Hot Tips From a Hairstylist to All Hair Owners

The Bob
The Bob

My first job as a hairstylist was at a salon that employed mostly men. It didn't take long to realize the cold, bold truth that men rule the hair world, and the men I worked with were exceptional stylists who also became very close friends of mine. We laughed, we cried, we shared secrets and stories, and we also did some hair. I absolutely adored them even though for the longest time I was their grunt--shampooing their clients, sweeping hair, answering the phone, and fetching supplies; however, this is how I eventually built my own customer base through talking to other stylist's clients, building a rapport with them, gaining trust, and being available when other stylists were not.

Now, from my past experience as a stylist and a hair owner for over 40 years, I want to share some important tips.

Request a consultation before making an appointment to have your hair done. Most stylists are happy to give you a consultation, and it's a good idea to start with recommendations from people who have received fabulous results. During the consultation you can get a feel for how easily you communicate with each other. If you notice that they frequently misunderstand what you're trying to say or seem disinterested and detached, then it's safe to assume this probably isn't the right person for you. Look for someone who shows passion and excitement about what they do. You don't want to be sitting in a stylist's chair, in the middle of a haircut, only to discover they hate their job.

Paul Mitchell Charity Hair Show

Choose a hairstylist who knows what's hot and what's not along with current techniques and methods. A very good stylist will continue to learn new styles and techniques all through their career by attending hair shows. Hair shows are like rock concerts for hair stylists, and the most memorable show I attended was in Washington D.C., and it featured Paul Mitchell who was introducing his hot version of "the bob." It was an incredible experience to watch a true master stylist at work, and I'll never forget rushing to the stage at intermission to meet Paul--breathlessly begging him to please "bob" me. He politely declined to do my hair, which was fine because I got to shake hands with my hair hero, and I spent the rest of the show standing by the side of the stage watching him with total awe, admiration, adoration, and anticipation that he might change his mind and do me--my hair that is.

So, do find out if a stylist attends hair shows and/or has a good idea about what the current styles and techniques are, and don't go crying to your friends about getting the most hideous haircut ever if you deliberately elect to go to Happy Helen's Hair Hut and Pawn Shop and allow a person to do your hair who thinks a ‘weave' is something you do to baskets.

Don't be late. Arriving late to your appointment is rude, it's irritating to a stylist who then has to rush or shuffle people around, and it causes other innocent people who arrived on time to have to wait. So start out by being on time. We all know it isn't very smart to upset a person who is serving or preparing your food, and it's equally not wise to upset the person who is coloring, perming, or cutting your hair. I accidentally turned a client's hair green once. Oops. Just joking. I did turn a customer's hair green once, and I was mad that afternoon, but I wasn't mad at her, and I would have never done that on purpose. Or would I?

Know the shape of your face and get a feel for what looks good on you. This is something you really should know because it will help you understand how to choose the best hairstyle for yourself (which can be a combination of looks) as well as how to shape your eyebrows and apply makeup.

An oval shaped face is considered the perfect shape, and the right hairstyle can be used to create an illusion of this. For example, if you have a very long face, then having bangs will create a horizontal line that will make the face appear more oval whereas having no bangs accentuates and elongates an already long face. Visual-Makeover.com is a great starting point towards figuring out the shape of your face.

Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore
Liv Tyler
Liv Tyler

Don't choose a hairstyle because it looks good on someone else. Fashion trends illustrate the fact that not all styles look good on all people. Right now the bob is back, and all the stars are sporting it, but just because a bob looks great on Drew Barrymore (or does it?) doesn't mean that it looks good on Liv Tyler or that you can wear it. However, some styles, like the bob, can be modified in many different ways to fit your face. If you want an easy way to see what works for you and what doesn't, then there are sites that allow you to upload a digital photo of your face and try on different hairstyles. Here are a few that I checked out:

  • DailyMakeover.com offers a free one-time photo upload and there is a limit to the number of styles you can try. When I was checking out the program, I didn't count the number of styles you can try on because they don't tell you beforehand that there's a limit.
  • Thehairstyler.com requires a membership fee of $14.95 for 3 months.
  • Makeover-o-Matic at iVillage.com is totally free with no limit to how many styles you try on, and you can also try on makeup. You do need to register with the site, but that only takes a few seconds, and you don't get spammed afterward.
  • 4hairstyles.com is a great one to try. It's free, and it has over a thousand styles to choose from for women and men.

There is also a software program, Hair Pro 2008, designed for salon owners and stylists, that you can download and try for free. I don't know how many of the features you get with this trial version, but the software looks quite impressive with over 2140 built-in hairstyles, make-up, thousands of colors, front view and side view, and more.

Texturizing Hair With Scissors

Use pictures to illustrate what you want. A picture really is worth a thousand words. The best way to convey what type of hairstyle you want is to show your stylist a picture or a series of pictures illustrating styles similar to how you want your hair cut, curled and/or styled. Do your homework, and discuss it with your stylist who should know if your choice works for you.

