the most creative,
or the best trained, but are good listeners with great
people skills. The other abilities are definitely just as
important but it is the ability to understand and transform your
requirements to your hair that really counts.
When it all comes down to it, you
would find it hard to recognise these "special talents" in a hairdresser
before trusting your hair to that person, and, as all of us are
different, it is hard to recommend the hairdresser that would
suit you as an individual. We can however help with a few ground
Book, or drop in for a consultation
prior to an appointment for something new or with someone new.
These are normally free of charge and will give you some great
ideas and a "feel" for the hairdresser too. For appointments and
consultations try to avoid a salons busy times (Saturdays and
- If that's not possible, then make
sure that you get a full consultation before your cut, ideally
before you put on the generic gown. Make sure the stylist can
see you for who you are and if you are in a work uniform then
let them know what you normally wear.
- Take along some pictures of looks
that you would like to discuss. You can check out our "finding
the cut to suit you" section and take some of the pictures with
you to see what the hairdresser thinks. Don't be embarrassed
to take along pictures of famous people as everything helps
and hairdressers really appreciate this as it gives them a starting
point to say, for example, "yes, we can try this but your own
hair is more wavy so will look more like this". If you can't
find pictures of what you want, take what you don't want! We
know this sounds strange but in the hands of an expert it will
become obvious to them what you want.
- "Show not tell" what you want,
if you want your hair no shorter than a certain point on your
neck, point to it. Length is always open to misinterpretation
and most of us have suffered from the "I just want a trim" syndrome
and walked away disappointed or angry.
- Do not attempt to use hairdresser
speak! We have all heard of "layers", "thinning" and maybe even
"graduation" but do you really know what these terms actually
mean? Even amongst the hairdressing community these terms are
often misused. If you use a term and it is understood in a different
way by the hairdresser you will get their version not yours
and probably not the look that you want!
- Don't let the hairdresser use
terms that are not 100% clear to you as to what they mean. A
"yummy chocolate brown" sounds great, but exactly how dark will
it be and will you feel happy with it? Ask to see an example
if you are not convinced!
- Try arriving early and checking
out some of the looks that the stylists in the salon are creating.
If you see one you like, get the hairdresser doing your hair
to check it out so that they can see if it would work for you.
When talking to a hairdresser
about a new cut for you, keep the following in mind:
- Have you an area of your hair
that annoys you? This is usually the piece that you fiddle with
or touch most of the time. Point this out and see if something
can be done to help prevent the problem by cutting it a certain
- What are your habits with your
hair? For example, do you tuck it behind your ears? If the suggested
style is not a shape that can be "tucked" then you might find
it is not for you.
- How long do you like to spend
doing your own hair? This is very relevant, as you would not
get what you wanted if you had only 5min to dry it each day
and your new style needed 30 minutes.
- Do you have to wear it a certain
way for work or sport? If your hair needs to be long enough
to go into a ponytail it may limit the number of styles you
- If you are after a complete change
and you then limit the hairdresser to keeping all of your length,
then the change may not be as different as you would of liked.
So be realistic and ask yourself what's more important: length
When talking to a hairdresser
about a new colour think about:
- Your skin tone and how the colour
will look against it. Check out
do I choose a colour to suit me?
- There are many different ways
to add colour to your hair. Go to
quick guide to salon colour services
in our Colour
and Highlighting section
for as much information as we can possibly think of.
- Take pictures, fabric swatches,
photographs etc. Words do not describe colour accurately enough:
for example "richer or darker" than what? Keep in mind that
all colours look different when on your hair e.g. pieces of
colour will look darker or more golden when mixed in with your
natural hair, all over colour will look a lot stronger or brighter
than you may expect. Use the hairdresser's knowledge of this
and if they say that the colour is "good but won't do you justice",
they are probably right!
- The main thing with colour is
to remember that keeping your hair in good condition
is the way to make any colour look really good. Listen to the
hairdresser and if they tell you that the processes needed to
get your hair to the colour you want will leave it out of condition,
don't go there! From personal experience as a hairdresser, I
have had clients whom I have said no to, who have subsequently
gone to another place or done it themselves and returned to
me in tears! Go to
your hair colour
for more tips.
Whitaker, 3 time winner of Australian Hairdresser of the
Year has compiled a bunch of useful tips on the dos and don'ts
of getting your hair done.
"The best hairdresser in town
is not necessarily the best for you. The best for you is someone
who listens and asks about what you like and dislike about your
hair and your appearance".
"Don't expect too much. A good
hairdresser will be realistic about what you can achieve with
colour and styling".
"Listen to your hairdresser. If
they're not certain you'd look great with the latest style, they
probably have good reason".
"Be wary of hairdressers who profess
to 'have a vision' of how you should look. You are usually the
best judge of that at the end of the day it's not on for the hairdresser
to give clients their 'signature cut' and for the person to race
home and fix it. When a hairdresser cuts a client's hair, he or
she must understand the important thing is the client's individuality,
their tastes, lifestyle and needs, not the latest cut".