ULTIMATE GUIDE TO VISITING YOUR HAIRDRESSER

As exciting this sounds, getting a new hair do could actually be pretty stressful for some. I wrote this article with an ultimate mission in mind – to change negative attitudes around visiting a hair salon and break any (occasional) language barrier between clients and hair stylists.

We’ve teamed up with hairdressing colleagues, creative friends and simply best stylists in the industry to share our exclusive tips and full-of-passion, diverse hair knowledge with you guys. Because after all, we are always here to help you on a journey to achieve your dream hair. By the end of this article not only you will be inspired for a new change but also learn how to make the most of your hair appointment. Sounds good? Keep scrolling!

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How often should I visit hairdressers? Which style works for me? Too short / dark / brassy?  These kind of questions I get asked on a daily (or sometimes hourly) basis. So, here are the key things every hair stylist wants you to know.
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
Having a clear idea of which hair style you want to achieve is always better than leaving it for someone else to decide. Although sometimes it’s easier said that done, right?
Visuals are always helpful to identify where client wants to go with their look. Listen to the stylist advice in relation to your pictures to come to a happy medium.  The look may not be achievable in one visit, so plan your future visits to get the ideal look. My pet hate is when a client says if you can do whatever you want or what would you do? As without understanding what your tastes and personality are like this is really hard to just come up with something. Because it’s probably not going to work!says session stylist and artistic director Oliver Blackaby.
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Think about your lifestyle and commitment levels. Are you more of a low or high maintenance person when it comes to hair? What is your budget? And the ultimate dream hair? For example, if you only have 15 minutes to get ready every morning then a fringe might not be the best idea.
When I was training to become a hairdresser, my talented educator Mat Cox shared a simple piece of advice that stayed with me forever. He said that “people don’t always know what they do want, but certainly know what they don’t want.”
SHARE YOUR LIKES AND DISLIKES
The first consultation part before the service is the most important one! If you hate strong, blunt lines or prefer ashy tones to warm, please let your stylist know. It’s never too much you can ask. The more info, the better.
“Hairdressers are very visual. Always bring plenty of references of what you like and what you don’t like” says session stylist James Bickmore, who has known to style tresses for Fifth Harmony (just to name a few), whilst heading shows at London Fashion Week.
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“Having an idea of cut and colour that you would like to give us a slight direction is always helpful, but it’s also important to trust your hairdresser. We spend years training and know how to create a bespoke look to compliment your complexion.” says Grant Williams from Reed Hair.
BRING VISUAL INSPIRATION
Loving Alexa Chung or obsessed with Victoria Beckham’s new textured midi? Amazing!
Visual aids are so important and the tech crunch has allowed us to step further with this. Pinterest, search engines and glossy magazines are the best inspiration gems for your hair appointment.
“I always love when clients bring in visuals as it’s so important!” – Danielle Louise, L’Oreal ID Artist
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“For me clients should always bring in a picture of the colour or cut they love as well as one they hate. Always visit the salon with your day to day makeup on when visiting for a hair colour. This is so that your colourist can design a colour to complement your skin tone on a day to day basis. Then anymore make up you wear will just make your hair colour even more amazing and you won’t have to rely on make up everyday.” – Suzanne Alphonse, Senior Art Team at Headmasters
PLAN YOUR TIME AHEAD
A full head of highlights will take some time applying, developing, toning and taking off the colour. Oh, did you want it cut and styled as well? Grab your fave book, snacks, laptop to get as comfortable as possible. Plus, there is always a choice of salon mags and yummy drinks too.
BE PUNCTUAL
Please respect our time. In busy salons we often get booked back to back where every minute is precious and showing up on time will give us more time to work magic on your hair without getting pressured as the next client is about to arrive.

