Guest blog by Nikki K.
A trip to a new salon can be nerve-racking for a curly girl. There are so many things that run through our minds, like: What should I ask for? What cut is best for me? Is my current stylist excited and knowledgeable about curly hair? Will they know how to handle my hair type?
The best way to ease your anxiety is to come prepared. Knowing how to communicate with your stylist plays a huuuge role in making sure that you get the look you want. Check out these tips and best practices on how to leave your next haircut appointment happy.
Tips on Communicating With Ur Stylist
This is a good time to get started on a collection of curly hair inspiration photos and lucky for you the internet is overflowing with gorgeous curl pics. Whether it be on Pinterest, Instagram or Google, be sure to keep your faves saved somewhere on your phone. That way when you arrive at your appointment you can easily share them with your stylist.
Keep in mind that these haircuts should be of naturally curly hair and ideally of people with similar curl patterns. That way you know you’re setting yourself up with realistic expectations and also giving your stylist a vision to work with.
Even if you aren't going for a "big change" at your next appointment it's always a great idea to open up to your stylist and tell them about some of the ideas or styles you like or have been considering experimenting with.
Your stylist will be the best sounding board for bouncing your ideas off of since they will be able to give the best guidance based on their skill, knowledge, and experience working with you and your hair. Not only will they assess your hair but your lifestyle too. They'll ask questions to make sure you've considered all the factors that might affect how happy you'll be with any major change in the long run.
They might ask questions like, Have you ever had something similar before and if you were happy with it at the time? How important is it for you to be able to pull up all or most of your hair in a low pony or a top knot?
They'll also be able to tell you up-front whether a new style requires more styling time or overall maintenance and whether or not they believe it'll be suitable for your lifestyle.
There are many ways to cut curly hair. Dry cutting, wet cutting or a combination of the two.
The condition of your hair can greatly affect the method of cutting your stylist chooses. If you have a few days worth of pesky tangles in the nape of your neck your stylist may be forced to choose wet cutting over dry.
As a stylist, I mostly recommend cutting curls dry, in their natural state. In my experience, this leaves no room for question as to what it will look like once it's dry or when you style it at home yourself. But if you are someone who likes to wear their hair both curly and straight, your stylist will more than likely choose to cut your hair wet.
Regardless of how you end up getting your hair cut, it's best practice to arrive at your appointment with your hair down and styled as you normally would. It's important to do this because your stylist needs to see how your natural curls behave and it also paints a good picture of what you might be struggling with.
WHAT YOU SHOULD ASK FOR
Now that you have created your folder of inspirational haircuts it's time to chat with your stylist about it. When you are having your consultation with your stylist about what you want, be sure to be open minded to their opinion. The reality is, while it may be similar, your hair is probably not identical to the photo you were inspired by.
There are many factors that your stylist has to consider when deciding how to cut your hair. Your curl pattern, density, texture, porosity, length, and lifestyle are all things that will affect how happy you are with the final results. For example, the same cut on two people with similar curl patterns may still appear different if one has more hair density than the other. Realistically, you can expect your stylist to recreate your own personalized version of your inspired photo based on what work's best for your hair type.
You can also ask your stylist for recommendations specific to the end result you're looking for. In the past, curly girls frequently requested their hair be thinned out so it appeared smaller and more maintainable. Now, most of my clients' main request is, "How can I get more volume?"
If volume is something you have in mind, cutting layers into your hair can help add lift to your curls! When hair is cut shorter, it is more likely to bounce up and be less weighed down at the root. For that extra oomph, fluffing your roots once your hair is 100% dry will help loosen and lift your curls off your scalp, providing you with all over volume, from the roots and sides!
If you’re feeling unsure that your stylist is going to be on the same page as you or will be open/able to change up what you guys typically do, a separate day consultation may be what you need.
Most stylists offer complimentary 15-minute consultations to simply chat about your thoughts and ideas and get their professional take on your desired look. They’ll tell you what’s doable and what’s not and will help give you realistic expectations of results and the overall maintenance of your new look. If the consultation goes well, you can book your haircut on the way out or you can always go home and sleep on it.
If you don't already have a great relationship with a hairdresser or want to try someone new, it’s always best to do your research. Try a Google search for "curly hairstylist" in your area to see what your options are.
Stylists that are active on social media are going to be your best bet because you will be able to see their work and style ahead of time. You may also be able to see photos their customers have tagged them in to see all sorts of different results. If you see some of their work that you like, be sure to save it! That will be a huge compliment to them and also point them in the direction you want to go.
Finding a stylist that you can trust and build a great relationship with is invaluable! The better your relationship, the more you can rely on them to achieve your hair goals, which means the more relaxed you’ll be going to future appointments.
When you have a relationship with someone you trust they will always be looking out for what's in your best interest. It is important for your stylist to help you get what you want but also to have the knowledge and courage to tell you when a certain idea may not be most suited for your hair type or lifestyle. Remember, that honest discussion is why you sought out a qualified professional in the first place!
What if I don't like my new cut?
This happens from time to time and it is hard to know how to properly deal with the situation. Here are 3 steps you can take if you're not feeling it.
1. TAKE A LITTLE TIME
Give it a week (or at least two wash days if you can). Most times a stylist won't replicate exactly how you style your hair. You might be surprised to see that once you go home and wash and style it yourself you may be much happier with what you got. If you did something drastic like a big chop, sometimes the initial shock can be real! 😱
If you are not used to your hair being a certain length (or you just started rocking your natural curls) you should give yourself time to adjust your new look.
2. CHANGE THINGS UP
Tweak your styling routine. Some minor changes to your products can help with feeling more at home in your new shape. For instance, if you have shorter hair you may need to use much less of your favorite product than you're used to and you might even need to change up how you apply it. For instance, if you've gotten new bangs you might find that separating them into a single section sections and styling them on their own could make a huge difference.
3. REACH OUT
If you've given it time and changed up your styling routine and your new look still isn't sitting right with you, reach out to your stylist. Ask if they have any thoughts as to why it's feeling odd. It could be that you need help styling it, the layers aren't quite right or that maybe you have dryness/damage that are hindering your results. If you mention it to them within two weeks of the appointment, stylists will typically be willing to meet with you to revisit your cut. Don't forget, when you show up for your revisit you should arrive with your hair down and styled curly as you normally would. That way they can directly see what you are struggling with.
Hopefully, these tips help you feel more prepared and empowered to go about planning your next haircut appointment. Be sure to tag us in your next NEW haircut selfie!