Things Your Stylist Wants You to Know (But is Probably Too Polite to Tell You)

Of all the things we do on a regular basis, dressing and grooming ourselves has some of the most fleeting results. Cringing at past style choices is almost a coming-of-age rite. Still, that doesn’t stop us. The fun of fashion today is experimenting with various dyes, trims, haircuts, brow shapes and relaxing treatments. Skincare and nail art have become more than just an off-shoot of the beauty industry, they’ve become a way to define your current style and a way to look and feel healthy. Women in the United States spend nearly $12,000 a year on salon services and beauty products, so it would do us well to sit down and talk about a few things, things, particularly speaking, that have to do with your hours logged in the cosmetologist’s chair.

That’s correct. We’re having this discussion. As someone who’s had experience on both sides of the counter, I’ll be your guide and mediator into today’s Adventures in Salon Services. Here, a few tips on the best way to make your next visit to the salon/spa/nail salon an enjoyable one:

Certain processes take a long time and aren’t for everyone. If you’ve box-dyed your hair dark brown 17 times in between visits, going platinum blonde probably won’t happen overnight without extensive damage and traumatic breakage. Perms take time as well, and if you highlight your hair it could be too weak to withstand the solution. Schedule a free consultation if you’re unsure.

If you tell a stylist to “do whatever they think looks good,” you’re going to get just that. If you’re blonde and you don’t have an idea as to what you want, know that your stylist could be coloring your locks a lovely warm brunette, if they feel that would suit you best. If that’s something you can’t stand the thought of, tell them. Don’t feel bad saying, “I was kind of hoping to still stay more in the ‘blonde’ range. Can you maybe show me a few color swatches?” It’s your hair, after all. Talk it over with them until you can figure out something that would really get you amped up and then let them do their thing.

When picking a new hairstyle, remember that celebrities’ hair is not the same as yours. If I could have it my way, I’d have a mane of honey-blonde waves like Jennifer Aniston or an adorably gutsy pixie like my beloved Emma Watson. As a deep-brunette and someone with a round face, I know that I can lighten all I want and chop my hair as short as it will go, but it will never look the same on me as it does on those fabulous ladies. If you see a photo you really love, take a few days to think about how you’d look with that same style and then decide if it would really look the way you want it to or if you just really, really love Zooey Deschanel.

– We know how much you love to chat with us, and we absolutely adore that you fill us in on the silly, sad, and juicy details of your life because we want to know who you really are as a person and not just as another head in the chair. Still, it’s important to remember that there are some things that are better kept out of the salon and in a personal space. When you chat, keep in mind that there are certain topics that will always be a little bit inappropriate for a public domain, including religious arguments, personal family matters and tidbits from your sex life (I’m not kidding: all of these are conversations I’ve been privy to).

If you have a rash or a scab on your scalp, a weird looking patch on your back or face, or a suspicious looking growth on your toenails… reschedule. Please. That is definitely something. It’s not fun to have to sit through a shampoo or a color when your head feels like it’s on fire, and any sort of fungus is easily spread through contact with a pedicure station. We really do want to see you, but, for your own safety and the safety of others, swap out the nail/hair/waxing/facial/massage appointment for a doctor’s appointment. Your health is more important than a beauty service any day.

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