No more bad hair stress

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - INDEX - Tracey Strange

Tele­vi­sion makeover shows used to ir­ri­tate me. I could never watch with­out mum­bling at the screen: “A good hair cut will do it.” Sub­jects may have had their teeth fixed, their wrin­kles filled, but a top hair stylist usu­ally had the big­gest im­pact. The dif­fer­ence be­tween mak­ing a bang (pun in­tended) and look­ing a lit­tle jaded can usu­ally be mea­sured in a few art­fully cut cen­time­tres. But, like any re­la­tion­ship, get­ting the best from a stylist, no mat­ter how good, mainly comes down to two things: re­spect and com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Here’s how to keep the re­la­tion­ship as smooth as a freshly done ’do.

• If you are up for a big change, don’t book a busy late-night or Satur­day ap­point­ment. Book in when you know they can give you time and at­ten­tion.

• Ring if you’re go­ing to be late. Stress­ing out your stylist is never good for busi­ness — theirs or yours.

• One sen­tence a stylist never wants to hear: “I’m happy for you to do what you want.” You rarely are. Take along pho­tos of hair­styles you like. A good stylist will be able to spot what you want in­stantly from a seem­ingly dis­parate se­lec­tion of im­ages.

• Take some re­spon­si­bil­ity. Don’t shrug in­dif­fer­ently if a stylist asks if you’re happy with your cur­rent cut. You don’t have to know what’s wrong with it specif­i­cally; just have an idea. Does a long fringe ir­ri­tate you? Is it too frizzy? Too flat? Too poufy at the sides? Does it only look good for half an hour af­ter you’ve blow-waved it? It’s all good in­for­ma­tion.

• Try to work out why you like a par­tic­u­lar im­age be­fore you show it to a stylist. Is it be­cause you think your hair would look good that way or be­cause Gigi Ha­did/Jen­nifer Lawrence/He­len Mir­ren looks par­tic­u­larly fetch­ing? A good cut won’t make you look like some­one else, just a bet­ter ver­sion of your­self.

• If you cut and colour your hair reg­u­larly, it’s highly likely you will have de­vel­oped a re­la­tion­ship with your hair­dresser that tran­scends nor­mal client-pro­fes­sional bonds. It will feel like a friend­ship — ad­mit­tedly a slightly dys­func­tional one, as it’s pri­mar­ily based on your need to look good and their need to earn a liv­ing. But don’t treat your stylist as a free psy­chol­o­gist. All they re­ally have is scis­sors, a comb and an opin­ion.

• There’s a dif­fer­ence be­tween style and cut. Your hair­dresser may have given you the same cut as Gigi, but styled it dif­fer­ently. If you be­lieve your new look is dif­fer­ent to what you wanted, speak up be­fore you leave the sa­lon. A lit­tle ex­pla­na­tion could be all you need to feel re­as­sured.

• It takes time to build up trust. Stylists don’t only have to be good; they must be con­sis­tently good. If your con­fi­dence in yours is dwin­dling, surely it’s bet­ter to heed the lessons of Re­la­tion­ships 101, and talk? Book in at a non-busy time and point out gen­tly that you’ve ceased be­ing happy with the way you look. Rather than be­liev­ing the grass might be greener at a sa­lon down the road, be hon­est. It’s noth­ing they haven’t heard be­fore.

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