Even if you really like your hairdresser or maybe you even call them a friend, there’s a good chance you’ve been uncomfortable in that chair a time or two. It’s an odd relationship, or power dynamic, or something.
If you’re wondering if you do something that’s weird or wrong under the cape, these hairdressers are letting it all hang out.
And listen. They’re also going to tell you the things you’re doing right.
1. They just want you to be honest.
I had cancer, I want my hair to be long again to my mid back. Can you help me get there? If it were me doing your hair I would suggest just cleaning it up and making it look like you have a style even when you are going through the awkward parts of growing it out.
Often it entails keeping the back short to keep the mullet at bay until the top and sides have had a chance to catch up. Once your hair is at a chin length bob or so, it will be easier to then let it all grow from there. Hair grows average a half inch per month. That’s 6 inches a year. If you have a buzz cut now, 6 inches will be about Bob length. Another year then you’re approaching your goal length.
Keep getting light trims, every 3-4 months or so to keep split ends away.
2. Have some guts.
Former hairstylist, don’t ask to have an inch off all over and then “we can go from there if I want more.”
That’s asking me to do two haircuts, come on.
3. Don’t lift your head.
Helpful- Bringing pictures of what you would like. Visuals are always helpful.
Unhelpful- Lifting your head up to try and help us while we shampoo your hair. This actually makes things more difficult and can end up getting your shirt and/or the floor wet if you lift when we are not ready for it or if you lift your head too high. Just relax your neck and enjoy the scalp massage, we will support and lift your head when we need to.
4. Don’t ever cut your hair in anger.
Do NOT come to the stylist in a raging fit because your boyfriend hurt your feelings so now you’re going to cut your long hair into a pixie to show that you have control over your life.
No matter how awesome it looks, you WILL h**e it, you WILL cry, and you will H**E us for allowing you to do it.
This is why stylists will always try to talk you down off that ledge, and many will offer a slower transition (“Let’s try a shoulder length bob!”) or refuse you completely. It’s not that we h**e you. We want you to love us and come back, but if you h**e your hair you’ll h**e us by extension.
5. Well ok then.
6. You have to pony up the dough.
People who are willing to spend 6 hours and $400+ on a fantasy color such as pink, blue, purple etc. Only to not buy professional salon products. I only recommend to my guests what they absolutely need!
The shampoo and conditioner that we have at the salon is made for specific types of hair with special ingredients. If you use herbal essences, Pantene, or tresemme (basically 90% of any shampoo you can find at the grocery store) on a color like that, it will completely wash out the first time you shampoo your hair.
They have a higher pH and will strip your hair. Also they have waxes and silicones that will deposit onto your hair strand to make it feel soft, but really it’s preventing any type of moisture into your hair strand.
7. It’s fine to say you just want a trim.
Barber of 13 years here, clients say this to me at least 3x a day. It’s absolutely fine and perfectly reasonable if you like the shape of the hairstyle but want a shorter length.
Any barber who can’t understand how to execute that shouldn’t be licensed.
8. Be on time!
✂️Hairdresser here for a high end salon
Helpful: Bringing a picture (or a couple with similar pictures) of what you want. Try and match your natural hair texture to the texture in the picture. Be realistic if the hair color is making you love the cut-not the cut itself. Good tipping (hey being honest). Finding a stylist you like the overall vibe of. If making a big cut-tell the front desk that when making appointment so they can alert the stylist ahead of time. Willing to understand sometimes a style won’t work for your lifestyle/face/upkeep and we need to find something else
Not helpful: Being late for appointment. Being rude/ telling stylist how to complete the service (if you don’t trust the hairdresser to complete the service I recommend seeing another stylist) Wiggling/Nodding-or not containing children who do so. Dirty/greasy hair Wearing a turtleneck/hoodie to appointment…..🤦♀️
9. If you have curly hair, you have to find the right person to cut it.
Not a hairdresser but someone who cuts my own and friends/family hair because I got tired of not being listened to by professionals :
Curly hair should not be cut wet. I used to not mind the way it looked right after being cut (when they blow dried / straightened the c**p out of it) but then I’d go home, shower, and discover it was too short and badly shaped when curly again.
