First off, I am soooo fortunate to have clients that I love. I get to work with so many different customers from every walk of life, with all kinds of personalities, that basically just don’t make me hate going into work every day. Dreading waking up every morning, hating my job, and getting burnt out is like one of my biggest fears. Luckily, I almost never experience clients who make me feel that way.
That being said, I do wish for anyone who goes into a salon to be as informed as possible about what they’re getting into. I’ve had a lot of first-time, virgin hair clients, as well as clients who get their hair done every 4-6 weeks for maintenance, but I find myself explaining the same things again and again, or even cringing over things that I want people to know better.
1. You’re not going from black hair to blonde hair without damage.
I’ll start with this because I know people struggle wrapping their mind around this one. The way us hairstylists determine your hair color is by using two systems. The first being on a scale of 1-10. Darkest blue-black hair is a level 1. Lightest white blonde hair is a level 10. Most people are not usually a natural level 1 or 10. The second is determining what hue your hair is. (ash, gold, warm, neutral, beige, etc). Going lighter takes DEDICATION and PATIENCE. Multiple sessions of lightening (that you will pay for individually) will most likely be necessary. I personally will never risk the integrity of your hair because you insist on being platinum blonde immediately when you’re naturally a level 3, or have box black color on your hair. It’s not happening. I truly cringe every time I explain this.
2. Stop moving in my damn chair when I’m cutting your hair.
Biggest pet peeve ever! I want your hair to be perfect. If you’re moving a ton because you’re an excited talker, your haircut is not going to be even. Especially when it comes to precision cuts, it’s soooo important to remain still. If this means not talking for 10 minutes, then don’t talk. Tough love, but it’s just because we care about you and your hair.
3. Don’t try haggling with your stylist.
Honestly, this is more offensive than people realize, and I am speaking on behalf of every stylist out there. This is my life. My career. I wake up and get out of bed to serve YOU. I have to make money to survive just like you and this is how I chose to do so. When you have LONG, THICK hair, it’s extremely time-consuming and it takes a lot more product. Aside from the obvious, though, we go to school specifically for this and truly dedicate ourselves to constantly improving our craft. I can’t begin to tell you the hundreds, to probably thousands of dollars I’ve spent on high-end products and tools because I want the best experience and results for my clients. If you don’t want to drop that kind of cash on a stylist who prioritizes the health of your hair, then go somewhere else. Don’t try bargaining. It’s just frustrating. More often than not, the salon’s control the prices anyways.
4. Communication is essential to any good relationship.
If you book a salon appointment, and for any reason need to cancel or reschedule, it is normal human decency to contact your stylist in advance. Friends or first-time clients. Many hairdressers won’t even think of rebooking a no-show client. I’ve even been to salons who won’t rebook you until you pay for the services you didn’t show up for, in addition to your next appointment. Time is money. Someone else could have been scheduled to get their hair done had you given advance notice. Emergencies are understandable, but blatantly not showing up is disrespectful. Good communication is also 100% essential during a consultation. Make it clear what you want and don’t want. If you’re indecisive, but trust your stylist to do what they think is best, tell them that. But say what you mean. The outcome of your hair totally depends on it.
5. It’s probably Photoshop.
More often than not and usually when it comes to fun unnatural colors, people show me pictures of the hair color they want, and it’s photoshopped. It’s 2016. There are millions of images that have been altered circulating the web. With today’s options for hair color products, it’s probably possible to achieve the color you want anyways, but still having realistic expectations for you hair is important. Another thing to note is that many fashion colors require very light blonde hair to show their true pigment. That requires a lot of going blonde. In which case, refer to #1.
6. Leave box dye on the shelf where it belongs.
I could give you a million reasons to advise you against box coloring your hair at home, but number 1 is it’s not healthy for your hair. “Why?” may you ask. The ultimate difference between having a pro color your hair vs doing it yourself is that box dye is not specially formulated for your individual hair type. It’s meant to drive full force into your hair cuticle, with no regard for the condition your hair is in. It’s formulated at its maximum. If you have fine hair, this could mean serious breakage because of the harshness of the product. If you’ve colored and highlighted your hair numerous times, it’s also at the risk of breaking and becoming extremely dry and brittle. When you go to a salon, we tailor our formulations to be 1. exact color to get where you want to be 2. gentle or strong depending on what’s needed and what we believe you hair can handle and 3. with better quality ingredients in our professional color. If that’s not enough to deter you from “the box”, you should know that it probably won’t come out the color you’re expecting anyways. If you’ve previously colored your hair, every strand now contains artificial pigment. Coloring on top of that (adding pigment to pigment) only creates darker pigment. Not the true color. That’s why your hair went black when you tried to do a light brown. Before you try to do anything wild and end up hating it afterward, my advice is to see a professional to begin with. “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.” AKA a color correction is time consuming and expensive. Trust me, I’ve been there and I have done them many times on my clients.
These are just a few things I wanted everyone to be aware of, from my perspective as a hair artist. Also, everyone’s hair is different and reacts differently. Hair can be unpredictable. Please remember this when you set your hair goals and see your stylist!