“Magic Wand”

I decided to put together a small list of things you shouldn’t say to your stylist. I hope you find it funny…yet informative, and if you’re guilty of any of these things…now you know!

The business of beauty can be frustrating at times…we are challenged to please women that we don’t always know on a daily basis.

That’s why it’s a good idea to know what you can do to make it easier on us so you can get the look you’re hoping for!

Believe it or not, it sometimes feels like we’re expected to be psychics who read minds, have a magic wand, and maybe even a genie in a bottle!


It may take a few appointments for your stylist to learn what you like or don’t like, your personal style, and the experience/outcome you expect from each service.

If you find someone that listens to you and truly cares about what you want it’s only a matter of time before you can sit down and say- “Do what you want, you know what I like!”.

Getting to that point takes a little work on both ends, so here are a few tips!

10 Things You Shouldn’t Say

To Your Hairstylist

1. “I want to look like that(picture), but not like that.”


Kim Kardashian with a “Lob”

This one is both funny and frustrating for your stylist!

“What does that mean?”

I know that it is hard to find the perfect photo of what you want, and sometimes it can be hard to explain the style you’re trying to achieve without knowing the lingo.

If you’ve been there and didn’t get what you want…consider giving your stylist another try!

Search for images on Google, in magazines, etc., and bring a few examples if you can’t find one perfect picture.

I’ve had clients tell me they want the layers from one picture, and the bangs from another.

I love this because it gives me a much better idea

of what you’re looking for!

Every hair appointment you make should include a thorough consultation before any service, and if you’re not sure that you and your stylist are on the same page…speak up!

Once I get to know a client…the first few minutes of the appointment is more like a mini consultation…unless we’re making big changes! Remember to be thorough every time for the best results.

Your stylists asks(hopefully) specific questions and needs specific answers. The reason being…you will complain about your cut after not really saying what you want.

Can you read minds? We can’t either.

Here’s a great tip to remember:

If you feel uncertain about whether or not you were clear about what you want, then your stylist probably doesn’t have the best idea of what style you’re going for either!

While we’re talking about pictures…please don’t draw a picture for your stylist of the haircut you want(unless you’re a real artist).

Especially if it’s got something to do with a stick figure….click here to read about why this is a bad idea!


2. “Will that cut make my face look fat?”

Lets see…how to approach this lightly? If you already think your face is fat, then yes…it will still look fat.

Generally, by my personal logic, women who don’t need to worry about whether the cut will change the “fatness” of their face don’t ask…that means if you are asking it’s rhetorical.

Loving yourself the way you are, eating right, and working out will eliminate the yearning to ask that question.

Yes…some cuts are best for certain facial shapes, and can create the illusion that your face is more round or full. Your stylist will use her/his knowledge of facial structure to make sure you get a cut that’s most flattering.

The cut does not actually make you look “fat”.


3. “Do you know what your doing?”


Experience is key here….

If you don’t trust your current stylist, then find one you do trust.

It’s our job to make you look gorgeous…not explain our credentials and why we aren’t going to mess up your hair.

This one strikes me personally because I hear…

“Can you foil really good?”

“Don’t use those funny scissors on my hair!”

Foiling is my expertise…please…trust a board certified haircolorist, and don’t insult their abilities because you got your last foil at Supercuts!

As for the scissors…if your stylist is good at what she does…then she will not use texturizing shears if your hair shouldn’t be texturized.  I understand that some of you have had bad experiences, but some stylists know what they’re doing.

Don’t be afraid of the razor…

Most hairstylists either feel comfortable using it, or they just don’t go there. I wanted to include this because I’ve seen several clients give the-“anxious, oh crap, what the heck is she doing” look when I pull out my razor.

Trust me, your stylist will not attempt a razor cut if she doesn’t feel confident using it. Or…maybe the chick really doesn’t know what she’s doing. It’s a gamble, but use your better judgement on whether or not you can trust the stylist you choose.


4. “I know I said I wanted red, but now I’m not sure if I like it.”

Emma-Stone-Red-HairThis one is very common.

We give thorough consultations because we want to give you exactly what you want.

Hopefully, your stylist asks the right questions and compares pictures and swatches to make sure you’re getting the color your heart desires.

If you got what you asked for…it’s not the stylists fault if you are changing your mind after the service.

Please…be a good client and admit that you got what you asked for.

We are not required to re-do your color free of charge because you can’t make up your mind. Most stylists will agree to make a few slight changes for a negotiated price, or no charge depending on the situation.

