Learn the Right Way to Talk to Your Barber or Stylist

Woman getting her hair cut
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Your hair is a critical part of your total look — next to your face, it's one of the most important things that can influence how people perceive you. Getting the right haircut to compliment your facial features and enhance your look starts with being able to effectively communicate with your barber or stylist. To that end, here are some tips on how to talk to your barber or stylist.

Bring a Photo

A picture says a thousand words and can help show your barber or stylist exactly what you have in mind. Often, haircutting terms aren't consistent from stylist to stylist, but a picture will show exactly what you're after. That said, when choosing a style, be realistic. Choose a style shown on someone with a similar hair type or features as you.

Ask for Suggestions

Here's the deal, barbers and stylists are specifically trained to know what style will work with your hair type and face shape. If you're stuck in a rut or don't know what will look best, ask for suggestions — and go with what your barber or stylist tells you to do. You'll more than likely end up with the right haircut for your facial features and lifestyle — if not, it's hair and will always grow back. If the person who cuts your hair doesn't offer any suggestions, it may be time to fire your barber or stylist and move on.

Talk About Your Problems

Talk with your barber or stylist about what you don't (and do) like about your hair. Do you feel it is too dry? Do you have a bad cowlick? Tell them about it — this will enable them to work solutions to your hair concerns into your service. A modification to your cut can help tame a cowlick just as the right product can bring life to dry hair. You've got hair problems? Your haircutter, more often than not, will have solutions.

Be Realistic

We all have ideas on what we'd love our hair to look like, but it's important to be realistic. Most great barbers or stylists will try to work with the head of hair you were born with and not try to reinvent the wheel. In my opinion, the best haircuts are those which don't require a great deal of fuss or product and look good until the next visit to the salon.

Stick to the Plan

Once you've decided on a style and work has started, avoid changing course. Nothing will aggravate a barber or stylist more than having a client say "could we go shorter" as they're finishing up a haircut. Often, changing the length of the cut (or even part of it) will require re-cutting the entire head. If a stylist is on a tight schedule, you'll most certainly get a rush job.

Careful Using the Word Short

Different stylists have different interpretations of what a short haircut should be. Due to this, it's important that you clearly communicate your desired length to your stylist. If not, you could risk ending up with hair shorter than you are comfortable with.

Talk About Your Lifestyle

If you're a low-maintenance person, make sure to let your barbers or stylist know that up front. A haircut designed to be styled each day won't look good if you don't take the time to maintain it, so you'll want to opt for a style that is more fitting for your lifestyle and level of comfort with styling.

Ask About Product

Most barbers or stylists will use some sort of styling product in your hair. Pay attention here. Notice how much product they're using on you and how it is applied. Ask questions — have your barber or stylist show you which product they're using and get detailed instructions from them on exactly how to use the product. There are literally hundreds of styling products, so navigating those waters can be confusing.

The Road to a Better Haircut

Now that you've got the basics on how to talk to your barber or stylist, you're on your way to getting the best haircut you've ever head. Just remember to never be shy or embarrassed to ask questions and be open to suggestions. The person who cuts your hair wants to make you look your best so you'll keep coming back. Once you find a barber or stylist you're comfortable with, stick with them. The more comfortable you are (and the better you know) the person cutting your hair, the more open to communication you'll both be. Now, go get a haircut.

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