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How to Talk to Your New Stylist: 5 Tips

How to Talk to Your New Stylist: 5 Tips

When asked, 88% of women say that their hair directly affects their confidence, and we can be sure that applies to many men as well. With hair being such a personal and sensitive subject for many people, the idea of changing hair salons can be terrifying. Even if your old hair stylist didn’t understand your preferences as well as you would have liked, you were at least comfortable going there. Picking a new salon can feel like a major risk, especially for the fashion-conscious.

If you’ve recently moved into the area, or you just want to explore new salons in Knoxville, these tips can help you communicate your needs and preferences to a new hair stylist.

1. Get Inspired Beforehand

Here’s the biggest tip when it comes to new haircuts: when in doubt, always bring pictures. Even if you can’t describe exactly what you’re going for, if you can find a picture of it, you’re in a good place. Better still, bring several pictures so the stylist has an even clearer idea of what you want.

Before you schedule your appointment, begin collecting pictures of hairstyles you feel inspired by and that you think would look good on you. A private Pinterest board works very well for this.

2. Wear Your Normal Hairstyle

When you come in for your appointment, it’s best if you come in wearing your hair like your normally wear it — whatever your “everyday style” is, bring it in to show the stylist. This will give the stylist an optimal starting-off point for recreating your look. It’s also acceptable to wear a little product in your hair if that’s how you normally do it — haircuts are often preceded with washing, anyway.

3. Explain Your Tastes and Preferences

Sometimes you just don’t know what you want. If you can’t tell the stylist exactly what you want your hair to look like, you can just tell them what you’re like. Let them know about your hair’s quirks and “personality.” Tell them about your lifestyle and what kind of routine your hair has to be able to go through without looking like a mess. What are your fears when it comes to your hairdo? What would you like your hairstyle to say about you?

If you’ve found a skilled stylist, they can use this general information to create a custom style just for you. Even if you’re providing pictures or other descriptive tools, giving them this background information can help them make better decisions as they style your hair.

4. Ensure They’re Listening

You know you’ve found a great stylist when they will repeat back to you what they understand you’re telling them, just to make sure they get what you’re saying. It’s perfectly okay to say something like, “I don’t speak the language of hair, so will you explain to me exactly what you’re doing?” Stylists enjoy talking about hair anyway, and yours will probably be proud to explain their secrets and best practices as they go into your haircut.

5. Interrupt When Necessary

If you get up from the chair with a less-than-ideal style after being silent through the entire session, you really have no one to blame but yourself. It’s a good idea to watch what the stylist is doing, to ask questions about the process, and even to interrupt them if you don’t like where it’s going.

If nothing else, the stylist will ask what you think before you leave. That’s a good time to make any final requests or suggestions. Hair stylists want you to be happy with your haircut because they depend on it for their business — if you aren’t happy, you may not come back, and you definitely won’t send your friends. So be open and honest with your stylist. Work together to get the perfect hairstyle for you.


Trying a new salon or stylist doesn’t have to be scary. It can be exciting, too. With sufficient preparation before and effective communication during the appointment, you may come away with the best hairstyle of your life!