The Real Reason You’re Not Getting the Haircut You Want

Victoria Moorhouse
fall haircut

Photo: IMaxTree

There are some beauty and fashion staples that can take years to settle on. Just think about how long it took you to find that perfect leather jacket or your signature scent. And finding the perfect haircut for you is no different. It costs some cash and can make (or break) your entire look—and far too often, we walk out of the salon with a cut we didn’t really want.

We know—there are the usual things you can do to make sure you love your cut: collect pictures, communicate clearly, listen to your stylist. But getting your dream cut is a little bit more detailed than making a Pinterest board.

Bring in pictures that you don’t like.
We will admit this–this seems totally counter-intuitive, but Aveda Global Artistic Director for hair color, Ian Michael Black, told us when trying to get hair color you want, it may be a good idea to bring in pics you’re not fond of. “I never say come in with a picture you like. I say come in with pictures you don’t like,” he says. “It’s like, ‘Oh, I love this’—of course you do, it’s Kate Moss.”

Taking pics that you don’t like to the salon will allow you to point out aspects that you’ll never, ever want to wear, giving the stylist or colorist a better understanding of what’s best for you, he explains. He also adds that sometimes, we don’t actually like the hair color but what we’re really drawn to is the picture itself. Think about those editorials in magazines—or maybe an Annie Leibovitz photoshoot. Ask yourself: Do I like this hair, or do I just like this image?

And while you’re at it, bring in pictures of yourself.
We always bring in pictures of celebrities or models, but why not bring in pics of yourself? Aveda’s Global Artistic Director for hair cutting Ricardo Dinis says that he has asked clients to bring in pictures of the last time they were happy with their hair. “There’s something about that—maybe there was an element of something they really liked, maybe the texture or the length,” he notes.

He says that doing the very same cut may date the person, obviously—it’s more about getting an idea of what you liked.

But even more than just snaps of yourself, he says other types of photos are helpful, too. “We have our own lingo, terms, and words,” he says when speaking of hair stylists. “I find it more difficult when a client says to me, ‘Give me an undercut with three layers on the top.’ I’m like ‘Okay, that doesn’t make any sense.’ I much prefer someone bringing in pictures and images of things that they relate to,” he says.

Overall, he says you should do whatever makes you comfortable to communicate what you want to your stylist.

Connect with your hair stylist…it’s important.
You’re sitting down in the chair and you aren’t feeling the convo or more importantly, the cut you get at the end of your appointment. While connecting on a personal level takes time, if you’re not getting along with your stylist, maybe it’s time to find someone that can give you want you want. If you’re going to a new hairdresser, Dinis suggests trying to get to know them by really chatting before the cutting shears come out.

“If I was going to see my new hairdresser, I’ll be like, ‘Let’s build a new relationship,'” he says. “Why don’t I give you a little to begin with—let’s talk, let’s get to know each other. Let my stomach speak to my brain and my heart to let me know if you’re the right one. When you connect with that person, you’ll know.” And from there, hair magic is sure to be made!

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