How the Best Stylists Approach a Haircut and Hair Color

different colors and styles of hair

Cutting and coloring hair is part art, part science, and some might say a dash of wizardry! Whether someone wants to draw attention to their eyes or away from their nose, or create the illusion of a longer neck, a talented stylist can create just the right shape and shade to make the magic happen.

A great stylist will be able to help you feel beautiful and confident with a style that complements (or camouflages) your natural features. They approach a cut and color by asking clients the right questions and using their powers of observation to see things the rest of us might miss.

The Importance of the Consultation

Every appointment, whether at a new salon or with your regular stylist, should start with a consultation. At a first visit, this might take a while as the stylist gets to know you and what you’re hoping to achieve. 

If it is a return visit, the stylist should still take some time to ask what you thought of your cut and color last time. What worked well and what would you like to change this time around? Do you just want to “freshen up” your look, or try something new?

Communication is key, and clients should feel comfortable having an honest conversation with their stylist. Saying nothing could mean you were fully satisfied, or that you weren’t pleased but are too afraid to say so. 

With experience, stylists learn to ask the right questions to get a shy client to open up. They gather clues—both from what you say and what you don’t—about how to give you a look you’ll love.  

Finding the Best Haircut for Your Features and Your Face

Stylists make cutting hair look easy, but there are a lot of factors that go into choosing exactly what will work best for a client. They will consider a client’s hair, of course, but also their facial features, lifestyle, and personality. Here are the things they analyze to deliver  a great cut: 

  • Face shape. Whether a face is oval, round, or square can determine what type of cut will look the most flattering. For example, an angular face with firm eyes, nose, and lips might look too hard with bangs. Then again, someone with a very bold style (think Parisian fashions and chunky framed eyeglasses) might be able to pull it off. This is where the stylist’s experience and creativity come into play. They’ll know the rules, but also how and when to break them.
  • Hair texture. Wanting a certain hairstyle and having the hair to support it are two different things. The stylist will know what will work based on if the hair is curly, straight, fine, or thick. Sometimes a stylist can work around the hair’s natural elements, but clients need to understand the work and products they might need to coax their hair into shape.
  • Personality. The stylist isn’t judging your handbag or shoes, but they could be learning a lot about you by checking them out. Is your style funky? Classic? Boho chic? Professional? Artsy? Everyone has little “tells” that an experienced stylist learns to read. Clues in a person’s demeanor and fashions, plus what is learned through conversation will give the stylist an idea of the type of hairstyle that will fit the client’s personality.
  • Daily routine. How much time do you want to spend styling your hair each day? This is an important part of a haircut choice and a good stylist will ask. Someone who is busy and needs a “wash and go” style won’t be happy if their cut takes a lot of time and skill to achieve the desired look. 
  • Frequency of salon visits. Some cuts can go eight weeks or more without a touchup. Others, for example, a short bob might lose their shape in just four. A stylist should explain this so the client knows how often they will need to be back at the salon.
different hues of hair color
Image by Augustus Cetkauskas by

Choosing the Shade That Makes You Shine

Just like a haircut, choosing the best color depends on several elements. During a consultation, the stylist will examine the following features and ask questions to pinpoint the client’s hair color goals. 

  • Skin tone. A person’s natural skin tone (and the makeup they wear) can make or break a good hair color choice. For example, an amber base could look great with one person’s undertones, but someone else might look much better with dark auburn. An experienced stylist can pick up on these subtle nuances.   
  • Eye color. Icy blue eyes might call for cool ash blond. But some stylists will take a closer look. If the eyes have yellow flecks at the center, warmer-toned golden highlights can be really flattering. 
  • Natural hair color. Even though people can make a drastic change in their hair color, their original color is important. Changing from dark brown or black to blonde, for example, requires a lot of steps and could take multiple appointments. Going from light to dark is usually easier, but either way, the stylist should explain and prepare the client for the process.
  • Hair health. Damaged hair absorbs color differently than healthy hair. And if the hair is already in bad shape, color could make it look worse. It’s important to remember that things like medical conditions, prescription drugs, and pregnancy can sometimes make hair brittle or fall out, which could make coloring a bad idea. Stylists will assess whether or not the hair can handle what the client has in mind. Sometimes it is better to treat and repair the hair first, then discuss color at a later date.
  • Personal style. Just like with a haircut, color should complement a person’s personality. Certain people can pull off an artsy pink stripe, while others benefit from sticking to a polished and professional-looking style. That is not to say that everyone shouldn’t have a little fun now and then and try something new if they want!
  • Color maintenance. Reapplying highlights doesn’t need to happen as often as covering up someone’s gray. With any color choice, it is important for the stylist to explain how frequently the client will need to visit to maintain their look. 

Follow This Advice When Visiting the Salon

Stylists take all of the above things into account when they approach a haircut and color. Over time, some get so good at it that they can make an assessment in just a few minutes. Still, new clients should expect to spend time discussing their options. 

Getting the desired look means communicating effectively with the stylist. Here are some tips to get the best outcome:

  • Be open and honest about yourself and your preferences. If you don’t like to spend much time fixing your hair or hate using product, don’t be afraid to say so!
  • You might wear yoga pants to an appointment for comfort, but let the stylist know if your everyday persona is super professional. Letting them know about your everyday look, your job, and maybe even your social life can tell them a lot about the style that will suit you.
  • It’s great to give a stylist ideas by showing them photos, but be realistic. Your hair texture and facial features might be totally different from the model. Instead, be ready to tell them what you like about the style in the picture. Maybe it’s the wispiness of the bangs or the way the internal and external layers work together. The stylist may be able to give you the aspects you’re looking for, no matter your hair type.
  • Pay attention if the stylist tries to steer you away from something that they think won’t be flattering. Give them a chance to articulate exactly why before finding someone who will do what you ask. If they can point out that the length might make your neck look short or the layering will draw attention to your nose, they probably know what they’re talking about. But ultimately, it is your hair. If you don’t feel satisfied with their reasoning, it might be time to try another stylist.
  • If you are not ready to take the plunge and get a cut or color from a new stylist, consider making an appointment for just a consultation and maybe a blow-dry first. The two of you can get to know one another and discuss your ideas and options before committing to further plans.

Trust the Professional Approach

Part of getting a great haircut and color is finding a stylist who understands you and what you want. At Vakkar Salon, our stylists take the time to get to know you and what makes you tick. We bring our knowledge of haircutting techniques and mixing custom colors to every person who sits in one of our chairs. Why not book an appointment today to see what possibilities we have in store for you?

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