How To Talk To Your Hair Stylist: 10 Tips For A Great Outcome

By Tony Anders


There is nothing like getting a fresh, new look from the salon to make you feel great, but that can easily be ruined if the outcome does not match the expectation. You may think that this has much to do with the skillset of the stylist (and perhaps that could be the case), but many conflicts can avoided up front with a great consultation coupled with preparation from the client by using some of these communication tips from the pros.

  1. " IT STARTS WITH A CONSULTATION " - Kenneth’s consultation is a "Journey" – Kenneth’s stylists are fully trained to ask you the right questions so we can create the look, as well as performance, that is just right for you. Not only do we look at the hair fabric and face shape, but we want to know how YOU interact with your hair and what challenges you may have. We can then use your input to offer the best plan to make sure you are not only happy with the look, but how you are able to work with your hair at the end of the visit until we see you next.

  2. It Starts with a Consultation

  3. "I HAVE AN INSPO PICTURE" – Gone are the days of thumbing through magazines, but scrolling through thousands of photos on your phone can be cumbersome and eat into your precious salon appointment time. Try creating a folder of your favorite looks so it has easy access so you and your stylist can get right to what inspires you.

  4. I Have An Inspo Picture

  5. "COVER THE FACE" - Often times when a client selects a beautiful hair photo, the beautiful celebrity or model wearing it adds to the allure of the style. What we suggest is to simply use your thumb to cover the face of the model and see if you still like the photo and the look. This narrows the photo down to what you are negotiating – the hair style. Many times, we find that you are able to see the style more objectively and may or may not change your opinion on whether you wish to embark on the cut and style change.

  6. Cover the Face

  7. "PIECE TOGETHER THE PERFECT LOOK" – Trying to find the perfect inspo picture can be daunting at best. Rather than frustrating yourself trying to look for the perfect picture of the look you want – piece one together! Select many images that showcase the elements you are looking for. Get a photo of the perfect fringe. Get one of the length you like. The texture, the color, the layers – all the things. Then you can share these photos and elements with your stylist, and they can then guide you on how to use these "pieces" to create the perfect look for you, or which you may want to consider adjusting, eliminating, or enhancing.

  8. Piece Together the Perfect Look

  9. "I WANT IT TO MY SHOULDERS" – Through the years, fewer things have caused as much controversy as where "shoulder length" is. Some will state it is to the top of the shoulder, some may say where a necklace may fall below the nape, some will point somewhere closer to the arm pit or lower down the arm. Others will say somewhere closer to collar bone and bustline still claiming it is "shoulder length." There can be up to a six-inch variation in these personal interpretations. (That is a year’s worth of growth, people!) No matter where you claim, we suggest to point it out. Pull your hair forward and specifically show where you would like your hair to fall when it is dry. Also consider how it may shrink should you decide to curl, tease, or play with the styling. This way there is no discrepancy (or tears) at the end of your visit. Which leads us to…

  10. I Want it to My Shoulders

  11. "I WANT AN INCH CUT" - The old joke would have us ask, "You want a ‘hairdresser’s inch’ or a real inch? " It’s all funny until the hair is on the floor. Again, show us! You can use a comb to show how much if you do not have access to a ruler. Or simply hold up the hair and point it out. Doing this during the consultation when it is dry will help us better understand what you are talking about and allow us to clarify and verify exactly how much hair we are talking about. We would rather you be specific than sad.

  12. I Want An Inch Cut

  13. "I LIKE THE PICTURE, BUT CAN YOU LEAVE IT LONGER?" Sure, we can. But mind you, an inch or two longer is equivalent to almost one to two months of growing out of the photo you share and may change the look and performance of some cuts. Sometimes we suggest changing some of the techniques we use or may suggest some styling or product adjustments to make it work for you. Because what drew you to the initial look in question may look completely different if you add length to the overall look. This leads us back to the forementioned "piecing together the perfect look."

  14. I Like the Picture But Can You Leave It Longer

  15. "I WANT THREE LAYERS" – This one makes many stylists chuckle when we are asked to cut xyz amount of layers. Technically speaking, unless you are wanting a disconnected cut, layers work best when they blend with the rest of the cut. To see a distinct number of layers may end up in shelving or a haircut that may be a challenge to style. Now mind you, there are many artistic cuts and styles that can have "tiered effects," but we do request visual aids/inspo pics, or we may dive deeper by asking a few more questions to help us understand how we can make sure you are happy. Be cautious of asking for a specific number of layers, as you just may get it.

  16. I Want Three Layers

  17. "HOW MUCH IS A TRIM VERSUS A FULL HAIRCUT?" We subscribe to the old adage, "We charge for what we leave on the head, not for what we take off." Trimming AND normal haircutting still require thought, precision, sectioning, care, and training. The only difference between the two is how close we hold our shears in proximity to your head. We look at it as "maintenance." You maintain things that are important to you–your health, your home, your car, etc. During the maintenance, there may be assessments or minor adjustments that are needed to stay the course in beauty and function. When someone mentions wanting a trim, we think, “They want to keep it familiar.” We will still respect that request but may make simple suggestions for the ongoing beauty and health of your hair. (And by the way, they cost the same.)

  18. How Much Is a Trim Versus a Full Haircut

  19. "USE WHAT WE USE" – If you love your hair at the end of your salon visit, it stands to reason that you should be equally equipped with what we used to ensure your hair stays looking great until we see you next. This first starts with the skills. We will offer tips to help you achieve the same look. Since you are working on yourself, please do not hesitate to ask how you can best reproduce the look on yourself. There are many tips we can offer to help you deal with the challenges of doing your hair at home. No question is a foolish one. We know our success and referrals stem from your ability to reproduce our work!

Secondly, you will need the same tools we have. Thinking you can air dry your look when we spent twenty minutes blowing it out and look the same will lead to disappointment. The dryers, brushes, and irons are all essentials. If you forego obtaining the shampoos, smoothers, and root lifters we recommend and wonder why your hair droops quickly or why your color fades faster will just lead to frustration. You may not have the years of training we do, but you can arm yourself with the tools and tips we offer to increase your advantage. Your stylist will demo and recap what we use and recommend, so you look fabulous in between visits.

Use What We Use

This list is not all inclusive but may help you arm yourself with some hacks to get the most out of your next salon visit or if you may be interviewing your next professional stylist. It is a collaborative effort on both the stylist and client so all remain happy and can find common ground when negotiating your next beauty adventure. We at Kenneth’s always welcome your input and are more than willing to share our best with you to make your visit the best experience possible.