Avoid common hair salon mistakes Don't fall victim to another hair horror story! We asked top stylists to dish about everyday blunders women make inside (and outside) the hair salon - with these fixes, you're guaranteed to get a good haircut.
Mistake #1: Showing Up Dirty
Visiting a new salon sporting a greasy ponytail puts you at a disadvantage from the start. Stylists like to see your typical hair and makeup routine. This lets them create a style and colors that complement your beauty preferences. Plan your salon visit for a day when you like your locks best - whether that's freshly washed, day-old hair, or two-day-old hair - to give your stylist more insight into how your hair behaves.
For a color appointment, clean strands will absorb color most uniformly. Dirty hair often contains patches of grease, product build-up, and dry ends. "When it's clean, color doesn't have to penetrate through anything in roots, mid-shaft, and ends," says Allen Ruiz, Aveda North American styling director.
Mistake #2: Not Dressing the Part
Wearing collared shirts, turtlenecks, and hooded sweatshirts to your appointment is a bad idea. "They alter the natural fall of the hair," says Joel Calfee, lead styling artist for Agave Healing Oil. Even accessories like earrings and necklaces can catch on combs. Remember to remove jewelry and wear simple, close-fitting tops to the salon.
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Mistake #3: Assuming Your Stylist Remembers Everything
Just as you would discuss your medical history with a doctor, you should brief your stylist on your hair. A successful recommendation from your stylist is dependent on her knowledge of past treatments and services. The longer your hair, the further back in time you'll need to recall. Even if you've covered up highlights from six months ago, they're still in your hair and will affect how different sections respond to color. "There is no such thing as 'do what you did last time,' " says Ruiz. Jog your stylist's memory by bringing in a picture of yourself with the style you love and explain what you specifically like about it.
Mistake #4: Not Relaxing
Time at the shampoo station is intended to be a relaxing, spa-like experience. This is not the time to interrogate your stylist or discuss new ideas, especially ones relating to what your "old stylist used to do," says Ruiz. Just lie back and enjoy the warm water, head massage, and herbal aromas.
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Mistake #5: Staying On the Grid
Spending time on your phone (or other technology) takes time and attention away from the important relationship you're cultivating with your stylist. More importantly, tinkering with your phone can shift your posture, slouch your shoulders, and move your head, all of which can negatively impact your haircut. "It's best to sit up straight, keep your feet planted, and keep your arms at your sides," says Calfee.
Mistake #6: Not Updating Your Hair Care Regimen
After a new color service, sticking to the same old routine will help hues fade more quickly. "Colored hair responds like colored fabric," says Calfee. "Leave it in the sun and it fades, wash it in hot water or strong detergent and it fades." Upgrade to a salon-grade, color-specific shampoo; try UV-blocking products; and invest in a swim cap for the pool.
After a new haircut, follow the stylist's recommendations for tools, products, and technique unless you want to dull your 'do fast. Remember the tips you heard, especially regarding heat settings that will prevent scorched hair. (Take notes if you have to.) "Clients tend to burn their hair with thermal appliances," says Gerard Caruso, Rusk artistic director.
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Mistake #7: Doing It Yourself
A more serious offense is putting on your stylist cap at home and whipping out your scissors. Ruiz says under no circumstances should you attempt to trim bangs yourself. Fringe frames your face and is key to the overall cut; even a slight trim can shorten the wrong hairs and completely throw off your look. Tempted to DIY? Most salons offer free bang trims between appointments, so call and schedule one stat.
Mistake #8: Not Booking Regular Appointments
Like most people, you probably book too few appointments each year, dragging out your style until it's lost its oomph. Even the best cut and color fade and require maintenance, depending on your tolerance for roots. Shorter styles require visits every four to six weeks while longer cuts can last six to eight weeks. But don't ask to be squeezed in. "If you are forcing stylists to do a rush job, you may compromise the quality," says Christine Zilinksi, owner of Salon Concrete in New Jersey. And, if you're new to a salon, try to arrive 15 minutes early to better acquaint yourself with the stylist.
What is your best hair salon advice? Let me know in the comments!
-by Jennifer Barnes
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