I don’t want any of my clients to “just live with it” for a month or more

if they are truly unhappy with the outcome.

I understand that sometimes it’s hard to vision what you will look like with a new color, or a break-up can make you do something drastic. As long as my client expresses her/his concerns I am happy to talk it over and do what I can to help.

I don’t want any of my clients to “just live with it” for a month if they are truly unhappy with the outcome, and if you’ve got a great stylist she/he probably feels the same way. On the other hand…if your stylist is being thorough and you call to come back in after every color, then you may be expected to pay for changes.


5. “I know Pantene is bad for my hair, but I don’t want to switch…why does my color fade so much?!”

Pantene Shampoo

Oh, it must be our fault that your color fades so fast.

I get occasional messages from clients two weeks after a color service saying that it’s fading and I need to do something about it.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a client say- “I just don’t see the difference in department store shampoo compared to salon shampoo.”. Well, if you’re only experiencing professional products the day of your service and going back to crap, you won’t see a difference.

Don’t insult our judgement and expertise on products and the effects they have on your hair. I consider color fading to be one of the biggest complaints and 99% of those clients use non-professional products.

They simply won’t switch, so your color will simply fade a lot!

Also no, color protect pantene is not just as good as professional color protect shampoos. Why pay for professional color and neglect it with cheap shampoo?


6. “I want a bang, but not like a bang.”

Go for it, or don’t go for it. It’s not the end of the world. I get lots of people who say they want a side bang but really want it to their chin. This results in one huge, ugly, chunky, awkward layer on the side of your face.


Just get the bangs!

If you do get the bangs:

Please try to stop by the salon for a quick bang trim in-between appointments! It’s usually complimentary or costs very little and you won’t risk poking your eye out while trying to cut them yourself.

If you need a little help deciding:

You may want to read To Bang Or Not To Bang? In this post I give you the skinny on bangs and how I determine whether or not they will look good on you!


7. “Can I see your color swatches?”

Generic-Hair-Color-Swatch-BookThe answer is no.

This is my personal professional opinion and I know that some stylists feel differently.

Any Board Certified Haircolorist will have a mini client consultation swatch book at their station and will refer to that for your consultation.

If you like a specific color bring a few pictures for your stylist.

Everyone describes color differently, and this is the best way to ask for what you want. You can even bring in examples of colors you don’t like to make sure you and your stylist are on the same page!

Your stylist will custom formulate to give you the color you want.

ABCH Client Consultation Book

ABCH Client Consultation Book

I do not believe in bringing out an enormous color book and letting my client look in awe and confusion for 20 minutes at a bunch of colors that aren’t right for her.

If I feel that I’ve asked all possible questions and I’m still not sure what my client wants I may take out a few swatches to get a better idea. This is especially common with reds.

For example, I may choose 3 shades that I think will look best on you and are what you’re looking for. I will show you which one I recommend and let you show me which one you like the most.

I have a few reasons for this:

  • You cannot pick out a color and expect it to turn out like the swatch. Swatches are generally made from white or non-pigmented hair and you probably don’t have that. Every color will look different on each persons hair.I explain this in 10 Reasons Not to Use Box Color.
  • It’s unprofessional. A stylists color swatch book is their personal tool to aid in formulation of your color. We know what they mean, and you probably don’t.
  • Our color swatches to a client is like a kid in a candy store. There are so many beautiful shades, your eyes light up and the wheels start turning! When you are overwhelmed with options you may suddenly forget what you really wanted and we all know what impulse decisions lead to!


8. “My hair is really damaged and dry, but I don’t want a deep conditioning treatment.”

I know we do awesome things with your hair but miracles are not one of them. If you need a deep conditioning treatment then please get one! Most salons offer a few different treatments for less than $40(and you get a great blow out afterwards).

Is it worth it to get your hair back in great shape? Definitely, but if the small cost isn’t worth it to you then you probably don’t care about how your hair looks THAT much. If the damage is from box color….you definitely need it!

For suggestions on how to save money on your hair without doing it yourself click here.


9. “Can you scratch my head a little more when you shampoo my hair?”

Dry Flaky Scalp

I definitely don’t want to scratch whatever’s going on in there!

Again, no! Eww…

As cosmetologists we are taught several different massage methods for shampooing and they involve fingertips only. It is against our sanitation regulations to use our nails when shampooing your hair.

The reason for this is we could scratch something on your head, break the skin, and infect ourselves or others.

