How to explain your hair color/cut goals to your stylist

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Isn’t it the best when you get a point with your hairstylist that you totally trust them and know that they are going to deliver amazing results every time? It’s so nice to be able to mentally check that off the list of things you need to think about.

It can be a process to get there, and sometimes it can be really intimidating to go to a new stylist! Just a reminder: it’s always a good idea to call ahead and see if you can set up an initial consultation with a new stylist, especially if it’s your first time. Typically these are complimentary and it gives you both a chance to meet, talk about what you are interested in, and generally get an idea for whether it will be a good fit. You could also possibly get a rough estimate of price too!

This is not only helpful for you as a client, but it can also be helpful for the stylist! Giving him or her a chance to see your hair and hear about what your goals are before the appointment will allow them to think about the process that’s required to meet your goals. Plus, it might even give you a better idea of how long or short the appointment will be. In general, this is one of the best things you can try to do if you are seeing a new stylist!

The next best thing is to bring in photos. Hairstylists are usually visual people, so seeing images of what color or cut you want is easier than just trying to explain it. There may be terminology that you don’t know which could inhibit you from explaining clearly what you are interested in! With a photo, you can both look at the same image and get on the same page about whether it’s possible or not, and also discuss other important details.

When you are clicking through Pinterest (have you seen my hair board?) looking for hairstyle inspiration for yourself, keep your own hair texture and color in mind. Usually blonde hair shows more details of a cut than brunette or black hair does. So if you have a rich brown hair color but love the look of a blonde haircut, that’s an important thing to go over with your stylist. And he or she may be able to explain that the cut is possible but it may not have the same visual impact as it does on a blonde.

Similarly, when it comes to color choices for your hair, it’s really helpful to have a photo. You may not be able to explain that you want cooler, icy blonde instead of a warmer, golden tone, but you can point it out in a photo. And your stylist will know exactly what your goals are having seeing the exact color you are trying to achieve! It may not be possible, but at least you know you’re both on the same page!

p.s. if you want to learn more, read how to tell your stylist that you’re unhappy with your hair or how to find a hairstylist!


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Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says · 06.26.18

I find that bringing in photos works wonders! I can never explain the cut I want so it’s essential! 🙂

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

Allie says · 06.26.18

You’re hair looks amazing! I finally found a stylist I love, and it has made such a difference! It’s amazing how intimidating it can feel to have someone change your hair! Like you say, pictures are key, thank goodness for Pinterest! xAllie

Michele says · 06.26.18

This post could. It have come at a better time! I find it hard to explain what I’m looking for to a stylist, even when I bring pictures, because they’re more visual and I’m more verbal (Think, “I like lobs, but not in a middle aged local news anchor moonlighting as a PTA treasurer way”). It’s funny that you mention blonde shows up better in pictures than brown does…this is SUCH an issue when I’m on Pinterest (including when I brought your iconic “bouncy curled under” picture in! Always my “Gateway Kate”). Thanks for the helpful info!

Also, can you post details about your latest cut? Looking for a little inspiration.

Valerie says · 06.26.18

Great tips! The consultation is so important. I found a stylist who knows what I would like even better than I do!

Kim says · 06.26.18

I would have never thought about doing a consultation. TBH I’ve been cutting my own hair for years because it’s so hard to find a stylist that I mesh well with that does exactly what I envision hahah.. maybe I’m difficult, but these tips are super helpful!

Kim — #! TIP for Sonoma

Dani says · 06.26.18

This, along with the other two posts that you have linked is SO helpful! I have been in a hair rut for about 6 months now and was unsure what to do! Thanks for the tips!

Ashlee says · 06.26.18

How do I tell my stylist I want your haircut, besides showing pictures. I think you used to have it on here somewhere but I can’t find it!

Elizabeth says · 06.26.18

This is wonderful! We just moved and I’m on the hunt for a new stylist in our area! One question, how do you know what is a reasonable price? I know you will pay for good quality and I’m ok with that but I can’t afford to pay $300-500 every 6 weeks, that’s just unrealistic for our family.

Laura says · 06.26.18

So, um, it’s not asking too much for YOU to just go back behind the chair so we can all just show up and show you pictures of your hair, right?????? 🙂

Morgan Gunder says · 06.27.18

Have you experienced hair loss after the birth of your daughter? If so, do you have any tips or tricks to help regrow?

Carleana Delacruz says · 07.06.18

Always interesting to hear things from the client’s perspective! A picture (or two) is always a great tool but keep in mind that the stylist will use it as an inspiration photo and a good stylist will discuss the customization required for your texture, face shape, etc…

Samad says · 07.28.18

I learned a lot from reading this article. Tips are very useful for me. After 1 tips for Hair Color.

Liz says · 08.25.19

What are your thoughts on extensions?

Judy Rhoades says · 11.07.21

Love your hair. I’m also a blonde. I recently switched hair stylist after many, many years and asked for a root touchup (to cover grays) in a shade darker than my highlights. I ended up with dark hair, she covered all my blonde highlights. She didn’t understand “root touchup” and I went in 2 days later for a few highlights around face and she did full head blonde foils. I love the blonde, but now most of darker shade roots is now blonde. Lol 🙃 very little contrast now. Lol What do you use? At home? Yours has beautiful contrast. I think I’m a 8/9. Would love to see tutorial of your hair coloring. Angie at Hot & Flashy did a “covid at home” tutorial but your color is more what I’m looking for. Can you share your coloring secrets? If you already did, i can’t seem to find it. So pretty. Thanks.