Getting the hair cut you want is not always as easy as closing your eyes and visualizing it. If you’ve ever left the salon looking differently than you planned, you know how frustrating a botched cut or dye job can be.

“Style satisfaction actually starts long before your stylist picks up the scissors,” says Matrix Global Artist Franco Della Grazia of New York’s Cutler Salon. “Communication between you and your stylist should start the moment you walk through the salon door.”

Here are some indispensable tips for anyone seeking to get the most out of that next trip to the salon:

• Expect a full and free consultation. A thorough consultation is the best way for a stylist to learn about you and your hair. Most reputable salons will offer free consultations to new clients. It should last about 10 minutes — time well spent if you consider how long it takes a bad cut to grow out!

• Don’t keep secrets! The more you share with your stylist, the more information your stylist will have to create a look and styling plan that’s right for you. So offer full disclosure about the botched color job that you covered up at home, or the cowlick that springs to life in humidity! Share the good, and even more importantly, the bad so can set goals to be successful together.

• Be yourself. If you’re visiting a salon for the first time, make an effort to wear the outfit that best sums up your flavor. This will help your stylist create a look that harmonizes with your taste and style.

• Describe your daily routine. Do you shampoo daily? Are you willing to blow dry your hair, or are you always running late for work or school? Do you experiment with different looks and products, or do you prefer a single style that goes from desk to dinner party? A recount of your routine helps your hairdresser design a look you can duplicate at home.

• Know what should stay and what has to go. “I love when a client knows what she likes about her hair and what she wants to change,” says Matrix Artistic Director Patrick McIvor. “Don’t worry about communicating in stylist-speak. Just keep it simple.”

Do you like your length, your bangs, or the fact that it takes two minutes to do your hair in the morning? Do you dislike your frizz? Is it too red? Too fine?

Hairdressers claim it’s actually more helpful to understand what a client doesn’t like, so that they can avoid going down that road. Bring photos of both dos and don’ts, and be prepared to talk about them.

More helpful tips on communicating with your stylist can be found at

Remember, time heals all hair cut blunders. But if you don’t feel like waiting, you can take proactive steps to get it right the first time.



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