Things You Should Never Say to Your Hairdresser

A trip to the hair salon is both exciting and nerve wracking, especially if you’re looking to switch things up with a fresh cut or color. Regardless of your nerves, the relationship — and, more importantly, the conversation — between you and your hairdresser should remain as respectful as possible. While your hairdresser may appreciate your business, they don’t always appreciate the commentary that comes with it.

From unintended rude comments to showing up unprepared, these are the things you should never say to a hairdresser:

1. ‘I just want to trim off a few centimeters’

Hairdresser cutting the hair of a woman

You’ll need to go shorter to get healthier hair. | MilanMarkovic/iStock/Getty Images

If keeping your hair long is important to you, let your hairdresser know that. However, don’t tell them you want to trim off a few centimeters. The reality is, your hair probably needs to let go of a little more than that. Let your hairdresser decide the exact measurements. They’ll respect your attachment to the length and also make sure your hair still looks healthy.

2. ‘I don’t use box color on my hair’ (but really you do)

woman gets new hair colour

Your stylist can tell the difference. | iStock.com/Kzenon

While hairdressers aren’t the biggest fans of boxed hair dye, they certainly don’t want you to lie about using it, especially if they are coloring your hair. Instead of lying, own up to it. Let them know that you used box dye and that you realized that it’s not the best option — that’s why you’re there to see them.

In addition to being honest, telling you hairdresser about the kinds of dye you have used in the past can help them with choosing a color (or color correction technique).

3. ‘Why can’t I make it look this good at home?’

Woman with itchy scalp dandruff

Just ask your stylist for some pointers. | LarsZahnerPhotography/iStock/Getty Images

One of the main components of styling your hair is the product you use. And while the hairdresser may be the expert in getting your hair to look a certain way, there’s no reason why you also can’t get your hair to look that way — other than the fact that you didn’t buy the product they suggested. If you purchased the product at the salon, ask your hairdresser to show you their technique. Chances are, you’ll be able to get it just right!

4. ‘I didn’t bring a photo’

Hairdresser cutting woman bangs

Not bringing a photo makes your hairdresser’s job harder. | iStock.com/Kzenon

If you’re going for a specific look, but don’t have a picture to back up your description, your hairdresser is most likely going to be annoyed. While they may be excellent at their jobs, they aren’t mind readers. If you accidentally forgot the photo at home, ask your hairdresser if they can help you find the photo (or something similar) online.

5. ‘My old stylist …’

hairbrushes and scissors

Bringing this up will just make things awkward.| Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Talking about how your old hairstylist used to do your hair is a sneaky way of controlling the situation. Rather than tell your new hairdresser how to cut and style your hair, show them a picture of what you are hoping to achieve, and trust that they know the best technique to get you there.

6. ‘Are you sure you know what you’re doing?’

hairdresser curling woman's hair

Asking this question is just rude. | iStock.com/Grinvalds

Another phrase you should never say to your hairdresser? “Are you sure you know that you are doing?” Not only is this offensive to a certified professional, it sends a signal that you don’t trust your hairdresser. Instead of expressing your nerves in doubt, be honest and let them know you are nervous about the change.

7. ‘I use a drugstore shampoo that says color safe, so why does my color still fade?’

woman buying hair spray and shampoo at the store

Don’t expect salon results from the drugstore. | JackF/iStock/Getty Images

As far as product is concerned, hairdresser stay true to their salon-worthy hair care products. So, if you use drugstore shampoo and come to them asking why your color is fading, don’t expect them to rally behind your product. If your color is fading, instead ask them what shampoo they recommend and use it.

8. ‘Let’s skip the consultation’

Beautiful blonde female hairdresser holding scissors, comb and hairdryer

Let your stylist get to know you first. | iStock.com/Megaflopp

If it’s your first time at a salon and they’re asking for a consultation prior to your appointment, don’t skip it, even if you trust your hairdresser. The consultation is less about you and more about them. It allows a hairdresser to evaluate your strands, block out a specific amount of time for the job, and go over some roadblocks with you before your actual appointment.

9. ‘Do you have color swatches?’

women in hair salon

The samples aren’t that accurate anyway. | iStock.com/Gemenacom

While swatches can be a great tool for hairdressers to use when mixing colors, the examples won’t always reflect what the color will turn out like, especially if you’re going from dark to light or light to dark. Instead of asking for color swatches, show your hairdresser a picture of the color you like. That way, they can use their expertise and mix a custom color for you.

10. ‘I love it!’ (when you really don’t)

brunette woman with beauty long curly hair

A good haircut will give you confidence. | iStock.com/Mirelabella

A hairdresser never wants to see their client walk out upset about their hair — or worse: angry. Instead of saying you love it and then going home and crying, let your stylist know that you aren’t sure about it and ask if they can make changes. The more honest you are, the better.

11. ‘I don’t care’

Lead hair stylist Stephanie Hayes uses Batiste Dry Shampoo backstage at the Charlotte Ronson Fall 2014 Presentation during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at The Hub at The Hudson Hotel on February 7, 2014 in New York City.

At least give your hairdresser a little direction. | Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Another thing you should never say to your hairdresser? “I don’t care.” Let’s be honest: In reality, you do care. It’s great that you trust your hairdresser enough to say such powerful words, but saying them can mean green-lighting a wacky trend you’d never be caught dead in. Instead of misguiding your hairdresser, let them know that you trust them but that you have your limits.

12. ‘Make me look like this celebrity’

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 13: A guest had their hair styled at the TRESemme Salon at Moynihan Station on February 13, 2016 in New York City.

Don’t give them unrealistic standards. | Donald Bowers/Getty Images

Asking a hairdresser to cut and style your hair like a specific celebrity can be an impossible feat. Celebrities have a team of stylists that they pay to change up their look. They often use extensions, wigs, and so on to create more dramatic changes. So before you risk damaging your hair, discuss why you want your hair to look like a certain celebrity’s. Together, you and your hairdresser can find components that inspire your look, rather than copying someone else’s.

13. ‘I’m running a little late’ (when you’re really an hour late)

Hairdresser Arzu uses a hair straightener as she dresses a client's hair on August 8, 2012 at the Dry Bar in Berlin. The shop offers to make different blow-dried hairstyles, according to a new trend coming from the US. AFP PHOTO / BRITTA PEDERSEN GERMANY OUT

Don’t say you have time for a fancy style when you definitely don’t. | Britta Pedersen/AFP/GettyImages

There’s a big difference between a little late and an hour late. If you’re running really behind, be up front about it and courteous to your stylist’s time. Instead of trying to squeeze yourself into their schedule, be honest and ask your hairdresser if you can come in at a different time.

14. Will this haircut make my face look fat?

Beauty Studio Hairstylist

Don’t put your hairdresser in this awkward situation. | Welcomia/iStock/Getty Images

By asking your stylist this question, you’re putting them in a tough position. If you are self-conscious about the way your face looks, the stylist will not help boost your confidence. If they say “yes,” it will upset you. And if they say “no,” but in the end, you think it does, you may end up angry at your stylist.

15. Nothing at all

A little small talk will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone. | iStock.com

What’s worse than saying any of the above? Saying nothing at all. Staying quiet not only makes it an uncomfortable experience between you and your stylist; it also makes it hard for the stylist to tell whether you’re truly happy with the work they’re doing. You don’t have to be a chatty Cathy, but some form of conversation will make for a more enjoyable experience overall.

Read more: 5 Things to Discuss With Your Hair Stylist Before Making a Major Change

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