The ABCs of getting the perfect haircut

No more stress at the hairdressers! Consider these tips when looking to book your next trim

An individual getting a mullet style haircut
ILLUSTRATION: Jill Baccay / The Peak

By: Eden Chipperfield, News Writer

It takes one bad haircut to make your confidence seemingly evaporate. Hair is a big part of how we express ourselves and a point of confidence and pride in our appearance. A haircut or hair colour that goes wrong can be a challenging situation to navigate. 

I was fortunate to work as a front desk assistant at a well-known hair salon in the Vancouver area. I learned a wealth of knowledge from the stylists and colourists — from shampooing techniques to hair drying, and matching the colour wheel to your hair that suits your skin tone the best. Below are a few tips I want to share from my days at the salon that will make your next trip a successful visit. 

Honesty is the best policy. 
Leaving your hair in someone else’s hands is a nerve-wracking experience. So, explaining what you’re looking for when you’re in the chair is essential. Understandably, you may not want to hurt the stylist’s feelings, as you are critiquing their work, but I promise it’s better to be honest the whole way through the appointment. The stylists are there to work with you and follow your vision, so be as transparent as possible. The same goes at the end of the appointment; if you are unhappy with the result, you must speak up and let them know so they can correct what you’re unsatisfied with as soon as possible. 

Inspiration is a great place to begin. 
The claim that stylists and colourists dislike being shown inspirational photos from the internet is false. It’s great to have pictures or videos of what you’re looking for, so stylists can help replicate the haircut you want. I always have better results when showing images of what I want, from fringe and length, to colour and style. If you’re venturing into the world of hair colour, offering a colourist the tones and hues you’re looking for helps them accomplish exactly what you want. The same goes for the haircut; ease your mind by asking the stylist to replicate a style you like the look of, or have an image to reference. If you are unhappy with the result or think your request still needs to be accomplished, see the above section.

Junior stylists and colourists are still qualified!
In the hair world, there are different ways to classify the level of stylist, which goes in order from apprentice to junior, intermediate, advanced, then master. Some individuals might shy away from scheduling an appointment with junior stylists because of their experience level, however, I can 100% tell you juniors are all qualified and graduated from a formal program. They love the opportunity to practice and develop their growing skillset. Often, junior stylists and colourists have been on the floor of salons for a while, so they know the inner workings of the environment. My advice when considering booking with a junior is to remember they are also students looking for opportunities, just like us

Textured hair requires different care.
Hair types vary across the board. Afro or textured hair types, for instance, require specialized care and attention. There is certainly a particular wealth of knowledge associated with styling textured hair types. A lack of textured hair education in beauty schools results in limited options for Black clients, as well as improper hair treatment. Finding a stylist or colourist that’s knowledgeable about your hair type eases the anxiety of entrusting your hair to someone who may not have the correct experience or techniques. If you are trying out a new salon and want to know if a stylist or colourist can deal with your hair type, research beforehand or call and ask. In the long run, knowing up-front will be better than finding out later. 

Learn a new haircare routine.
Need help maintaining your new locks? Most individuals dread having to re-wash their hair once it’s been cut, as all the style is washed away. However, hope is not lost! Creating a personalized haircare routine requires research, and a great way to start is by asking the stylist taking care of your hair. Another myth is that all the best products come from chain stores like Sephora — which does have beautiful lines — but drugstores like Shoppers and London Drugs also have fantastic options when building your haircare routine. Matching my type of hair to products with the help of my stylist was the best start. Tip: ask what products they used the day of your appointment. If you liked how your hair felt once you left the salon, maybe consider adding those items into your routine, but don’t feel pressured into spending money either!

Make a future appointment.
When my life gets busy, self-care is the first thing that gets cut. I enjoy booking appointments in advance so that I have something to look forward to and ensure that I’m taking care of myself down the road. There’s nothing like getting a fresh cut and style that makes you feel your best. When I see the notification in my calendar, I feel happy to know that past-Eden, six months ago, was thinking about present-day-Eden. In a way, it’s a gift to yourself to ensure you’re considering your self-care.

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