Hairdressers Reveal The Useless Things Their Customers Say To Them
For some, getting your hair cut can be a stressful endeavor. You only have a matter of moments after they call your name to scramble and remember every hairstyle you've ever seen, what you like, blend them all together, only to say, "Uh...shorter?" to your hairdresser. You sit in the chair for twenty minutes and walk away sadder than ever. So, thankfully, the internet exists to open up dialogues between hair stylists and clients. Reddit user, r/MrVinceyVince, asked on Reddit:
Barbers/Hairdressers of Reddit: how exactly do you want customers to communicate what they want to you? What do they say/do that is unhelpful?
Tip Your Stylist
now if you really love having your hair washed and want it to last 5 minutes (oh god, please) how do you ask for that without sounding like a creep?
This. Remember to tip the person washing your hair. They remember when you come in and do an extra good job.
If my clients mention they have had a rough day or week I'll spend extra time shampooing. Also just ask if they have time for a longer shampoo. We all know that's the best part of getting your hair done.
"Really? You Sure?"
After a really good haircut, I asked the barber what I should ask for next time. She said, "Number 4".
So I go in to the same shop a couple months later (hair's pretty long at this point), get a different stylist, and she asks me what I want. "Number 4," I say.
"All over?" she asks.
"Of course!" I reply.
"Really? You sure?"
"Ok," she says... and runs the clippers straight down the middle of my head, from front to back.
That's when I realized that a "Number 4" was a clipper size - and not a style of haircut off a menu.
You're doing important work here, OP!
If someone cutting my hair asks 'You sure?', I would cease being sure. :)
At that point there would be a chat to make sure we're on the same page, and if we didn't get there I'd probably walk.
Cut Them Loose
Related question: How do I say "I don't trust myself to make decisions about what will make my potato-face look good, can I just leave that to your experimentation?"
In my experience if you go into a decent salon and give them free reign it always comes out well.
You sometimes have to convince them that you really will be happy with whatever they do but they are usually excited at having the artistic freedom. Sometimes they consult a coworker. I've never had one seem at all bothered by this.
I tell them something like "I don't want any particular style i just want to look nice, you're a pro and I'm sure you know much better than me what to do with this mess".
I have never received a bad haircut with this method at a salon. Can't say I recommend it at a barber though they do not seem very interested in this in my experience.
A couple of times I got some bold styles that I was unsure of at first but each time I got compliments so I stopped worrying. You usually will have to learn to use some products with this method though, be warned.
Ask Them To Repeat
You need to go to a higher end salon or hair stylist place for that, even though it will definitely be expensive. Your traditional corner barbershop or SuperCuts isn't for creating a whole new look. Nicer salons have people that can work with no instruction from you, or even help suss out of you preferences you didn't know you had. If you like what they do, ask them to explain all of it so that you can repeat it next time.
Should've Gone With Harry Styles...
Hairstylist who works primarily on men's hair here.
As everyone has said, photos are always good. But I'm not a magician. I had a little white blonde kid get mad at me once because he brought in a picture of Zayn Malik, in an easy undercut, so I did the cut exactly like the photo and the kid got pissy because, even though the haircut was exactly the same, he "didn't look like Zayn". Direct quote.
Also keep in mind that any picture you bring in that is not of yourself will almost certainly require styling, so you should be prepared for that. If you don't want to use any product, it won't look like the picture, but we can discuss an alternative compromise.
Be Okay With What You Ask
My boyfriend (doesn't use reddit) does hair at a high end salon. Every day he has stories of women who ask for one thing, which he delivers precisely, and then they dislike it.
For instance, the other day, a woman wanted her bangs just above her eyebrows. He had them barely touching the top of her eyebrows so that he didn't take too much off. Her bangs even matched the picture she brought in.
Despite this, she claimed that he cut them too high.
Most of the other problems stem from people bringing in a picture and saying "make me look like this." Except: it turns out that if you have a fat head and that model you brought in a picture of has a skinny head (or any other head differences), that same haircut will look WILDLY different on you. People do not understand this (I used to do the same thing before we got together).
Can You Elaborate, Please?
As a barber who's made many mistakes by assuming what people want I now ask a lot of questions. Some people are awkward and don't like to talk but I don't care. I carefully and respectfully ask them questions to figure out what they want. Most men aren't picky. Some men are. Some have no idea what they want. Its my job to guide them in the right direction. I cut a lot of walk in customers and have narrowed down the questions to just a few. Here's an example of how it usually goes.
Barber: So what are we doing for you today?
Client: Uhh just a trim please.
Barber: Okay. Would you like clippers on the sides and back or do you prefer scissors only?
Client: I'm not sure actually.
Barber: Okay. Do you want the hair off of your ear or touching your ear?
Client: I like it off my ears please.
Barber: Okay. How often do you get your haircut? (I ask this because it gives me an idea of how often they get it cut and how short I can take it without them freaking out)
Client: Usually around once a month.
Barber: Okay. I see you like to keep it short on the sides and longer up top. If I use the clippers do you want to see skin on the sides and back? Or do you prefer it longer?
