Talking Hair . . . with Your Stylist! Six Tips To Help Bridge the Communication Gap.

A few weeks ago a dear friend (I’ll call her “Jane”) posted a comment on my Facebook page concerning how disappointed she was with her stylist for cutting off too much of her hair. When I called Jane, she explained that she had experienced some breakage and asked the stylist for a trim. She was also graying around the edges and wanted a touch up to her roots. To add to Jane’s disappointment, the touch up to her hair color was lighter than she wanted. She sent me a “before and after picture” and I thought the final product was very nice. I loved it buuutt….it was not what Jane told her stylist she wanted.


Jane was extremely upset and I really wanted to help her. She lives in another city so I couldn’t personally help her fix it. The problem wasn’t the finished product; what Jane’s stylist had done was actually beautiful. The problem was the lack of communication between Jane and her stylist.  I carefully listened to Jane to determine what she wanted. I admit the stylist got it wrong, but I also heard a few things Jane said that may have misguided her stylist. This started me to wondering about the frequency of occasions when women are disappointed by the results of their hair after communicating with their hairstylist: “She cut too much off! It was only supposed to be a trim.” “It’s the wrong shade of red.” Or, “My hair feels heavy; she put too much product on my hair!” In light of the fact that improper communication can lead to an unhappy experience, what should you say to help your hairstylist understand your dream style?


Here are a few tips to bridging the communication gap with your stylist:


1.     Find a qualified stylist who understands hair care and customer service. If the stylist is not given to providing good customer service then it will be difficult to make him/her hear you.

2.     If you are visiting a new stylist, ask her/him regarding their areas of expertise. Most stylists have a specialty. Some stylists are great at color but not so good at cutting, and vice versus. Your desired look may not be their forte’. It’s best to visit a stylist who has produced the type of look you desire.

3.     During the consultation; be firm but clear about what you want. Let photos be your PRIMARY mouthpiece. Because they are non-professionals, clients often will use the wrong terminology and thus misguide the stylist. Let any verbal instructions be precise and as descriptive as possible. It is also a good idea to say what you don’t want.

4.     Ask your stylist what he/she suggests. Communication is a two-way street. Respect your stylist’s opinions and expertise; this makes it easier for them to respect yours.

5.     Listen carefully to the stylist. If he/she suggests something that concerns you, don’t be shy about asking more questions. If the stylist seems to be overlooking some of your concerns, restate your questions and ask him/her to address your concern.

6.     After you have settled on a style, have the stylist to repeat the plan of action so you can be sure that the two of you are in agreement!


Don’t assume that your stylist understands what you want, yet don’t be insulting when you communicate what you want. It’s never a good idea to offend a stylist before they work on your hair. If you are willing to make the commitment to developing good communication with your stylist, the rewards will definitely be worth it.




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