5 Things to Discuss With Your Hair Stylist Before Making a Major Change

If you want a makeover, changing your hair may be the easiest way to do so; however, anyone who’s experienced a bad hair cut can tell you an innocent trip to the salon can have a tragic ending. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Communication is vital in any relationship — especially the one you have with your hair stylist. “It is important to communicate with your hair dresser so you are happy with your end results and you leave the salon with what you expected,” said Cristina B., a stylist at Rita Hazan in New York City. So, before you undergo a drastic hair change, think coloring or a severe cut, here are five things you need to discuss with your stylist.

1. Your hair part

women in hair salon

Will the hair style match your part? | iStock.com/gemenacom

Whether you’re getting a quick trim from your regular stylist or going to a new salon for the very first time, it’s likely that whoever is cutting your hair will ask you how you normally part your mane. How you part your hair can add some dimension to your overall ‘do or even flatter your face’s shape, so making sure your stylist knows whether you’re rocking a center or side part is crucial.

Think about it this way: If you’re opting for an edgy, half-shaven head, it would look strange if your stylist buzzed off half of your head if you’re usually sporting a deep side part. Consider your part before you step foot in the salon and communicate as clearly as you can — a lot of parts aren’t as cut-and-dry as you’d think. And keep in mind, your hair stylist may have a better suggestion.

2. How much maintenance you want to put into your hair

woman gets new hair colour

Be sure you know what you are getting yourself into. | iStock.com/kzenon

Sure, dying your hair platinum blonde sounds like a good idea, but if you’re not willing to devote the time and effort into maintaining your new hue, it’s probably not the best move for you. “I think it is important to discuss how much maintenance you are willing to commit to,” said Cristina. “If you are going from dark to light or light to dark you may have to visit the salon more frequently.” In addition to updating your roots on a regular basis, you may have to start purchasing some products that work nicely on treated hair. We implore you to experiment with new cuts, colors, and styles, but be honest with how much energy you’re willing to put in when speaking with your stylist.

3. Original texture

Woman getting her hair straightened

Different styles might look better with certain hair textures. | BRITTA PEDERSEN/AFP/GettyImages

In 2016, we have the power to temporarily change our hair’s texture, whether it’s using a flatiron on your curly hair or giving your straight mane some more texture with rollers. While it is important to describe your natural texture to your stylist, it’s just as crucial to discuss how you normally style your hair, too. “It’s important to share how you style your hair usually including what you like and don’t like to do with your hair,” said Cristina. “You should also share your desired end result.” A lot of us don’t rock a “fresh from the salon” blowout — and that’s fine. So, if you want a shoulder-length cut, regularly wearing your curly hair au natural will change how much your stylist should cut in the first place.

4. Reference photos

happy young woman and stylist with tablet pc

A picture can save you from a huge disaster. | iStock.com/dolgachov

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, and many times it can be the source of some hair inspiration, too. According to Cristina, bringing some photos to your next hair appointment is incredibly helpful for your stylist. “For drastic hair cuts it’s a good idea to bring in photos of what you have in mind,” she said. “It is even better when you bring in a few different options.” Since you might not have Rihanna’s texture and face shape, Cristina recommends bringing at least three different pictures to the salon to help your stylist best decide how to fulfill your vision and flatter your attributes.

5. Hair products to maintain your new do

happy young woman and hairdresser with fan

There may be products that are better for your new hair style than others. | iStock.com/dolgachov

Before you run out of the salon ready to show the world your new hair style, make sure you know what products you will need to best maintain it. Your hair won’t look exactly the same as it did when you first got it done. So, ask your hair stylist what they recommend, or better yet, what they actually used on your hair. If the products your stylist suggest are too expensive or it feels like they are trying to get you to buy more than you need — just take note of the products they recommend — you can always compare them to other options later.

Additional reporting by Jordan Porter-Woodruff

[Editor’s note: This story was originally published December 2016.]