Nina Fitzgerald, Hairstylist at Urban Betty Salon

We all strive for that amazing salon experience that puts every other salon encounter to shame, where we dance out of the salon with our hair blowing in the wind like a Pantene commercial. OK, maybe not that drastic, but we do want to walk out feeling new again and happy about the direction our hair is taking. It’s comforting to know that your stylist is on the exact same page from the color, cut, curl expression, home styling, and every other flicker that comes into your head about how you want your hair to act. Stylists should have ESP right? An extra sixth sense so that they know exactly what you mean when you heave a large sigh and say, “Please just fix this! I don’t know what to do with my hair anymore and I think I’m in a hair funk”. Don’t Worry! There is a bright moment to this cloud, and you are the key. How do you achieve this crazy eye-level intuitiveness with your stylist about your coif? You’re going to have to be honest about your hair expectations. Tell us about the absolutely fabulous times when your hair was at it’s peak and then we want to hear about your worst times when you couldn’t stand to go outside without wearing a hat. We won’t air your hair monologue to the world, so don’t be ashamed about your hair’s history. I routinely had perms back in the mid 90’s and sported a bobbed haircut on my round cheeked face, life happens to the best of us.

So let’s take each one in stride. Everyone loves the good hair times and there’s no hiding that, and we love to talk about the times that we felt our best and everyone around us had hair envy. That might have been a tad eccentric, but you get my drift. Now is the time to tell your stylist about the good things that you like about your hair. Did you like your last haircut? What specifically did you like about your last hair cut? Do you like how it’s growing out? Do you like that random patch of curl at the nape of your neck and want to highlight it’s appearance in your next frock? Tell us these things, because they’re very important and they make up you. Tell us what you like about your color now or a previous color that you had that you really loved. Make up five things, and they can be quick statements, about the pros of your hair. If words are hard to come by, pictures are a great way of telling your story.

Now comes the harder part. What do you not like about your hair? No one’s hair is perfect and usually our hair will have a mind of it’s own. Tell us about those pesky cowlicks, tell us about that horrible time you tried to go blonde after being brunette or that time you cut your own bangs. Asymmetrical and a jagged edge is in right? Most importantly, tell us about your chemical history. Not every color line is equal and yes there is a quality difference between at home and salon quality coloring. Every person has been down the path of picking a box shade from the grocery store. You usually pick based upon the girl’s beautiful hair girl on the front of the box only to discover, hmm, yeah my hair did not turn out at all how I expected. Color is a chemical treatment, and it could react adversely with a previous color or chemical treatment, so let us know what’s going on so that we can quickly diagnose what steps are best for maintaining your hair. It can be hard to be honest about what you didn’t quite like from the previous experience, especially if it’s your regular stylist, but don’t worry. Coming to the salon is fun and it’s a friendly environment, but above all, you’re paying money for a service and we want you to be happy. Is it not as layered as you wanted it? If your hair is too light or dark for your tastes, please talk to your stylist. Once again here is a great place to show pictures you’ve found to reinforce your hair case. Don’t worry about hurting our feelings by being honest and stating any cons from your last visit. If you’re not fully satisfied during your salon visit, we need to know so that we can learn and know what not to do for future visits. Being open and straightforward will save more time on the front end than having to go back and fix something after the fact, a win-win for everyone.

So the good and the bad have been taken care of, now to talk about reasonable expectations. I would love to tell you the secret to growing your hair five inches overnight or to have ten times thicker hair by merely changing your part line. Your hair in its normal state on a normal day is what genetics has bestowed upon you. It could be smooth and sleek or it could look a tad frayed and frizzy because of your recent trip to the coast. Damaged hair is damaged hair no matter how many hair masques and treatments we apply. Believe it or not, a little trim will actually make the hair appear fuller and thicker because it has a nice blunt edge and retains color better than a split end. If your hair is breaking, having trouble curling or retaining color, don’t be alarmed if we advise a trim or cut. Color is a main expectation that could have its differences. What a stylist sees as a Level 8 neutral (medium blonde), the client could see it as an orangey blonde. Your stylist will go over these differences in color to help you to understand the process. Sometimes achieving a look can take several times, in intervals of 6 weeks.

One more thing to mention, don’t forget to talk about your hair routine. I roll out of bed, spray hair spray on my head and let my hair fall where it wants to fall. Sometimes my head will naturally rock a faux hawk and it looks great and then sometimes my hair rebels and it’s a headband day. Do you like to blow dry your hair, let it partially air dry, let it fully air dry, flat iron, velcro roller, or curl your locks with a curling iron? What type of products do you like to use at home? Letting us know how you normally style your hair will play a significant roll in planning your cut or color. With all these helpful hints in tow, you should have an amazing consultation and the best hair experience possible at your next salon appointment.