A good hairdresser will cut curly hair dry or slightly damp so they can see the shape and real length.
10. Mind your body.
Don’t switch how you’re sitting halfway through the cut! Even crossing/uncrossing your legs can make a difference in how the cut turns out!
11. Be polite, and don’t expect miracles.
Mother who’s a retired hairdresser
if it a style your looking for, bring in a good, quality photo of your style. Don’t bring in cropped, wig photos because your hair isn’t not like a styling head.
communicate with your stylist about what you want and don’t want. If you want to try a product or trimmed in a specific way, let the stylist know! They cannot be mind readers of your needs and wants.
be realistic about your hair style. Certain styles are better for one hair type over another. If your hair has more breakage for a style that is more for a thicker type, do not judge the hairstylist trying to accommodate you. They’re trying to make you happy and they’re trying their best to adjust to that hair type for that style by doing things one way over another.
don’t blast off at the stylist who tried to “up sell” products, they h**e it just as much as you do. Just be polite to say no if you don’t want it. They’re aren’t trying to spike up your bill, they have to follow selling guidelines otherwise they’ll get marks on their reports for not selling enough.
if they notice anything off about your hair (mostly lice or something very hazard-like) they have to deny due to protocols. DO NOT scream at them and demand them to do it. They have to be careful with certain things that could possibly be transmitted home to their loved ones or other customers. My mother had to deny a child because this poor kid had over 40+ ticks in his hair and she did not want the ticks to run around (they’re very hard to kill). The mother screamed about it at my mother but protocol had to be followed. Most will be kind enough to let you know how to treat the problem and will gladly accept you back once your able to control your situation.
do not move around like you just drank a bunch of caffeine. There is risk of getting cut, poor cuts on the hair and much more. Moving around makes it worse not only for you but for the hairstylists who would have to redo it again.
12. Ew, I never thought about that.
Always clean your ears before a haircut you don’t want someone up that close to you with waxy manky ears 👍🏻
13. It’s awkward for both of us.
Please don’t keep your eyes open when washing, it’s kinda awkward if you know someone is staring right up your nostrils.
Be clear in what you want, preferably already know what you want before you sit down in our chairs, having the “do I want pink or do I want blond oh I just don’t know” conversation is really annoying because it takes time we could use in a better way and honestly I’m down for both and it’s not my head so I’m not going to make that decision for you.
If we are done with a cut, please don’t “help” with removing the hair, your not removing it you are actually making it worse by patting it into your clothes, sticking to your skin and letting it fall into your shoes. We know how itchy it can get when you do that.
You don’t have to talk, you don’t have to be silent, just know that we are stylists first and not necessarily therapists, if you tell me you are going to hurt yourself I’m not equipped with helping you with that. We can have a good chat, I can tell you about my struggles and you can tell me yours, but really talk to someone who actually knows how to help and deal with that. It can be a very hard thing to hear for us too.
Please remember we are human, we have lives and families too, so sometimes we are a little less happy, it’s not that we h**e you, maybe we lost someone close to us or are going through a break up. Working when you know that any moment now you’ll get a call saying someone d**d is making it hard to be super cheery. We don’t have to share those things.
Please be realistic when it comes to hair. Good hair isn’t cheap and cheap hair isn’t good. We need to work with what you have, and if you want the impossible, it’s impossible. Its not about not being able to. It’s being realistic. “But she can go from red to blond in a week” no babe, that’s a wig, and your hair won’t make it. Pick something else, either lay down Some serious money and follow the exact care and time instructions, or stop arguing.
Most stylists aren’t making bank, in fact it’s a very low paying job, we are on our feet all day dealing with chemicals and work in positions that aren’t always good for our backs/hands/wrists/shoulders. Its not unusual if we don’t have time for the bathroom or to eat. Many times I have been busy from the moment the door opens until it closes, and still won’t have eating anything. It’s very very hard work, and after we’re done, every single person in my team is done talking for the day and need some winding down time. we are perfectionists and passionate in our jobs. We do it because we love it and the people, but a lot of us are struggling. Especially now, so be kind to us.
