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Communication is key to getting the look you want. We tapped two pro hairstylists for their top tips for speaking up at the salon.

How to Speak Up at the Salon and Get Exactly the Hair You Want

Communication is key to getting the look you want. We tapped two pro hairstylists for their top tips for speaking up at the salon.

We’ve all been there at some point—you go to the salon excited for a new haircut or color change and leave less than impressed and in some instances maybe even in tears. Speaking up at the salon might seem scary, but the reward—leaving with your dream hair—is so worth it. Years of sheer fear of speaking your mind at the salon might have you lost on the best way to communicate with your hairstylist, but it’s time to shift that mentality.

“As hairstylists, we love to have open communication with our clients and ultimately always want them to be happy with their results!” says L'Oréal Professionnel Artist and ambassador Madison Sullivan. “We’re also aware that oftentimes they’re spending a lot of money on these services, and I myself would want to be 100 percent happy in their shoes as well.”

Basically, communication is key to getting the look you want. We spoke to Sullivan along with Matrix artist Barbara Simovic on their holy grail tips to make communication with your stylist a whole lot easier. We promise you’ll want to read this before your next appointment!

Bring Inspiration

Both pro stylists agree that the number one thing you can do to open the communication floodgates is to bring in a photo. “We ALWAYS encourage a picture so we have a good reference for the consultation and we can break down what it is that you like and don’t like,” says Simovic.

“For some reason, some clients think that it’s annoying for them to pull out a photo…no, we love this!” explains Sullivan. “As professionals talking to our non-hair dresser clients, oftentimes there is different language being used to describe different techniques and looks that the client is asking for. We may both be saying completely different words and get on the same page and then think we’re both picturing the same thing in our heads when in reality we’re not. So photos are extremely helpful to get on the same page from the jump.”

It’s a Judgement-Free Zone

Remember, when your stylist asks for your hair history they’re not judging. “We just want to know how to move forward for your hair's overall integrity throughout the service!” stresses Simovic. “We want to see you happy!”

Be Open-Minded

Come in with an open mind and be mindful that the photo you bring may not be realistic with the hair that you have on your head. “You may be showing us a photo of someone with a completely different texture, density, or length,” says Sullivan. “When talking about color, your current color history and hair health will determine the outcome you can leave with today…and it may not be what’s in the photo, but hopefully you and your stylist can work out a plan to get you on the right path. Rome wasn’t built in a day people!”

Unhappy? Say Something

To guarantee you don’t leave the salon in tears, tell your stylist if there is something you don’t like or that you want to change. Simovic backs this up: “I promise you you will not hurt our feelings.” She notes to simply be kind in your delivery “to keep that communication open and the trust there” between both parties. Sullivan adds, “We don’t take this personally—as long as you’re nice about it!”

“Most times it’s actually a small fix that can prevent you from leaving the salon unhappy,” Sullivan says. “If there’s something you didn’t notice right away or felt uncomfortable saying on the same day of your service, give the receptionist a call and come back to see your stylist.” She advises that this should be done within two weeks of your service. This is especially true when it comes to coloring your hair, since anything beyond two weeks, hair will start to grow and introduce a new variable that can affect your color result.

We guarantee your hair stylist would rather take the time to make sure you’re happy, rather than have you out in the world complaining about your hair. So communicate with your hairstylist, show them photos, get on the same page, and most importantly be honest!

After your salon appointment, shop all your hair maintenance needs on . To see our products in action, tune into , where we host regular livestreams with industry pros.

Photo credit: Madison Sullivan and Barbara Simovic.

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