As some of you might know, I started my career in hairdressing, working as a stylist and colourist for seven years. And, as a self-confessed chameleon (you name it, I’ve probably had it!) I’m pretty used to change! (Long to short, girly to mohawk, black to blonde, and then blue, pink, yellow (!), undercuts, mini-fringes…)
(cue dodgy picture circa 2003, I’m the startled-bird-looking one on the right)
So you’ve decided to go for it and spruce things up a bit. Now here’s what you do:
- Go to someone you can trust. When in doubt, have a blowdry/trim with them first, if you’ve never been the stylist before. COMMUNICATION is almost more important than the cut or colour itself, if this is lost on either side, this will not turn out pretty.
- He/she might be the lead colourist/stylist of XYZ salon, but if they’re going be intimidating, they might do something you will regret. Listen to them (they are the professionals, still) but don’t allow yourself to be bullied into anything. If they say a fringe will bring out your eyes, let them know if you hate having hair in your face, for instance.
- So you’ve got your tattered picture of Rock Star/Screen Starlet in your purse. No, you don’t look like her, but you want HER HAIR. But you don’t have her hair, or anything like it. Be realistic.
- Having said that, bring pictures. References of your dream look on different people will narrow things down for the stylist (who knew there’s a million versions of chestnut brown?) I’ve had it happen so many times where a client might say bright red, but mean auburn/ginger/bordeaux/fire engine/strawberry. Pictures make a stylist’s life so much easier, but it’s also easier to suggest an alternative if they know it’s not going to work.
- Your lifestyle is of crucial importance. How much time are you willing to spend on your hair every morning, and will your new style accommodate for lazy days too? Let them show you how to style your hair on a daily basis, but also how to style it for a night out.
- On that note, also take into consideration how often you would need to recolour your hair. There are small tricks your colourist might suggest to make the regrowth seem less obvious. Also keep in mind that sometimes it might take up to 6 months for you to reach your target shade. Be open to that!!
- Use the right products!!! I can not stress this enough! If you consider that hair consists mainly of keratin and other proteins, and colouring your hair will remove some the protein, you need to get that back in your hair!! It all depends on the service you have, but my favourite hair saviour has to be Redken’s Extreme Range
- When you come for your colour appointment, wear clothes that make you feel good and represent your style, but try to keep the colours neutral. Black is a good option. Same goes with make-up, try not to use too many colours. Say for instance you’re used to wearing gold on your eyes, and you go for an ash blonde colour, the colours will clash if you look in the mirror. Same goes for cool make-up/warm hair colours. Your stylist should suggest colours that will work in the future, and what colours to avoid. Lighter hair sometimes mean you could get away with less make-up, while darker hair might need a heavier hand in terms of colour. Everyone’s different, though.
- Be open-minded. Face it, your hair WILL look different when you walk out. My personal rule is give your eyes three days to get used to it before you form an opinion. Every time you walk past your reflection, you might be a bit startled, but prepare yourself for it. People are sometimes ruthless, and especially those who aren’t used to change themselves, might be a bit shocked, or tell you they don’t like it. Don’t let that affect you, YOU need to like it.
- If you’re still a bit apprehensive, do it in BABY STEPS. Have a couple of slices put through in your dream colour, get used to it that way. Or instead of chopping it all off, have a longer version of what you want instead. Sometimes clients come back to me after a week, and say they’re ready to do the change!
- Remember this: hair grows. Although this shouldn’t be the reason why you’re doing it in the first place, after a few months, you could change it again!
I hope that this might help some of you! Feel free to add any personal experience in the comments, fire away with the questions.