Client: No skin please. A little longer than that.
Barber: Okay you got it. (Now I know that I can use a number 2 or 3 on the sides and back and it'll be just the right length for them. Also, since the client didn't know what he wanted initially I know I don't have to do anything fancy like a skin fade or anything too "modern" since it was never mentioned and there was no picture.
Limit The Amount Of Pictures
Pictures help, but don't bring in a thousand. We're trained and experienced to spot subtle differences--what looks like the same haircut in different angles to you across ten pictures looks like ten drastically different haircuts to us.
I recently had someone come in with a picture of a girl who was clearly rocking a short haircut with extensions, and ask for similar layers, except she didn't realize she was showing a picture of extensions and that in order to get that same look, she'd basically walk out with scene kid layers--which of course she didn't want.
So pictures are very helpful. But limit yourself to three, and rank them in order of most favorite to least favorite.
Don't Feel Like Chatting Today?
My hairdresser SO wants to start a salon where people pick their own capes. Blue cape means you want to converse with her. Red cape means you prefer not to make small talk during your cut. I think it's genius.
Keep It Down To Earth
As a hairdresser I like my clients to be realistic. Please don't come in looking like Mama June, show me a photo of Kim Kardashian and hoping to come out looking like Kate Moss. Come in with an idea of what you would like, how much you are willing to pay and ask questions about upkeep and maintenance. Ask your hairdresser what they think will suit your hair type, skin tone and face shape.
Be forthright and set boundaries on length/fringes etc. Don't be afraid to cut (see what I did there?!) in and ask questions and raise concerns during consultation and the treatment.
Don't Be Afraid To Say They Messed Up
I've always had good luck with explaining my lifestyle/level of commitment to maintaining my hair, a general length I want it, and going from there. Usually if I say something like "Ok, I work a manual labor job so it has to stay long enough to go in a ponytail or bun, and I generally don't take the time to do much more with it. I think I'd like the ends trimmed and some longer layers please."
Side note: the last haircut I got, I think the hairdresser slipped or something and cut a random section on the side of my head down to like 4inches (my hair is down to my waist). So now there is a weird patch that has to be pinned back because it won't reach my bun. Should I have brought this up with her? It's not like anything could be done to fix it once it is cut off :/
Yes absolutely. This is our livelihood and most educated and successful hair dressers would like to know if They f---ed up. That's how we learn and get better. Now I have been doing hair long enough to know if I made a mistake that drastic., There's a good chance the person cutting your hair realized what they did and tried to pretend like it didn't happen. Which is extremely annoying. Sorry that happened to you.
Taper Your Expectations
I'm not a hairdresser, by a daughter of one that hears all her complaints when she's done with work...
- DONT LIE about your hair history. A professional can see right through your lies. If you DIY, don't deny it. Colours don't just appear like they do on paper. Colour undertones are everything.
- Don't expect to get the exact colour you want, or even worst - expecting it to be done all in one day. Unless you want to damage your hair and sit here for 12 hours - you're going to have to do it in steps.
Here! Educate Yourself!
Also I get really uncomfortable when the barber asks me what shampoo and conditioner I use. I answer and they gave me a very disapproving look and say how bad the texture of my hair is. I get insulted each time I sit on the chair :(
I really have good thick hair. :(
Some of it is education. All stylists know Tresemme and Pantene are horrible for your hair but may not know why. They are made with petrochemicals, have silicones and waxes in them that build up on the hair (you can actually scrape this shit off with the edge of your shears it's disgusting) which in turn cause breakage, and dryness. Some places do try to sell you things, but some just want your hair to feel and look great, and good shampoo and conditioner is the MOST important step to getting healthy scalp and hair.
Do Whatever You Want
I've been a hair stylists for 13 years...
...If you are not sure what you want, have an idea of what you currently like and don't like about your hair, especially if you are a new client. Saying " Do whatever you want, " can be very stressful when you're a new client as we don't know anything about you. I may think a really short hair cut would look great but you may still want to be able to put your hair in a pony tail. Tell us that!!!! I tend to ask a lot of questions about your daily routine, your job, your activity level, how often you're willing to maintain your colour or cut, etc... Please answer those questions honestly. It really helps me create a look that will not only look fantastic but will be comfortable for you to recreate at home. If I give you a cut and style that requires 30 minutes of blow drying every day and you're not willing or able to put that time in, you will not love your hair and you'll hate me, and probably review me poorly.
If you have any areas you are self conscious about ( ears, forehead, chin, etc... ) tell me. Please. A good hairdresser won't judge and won't think poorly of you. We just need to know.
I Can't Give You Brad Pitt's Face
Have an idea of what you want. Any good barber will ask questions and explain to you any problems you may have if your hair won't work well with the cut you want. Don't be afraid to communicate. In this day and age pictures are great and easy to start from. Unhelpful "just cut it" or showing me five pictures of Brad Pitt all with different hairstyles and saying " my wife wants this" That's great champ but I just work with hair I can't give you Brad Pitts face.