Getting your hair cut, coloured or treated can be vastly therapeutic or a terribly stressful experience. Have you experienced walking out of the salon feeling like you’ve just made one huge mistake? Or perhaps spent the entire week fussing about your hair every time you walk past a reflective surface? Many of us did.

Knowing how to communicate with your hairstylist to align expectations is key to avoid such situations. Here’s a cheat sheet to make sure you’ll never have to feel stressed from your haircut again.

1. Choose a proper salon


Before cracking your head on how to talk to your hairstylist, you’ve got to find the right person to talk to. A good salon does not necessarily need to be at a premium location or endorsed by a celebrity stylist. There are many gems located right in the heart of many neighbourhoods.

How do you identify a good stylist?


  • Checks your hair type, condition and current style
  • Asks for your preference
  • Listens to your needs and expectations


  • Does not overly criticise your hair condition and current style
  • Is not adamant in selling you salon products


  • Offers sound advice for your hairstyle
  • Is familiar with tools and products to achieve your desired outcome
  • Commands some respect from other junior stylists in the salon

2. Be open to talk about your life


Be open to talk! Just like a consultation session with your doctor, your hairstylist needs to understand your condition, your lifestyle and expectations before giving you a “diagnosis” and “prescription”. Treat your stylist like a friend whom you have not met in a long while. Tell him about your work, your boss’ temperaments, your schedule and activities, and the amount of hair care you do on a daily basis. This will help him decide what hairstyle is suitable for you. For example, if you work in a creative industry, your hairstylist will have the flexibility to suggest a bolder cut or colour. However, if you work in a corporate setting with stricter rules, he will be able to give you a style within your HR limits.

It gets easier and more fun as you get to know more about your stylist with subsequent visits!

3. Be specific and show pictures if you can


To further align expectations, tell your hairstylist exactly what you want. Never be vague such as “I want a trim” or “keep the current style”. How short do you want your trim to go? What is your current style?

Use phrases such as “I want to have a short bob that starts from the nape of my neck and ends at my chin.” Point to your stylist where you envision the length to be.

If you have pictures to show, whip them out! Google is a powerful tool. If your inspiration comes from a blogger’s hairstyle, show your stylist a few pictures of the same style from different angles. This way, he is able envision the style in its fullness. Your hairstylist will be even more delighted and thankful if you have a video to show.

However, be ready for ‘No’s. You wouldn’t want a Yes Man as a stylist and walk out of the salon with an unexpected result. A good hairstylist will let you know if the style is suitable for your hair type, length, and maintenance habits.

4. Ask questions

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Don’t be afraid to ask questions whenever your hairstylist suggests a look. If you do not already have something in mind and would like your stylist to create something that suits you, do not go in blindly! Ask him to show you pictures of the style or colour he envisions for you before deciding to take the cut.

This writer once went into a salon and boldly said, “I’m not sure what I want, can you create a look that suits me?” With that, the scissors are summoned and with each snip, her heart pumped more furiously.

This isn’t the best practice. But armed with this checklist now, you can avoid the same mistake and enjoy every salon session you have!



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About the Author
Joane Ling"There are no ugly women, only misinformed ones." - a slight tweak to the famous quote is what keeps Joane passionate about all-things-beauty. This ba...Read More