14. That second one made me lol.
My wife has cut hair for aver a decade.
From what I’ve learned do two things.
1. Wash your hair at least a day or two before getting it cut.
2. Look at a ruler to understand how units of measurement work.
15. Be honest.
Just be honest! I have plenty of clients who like to bring a book or their laptop, or even just chill quietly while I’m doing their hair & I appreciate those folks just as much (if not more so sometimes) than the talkers.
I would say most of us try to make conversation at all costs because it’s what’s expected of us (I have known stylists who have been told they were “rude” and left bad reviews just for being quiet/reserved people even if the haircut was good, which is dumb)… but I definitely have no qualms about just being quiet & doing my thing. In many cases I would prefer it, hahaha.
16. Just trust them.
I love it when people say do whatever you want. It’s my job then to ask questions and see what style and color would work for your life style.
I give people what I think they will maintain as well as something flattering.
17. Check your wardrobe.
I see a lot of good ones on here, but one that might not have been said is DON’T WEAR A HOODIE or a turtleneck, if you can take it off, fine but they both Get in the way a lot if I’m trying to cut/color your hair.
Also your hair doesn’t need to be dirty for me to style it. In fact I would REALLY prefer if it was clean. And it also doesn’t need to be dirty/clean/covered in coconut oil for me to color it. Just come in with normal dry hair.
18. They can’t work miracles.
My friend is a hairdresser and her biggest complaint is unrealistic expectations. People want to go from dark brown to platinum in one session, bright pink hair that never fades, amazing rainbow hair from a heavily filtered photo on Instagram….
It’s mostly about expectations e.g. if you want blue hair then expect bleach damage and split ends, be prepared to spend money on colour safe shampoo, conditioner, hair treatments, maintain it regularly, change your pillowcases, etc. Don’t blame your hairdresser if you go swimming for hours and your hair turns green.
19. Stop trying to talk over the blow dryer.
Like people have said above, have realistic expectations. Just because Sally was able to go from black to blonde in one appointment, doesn’t mean you can. Your hair isn’t Sally’s.
It’s always helpful when you bring in pictures of styles you like, and just as helpful when you have an idea of styles you h**e.
Please don’t talk with your head, it’s frustrating trying to keep the tension on the hair, on a client that moves their head just as much as their mouth lol.
I also 99% time can’t hear you when blow drying, and it’s bloody impossible to have a conversation when blow drying now we all have to wear masks lol
20. Just sit still.
Lifting your head in the shampoo bowl! Don’t do that.. That’s how we end up soaking the back of your shirt!
21. There are stylists that specialize in textured hair.
Maybe this sounds harsh but: They more than likely style it straight because they don’t know how to handle textured hair, even if its “only” wavy. I worked at a curly-specialized salon where our intent was to avoid interfering with the hair’s natural texture as much as we could.
Most hairdressers are trained on straight-haired models and techniques, and will actively do things to straighten not-straight hair so it is easier for them to work with.
If you want to preserve and foster your natural texture, mention this to your stylist. but also maybe check around for places that are curly-friendly (be aware: sometimes “curly” salons specialize in things like chemical straightening, this is not what you’re looking for!)
22. Come natural.
im a barber not a hairdresser but yeah pretty much *same thing*
most things have been said already. but a couple i want to add to. washing hair is important. if you cant its not the end of the world. especially if its apart of the service you are about to get. a washed head of hair puts all hair in its natural state makes it so much easier to cut and get a better end result (this also applied with hats if you wear a hat and take it off your hair has been pushed into an unnatural position and a clipper and our combes wont be able to make it go normal)
but da**n dont come in when you have a product in your hair that isnt suppose to be in your hair.
i had a client once who came in wanting a 0 fade and he said i dont want anything done to the top (when he said i had a sigh of relief). why? he seem to have styled his hair with some kind of glue. there was no way the stuff he had in his hair was for hair. even so i finished the fade didint do anything on top, i asked him all is good, he said yes all is good, but can you take some off the top just a bit? i said no there is no way thats possible with whats in your hair. he insisted that i tried, so i wet down his hair knowing it wasnt going to work (but to prove a point) and it rolled odd his hair. i did this a fair amount, and said i cant even attempt to try. and ended up telling him if i was to try it would be a lot more expensive to cover the cost of new scissors.