It is not our job to scratch your excessive itch, we are shampooing your hair so that it is clean and ready for a cut.  If your scalp is that itchy its probably due to dandruff or buildup and sorry but I’m not getting up in there!

Consider this…

If a friend asks you to scratch a scab or their dry/dandruff built up scalp would you?

I hope not! Sorry to get gross about it, but sometimes a little perspective is needed.


10. “Why can’t you fit me in?”

We try our best at all times to fit in loyal clients during a time in need. I can probably speak for most stylists when I say that we will do whatever we can to get you in.

Salon Receptionist

Our schedules can be hectic so please be patient and CALL AHEAD!

On the other hand, don’t expect to call on a Saturday morning and demand a haircut because you realized you needed it last minute. I’ve actually had this happen on several occasions where the client insulted the receptionist! Saying things like….”Why can’t she fit me in?  It’s only a trim!”, and “I don’t understand why she can’t, I’ve been seeing her for over 3 years now.”.

The reason why is because we may be fully booked!

Would you rather wait a day or two….or get squeezed in 3 hours after the lunch break your stylist didn’t get to have?

Trust me…if your hairstylist is feeling hungry, sweaty, and on the verge of passing out….you may not get the best she can do that day.

Here are a few things to consider…

  • The clients that do have appointments that day obviously called ahead enough to get in. You can too…
  • Would you want a stylist to cut your color appointment short or rush through it just to make room for an irrationally demanding client? Of course not! In all fairness each client is paying for our time and quality work, that should not be compromised by someone who can’t plan ahead.


If you liked this post and have a sense of humor please check out this video on things clients say!

For more laughs check out 5 More Things You Shouldn’t Say to Your Stylist!

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About The Author


Professional Hairstylist | American Board Certified Haircolorist | Makeup Artist | Beauty Blogger

22 Responses to 10 Things You Shouldn’t Say to Your Hairstylist

  1. Charlie Stratt says:

    I have dark brown hair. I took a picture of a balayage to my stylist (new one, never met until that day). The picture was dark brown root that faded to a nice ashy blonde. She told me honest, I cannot get you that blonde at today’s visit. I expected to hear that, and told her I understood. So, 75$ later, I was left with a brassy balayage, which I expected. I paid the 75$ and tipped 10$. I went back the next week for her to do another process on. The back of my hair ended up almost white, and the sides were very golden. She styled it, and in her lighting, did not look brassy. I paid the 45$ and again tipped her 10$. When I got home, I noticed my hair was super brassy and golden so I text her and ask what we could do. She had me come in for a toner. Well, the white is now grey, and the sides, the blonde is not noticeable at all! I told her it was fine, because I’m tired of going! She did not charge me, but I tipped her anyway. What do I do? Just live with it? Why is it so hard to get the blonde I want! Thank you!!

    • Erika says:

      It sounds like she didn’t tone it the second time(she may have on the first visit, but it wouldn’t have done much…just muted the brassy tones and evened it out).

      She probably used the wrong toner on your second visit and it sounds like your hair wasn’t lightened evenly. That happens when someone works too slowly compared to the processing time, the same developer is used all over(I use different levels throughout application so it will all lift uniformly.), lightener was overlapped onto hair that was already lighter than the rest of the blonde, etc.

      Hairstylists that are not experienced enough in color often make the mistake of using the wrong toners. Very porous hair(it is after lightening) will grab those cool tones and “soak them up”…that’s how you get gray, purple, blueish tones, etc. Your stylist probably used a strong ash toner thinking that it was needed to “cancel out” the brassiness. I always mute ashy toners with a neutral so that won’t happen.

      It is possible to get the blonde that you want if someone knows what they’re doing. Most people in your situation will call the salon and ask to see the manager or color specialist. You can tell them that you were unhappy with the tone and they will fix it for free(if it’s a decent salon). If you’d like, you can send me a photo of your hair now and one of what you wanted via the contact page(if you’re unable to paste it into the comment section). I can give you a more specific opinion if I see what your hair looks like!

  2. Ming Yao says:


    I would like to ask, do you think it would be rude/insulting to bring your own hair you bought for an itip consultation and ask them if they would put them in?

    This hair is extremely beautiful soft remmy human hair. (Processed pale blonde when I ordered).. and is 22″-24″, I have about 6-7 bundles. I have not used this hair before.

    Considering I am in the Boston area: salons are charging $134 for 22″ itip extensions from “babe” hair company. Which they are $106 to buy for the public from babe…. And of course everyone knows anyone with a cosmetology lic. Gets a discount as well.

