These Are the 3 Worst Words You Can Say to Your Hairstylist

According to a hairstylist

What Not to Say to a Hairstylist universal image: a woman showing her hair to her hairstylist
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Hairstylists are kind of like magicians: They make us look like a million bucks and are often great listeners to boot—no one can hear a story about your nightmare ex quite like your hairstylist. But are they mind readers? Of course not.

“The three worst words you could say to a hairstylist are ‘I trust you,’” says one stylist, who shall remain nameless because of their high-profile clientele. “I appreciate the sentiment, but nine times out of ten, my clients who tell me this end up unhappy with the results because they realize they wanted something different after all.”

No matter how long you’ve been going to your person or how skilled they are, they can’t know exactly what you’re envisioning unless you tell them what you want. “It’s much more helpful when a client comes in prepared with at least an idea of what changes they’d like me to make. It’s even better when they show me photos of what they want, so I can work with them to figure out what’s possible without damaging their hair,” he adds.

As Los Angeles-based stylist, Sienree Du previously explained to us, “Everyone’s interpretation of colors, tones and placement is so different. Starting the appointment with a number of reference images as examples is helpful. This way you can specifically point out things you absolutely love and things you don't want. Most [stylists] are quite visual people, so this helps us a lot.” says Du.

What to Say Instead (Even When You’re Not Sure What You Want)

We've all been hit with indecision while sitting in the chair—and that's fine! But instead of putting the onus entirely on your stylist, tell them honestly, "I've been looking through photos for inspiration, but I haven't found the right style yet. Could you help me decide?"

From there, your stylist can help narrow things down with you, taking into consideration your hair texture and the level of effort you can realistically devote to styling your hair at home.

The takeaway: The clearer you are with your stylist upfront, the more likely it is you’ll be happy with your new cut or color.

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...