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Be honest with yourself
According to Dove celebrity stylist Mark Townsend, the number one mistake people make when getting a haircut is being unrealistic about their styling commitment. If you’ve been air-drying your hair for the past 10 years, chances are you won’t start to flatiron it daily. Pick a style you know you can—and will—replicate at home.
You are not the expert
You may have heard certain rules when it comes to cutting hair, but that doesn’t make you an authority. Many customers try to give their hairstylists instructions on the technique to use when cutting their hair. According to Redken’s lead stylist, Jorge Joao, this is a big no-no. Remember that your stylist is the expert and has his or her own way of doing things, regardless of what you’ve heard is “right.”
Use simple language
So what should you tell your stylist? Describe the style you want in clear terms. “When asking for a cut, keep it simple and try to use words that won’t confuse your message,” says Joao. “Sometimes, using trendy words or slang can give you a result you’re not looking for.”
“Hairstylists are, by nature, visual creatures,” says Townsend. So have images—be they from magazines, the Internet, your personal collection or anywhere else—that will help convey the style you want. A picture really is worth 1,000 words.
Pick a stylist you trust
Once you find a stylist who you mesh with and who understands your hair, stick with that person. “When you’re looking for a change, you should go to someone you trust,” says Joao. It’s OK to debate with your hairstylist about possible styles, but if you really don’t trust his or her judgment, it’s probably time to look elsewhere.
What to do if you still end up with something you don’t like
Make sure you give your new cut some time. Sleeping on it for a day or two, washing your hair and styling it yourself—even asking friends for their opinions—are all good to do before deciding you don’t like your new ’do. “Honesty is the best policy,” says Townsend, “but saying what you mean and being mean are two different things.”
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