(also bear in mind this was during covid lockdown and at the time we werent allowed to wash peoples hair either so that was out of the question)
also children if your child either h**es having his hair cut or moves a lot. dont expect a fantastic hair cut. if you really wish your child who does h**e having his haircut get it done by a stranger, have something in mind that isnt a lot of work. tell the hairdresser / barber that they dislike having it done. and ask for advice on what haircut can be done that is quick and easy. and then listen to them and take the advice.
oh and dont move your head with us, we move for a reason dont move your head unless we tell you to. angles are very important, if you move while we are doing something that angle is now wrong.
23. Don’t go with dirty hair.
You’d be shocked at how just washing your hair can make a huge difference between a good haircut and a great one.
24. The pictures do help.
Make-up artist here, so not a stylist but I’ve worked with scores of them and here’s what I’ve heard: Try to find images of hair similar to yours. If you have super thick curls, a pic of someone with fine straight hair won’t do you any good.
Similarly, go in with your hair close to your natural texture if you’re dealing with a new stylist. Also, if you like a cut on a model, cover his/her face with your finger and make sure you like the hair and not the face.
Mention if something bothers you, “I h**e blow-drying” “I need to be able to put it up” “My forehead looks weird” the best stylist I’ve ever worked with is also super honest with me “I can do something similar, but this exact length will give you fat face”.
Finally, ask questions. “How do I style this?” “What products should I use?” “What does the upkeep look like?”
25. It seems basic, but…
Unhelpful: moving your head all around. Lifting your head up when you’re getting shampooed.
it doesn’t help and it’ll just soak your back. Don’t wear a hoodie or turtleneck. Don’t expect a miracle color change without investing a lot of time and money. Trust your hairstylist. Lol.
Helpful: bring pictures of what you want. Try to be on time. Don’t no call no show your appointment. If you don’t like it – just be nice and to the point.
26. It’s fine to say you don’t want to talk.
Hey! I do this with my tattoo artist sometimes (and I’m a hairstylist in training, 400 hours left!!), I usually say something like “I’m not really in the mood to talk today, is it okay if we just chill while you work?” or something like that.
Any person worth their s**t will respect your boundaries to their fullest capabilities while still providing excellent service.
27. Avoid controversial topics.
My wife is a stylist. Her main complaint is when clients, mostly men but some women, start spouting their political beliefs for all to hear.
It’s as if they think when they sit down in that chair, all conversational etiquitte gets thrown out the window and there are no consequences to what is said.
28. Don’t hide your mistakes.
(responding for my mother, who is one)
Have a picture of something like what you want done, descriptions don’t do a justice
Be 100% honest about what you’ve done to your own hair
Don’t bring filtered pics or ones that are wigs (just don’t have unrealistic expectations) Don’t move your head when you’re in the chair, only move when your stylist says so Stop insisting babies and toddlers have hair cut- it’s traumatic
29. Or at least, be polite.
I wanna add on to this as a stylist! I have no problem talking about some more ‘controversial’ topics with clients who can discuss politely. But I do have to remember that there are other clients within earshot and I have to be appropriate for them too.
So just because my client and I are comfortable, I can’t get too into these topics because I could still get a complaint from my neighbors client.
30. Find someone who likes kids.
When our daughter was very little, we took her to a salon that ONLY cut little kids’ hair. They were great, her hair looked super cute and everyone was smiling at the end. It was a little pricey but so worth it!
Well, I for one found this very…informative.
If you’re a hairdresser, what would add? Hit us with it in the comments!