Haircut and Color: When done right, they compliment your face and features, make any outfit look better, and boost your confidence.
But if cut and color go wrong, they can goSoincorrect. Think accidental cuts, unnatural shades, hair loss and breakage caused by bleach, not to mention the loss of sanity and money. We spoke to three hairstyling and coloring veterans to learn the dos and don'ts so you can get everything you desire when you visit the salon.
Meet the expert
- Harry Josh is a famous hairstylist, colorist and creator ofHarry Josh Pro Tools.
- Rodger Azadganian is the founder ofAZ Craft luxury hair careAndSalon 8hair salons.
- Brandon Scottis a hairdresser and owner ofBrandon Scott Hair Studioin New York.
Read on for expert tips on getting the best cut and color for your hair.
Research stylists and colorists on social media
If you want to refresh your fashion but don't have a stylist or colorist, Instagram is the best place to find one. “Social media is a great way to gauge what [the person's] skills are,” Josh suggests.
"Also, talk to your trusted friends who have a similar hair type and texture to yours and get their recommendations," he adds. "Don't be afraid to stop people with similar hair types on the street and ask them who does their hair."
Never turn down a free consultation
Most hair professionals should be willing to give you a brief consultation to discuss your desired cut or color; pick her up.
"If the stylist isn't listening to what you want your hair to be and isn't willing to be cooperative, it can be a good sign that they're not the right person for you," says Josh. "If they control too much of your bottom line without hearing you, maybe it's time to jump off your chair."
During your consultation, be aware of other details that might indicate the stylist may or may not be right for you. Azadganian suggests sacking barbers who "don't look the part and aren't professional".
If you show up to your appointment and find a dirty, disorganized salon, thank the stylist and move on, says Azadganian — an unclean environment is a deal breaker.
Don't wash your hair before your appointment
Should you wash your hair before a cut and color appointment or not? It's the age old question in hair care. Both Josh and Azadganian say not to bother washing.
"You never have to come with freshly washed hair, you will have your hair washed in the salon!" says Josch.
Adds Azadganian, "If you're getting an updo or styled for a special event, dirty hair works best."
If you don't want to go through the day with greasy hair before your appointment, freshen it up with some dry shampoo. OuaisSuper Trockenshampoo($26) is formulated with rice starch and sea salt to restore bouncy hair to greasy hair and rose to refresh with a delightful scent.
Bring photos of what you want - and what you don't want
Showing up to your appointment with photos — from magazines, the internet, or social media — is still a tried-and-true way to get great hair. "Bringing photos of a previous haircut or style they loved, or a celebrity with a similar hair type, is the best way to show stylists the look a client wants," says Josh.
But snapshots of styles younotlike can be just as helpful. "Submitting pictures of things you don't want is a great way to show the stylist what to avoid when creating your look," he explains.
Ask your hairdresser's opinion
If you're not sure whether a cut or color will make you look your best, ask your stylist for advice and listen, Azadganian urges.
"If done right, our job is to prescribe a haircut that suits the person's face shape and bone structure," he says. "We're here to educate them on what's best for them and why."
Have realistic expectations
You can set high standards for your visit, but don't expect a hair pro to spin straw into gold. A good stylist takes clients' wishes into account and suggests cuts and colors that look good and are feasible, says Azadganian.
"[I] can't create more hair when your hair is fine and thin, or make you blonde when your hair is almost black," Azadganian explains. "The best thing is when someone works with what they have instead of fighting against it to achieve the best possible look and style."
Consider daily maintenance before big changes
If you don't have time for daily styling or frequent visits to the salon, make sure your stylist or colorist has this information before attempting a new look.
"Sometimes people see a look on a celebrity and want to emulate it, without understanding that celebrities have a lot more help keeping up with their colors and styles," says Josh.
