Pick the right hairdresser
For colour and cut, finding a regular hairdresser whose vision is aligned with yours is the best way to achieve the best results every time. And whilst every good hairdresser should be able to adapt to your own preferences, it makes sense to pick someone known for styles like the one you’re looking for. Take George Northwood, whose eponymous salon boasts clients such as Alexa Chung and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. “People come to us because they want those same laid-back, trendy styles they find on our Instagram page, or see on our celebrity clients. Of course we will do whatever the individual customer wants, but it makes sense to go to a salon that already has the kind of vibe you’re looking for.” And it isn’t just the hairdresser that needs to make a good first impression - it’s you too. As Nicola Clarke, creative colour director at John Frieda Salons says: “the clothes, accessories and make-up you wear when you come into the salon will send visual cues to a new stylist,” so if you’re planning on wearing a tracksuit but are normally in heels, make your follicular intentions clear.
Don’t be afraid to use picture references
“I think some clients feel embarrassed about bringing picture references, but it’s very helpful,” says Northwood, whose salon offers Pinterest boards where clients can browse different styles and cuts. “The only way to be sure that the image in your head is the same as the one in your hairdresser’s is if it’s in front of you.” Adam Reed, founding partner and director of Percy & Reed, agrees. “Pictures say a thousand words so take as many as you feel you need to. You will find that there will be an order of elimination where a lot of the pictures will be put aside in the consultation - this is a good way of getting to know what really works for you and to what you really want. And use pictures of things that you don’t like as much as things that you do like.” Social media has made the process a lot less awkward – no more grainy printouts and a whole lot more zoomable smartphone displays.
If you know precisely what you want and don’t want to compromise then fine, this is your appointment. But be aware that your hairdresser or colourist might be able to provide insights that could actually build on your own vision and lead to even better results. “Of course an individual understands exactly what they want, but a hairdresser is trained and has an instinctual eye as to what suits everything from skin tone to face shape,” says Reed. “It is all about the open channel of communication. I always discuss trends and recommend small tweaks or big changes on a seasonal basis.” And as Clarke says, you might not actually want what you think you want. “Let your colourist or stylist know a little about your lifestyle - for example how often you can visit the salon - as this will help to determine what shade or style would work. Really big colour changes and some cuts require much more maintenance than you might have realised.”
Be clear and specific
Whether it’s a hairdresser you’ve been seeing for a while or somebody new, being clear about what you’re looking for from this particular appointment is crucial. “When doing a cut I always make customers point to the length that they want on their own hair,” says Northwood. “Verbal communication isn’t always enough - a bob could mean anything from cheekbone-length to shoulder-length.” It’s also important to be upfront about your styling routine at home. If you aren’t willing to do anything more than wash your hair in the morning, say that. And don’t just shrug noncommittally when a hairdresser suggests a fringe, or spiral curls, or anything else that you baulk at the idea of. “People instinctively act laid-back when they go to the salon – whatever they’re really like,” Northwood says. “People put on this cool, calm façade but it’s the ones that say ‘do whatever you want’ that you have to look out for.” Instead make it clear precisely what you want – otherwise you’ll only have yourself to blame when you’re stuck with Rachel-from-Friends layers.
Be honest, but tactful
If you see things starting to go wrong once the cutting, colouring or blow-drying is underway, speak up – and fast. “Honesty is important from both parties - and acceptance of the honesty is really important,” says Reed. If you aren’t happy with the end result then most good hairdressers will fix the problem, but it saves a lot of time and awkwardness if you chip in as soon as you see the issue unfolding. If you want your blow-dry tousled and laid-back and your stylist seems to be working on corkscrew curls instead, just tell them. And if you’re worried about offending your hairdresser – particularly if it’s somebody you see regularly – choose your words carefully. Nobody likes to be told they’re doing their job badly. Try “I’m sorry, I don’t know if I made myself clear,” or “I wanted something more like this – let me explain it better”.
Don’t get stuck in an unfulfilling relationship
If you continually come away from the salon dissatisfied, it may be time to put an end to that particular relationship. If a hairdresser isn’t giving you the results you want and you feel like you’re being clear, it’s not working. Breaking up is hard to do, but if you want good hair… Or, if you can’t bear to end it all just yet, work out tactics for making the relationship function on your terms. “If I’m going to a big event, my hairdresser always blow-dries my hair into huge curls when all I want is gentle waves – I often have to wash them out afterwards,” one Vogue staffer tells me. However, she continues cheerfully, “I’ve just started telling him I’m not going anywhere special – even if I am - and the results are so much better.” And as long as you’re getting what you want, what’s a little white lie?
Original article and pictures take http://www.vogue.co.uk/article/how-to-get-exactly-what-you-want-from-your-hair-appointment-every-time site