Jul 24, 2020

Hair Secrets: 7 Things Your Hairstylist Won't Tell You

(but totally wants you to know)

1. They think you should shampoo your hair less...

Hot tip: water is not great for your hair. It can deform your hair cuticle, leaving you with dull, breakage-prone hair. Cosmetic chemists know this, hairstylists know this, and now you know it too.

An easy way to prevent water damage in your hair is to wash your hair less often. Reddit user/real life hairdresser Curiouswritten (CW) said that this is her first tip for clients who want more shine.

She says, "If you can go 3-5 days that's ideal. It takes time for your scalp to adjust and every scalp is different, but for most people you need to allow the natural oils that your head produces to travel down the hair."

2. ...But if you've got a beard, you should wash and condition it more.

CW said that the opposite applies for beard care: people with facial hair generally under-wash. The results can be gnarly: "It's hair, it collects dirt and oil just like our scalp but it's also on your face." She says that users especially shouldn't skimp on conditioner, since it helps a coarse beard feel much softer.

Thankfully, you can usually use the same products on your hair as on your beard. CW said that the exception is people who have very sensitive skin. "Then I would use something recommended for beards specifically!"

3. They don't think you're as awkward/weird as you think you're being.

Regardless of how bad you are at chit chat, you're probably not your stylist's weirdest client.

During a Reddit AMA, one hairstylist described her job as being "part beauty industry, part psychologist, part bartender, part babysitter".

Her strangest client had initially appeared pretty normal. He only revealed himself as a serious conspiracy theorist once she'd been cutting his hair for several months.

"One day he talks about how the government has set up a new world order, that our money is just a talisman to distract us from what we really need. I'm thinking he's speaking metaphorically, but upon further inquiry: no, he thinks our currency has a voodoo spell cast on it."

Compared to that, it's not so bad that you can't find anything to talk to your stylist about besides the weather, right?

4. There are no white lies in hairstyling

We spoke to a teacher at a prominent hair school who wished to remain anonymous. To respect her wishes, we'll refer to her as "Mary Jane" for the remainder of this article.

Mary Jane believes that honesty is essential for great results, even if you're afraid of hurting your stylist's feelings. "I have seen lots of melted off hair because a client lied about at home bleaching and coloring. Be honest about your hair if you want to keep it."

If you don't tell the truth to your hairstylist, it could hurt them in the long run as well. "Our reputation depends on taking care of our clients hair. Once you leave a stylist's chair, you are literally a walking billboard for their services. Trust us."

5. A good stylist will tell you no.

Honesty is a two-way street in cosmetology. The best hairstylists often have to tell clients that they can't get the style they wanted, because their hair is too damaged. Mary Jane said, "A well trained stylist will turn you away if they don't believe your hair has the integrity to handle whatever color service you are wanting. I teach my students that integrity comes first, what the client wants comes second."

Unfortunately, not all clients listen, with sometimes disastrous results. "If we tell you it can't be done, it's perfectly fine to get a second opinion, but make sure you get it from another reputable stylist, not your friend who went to Cosmo school for 6 months and dropped out."

If a client absolutely insists on a potentially dangerous service, some hairstylists prefer to do it themselves, instead of letting a client attempt the service on their own. One anonymous stylist told us she always checks that clients understand the risks before proceeding. "If you come to me asking to change your color dramatically every few weeks or ask to do a massive color correction in one sitting, I'm not touching your head without a signed waiver."

6. Some stylists are pragmatists when it comes to box dye.

Don't get us wrong -- a lot of stylists really hate box dye. Not even just hate, more like absolutely despise.

However, some of them don't see box dye as a huge issue, as long as clients are honest with both themselves and their stylists.

During a Reddit AMA, Nick, a self-described "brutally honest hairstylist" spilled the tea on box dye. "No, it's not that bad. I mean it's not great, and I wouldn't recommend it over salon color... BUT, if you find a box dye that works for you, that's cool, I ain't mad about it."

But box dye still isn't a good idea for anyone who wants very specific results. Nick continued: "Just know that box dye results can be totally unpredictable, meaning the color you see on the box may not be the color you end up with." So all in all, maybe box dye isn't absolutely terrible, but you probably still don't want to use it.

7. Some of the secrets to salon-worthy hair are really pretty simple.

When Tabitha Fredrichs, trichologist and fine hair specialist shared with us her best hair-at-home tip, we were absolutely shocked. "Know your head shape before you blow dry. Especially if you have fine hair. You need to know what direction to hold your round brush to get the most lift." Who knew that such a simple technique could give such great results?

We heard another tip from nearly all the hairstylists we spoke to, and it's as obvious as can be.

To get a great cut, you're best off finding a stylist you like, and then going to that stylist over and over and over again. Not only will this make you feel more comfortable (less awkward chit chat!), it will also help to have a stylist who is intimately familiar with your hair, as well as your likes and dislikes.

So how do you develop this kind of a relationship with a stylist? Again, the answer is simple. Respect their time, and their boundaries. Remember that stylists work by appointment, so it's unfair to show up late. And when you find a stylist you like, be sure to refer out -- the more business they can get, the better off they'll be.

Wanna learn more insider secrets? Here's what you should read next.

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Caroline Schmidt