Everything to Ask a Hair Stylist BEFORE Your Next Cut or Color

by Sami

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Let’s face it, it’s been a while since some of us have sat in a salon chair. So I’m sharing EVERYTHING to ask a hair stylist before your next cut or color.

So many of us have huge expectations when it comes to getting our hair done, but also have so many questions we’re afraid to ask. That’s why I asked Stan Newton, Director of Education at Jón Alan Salons to join me on The Sami Cone Show to discuss what everyone should know before going back to the hair salon.

Everything to Ask Hair Stylist BEFORE Next Cut or Color

What to Ask at the Hair Salon

When I talked to Stan about what to ask at the hair salon he had several things that immediately came to mind. But there were a few key takeaways.

The most important thing I heard him talk about was the power of the consultation. Here’s what Stan had to say:

The Power of the Consultation

Some stylists prefer to schedule a consultation before scheduling a haircut appointment (You can do this for free at many salons, including Jón Alan Salons).

If you were to ask a stylist, “How long does a good consultation last?”, most say 5-10 minutes. But Stan says it should last the duration of the service (45min – 1 hour). A lot of people think it ends at the washbowl, but it’s a dialogue/conversation that needs to continue.

Scheduling a consultation in advance of a haircut also allows you to walk away and ponder a few things before making any decisions:

  • Do you feel comfortable with the stylist?
  • Do you like their ideas of how to cut and style your hair?
  • Can you commit to the cost and the maintenance schedule to keep it looking that way?

Most people wont get up and leave if they’ve already booked a haircut, but if it’s just a consultation, there is more freedom to make important decisions when it comes to changing your look.

Another great suggestion Stan made was to be open to hearing the stylist’s ideas, but then go have a chat with the people that are important in your life. Let it sit with you and then you can make those informed decisions rather than feeling like you’re cornered in the salon in that moment.

Hair Color Consultations

The power of the consultation could not be more important than when it comes to color. Color consultations cost $25 at Jón Alan, but the cost is then applied to the service.

The reason the team suggests having a consultation before a color service serves multiple purposes.

First of all, you may call and make an appointment for an all-over color when what you really need is a color correction. If that’s the case, the timing of those services can vary drastically. The last thing you want is to rush your stylist, especially on an initial visit.

Also, a stylist isn’t truly going to know how your hair will handle the color treatment you want until they see it in person and feel it. The color consultation gives you a better chance and ending up with the exact color and effect you desire.


Be Prepared, Be Honest & Bring Ideas

Before you get back in a salon chair for your next cut or color, Stan says to be prepared, be honest and bring ideas.

Be Prepared

You should be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What do you like about your hair now?
  • What don’t you like?
  • Do you move it around a lot?
  • Part it the same way?
  • How do you wish it was?

Bring Ideas

You can actually empower your stylist before you ever arrive at the salon. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Call your salon and ask, “What’s the best way to send you what my hair looks like now and a picture of what I want.”
  • If you’re going to find imagery, don’t find just one. Pull multiple images of what you like (Consider creationg your own Pinterest board.)
  • Likewise, find pictures of similar cuts/color that highlight things you don’t like.

Be Honest

Finally, be honest and genuine about what you’re willing to do in terms of styling every day, upkeep, etc. What is your commitment to maintaining the style or color? Are you willing to pay what your stylist anticipates it will cost to keep up the quality of your hair, both in terms of visits and products?

How to Keep from ‘Cheating on’ Your Hairdresser

You know it happens: we get a haircut we don’t like and we leave the salon forever rather than addressing the issue (hence, the power of the consultation again!).

Stan says it’s important to get to the bottom of why: what you liked, what you didn’t like, etc. After all, a stylist doesn’t want you walking around with hair you don’t like. Keep communication open and be willing to discuss where you feel like things went wrong on your end. Then, give your stylist a chance to make it right before ghosting them.

Watch my interview with Director of Education from Jón Alan Salons below:

Imagine my excitement when I discovered an article on Real Simple that affirmed much of what we discussed above!

How do I tell a stylist I’m not happy? (especially in the middle of a cut/color?)

So this begs the question, how do I tell a stylist I’m not happy with how things are going, especially in the middle of a cut or color? If you’re feeling anxious or a bit of concern, just ask or go back to the consultation.

Are you being reassured throughout the journey? Stan says it’s OK to ask your stylist to talk you through their process and remind you of what you agreed upon at the beginning of your visit.

The Doctor vs. the Waiter

Stan gave a very telling example of a doctor vs. a waiter and how it relates to finding the right stylist.

At the end of the day, Jon Alan is about service. But what I’ve really learned is when you just try to offer what’s on the menu, you’re not really delivering at a higher level.

That’s when I thought about serving at a higher level – like a doctor: listen, understand, and give the best advice. That way, if someone chooses to follow the prescription you’re giving, they’ll get the results quicker. Whereas if you choose to not follow his advice, you won’t get the results you want.

From a consumer perspective, it’s mutual respect and understanding: a hairdresser wants to give you what you want AND exceed it.

– Stan Newton

It’s similar with a physical trainer: are you getting the results you want? Do you need to adapt it? It’s looking at the journey, not finding one thing. The end is constantly moving & changing. Therefore, the constant conversation about your hair has to be at the forefront of your service. 

How do I find the right stylist that’s a fit for my hair?

Now that we’ve asked the big questions and prepared you for a successful salon visit, you likely have one more question: How do I find the right stylist that’s a fit for my hair?

The advantage of social media is massive now; use social media to see a stylist’s work. What you should be looking for is not just the hair you want, but is what you’re seeing good craftsmanship.

Look for a sense of connection: does the stylist seem interested or does it seem like just a job? Do they exude confidence and positive energy? Chances are they may lose interest in you if it’s just about their ego.

This is just an ounce of all I’ve learned from sitting in the salon chairs of Stan, Katie, Hannah and the other stylists I’ve come to respect at Jón Alan. It’s my hope that you’ll take these questions and develop your own trusted, long-lasting relationship with a stylist.


Get $20 off your first visit to Jón Alan Salons when you mention The Sami Cone Show

You can read more about my Jón Alan Salon Experience and even get $20 off your first visit to any of their four Nashville-area salons when you mention The Sami Cone Show.

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