For example, if your desired look requires daily heat styling and that's not what you're after, talk to your stylist about similar styles that look great air-dried. Likewise, don't get platinum blonde hair in a single procedure unless you make it to the salon for a root touch-up frequently.
go blonde? Book your haircut second
If you have or want blonde hair, always book your cuts after your color service.
"As a blonde specialist, it's difficult to create bright blondes, platinum blondes, and pastels without damage," says Scott. "I think it's best to trim afterwards so you can clean up damaged tips."
Some clients make the mistake of speaking to the barber on their appointments, which causes confusion. Don't try to use words like "fade," "dust," or "taper" — instead, tell your stylist or colorist what you want in plain language, and illustrate with photos if possible.
Between appointments, Scott recommends repairing bleach damage with Olaplex products, which promise to restore the hair's keratin bonds.Olaplex Nr. 3 Hair Perfector($28) is formulated to keep hair conditioned and breakage-free when used as a weekly treatment.
Plan color after a big hit
Speaking of cut and color planning, if you have a lot of length to lose, save yourself a headache and book your color afterwards.
"If you're making a big change to your cut — like if you have long locks and want to cut them into a bob — then I would do the cut first," advises Scott. "Another case where I would cut first is if you don't want to add any layers to a ton."
Avoid bigger cuts after balayage
If you've recently got balayage highlights, don't plan a big haircut so quickly. "The biggest mistake I see is clients doing a heavy balayage on their long hair and then a few weeks later wanting a big cut," says Scott.
"If you do this, the effect of the balayage will be ruined because you're cutting off the lightest parts," Scott continues. "Not to mention you just wasted a few hundred dollars because now you have to redo your paint."
For low-maintenance hair, opt for layers
If you like to go months between salon appointments, avoid going for single-length haircuts like angular bobs. "Any super blunt haircut requires frequent visits to the salon to make sure it stays a straight line as your hair grows out," says Josh.
Do you want rainbow colored hair? Be prepared to nurture it
The truth hurts: that indigo hair color you loved can gradually fade to green without proper care. Pastel and rainbow tones require frequent salon visits, so book repeat appointments as soon as possible.
"Any hair color will fade and dull over time, but particularly unnatural colors don't stay as bright as you'd like," says Josh. "If you want to keep the color fresh, make sure you can go to the salon to lighten it."
Home care also plays a role. "If you're using pastels or fashion colors, the best way to keep them alive is with a cleansing conditioner," says Scott. He recommends R+CoAnalog cleansing foam conditioner($32) that promises to gently cleanse hair without stripping color with ingredients like argan oil, jojoba oil, green tea, and herbal extracts.
On a budget? Avoid high-maintenance styles
If you're looking to save a few cents, you might be tempted to visit a bargain salon for a quick cut. Don't do it, Azadganian warns.
"If you're on a tighter budget, find the best stylist you can find and get your hair done less often," Azadganian suggests. "Why settle for less than the best?"
staining techniques likeBalayageand soft layered cuts keep your hair looking great for months without touch-ups or trims.
Don't do color touch-ups at home
Josh wishes his clients would break a habit: trying to dye their hair — especially with dark dyes.
"Getting too dark is the worst thing you can do," explains Josh. "It can be extremely expensive to lighten dark hair or attempt highlights."
Instead of touching up your color with box dye, use a temporary color spray.DPHue paint touch up spray($28) cleverly disguises roots between hair coloring appointments and comes in a variety of shades.
Hate your haircut or color? Give the stylist another chance
Even the best stylist can have a bad day. If you get a bad cut or dye job, ask the person who did it to fix it; You'll probably get the job done for free.
"Just as a stylist should be honest, so should the client," says Josh. "If you don't like the result, the two of you can work together to try and fix it."
"It's not always good to run to different stylists to try and fix it," he warns. "That can make it worse."
If the second time isn't a spell, continue. "Wear a hat for a week, take a deep breath, and come up with an escape plan," he suggests.
How to choose the perfect cut for your hair and face