    I am all for people making money, but my concern is I already have this amazing hair… And I don’t want to be rude, but at the same time I don’t want to dish out $900 when I don’t need too. I paid around $600 for my current itips I have.

    Advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • Erika says:

      I think that’s fine, but if I were you I would schedule a consultation where you want to get them put in and don’t tell them that you have the hair until after you’re given a price quote. That way you’ll know if they’re charging you fairly.

      I wouldn’t mind at all if someone already had the hair. In fact, it’s probably easier because most of the time it has to be ordered after your consultation. Good luck!

  3. sezit says:

    I was always scared in the past about texturizing shears, but my last haircut, I decided to just go for it. I have extremely thick hair, which has been lightly thinned before. This time I asked my stylist to thin it as much as possible. She took so much hair out that it looked like a small animal on the floor. It really scared me, but it is an amazing difference! I love it! I can fit it in a barrette now, I can put it up or in a ponytail without it dragging down from the weight. And I can dry and style it in 30 min! And the cut is much more flattering because it is not so bulky and heavy.

    • Erika says:

      That’s great!You’re someone that definitely needs it, and I’m sure you try a lot more styles now.

      I know why some people are scared of texturizing shears….it’s because their only experience has been with a stylist that probably used them improperly. I’m glad that you found someone who knows how to cut thick hair!

  4. Trisha says:

    Maybe someone could tell me how to find a
    good stylist.
    The one I just saw a few days ago hardly used any shampoo.
    And didn’t use any product prior to blowdrying and straight ironing.
    She also used texurizing shears.
    I keep bouncing around from place to place because I can’t find a skilled stylist.

    • Erika says:

      What type of salon was it? That’s very unusual. Was she new? Product knowledge is a huge part of cosmetology schools, and most salons push it pretty hard. I would never blow dry someones hair without products. It’s just not going to be a good blow out….

      As for the texturizing shears….I love them! It depends on your hair type though, and haircut as to whether or not a stylist should use them. Texturizing shears are amazing when the proper shears are used for certain haircuts.

      It sounds like this hairstylist isn’t experienced at all. Lots of inexperienced hairstylists(or those that are horrible at cutting)will use texturizing shears to “fix” the haircut or blend in the lines.

      • Erika says:

        You should schedule a consultation with someone, then schedule your hair appointment if you feel comfortable with them. You can usually tell if someone is a good hairstylist after 10-15 minutes of conversation, and it’s free.

        Another way is to Google hairstylists in your area, then take a look at the photos they post on Facebook. Lots of great hairstylists want to show off their work, so if you see some haircuts that you like then you’ll know that you want to give them a try.

  5. I have experienced many of the things highlighted in your post and I found them to be right on point and funny.

  6. Rande says:

    I’m a student, and right now we’re learning the microbiology of things. And EWW at the scratch my head part EWW. I have a great and awesome stylist. I start going to her 3 yrs ago at Great Clips. I followed her to another salon where she has more control over her work and clients. There have been many times I’ve taken my kids in for a trim and she’s squeezed me in just because she noticed I needed a trim too. Back around Christmas my daughter took a chunk of her hair off with some craft scissors, our stylist squeezed my daughter in on a Saturday afternoon. We waited for 3 hrs for her to fix my daughter’s hair. My goal going to school is to be a colorist and a manicurist. Going through things I go through at school learning the laws of everything I see a LOT of mistakes a LOT of salons make. Be it a chain or mom and pop shop. I actually allowed an advanced student give me a razor cut, was scary for me. 1 my first razor cut and 2 she was a student. But her instructor was there every step of the way making sure she did it right. I loved my hair cut afterwards. I have a very basic pixie cut, shouldn’t be hard to screw up, but I’ve seen stylist screw it up.

    • Erika says:

      You’re lucky! Especially with a razor cut….most of the time a stylist will take too much hair off…leaving you feeling light and feathery! Literally!

  7. Katelyn says:

    I resent the comment about super cuts, I work at super cuts and I am very proud of my work and skills and just because super cuts hires you right away let me tell you it is quite a lot of work to be certified to work there. they’re standards are strict so before you judge you should take a step inside and try it out.

    • Erika Brown says:

      I do mention that there are exceptions to everything. There might be a great stylist at a Super Cuts, but that one person is hard to find. I already know how Super Cuts works, so my opinion is not based on hear-say. They teach a faster way to do everything and that is not always the best way. Just because you are better than the other stylists at Super Cuts does not mean that you are good.

