In the 22+ years I’ve been cutting and coloring hair, clients have asked countless questions regarding hair, products and everything in between.
Here’s what your stylist wants you to know…
- If you want longer hair, you MUST keep the split ends trimmed off. On average, the tips of your hair begin to split in 6 to 8 weeks. If you are a regular with the blow dryer or iron, it’s closer to 6… There is no cure for a split end. The split quickly travels up the hair shaft, resulting in half the strength of the intact strand. Not being able to withstand even basic brushing or detangling, both halves break off, resulting in some hairs that never get down to the perimeter length which makes your hair looks thin and scraggly at the bottom. There have been many times I have asked a client if they want long hair, even if it means there are only a few dozen of them… The moral of the story??? Find a stylist who is respectful of your desire to grow out your hair and who knows the difference between 2 inches and a quarter of an inch… And then commit to a regular schedule of “micro-trims” to keep splits to a minimum.
- Salon products are better than grocery store brands. Yes, they’re a little more pricey, but there’s a reason for that. It’s called Research and Development. Any Joe Schmo can make a soap-based shampoo and run a great marketing campaign but for a product that is truly good for your hair, it takes years of testing and good quality ingredients. Perhaps more than anything else, what your stylist wants you to know is that salon-quality products will help your hair’s color last longer and it will be far less prone to dryness, frizz and the aforementioned split ends. Please think of your hair as fabric. It’s essentially the same thing. If you wore your favorite shirt everyday of your life and washed it a few times a week, how long do you think it would last? 6 months? A year? At an average growth rate of a half an inch a month, if your hair reaches your shoulders it’s about a year old… Want longer hair than that? You’d better treat it nicely, which means not using crappy products. It’s an investment.
- No, the “professional” products in the grocery store are likely not the same as you’ll find in a salon. If they aren’t flat-out counterfeit, most are tampered with or black market. Most often, a black market purchaser will stick a product in a warehouse until the bar code expires, sometimes years, until it’s safe to be sold to a grocery store. Why would you want to save a couple of dollars on a product that is well beyond it’s expiration date instead of supporting your stylist and keeping the money in your immediate community? It’s actually quite insulting to know that someone would rather support Walgreens or Beauty Brands rather than the stylist to whom they entrust their hair.
- There is no such thing as the 3-Layer Haircut…. Unless it’s a choppy, unblended mess. All layered haircuts are blended. It’s just a matter of the angle at which those layers are cut. When people see “3 layers” in a picture of a hairstyle, what they are seeing is how the hair is styled… typically the shortest layers are turned under while the longer ones are flipped up, making it look like there are different sections. It is an optical illusion created by a round brush, not a pair of scissors. The information we need as stylists is how short you want your shortest layers to be and how aggressive do you want the layering into the perimeter of your hair. The more aggressive the layering, the thinner your perimeter will be.
- Your hair is not the same as Giselle’s. As hair dressers, we strive to meet your expectations but the truth is, if you bring a picture (which we LOVE by the way because it makes sure we’re on the same page) please realize that you may not have the same hair, wave patterns, cowlicks, texture, hair color history or styling habits as the person in the picture. Also, right before that picture was taken, little details were probably perfected by either a stylist or the photographer. I hate giving good people bad news, but if I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say they wanted their hair to look a certain way, but they prefer to let their hair dry naturally… Well, you get the picture.
- Time is money. When you are late for your appointment or don’t show up, it is a terrible inconvenience for everyone. Someone being late can run everyone else’s appointments behind for the rest of the day and someone no-showing literally affects the stylist’s income. Hairdressers often know exactly how much time a service on a particular client takes and any little delay can be detrimental to our schedule. If you are thinking of doing a different color or style than you usually do, it’s wise to contact your stylist to see if more time needs to be allotted for that service. The last thing we want to do as stylists is tell you that you can’t have what you want, but if the service is a lot more time consuming and we’re constrained by our schedule, we may have to find a different time for you to come in.
Hopefully this sheds light on some questions that you may have had but were afraid to ask… Stay tuned to the next post where I will discuss additional questions I’ve heard throughout my career, including some FAQs about hair color and structure and current style trends.