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By Amanda Whitley — May 22, 2012

Cameron Diaz recently talked about how a misunderstanding with her hairdresser led her to a very short cut that saw her burst into tears.

“There was a little misunderstanding,” she explained on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno of her pre-Christmas cut.

“I said, ‘Oh I just want a little bit off’ … and it went from here to here,” she added, gesturing two very different hair lengths.

So, it got me thinking about how to talk hairdresser. How do you ensure that you and your hairdresser are on the same page and you end up with the style that you want.

Me? I’m a pictures girl. I’ve been known to rock up with photos of everyone from Natalie Imbruglia to Victoria Beckham – and most recently, Mila Kunis. But is that a good strategy? Or just setting yourself up for disappointment?

I asked Jason Hartwig, Director of Kundalini Hair in Barton, how to get the fabulous result you’re expecting.

“Taking pictures to your stylist is a great idea. For me, it helps work out what direction my guest is seeking for their look that season. From there, I need to determine whether that’s going to work for them.”

Ah yes, the old reality check story. So, if me and my naturally wavy dark hair turn up wanting a super sleek Jennifer Aniston ‘do’, I should be prepared for disappointment? Or just a lot of time in front of the mirror?

“It’s very important to be realistic about your hair how it is naturally  - curly, thick, wavy, straight…all of this has to be taken into account. Colour also plays a big part in the desired look, as do shine, feel and condition.”

Once you’ve explained what you want to your hairdresser, you need to make sure that it’s practical. That sleek bob you have your heart set on might look like a wash-and-go ‘do, but in reality it could take a lot of time to achieve.

“It’s important for me to know how much time and commitment my client wants to spend on styling their hair. I personally prefer to cut my clients hair to their natural direction, giving them the option of a wash and wear haircut, or being able to pump it up and style it for a night out.”

Make sure you know how much effort it’s going to take to replicate your ‘styled’ look once you leave the salon – ask how many products you’ll need, what type of brush you should buy and what kind of time commitment a certain look requires. From there, you can decide if it’s worth the effort or needs to stay in the wishlist category.

Most importantly, if you notice that you hairdresser is doing something you don’t like, such as cutting your hair shorter or dyeing it lighter than you’d discussed, speak up during the appointment. It can be intimidating, but it’s better to fix any problems when you’re at the salon than to head home miserable.

What golden rules of speaking hairdresser do you live by? Have you had any hair horrors you want to share?

About Author

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women.

View all Amanda Whitley posts.

(7) Readers Comments

  1. Kierah
    Reply →
    May 22, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Just about to head to the hairdresser – this was a great reminder, thanks! I’m always the one that sits there, suffering in silence, and then has to go home and try to style my new ‘do’ the way I wanted it. Today, I’m going to write down exactly what I want, and take in a picture (I’m hoping for a wispy, casual Taylor Swift fringe), so i don’t get flustered – we’ll see how it goes!

    • Amanda Whitley
      Reply →
      May 22, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      pics please! xx

    • Lyndal
      Reply →
      May 22, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      Cant wait to see the results. Hair is only hair after all – it will grow back. I say seize the momement and be brave!!! As for the quality of the cut/style, its that old age adage; you get what you pay for…

  2. Bindii
    Reply →
    May 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    And you shouldn’t be afraid to walk in and ask for a (free) re-trim soon after a cut.I have a kink in my hair and my new stylist suggested I leave my fringe longer and brush the sides forward… after two weeks with the length, I had two on the ear flicks that I couldn’t manager. Walked in, asked that they be re-trimmed. Not a problem :)
    Mind you it was a $80 hair cut!!

  3. Kylee
    Reply →
    May 22, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    With hairdressers, generally speaking, you get what you pay for (IMHO). I think it’s worth spending extra money on your hair because unlike any other accessory you wear it every day!

    I’m lucky that I have a really great hairdresser whom I’ve been seeing for years. I generally let her have free reign because after all – she’s the professional. Most people I know who have hair disasters come from not being specific about what they want with their hair, not being realistic about what their hair can be versus the picture in their hand, and not asking for enough information on how to “do” your hair at home.

    You are paying for the service of getting your hair done and should leave the salon with what you want, but play your part in receiving a quality service by having a proper conversation with your hairdresser long before they pick up their scissors.

  4. Silverdragon
    Reply →
    May 22, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    It took me three attempts and three salons to finally get the style I wanted last year. I ended up going back to the salon that used to cut my hair as a teen, when I had it short. It’s probably the priciest salon in Canberra, but I only get my hair cut about once a year (yes, I know, don’t lecture) so the $92 investment is probably worth it. Anyway, I thought it looked fab when freshly cut and it was lovely to have it done on the day we attended our first ever fund-raising dinner, for brain cancer research. Even now it’s getting longer, it still looks fine, but I’m looking for an excuse to go back for another trim. Maybe for my birthday…

  5. funsista
    Reply →
    May 23, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    I actually get my hair done at kundalini and one of the reasons I keep going back, besides the excellent colours,is the attention to the consultation process. Once or twice they have even refused to do something because they don’t believe it’ll suit me and I really value their honesty.I was asked once what I specifically liked about the picture I’d brought in and we broke it down until the end result was nothing like it but I absolutely loved it – it was everything I’d always wanted. Now that’s talent!

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