How to Get the Haircut You Want

woman having bangs cut
Good communication is essential to getting the haircut you want.

Sooner or later, it happens to everyone. Maybe your beloved hairstylist moved out of town. Maybe she quit doing hair and opened a tattoo parlor. Or maybe you're the one who decided it was time for a change. Whatever the case, you need to find a new hairstylist. If you've ever been burned by a bad haircut from an unfamiliar stylist -- and who hasn't? -- just the thought of switching could make you break out into a cold sweat.

But fear not: If you take control and learn how to communicate with your new stylist right off the bat, you could be in for a [pleasantly] transformative experience.






Dress to Impress

Once you've found your new stylist (and FYI, referrals from friends with great haircuts/hairstyles are the best way to do that), you should book a consultation. Try to look nice for the consultation -- you don't need to get decked out in formalwear or anything, but your hair should be clean and not shoved into a ponytail. Wear your hair, makeup and clothes as you would for a normal day. You want the stylist to get an idea of your personal style and how you carry yourself.


Spell It Out

So, your new hairstylist knows what you and your hair look like. That's a start, but it can be difficult to explain exactly what you want. Be as descriptive and specific as possible -- use your hands to show the stylist exactly how long you'd like your hair to be, or where on your face you want layers to fall.

The right lingo always helps, too. If you want defined layers, say "piecey" or "chunky." If glossy locks are your goal, ask for "straight and sleek." If you want to pump up the volume without curls, the word to use is "bend." And you can get the stylist to nix the frizz by asking for "polished curls."


Spill Your Guts

Woman holding eyeglasses
If you wear glasses, take them off for the appointment. If you're blind as a bat without them, wear contacts if you can.

While you're discussing the cut you want, plan to do a little more talking. And don't be shy -- every little bit of information you can divulge to your stylist gives you a better shot at a great haircut. Your hair habits are just another crucial scoop.

Tell him or her how much time you usually spend on your hair. Do you stand in front of the mirror all morning perfecting your 'do, or are you more of a wash-and-go kind of girl? Where do you part your hair? How often do you put it up in a ponytail? Do you blow-dry or flat-iron? What products do you use? Let it all out -- it'll help you both decide on the ideal cut.



Speak Up

When it's time for the cutting to begin, sit up straight. Don't fidget, and keep your legs together on the foot rest -- crossing them will give you an uneven cut. Feel free to chat with your stylist, of course, but also keep an eye on what's going on. If you think the stylist is altering the cut you agreed on, say something sooner rather than later. Do it in a polite way, obviously, and try not to micromanage, but don't be afraid to speak up. If things haven't gone too far, the stylist should be able to fix what's wrong -- or reassure you that everything is, indeed, going as planned.


Be Assertive

Hairdresser holding mirror for woman
If you look in the mirror and see a hair don't instead of a hair do, be sure to speak up.

You've done everything you think you should -- but what do you do if things still go woefully wrong? Don't suffer in silence. Any reputable stylist should offer to fix the problem on the spot or do what he or she can to make things right -- for free. It could be as easy as snipping a few wayward strands or you might have to wait a few weeks for a too-short cut to grow out. As always, be as pleasant as possible about it -- you don't want an angry hand to be holding those scissors. You should also be able to go back for alterations in a few days if you decide you don't like the cut.

Head to the next page for more information about haircuts.


Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • Carrillo, Sarah. "14 Secrets Your Hairstylist Won't Tell You." (Accessed July 21, 2010)
  • McCarthy, Jenna. "Salon Straight Talk" June 2005. (Accessed July 21, 2010)
  • "Hair Salon Appointment Tips." June 22, 2009. (Accessed July 21, 2010)
  • Schuck, Jill. "Face Shape Haircut Mistakes." (Accessed July 21, 2010)
  • "Avoid Hair Stylist Horrors." June 9, 2010. (Accessed July 21, 2010)