How to Tell Your Hairdresser What You Want

Telling your hairdresser what you want when getting your hair done can be tough.

I’ve pretty much had every hair style and color during high school. Every few months my best friend and I would terrorize our local hairdresser: one minute I wanted red hair, one minute I wanted a perm, one minute I wanted it straightened… my poor hair (and my poor hairdresser!)

The thing is, a lot of my hair experiments were merely “fixes” as I didn’t get what I wanted the first time. (Which lead to this post, How to Fix A Bad Haircut.)

And I know that a lot of ladies are sometimes scared to sound bossy or rude when explaining, so I wanted to write a short, but such a vital, important tip today on how to tell your hairdresser what you want.

The general tip is that when getting a new hairstyle, simply showing a picture of what you want to a hairstylist will help much better than words.

But I say, take it a step further: Don’t just bring photos of the style you want – bring photos of things you specifically DON’T want as well.

I started doing this recently, and it helps them greatly. You can show what you’re looking for, while kindly explaining what you’re definitely not looking for. There can always be miscommunication with words, and different words can mean different things to people (for example “shoulder length hair” is considered medium length in hairstyling, not short hair).

So that’s it – that’s the big great secret in telling your hairdresser what you want, so you can get the hair you want! Knowing how to tell your hairdresser what you want is simply down to visuals: use them to explain what you want, but make sure you also visually explain what you don’t want too.

P.S. Which hairstyle suits me? and What’s My Hair Type and How Do I Treat It?

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  1. LOL, Tine. So true.

    Filip – Millimeters might be a little too obsessive 😛

    Paint Me Gorgeous – Yes! Why does that always happen?! Now I am SO careful and take ages to explain how much I really want off – I sound crazy but I would rather that than half my hair gone!

  2. hahaha….
    And then there are times when u ask them to do something like perms and it doesn’t work… It;s what happened with my sis!
    aaaaaaahhh. I pity those hairdressers because they aren’t ever sure of what we want… and we’re very good at complaining after!!! hahahahaha

  3. i asked for and inch and a half off, lots of layers, and for my hair to pretty much look like a shorter version of what i had currently had. she chopped off 3 inches, without a layer to be found then curled my hair in the most hideous fashion. MY HAIR WAS STRAIGHTENED WHEN I WENT IN THERE!!! what would make her think i wanted it curled?? she didn’t even use scissors! she just took this styling tool and started ripping it across my hair. i’ll admit i’ve had that tool used on my hair before and it looked great, but that stylist (the one who actually LISTENED to what i wanted) used it to add some style after she used scissors to cut it. needless to say, my dad got his money back andi am NEVER going there again

    1. Sounds to me like she was using a razor. Razors can be used either to texturize hair after cutting it with shears or it can be used to do an entire haircut. However, it definitely shouldn’t have been pulling on your hair. She either didn’t have your hair wet enough or had a dull blade. I can always tell when I need to change my blade. I wonder what her problem was. lol. I also never take the liberty of taking more hair off than a client asked for. Nor do I style it however I want to. Unless the client tells me I can. It’s stupid people like her who give cosmetologists a bad name. 🙁 I’d definitely advise you to do your reserch before you visit the salon. Bring in a few different pictures of what you would like. And a few of what you don’t like. The consultation is the most important part of the haircut. Make sure your stylist has a good idea of what you want before she starts cutting. And if you don’t like razor cuts, you can tell her not to use a razor. I’d say, don’t shun it forever though. I love using the razor to cut. They can make a haircut look awesome. Maybe your stylist just didn’t know how to use it properly. Sorry for the rambling… I realize you posted this quite some time ago. Hope you’ve had better luck since then. 🙂

  4. My name is Serene but I’m not so serene anymore.

    OMG! I am so depressed right now after a bad haircut at ……Great Clips. I know!!!! I don’t know what I was thinking or maybe I wasn’t thinking at all. I was like a zombie that just walked in (waist long) hair and walked out (with shoulder length choppy hair).

