How to Ask for the Exact Haircut You Want
Ten Uncertain Terms
Behold the trickiest words ever spoken during a hair consultation: Each may mean one thing to you and something else entirely to a pro. "Plus, every salon has its own language," says Rita Hazan, celebrity colorist and owner of the eponymous New York City salon where we shot this story. So when any of the following comes up, discuss it to death. And use pictures of celebs, models -- even your childhood self with some gorgeous, long-gone hair color -- to further clarify what you mean.Layers
"Most women are afraid of layering," says Julien Sabatier, creative director of Dallas's Frédéric Fekkai salon. "They think it means going shorter, whereas a stylist may simply be trying to give the hair movement." If you're okay with adding movement but don't want a choppy look, tell your stylist you'd like to keep the density of your hair, Sabatier advises. Still layer-shy? Get a better sense of your stylist's intentions by asking where the shortest layers will start and where the longest will finish.Bangs
"They can be anything from a thick fringe to just a few strands swept across the forehead," says Alan Gold, creative director of the Haig & Co. Salon in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. "So specify length, width, weight and angles."Ashy
To pros, this generally means a subtly whitish shade. "But if a client complains of ashiness, she often means dull or brassy," says Galotti. "The colorist might then add warm or gold tones that the client never wanted."Auburn
This tends to suggest brown undertones to pros, but many clients envision something cranberryish, says Kathy Galotti, L'Oréal Professionnel colorist at New York City's Rossano Ferretti Hair Spa. The term "chestnut" causes almost the opposite confusion: "Pros think reddish; many clients think rich brown."Trim
For a stylist, the standard trim is an inch or an inch and a half, says Sabatier. There's never a more heartbroken client, however, than the one who's been growing out her hair forever and thinks she's giving up only a centimeter or two.Lightening
"It's a simple word but it can mean so many different things -- from brightening to bleaching," says Galotti. She finds that for blonde clients who want to go lighter, "golden versus pale" is a good conversation starter, whereas with darker-haired clients, "warm caramel versus neutral brown" is best.Texture
"Misinterpreting this word can have particularly dire consequences," says Gold. "Case in point: A client has wavy hair and asks for enhanced texture. The stylist goes in with a razor and gives her hair a full-on feathery look when all she really wanted was for her natural wave to be more prominent."Volume
"You may think you're asking for a cut that allows for a little lift at the root," says Gold. "But the stylist could just as easily assume you're asking for all-over volume and will give you something that looks far more mushroomy than you'd had in mind.""Whatever you think is best."
Okay, so it's not a term, but this phrase is one you should never utter. "Granting total creative freedom generally backfires," says Caroline Buckler, a colorist at New York City's Marie Robinson Salon. "Say you decide to go darker on someone who's super blond. Nine times out of 10, she'll feel like a brunette -- and won't be happy about it."
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