Ask about maintenance of a desired hairstyle. Before anyone cuts your hair, you need to find out what will be required to achieve the style you want and what you need to do to maintain it. You may find that what you want doesn't fit your lifestyle. If you're a person who likes to roll out of bed, shower, and run a comb through your hair before dashing out the door, then you won't enjoy having a hairstyle that requires blow drying your hair for 30 minutes with a special brush only to end up having your hair sucked into the motor of a hair dyer because you were thinking about dashing out the door instead of paying attention to what you were doing.

Know that change doesn't have to be drastic. Whether you're a man or a woman, we all go through the ‘hair blahs' where we simply get sick of the same old look and desire a change. This doesn't mean you have to go from long hair to very short hair or change your hair color from blonde to black. There are some very subtle changes that can give you a totally fresh, new look, and a good stylist will know how to achieve this.

Don't tell your stylist that you like what they've done to you if you don't. The only way to establish a rewarding and satisfying relationship with the person who does your hair is to be truthful. It's kind of like telling a good friend that you love her meatloaf when you actually hate it, then she's bringing you a meatloaf every other week. There are tactful ways to let your stylist know what you don't like. For example, you can say that while you appreciate her/his work, you'd really like to have the top left a little longer next time. Say something positive and follow up with what you really want.

Ask for samples. All salons display and sell hair products. Most of the time they also use these products on you when they do your hair, and they will recommend that you buy and use the same products at home. When this happens, ask for samples. Salon owners have an option to buy samples of the hair products sold in their salon, so if they really believe their products are the best for you, then they can provide you with samples to prove it. If they don't have samples, then ask them to order some (which should be given to you free of charge).

Lastly, if money is an issue, then don't be afraid to go to a beauty school to have your hair done. All of the greatest stylists ever born had to start somewhere, and it all begins with cosmetology school where the only way to learn is to work on real, live people all under the watchful eye of an instructor. If going to a cosmetology school to have your hair done makes you nervous, then consider talking to an instructor of a cosmetology school or a hot stylist who does the hair show circuit about being a live model for them which is free and you have a highly trained professional doing your hair. If you try this, then make sure you discuss (in detail) and agree to what the instructor or stylist wants to do to you. If the person wants to demonstrate something that doesn't suit you, then don't do it.

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Comments 10 comments

ChopSkull 7 years ago

...and if you really are not satisfied, there's always Zohan!


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia Author

LOL Chop, you're right! :D

I keep forgetting to say...Thanks for the nice comment about my cat's picture. She's a real sweetheart. :)

I'm having problems with my hubtivity this morning, so if this might get posted twice. : /


ChopSkull 7 years ago

Of course, he'll make you Silky Smooth! LOL

I'm glad you enjoyed reading about Delaware, it's all true!


Karleene 7 years ago

My boyfriend's sister, Mella, is a professional hair dresser. Last week she invited me over to do my hair, but she kept it a surprise..... in my experience, it's better for me to leave the creativity to the professionals. I haven't been disappointed yet!


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia Author

It sounds like your surprise had a very good ending. :) And I'm glad to hear that you haven't been disappointed by anyone who's done your hair. I can't say that I've been disappointed either, then again, I've always been vocal in letting them know exactly what I want. I don't like surprises. LOL!

Thanks for the comment! :)


Randy Behavior profile image

Randy Behavior 7 years ago from Near the Ocean

Pam, My girlfriends and I have a sylist that does house calls! So fun. She works on the three of us and we make it into a party. I'm thinking about going red. What do you think? (you'll have use your imagination since I can't show my face)


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia Author

Hi Randy! That sounds like so much fun! i did some house calls way back when, but it wasn't any party. I think you're on to something that could be big business...hair parties. :D All I can say about red is that it certainly is beautiful and I think it's an attention getter for sure. ;) Go for it!

Thanks for coming in. :)


moons 5 years ago

Interesting to read. keep it up


NickJ101 5 years ago

My girlfriend had been nagging me to cut my shoulder length hair shorter, I finally agreed and she then decided that she would take me to her stylist and supervise, she also said that in return I could supervise her haircut - she knew she was on safe ground because I had previously stopped her from having her mid back dark brown hair cut to her shoulders. The day came and she had my hair cut a lot shorter than she said she would. As she went to have her hair washed I presented the stylist with a picture of how I wanted her hair - a very short pixie with a cropped nape. My girlfriend sat quietly in the seat as she was cropped - she walked out of the salon looking stunning with shorter hair than me. (I don't like mid length hair on girls just head turning long or head turning short! We got home and enjoyed our new looks!!!


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 5 years ago from Virginia Author

NickJ101...thank you for sharing that! How brave you both are to put your precious locks into the hands of each other! I've never experienced such trust. Of course it is hair, and it does grow back...but still! It's marvelous that you both enjoyed your new looks! :)

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