      So, why don’t you step into a higher quality salon and see what they do and how it compares. Unless you already have, of course…

      I thought I was really good early on, and then I moved up to a better salon. A few years later I moved up again, and thinking back I couldn’t believe that I thought I was awesome when I started out at Hair Cuttery. Until you work with truly remarkable hairstylists and learn from them as you go….you have no idea.

      You can resent my comment, or you can set goals to grow and achieve greater things in your career.

  8. Stephanie says:

    I understand what you are saying about what not to say to your sylist, but I’m a client and it’s frustrating when you have an appointment and you get pushed back for another client that came after you or a relative. I’ve had different experiences with different stylist. It’s either that stylist can’t style my hair the way I want it, she doesn’t know color well or spends her time talking to other sylist away for her station. If the PROFESSIONAL wants trust back it up with education and professionalism.

    • Erika Brown says:

      Of course, and that it what I talk about throughout my blog. Also…if you don’t like them then don’t go back. Sometimes our schedule can get behind accidentally, but it shouldn’t push you more than 10 minutes back. There are salons where you will not have those issues, I promise!

  9. […] 10 Things You Shouldn’t Say to Your Hairstylist […]

  10. Jessie Leigh Gibson says:

    I was really hoping this would be a good informative article but once again I’ve been bashed by a fellow professional. I personally have 14 years in as a liscensed professional cosmetologist. I am also a certified master colorist with paul mitchell. AND a certified master colorist with yes, SUPERCUTS. Our company requires that all stylist be color certified as well as certified through our hair stylist academy. So for all those cosmetologist who think that just because we work at a place like supercuts that we have no idea what we’re doing, think again honey. We are highly trained!

    • Erika Brown says:

      SOME of you are highly trained. I worked at two different Hair Cuttery salons, and they may not have been my favorite jobs….but they were good for learning and improving my skills. The reason why I chose to leave that type of salon and “move up” is because no matter what skills or certifications I got the general public still saw me as just a chop shop girl. My regular clients knew, but I was tired of having to explain to each new person that I wasn’t going to screw up their hair. The second reason was because the skills around me were so poor that it was embarrassing. I wanted to save every other person from their hair appointment….I saw disaster happening and felt so sorry for people because I couldn’t interfere. There were a SELECT FEW at both salons who were pretty good, but they were still behind on skill level given their time in the business. There is one reason for this……

      Have you ever worked somewhere besides Supercuts? I’m willing to bet that if you did and you were surrounded by the best of the best in your area you would be astonished at your improvements. What makes good stylists great is being surrounded by other true pros. I thought I was good….until I went to a better salon. The level of skill is so intense and each year you will look back and wonder why you used to do something a certain way. I believe that no matter how many certifications you have there is always room to grow. There’s also a difference in being certified by a hair color line and being nationally certified to use all brands on anyone with any situation. Until you attempt to take the ABCH certification you won’t have a real grasp on what I’m talking about, but when you do you will definitely be able to brag.

      Lastly, Supercuts won’t allow a nationally certified master haircolorist to perform services…but will allow an average stylist to do so just because they took the Supercuts color training. Seriously…there is something wrong with that picture. Supercuts hair cutting and coloring programs are designed to teach you how to get away with making it look decent in the least amount of time possible. I don’t blame them, it’s how their salon structure works, but is great haircolor created with “shortcuts” and sub-par techniques? No, not at all….it’s created with perfection through technique and chemistry knowledge…and so much more!

      Like I said, some are good and you probably are. I’m not bashing you, but don’t get offended every time you read something like this on the internet. You will be holding up your side of this argument for life…unfortunate, but it’s because of all of the stylists who just don’t care that brought that reputation to quickie walk-in based salons. Just as I have to remind myself, there are people in our profession that are far more experienced than I am and it’s all based on perspective. I started this blog to educate my clients and readers on all aspects of cosmetology. I’m pretty blunt and it’s truth that people like, not soft writing to try not to offend anyone. If you want people to know that there are amazing stylists at Supercuts, then maybe you should start a blog to raise awareness. My blog is meant to spread the word about ABCH and the misconceptions in our industry. I get “angry” comments like this from time to time….if you really want people to know, it’s not going to happen through a comment on a pro stylists blog.

  11. […] sure to check out 10 Things You Shouldn’t Say to Your Stylist for more laughs and great […]

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