We all know the familiar dread of the first appointment with a new hairdresser. The worry that they might give us a completely new haircut, or mess up our precious colour. But of course, being British, if the unthinkable does happen we're unlikely to say anything other than "It's lovely, thanks!" before running for the hills.
But visiting the hairdresser should feel like a pampering experience, and looking after your hair shouldn't be a chore.
Paolo Pinto, Education Director at Rush Hair, revealed to Prima the hairdresser secrets you've always wanted to know – from what they really think about the condition of your hair to how to tell a stylist that you don't like your finished look...
Do I really need a trim every eight weeks?
We're always told that we need regular cuts, but is it true or just a clever ploy to get us back in the salon?
Turns out this one's right. Pinto says: "If you want to maintain healthy hair – yes! We’d recommend visiting your salon every six to eight weeks for a cut, especially if you have a shorter hairstyle that needs maintaining.
"Regular trims take off the dry ends of your hair, reshaping your style and preventing more split ends that can cause dryness and frizziness."
Does it matter if I come to the salon with dirty hair?
Be honest, at some point you've forgotten to wash you hair and then sat in the salon chair feeling mortified by your greasy roots. But according to Pinto, this isn't an issue at all as most salons will offer a wash and blowdry. Win.
"However, if you’re having a hair up style such as special occasion curls, we’d recommend you wash you hair the night before your appointment," she says. "Your hair’s natural oils act as a softener and create texture that helps to keep it in place, hold the style and create a beautiful finish."
Is it OK to admit that I don’t like a cut?
Always a tricky one, but it's important to feel confident about your cut – even if that means appearing impolite.
"Don’t worry – our stylists are experienced in working with a wide range of customers, from regular visitors who love to stay and chat, to those who view their hair cut as a practicality," says Pinto.
"A good salon will ensure that as well as receiving continuous training on cutting and colour treatments, staff are also taught how to provide the best customer service – this includes how to help an unsatisfied client.
"Don't be scared to speak up if there's a part of the cut you're not quite happy with – whether that's while the cut is happening, or once you're shown the final style. We understand it might feel a bit embarrassing, but that way your stylist can take on board your feedback and ensure you leave the salon feeling great.
"A perfect cut can be a two-way conversation and we're always happy to rectify any service if the client isn’t happy. Honesty really is the best policy."
How can I care for my hair in between salon visits?
Love that fresh salon feeling, but sicking of having straw-like strands a week later? Speak to your hairdresser about it!
"Your stylist will always recommend after salon home care, whether they show you how to style your hair yourself, or recommend the best products to keep you feeling fabulous for longer," says Pinto. "Tell your stylist how you’d like your hair to look and they’ll be sure to share some expert tips."
Should I really buy the products offered by my hairdresser?
You might feel like you're being conned, but salons have your hair health in mind when they recommend certain products.
"Think of your stylist like your hair doctor," says Pinto.
"If you have any particular worries or you feel like your hair is lacking in health, they will give you advice on the best products for you, showing you how to use them, depending on your hair type. If you want to maintain a salon-quality look and feel then it’s important to listen to them!
"Salons will only choose to use and sell products from companies that they really believe in – at Rush, we’re huge fans of Redken, Kerastase and L’Oreal Profesionnel, trusting them to deliver amazing results for our clients inside and outside of the salon."
What can I do about bleach-damaged hair?
Ah, the age-old question. If you're familiar with the dryness that comes from bleaching but always forget to ask when you leave the salon looking fresh and shiny, Pinto is here for you.
"That bright, white blonde is a gorgeous look but over time and if not done properly, it can take its toll on the health of your hair," she says. "We help our clients with this very often, especially in the run up to summer.
"Everybody’s hair is different and ultimately, so are the steps needed to get your hair back to its pre-bleached health. However, a deep conditioning treatment and booking yourself in for a good cut to remove the damaged ends are often universal ways to start.
"After a full consultation, your stylist will assess your hair and use the right products to help it on its journey to recovery. Afterwards, they will create a client journey plan to ensure you can maintain your look as well as keeping your hair as healthy as possible."
My hair is starting to get drier as I age – can I combat this?
Missing the soft, shiny hair of your teenage years? You're not the only one, but Pinto says you can emulate it – to a certain extent, at least.
"We cater for all clients of all ages, and our brilliant products used at the salon cater for this too – we have a wide range of shampoos, serums and more that are suited for thick, fine, thinning hair, coloured hair, ageing hair and more.
"As your hair needs change, this is when its more important than ever to listen to your stylist’s recommendations on which products to use – investing in this is investing in the future of your hair."
How do I embrace greys?
It can be tricky to watch your appearance change in front of your eyes, but if you're keen to put the dye away, Pinto has some tips for embracing natural colour.
"We’re seeing grey hair more and more in high-fashion environments, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be embracing your hair as it changes naturally," says Pinto.
"Experimenting with toners or toning shampoos allows you to change the shade of your greys – helping you to achieve a brighter, whiter look or take them down to a cool, smoky hue.
"If you’ve just started to have a few hairs growing through, you could even ask your stylist to create you further silver highlights, evening out the look and keeping it stylish while it’s in that mid-stage of growth.
"If you’ve previously coloured your hair but would like to go natural and grow your colour out, our stylists will help that happen.
"Finally, if you do prefer to cover your silver strands, there are numerous colour services are designed to offer great coverage for ageing hair, with highlights, regrowth services and tints to take you to your desired shade."
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