    My hubby needed a haircut and he always goes to Great Clips or places like that. He asked me if I would accompany him and I did. I had been contemplating on getting a trim or getting a shorter version of what I had. I had my hair layered and they all came together in the back in a V shape. It was very nice but the ends needed a cleanup. The longest part was below my hips. I have long, thick, jet black beautiful hair if I may say so myself. Oh, I mean “had”.

    I asked the guy to take about two inches off and got six inches off. WAHHHHH!!!!GRRRRR!!! Not sure what to do now. My biggest mistake was going to a cheap place like that without doing any research and acting on impulse. I asked the guy to layer my hair and to maintain the V shape. I asked him before he started butchering my hair if he was confident enough. He said he was. So here I am venting with my hair in a bun. And the bun keeps falling off because now it doesn’t even want to stay in bun.

    My hair isn’t textured anymore. It is layered but it looks like the steppes of a rice paddy field because you can actually see the layers. They are horizontal!!!! You can see lines. The inside hair is longer than the outside ones. It’s longer on the inside and shorter on the outside and all in one line. Do you know what I mean?

    My word of advice, never ever got to those cheap chain places because I learned the hard way. Please post if you have any words of advice and encouragement for me.

  5. I have finally found the perfect hairdresser, one that knows the true meaning of the word trim, she is the only hairdresser i have ever had complete faith in. I am so confident that if i have a special event on, i make an appointment that day and know i will come out glam.

  6. Sadly, I’m a cosmetologist who just got a bad haircut. From my boss. I don’t know what happened. She usually does a decent job. I’ll admit…I’m kinda picky. Not too picky though. I’ve been trying on and off for at least 5 years now to grow my hair out. I tried extremely hard this past year. My hair was finally touching my shoulders. I was so excited. I could finally pull it all back in a pony tail without the sides falling out, I could wear cute braids in my hair, wear cute accessories. Well…so much for that. It’ll take at least 4-5 months to grow it out to that length again. She just trimmed the very ends off the back. Unfortunately, she took a good 3.5 inches off the sides. It’s kind of a mullet. It’s awful. The worst part is, I just wanted it too look good for the hair show we’re going to next weekend. Guess I’ll either have to look like crap or cut off all the length in the back. Ugh! I’m cutting my own hair next time.

  7. I’m a first year university student & had to stay up pretty much the whole week finishing essays & studying. Well anyways my mother came into town & as a gift for barely surviving my first year she took me to get my hair done (everything but school was screwing up & dying, but it my stresses reflected on my grades).. My hair was soo very long and healthy, I loved it. But summer is coming & my hair is very thick & dark. So I went to get it done. & my hair looks horrible now :'(. my layers arent even, it looks like she took a knife, closed her eyes & started chopping my hair, my hair barely touches my shoulders now… Its like there was a machine in the womens head that told her to do the exact opposite from what I asked for. well to say the least i could have done a better job myself. teaches me to get my hair cut when I’m sleep deprived.. oh well, It’ll grow back. I try to stay positive.. but it’s soo horrible. oh & theres still one more week of classes. ugh! soooo mad! Just another lesson learned I guess.. & the lesson is NEVER GET YOUR HAIR CUT AT A CHEAP SALON & WHEN YOUR SLEEP DEPRIVED.

  8. I just got a bad hair cut. I’m so pissed because I brought a photo!!! It was of the front, sides, and back. She made all the layers way too short and shorter and thicker bangs. When she tried to style it my hair looked like utter crap. She barely glanced at the photo. My glasses were off and I couldn’t see when she was cutting it. I really should have refused to pay. It’s way too short now and I have to go back to work tomorrow and hear everybody’s comments on it. >:( I will never get my hair cut in a mall again. They’ve done decent jobs before but every time they styled it they’ve done a horrible job.

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