So you've been burned before. Figuratively. Maybe literally. Hopefully not. We have all had haircuts thats made us cringe a little, or a lot- but it doesn't have to be that way. There is a method to getting a great cut every time, and I am going to tell you things your stylist may never will.
Ready? Buckle up.
Finding a salon & Stylist
-Ask a REAL LIFE HUMAN that is wearing cute hair you like, 'hey, cute stranger- I love your hair. Do you mind if I ask what salon and stylist you see?'...
Real life can't be faked. Online life can be tweaked and altered, and yes sometimes completely faked. So while a great website is part of the picture, its not the whole picture. Professionally lit photos and fancy graphic design are all fine and dandy, but REAL LIFE HUMANS matter more.
-If you can't ask a RLH, online research is also a great tool. But be weary of salons that only post photos of statuesque models that would still look beautiful with a bowl-cut. You want to be able to access real paying clients and their pictures, so opt for a salon that has a current facebook or instagram account where you can see actual results from the stylists.
-Call the salon and give specifics about your hair needs so they can match you with the best fitting stylist. Saying things like, 'I am looking for a stylist who is great with short edgy cuts and color' or 'I have dense hair that needs extra time for styling'... will go along way for getting what you want. Calling blind with no guidance for the front desk is risky. Don't be annoying, but do be assertive.
The first time
-Start with a 'shape-up'. So your in the chair with your new stylist that you've never met... Now may not be the time to ask for a brand new pixie cut a la' Halle Berry. Stick with the basics first. A slight trim, add some layering etc. This will let you gain trust (or not) with that particular stylist, and then next time you'll decide to take the plunge and do the big chop. If the stylist can't follow directions on the basics, or you just don't click... then you'll avoid a major catastrophe and be on your way.
Six weeks later
-Now that you feel good about your stylist and their abilities, you can make a change in a bigger way. But first BE REALISTIC. Now is the time to be completely honest with yourself and your stylist about your ability to style your own hair at home, the amount of time you really spend getting ready, and how often you are going through the procedure. If you're not honest- you'll likely be disappointed with your hair cut.
Why? Because pony tails and short layers don't mix. Because curly hair is cut with a different technique than straight hair. Because wash-and-wear is not the same as blown out hair. And while some people are genetically blessed and look great no matter what, most people have a routine that they stick to, and your cut and expectations should be within those perimeters.
The right cut
-Looking through images of celebrities for inspiration is great, but not always helpful. To start, do your best to look for styles were the texture of their hair is similar to yours. Cuts and colors can be altered... but textures are another thing. If your hair is baby fine, you'll never have the thick hair of Sofia Vergara. So don't even look at her! Instead look at images of Claire Danes, Gwyneth Paltrow, or Cameron Diaz for inspiration. Be realistic. You'll be much happier.
Three months later
-Don't allow your stylist to get in a rhythm with you. Make it a point to check back in and reevaluate your hair and cut every 3-6 months. Offer new ideas or ask about new ways to style your hair so that you can keep variety in your life. It's great to be comfortable and to have a groove, but getting stuck in a hair rut is a bummer for all parties involved. So check in, and change it up!
The Bottom Line
-While your stylist is a professional and should make suggestions & collaborate with you, it should be a conversation that is two sided. Plus, you know your own hair better than anyone, so be honest and communicate before the shears even touch your hair and you'll never get a bad cut again!