“Perfection takes time and in order to give our clients the hair they love and deserve punctuation is so important!” – Tilly Penn from The House Of Rush.
DO NOT REPEAT THINGS AT HOME 
As easy as we make things look, it’s best not to colour or cut hair at home – it will never be the same! We work with different levels of hair elevation and know exactly how to angle tools in the best distribution to guarantee that final result (gone technical already, right?)
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However, there is actually some stuff you CAN do at home (yay!)
ASK FOR STYLING TIPS TO TAKE HOME
“Educating our clients on how to achieve salon hair at home and a variety of looks is vital.” says awards-winning male grooming stylist, educator and columnist Sam Wall.
Educator and ghd seminar manager Anton Alexander has top three golden styling rules:
1. Always use a light shampoo for styling even if your hair is dry. This will make such a big difference to your styling as even though we should be nourishing our strands repeatedly. This is great for our prescriptive day to day needs but on date night the moisture content of these products will be too high acting as a weight, therefore weighing the hair down. Always buy two hair care sets. Your daily need and “your date night need”.
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2. Use a dry shampoo after freshly washed and dried hair to keep hair from falling. Usually this is only used as a second day style reviver but I would recommend to use as soon as hair has been styled. Do this as your scalp produces oil all throughout the day. This acts as a preventative, absorbing the oil in its tracks which would weigh hair down making it fall flat to the head.
3. Train yourself to not touch hair throughout the day once it has been styled. Usually we start off happy with our hair and as the day goes by this seems to deflate, maybe because our curl has dropped or volume has fallen. This happens while we touch our hair through all parts of the day as our hands give off heat. We use heat in styling to mould hair, therefore we re-mould every time we touch!
AND DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK
Whether it’s the products we apply or a technique that you might find interesting – hairdressers are always happy to share their professional advice and tips with you.
“What shampoo and conditioner should I use? Texture and condition will decide, however taylor make your regime and target two areas rather than one. For example a colour shampoo will retain longevity, whereas a hydrating conditioner will replenish thirsty hair.” – Matthew-Anthony Varley from UNIQUE salons suggests.
BE OPEN TO GET HAIR TREATMENTS
The best hair treatments are of professional strength and can only be applied under control of a salon trained professional (e.g. your hairdresser) when added to colours or at the shampoo stage. Currently there are many options here, but the most popular ones at the moment are Smartbond, Olaplex, Innoluxe, Kérastase Rituals.
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Conor Cullen from Wonderland Hair advices clients to “keep your hair in the best condition possible. Regular treatments will moisturise and strengthen your hair. Healthy, glossy hair will always be in fashion and you will find styling easier and your hair will look better if the condition is optimum.”
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Even though a treatment will bring your bill up a little, remember, it’s the ultimate investment IN YOR OWN HAIR.
“When coming into the salon to start a big colour journey, you need to be open minded and realistic on what’s achievable. Bringing inspiration images will help your stylist understand your likes and dislikes so they can create a look right for you. The salon I work in, Not Another Salon, is known for bright healthy hair, we make sure every client goes home understanding how to maintain their colour until the next visit. Making sure you are using the right products (as well as treatments) is vital for your colour and condition of your hair. We also mix up bespoke colour pots for clients to take home and apply when their colour fades, so it always remains beautiful.” says Hattie Stokes who works alongside Sophia Hilton at Not Another Salon.
ALWAYS TIP YOUR HAIRDRESSER
Ok, this is kinda awkward but… Before a career change I used to 9-5 it in the city. I actually had no idea that hairdressers take tips. (how silly, I know!) This is a little gesture of appreciation for your hairstylist and I really wish someone told me about this years ago.
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What’s hot right now?
I have also asked around for 2016 / 2017 hair trend predictions to help you guys move your hair style inspirations forward in the right direction. So, here is what hair fashion is looking like this season.
“I find a lot of my clients now as we are coming into winter, our skins losing that natural glow we got from the summer months its now time to think about making your colours richer, I have a lot of clients asking me why there is the idea that we go darker in winter and lighter in summer, it is important to keep in consideration what tones suit your skin and this can be altered by things like tans, when skin is starting to get a bit paler richer tones work better to support that and illuminate your face, this doest have to be nessasrily darker but tones can be altered to create a more luminous effect after the summers sun bleaching with rich burn bronze tones for brunettes or lighter pearlised golds for blondes to ensure your not feeling dull or lacklustre.” – Sian Quinn, Senior Art Team at Headmasters
“Beach waves are out lazy girl texture is in! My favourite styling for this season is all about lazy girl texture. Undone dishevelled sexy hair created with a salt spray to give movement. Waves are becoming more random kinks and bevels. To create this at home, prep hair with L’Oreal Tecni Art PLI hair shaper, blast 80% dry, then start to twist hair in random sections to crate a dishevelled texture!” – Grace Dalgleish, Artistic Team at Brooks and Brooks
“Recently I’ve found that clients have began moving away from heavy ombres and some even growing out their highlights for a more natural, blended and low maintenance colour choice. My favourite way to style this is an effortless, beachy but healthy-type wave! To do this, I alternate the direction of my curls (towards and then away from the face) with a ghd wand or a ghd Copper Luxe Platinum styler, ensuring I rope-wind the hair when using a wand, then allow the hair to cool down and finally spray L’Oréal’s Savage Panache (a mix of hairspray and dry shampoo for volume, texture and hold) onto a ghd wide-tooth comb to dress out the waves. This perfectly shows off the multitonal colour!” – Sophia Tsilidis, ghd Style Squad 16/ 17
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