Getting a new haircut can be intimidating. Whether you’re heading to the salon for a trim or looking to make the chop and trade your long hair for shorter locks, trusting someone to use a pair of scissors on your mane is (understandably) a little scary. And we’ll be the first to say there’s nothing worse than leaving the salon with a cut that’s nothing like what you envisioned. It can leave you wanting to boycott the salon for good and cut your own hair. But what if there was a way to guarantee a successful haircut outcome? Below, we’re sharing 12 tips (for men and women) on how to ask for a haircut so you can get the look you want.
TIP #1: KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
If you want to leave the salon happy with your new ‘do, it’s a good idea to know the cut you want beforehand. Whether you decide to give curtain bangs a try or want to rock a quiff haircut, do your research and determine your hairstyle choice prior to heading to the salon.
TIP #2: CONSIDER YOUR STYLING METHODS
Do you typically let your hair air dry? Are you a fan of turning to hot tools? Consider the cut you’re looking at and how you would want to style it, then consider your styling methods and see if they align. If they don’t, decide if you’d be willing to switch up your routine (and potentially add more time onto your morning regimen) on the daily.
TIP #3: DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFOREHAND
Do not, we repeat, do not head to the first barber shop or salon you come across. Doing your research is oh so important in ensuring you’re satisfied with the results of your haircut. Research stylists in the area and make sure they have experience doing the cut you want. Not every hairdresser is skilled in all cuts! You’ll also want to see if your stylist has experience working with your hair texture. This is especially true if you have curly hair, as it requires the right haircutting technique to look flawless in both its natural state and when straightened.
TIP #4: SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION
Considering a big change? If you’re debating a drastic haircut, schedule a consultation with your stylist beforehand. You can raise any concerns you may have about committing to a new look. Your stylist can also give you expert advice on your face shape and which cuts will be most flattering.
TIP #5: TALK TEXTURE
Once you’re in the salon chair, talk about hair texture with your stylist. Explain what concerns you’d love your cut to help with, and see what your hairdresser recommends based on your needs.
TIP #6: THINK ABOUT YOUR LIFESTYLE
Be honest—are you high or low-maintenance? If you know you won’t be spending more than a few minutes styling your strands in the morning, be sure to tell your barber or hairdresser. Just because your haircut looks great when you leave your appointment doesn’t mean it’ll look good the next day. Certain cuts, like micro bangs, require a bit more effort when it comes to styling. Don’t sign up for a cut you can’t commit to!
TIP #7: REVISIT THE PAST
We know you’re not supposed to live in the past, but for a few minutes, allow yourself to do so in your salon chair. Talk through your last haircut with your stylist. What did you like about it? What problems did you have with it? Are you scarred from a nightmare experience? This insight will help your hairdresser know exactly what you’re looking for and—just as important—what you’re not looking for.
TIP #8: BE CLEAR, DETAILED, AND SPECIFIC
You probably get it by now, but it’s important to be super specific when telling your barber or hairdresser the cut you want! Don’t shy away or say “something like this.” Be direct—it’s the best way to guarantee you’re happy with your hair post-appointment. Be sure to use plenty of adjectives! For example, if you’re giving bangs a try, tell your stylist if you want soft, wispy bangs or strong, blunt bangs.
TIP #9: BRING INSPIRATION PICTURES
Speaking of being detailed, one of the best ways to say what you want? Showing pictures! You know what they say, a picture says a thousand words. Make a board on Pinterest dedicated to inspiration photos that show the cut you want and show it to your stylist pre-haircut.
TIP #10: SET GUIDELINES
Don’t just say how much length you’d like to lose—set guidelines! Show your stylist with your hands exactly how short you want your hair to be and where you want your bangs to fall. Like we said, the more direct you are, the better the results.
TIP #11: GET PRODUCT AND STYLING RECOMMENDATIONS
Your barber or hairdresser will know just what hairstyling products will create the look you’re envisioning, so get some product recs! They’ll find the best match for your hair type and texture, and explain exactly how to put each product to use.
TIP #12: ASK QUESTIONS
If you didn’t get the memo by now, we urge you to ask questions. We promise your stylist would rather you ask a million Q’s than leave the salon unhappy! Don’t shy away—no question is a silly question.
Next, let’s talk salon etiquette. Check out our article, How Much Should You Tip Your Hairdresser?