13 Things Your Hairstylist Won’t Tell You

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(I DID NOT write this article, and these are not necessarily my personal opinions, so I ask that you please not take them as such!)

Hairstylists share their tips for understanding their jobs and how to get the most out of your time in the swivel chair.

Interviews by Maureen Mackey From Reader’s Digest

1. I’m a beautician, not a magician. I can give you Gisele Bündchen’s haircut, but I can’t give you her face.

2. Come at least five minutes early. If you’re running late, please call ahead. Show me some basic respect. This is a business, not fun and games.

3. Don’t ask me to “squeeze” you in when I’m already booked. I’d be taking time and effort away from other clients. You wouldn’t like being treated that way.

4. Hairdresser school does not teach about counter transference, projection, negative reinforcement, or personality disorders. If you’re looking for a therapist, all I have is a tail comb and an opinion.

5. Some women think that if they keep their hair all one length the way it was in high school, everyone will think they’re still in high school. Guess what? You’re not. As you get older, you need to soften the lines around your face. Layers are the magic remedy.

6. Bodies and hair change as hormones change. If your hair is dry, listless, or brittle, or if it’s not holding your color or style the way it used to, see a doctor. If your hair isn’t overprocessed, you could be pregnant (surprise!) or menopausal (yes, I can tell).

7. A trim is not “just” a trim. It requires my expertise, skill, knowledge, and time. Would you say to your dentist, “It’s just a tooth,” or to your doctor, “It’s just a leg”?

8. That single bill you stuff into the shampoo person’s hands isn’t doing her any favors. A dollar bill doesn’t buy anything anymore. You should tip her at least $3—more if your hair is long.

9. If you want to buy a bottle of color and do your own hair to save a buck, you can live with the consequences.

10. Some clients will say, “Cut my hair just like you did last time.” That always baffles me. The average time between appointments is six to eight weeks. I have hundreds of clients. How am I supposed to remember exactly how I did your hair the last time? If you want a carbon copy of a cut and style you loved, take a picture and show me.

11. Why do you think a child’s haircut should cost less than yours? Kids don’t sit still. Kids kick. It’s an intense experience.

12. Standing all day and using scissors and a blow-dryer takes its toll—I have arthritis in my fingers, calcium deposits in my wrist, and 10 percent less hearing than I used to. I am a physical wreck.

13. We see women at their worst. Their hair is wet, they have foils on their hair, they have no makeup on. There’s nothing for them to hide behind. So they tell us everything. The truth is, I really don’t care what they do sexually. I’m only interested in their hair.

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