Nhi An Tran, creative director at Toronto's Sassoon Salon – yes, that Sassoon – tells us what we need to consider when getting ready to go under the shears. (Hint: It's all about how you prepare before the cut.)
1. Know your lifestyle (and what haircut works within it)
It's time to honestly assess your styling prowess. Are you a seasoned pro with a straightener or do you toss your hair into a ponytail before running out the door? Your new 'do is going to look great at the salon, but will it be manageable when you get home?
Ability and time are major factors in the maintenance of many women's hairstyles. If you don't have the time to style your hair every morning, skip a bob or fringe that demands daily straightening.
Consider how often you get your hair cut now and if you're willing to visit the salon more often (ultimately spending more money) for a style such as a pixie cut that demands frequent trimming. These questions relate to your way of living, of course, so take stock of how much time you can – and want to – realistically devote to your hair.
"A great style is about getting a cut that is right for you and your lifestyle," emphasizes Tran.
2. Set a goal
We set many goals for ourselves: career goals, financial goals and life goals. But should we have hair goals? Yes, according to Tran.
"It's something we don't really think about, but there's a whole spectrum of options. Consider where you want to go from here." Figure out what you like and dislike about your hair right now, what you want to change or keep, and how to get there.
Page 1 of 2 -- Discover expert advice on how to tailor your haircut for your face shape and personal style on page 2
Perhaps your goal is to finally grow your hair past your shoulders, or maybe you want to remove thickness. Thinking about what you want to achieve now and in the future will help ensure you are happy with your new 'do for the long term and not make any rash decisions. "It's important to set goals for what your target is so you can make it a reality," says Tran.
3. Should you let your face shape guide your new cut?
It's 2011 – do we really need to consider our face shape when getting a new cut? Yes and no, says Tran.
"Stylists do use facial features as a reference to play up or play down certain attributes, like softening the jawline for a square face, for example, or adding a fringe to a high forehead. At the same time, it's not always a factor because people are more open-minded about hairstyles now. We don't have cookie-cutter clients," he says.
Tran also stresses that your hair should reflect your personality, regardless of your face shape. "Women are really breaking barriers and embracing their features now. It's important to remember to be confident about your hairstyle and cut." Your hair is a fun way to express yourself, so don't be afraid to experiment.
4. Is it time for something completely different?
Is your current style representing the current you, or an old version of yourself?
"People have a tendency to stick with one style because their stylist may not be open to giving advice for a different cut," says Tran, who suggests looking at pictures of celebrities for ideas. Think about what you do or don't like about certain styles and – most importantly – why.
If you decide to go for a new look, "bring visuals to your appointment and really think about the elements (of those cuts that) you want and don't want, especially if it's a big change," he says. And it's always a good idea to go for a free consultation to discuss what will work with your hair type. "Getting your hair cut should not be about shock factor. It's about finding a cut that suits your individual style and bone structure, and then really individualizing that cut."
The bottom line is that a little planning and forethought will help you identify what you want and need from your new haircut. Go for a free consultation with an open mind. Doing some legwork before your hair appointment will pay off in the end – you'll walk out with a stylish, perfect-for-you new 'do.
Just watch the compliments roll in!
Page 2 of 2