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Hair Tips: How To Talk To Your Stylist


In today's world communication is critical whether you are talking to family and loved ones or dealing with your bosses. Being able to communicate successfully with your hairdresser can mean the difference between walking out the salon with a huge smile or in tears.

Tips For Talking To Your Stylist

Paul Mitchell Premiere Educator and Elie.Elie Salon partner, Barbara Lhotan recommends the following steps to helping your hairdresser understand your dream style:

1. Do your homework before you visit your stylist to have a solid understanding of your hair goals.

Take some time to think about what you really desire in a hairstyle and color. Evaluate your lifestyle and budgetary constraints and select styles that are realistic for you.

2. A picture is worth a thousand words. Bring in clear, consistent photos and images that show your desired hairstyle in as many positions and angles as possible.

Images are available in a variety of place. The Internet if full of galleries of styles. Usually the websites that host the galleries, like, will allow site visitors to print desired styles for the purpose of showing them to their stylists.

There are a myriad of hair focused magazines and publications that you can purchase at local bookstores or related media outlets. Magazines like 101 Celebrity Hairstyles and Short Cuts from MultiMedia come complete with fabulous full color gallery of styles that can be clipped and taken to the stylist for your appointments.

3. Select photos that resemble your own physical characteristics such as face shape, body shape, length of neck, similar hair texture and type.

Be realistic about your goals. While reality makeover shows on television are often able to clone major celebrities out of the reality contestants, it is less likely that a stylist, no matter how talented, can transform you into an instant Jessica, Jennifer or Angelina.

4. Be open to listening to your stylist’s feedback even though you should still reserve the right to make the final style decisions. If you listen to their opinions, they will be more willing to listen to yours.

Communication is a two way street. if you demonstrate to your stylist that you respect their professional wisdom and opinion, they will also respect your wishes and try to help you find a workable solution.

5. Let photos be your primary mouthpiece but if you add any verbal instructions, be precise and as descriptive as possible.

The idea that it is important to tell the stylist exactly how to cut your hair is a fallacy. Stylists know how to cut hair. Your goal is to show them examples of what you would like. Let them do their jobs and be the hair experts that they have been trained to do.

6. To demonstrate desired hair color, bring color charts, paint chips or samples to clearly express desired hues. Remember that when one person sees red, another will see orange.

Another option is to ask your stylist if they have a color book of their work. Some master hair colorists will snap photos of their color work to provide examples to new clients.

7. When you believe that your stylist understands your vision, have them repeat it back to you. If it seems unclear, don’t be afraid to discuss your goals a little further.

Never assume that your stylist understands what you want. It is your responsibility to make sure that both of you are on the same page. Taking responsibility is always a key element in building good communication bridges.

8. Once your stylist begins to work on your hair, keep your eyes open. If they seem to be heading in the wrong direction, be prepared to politely stop them and revisit the desire style images.

Remember to always be polite but firm about expressing any questions, concerns or comments you might have. Remember to let your stylist do their work but again, be willing to take responsibility for the end results. After all, it is your hair and you will be walking around with it until it grows out.


Anything in life worth having does take some time and thought. If you are willing to make the commitment to developing good communication with your stylist, the rewards will definitely be worth it. Just imagine knowing that when you go to an appointment with your stylist that you will leave the salon thrilled with the results. That is what happens when you learn to talk to your stylist.

Even better, making an effort to develop a good relationship with your stylist will bring you many benefits for the future.

If you want to talk more about this or other hair care articles on or anywhere else, please post a message on's Hair Talk Forums.

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