I’ve been doing hair for over a decade, so I’ve seen pictures of Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lawrence, Taylor Swift, Reese Witherspoon, and so many more over the years. With Pinterest, Instagram, Google, Facebook, YouTube, and every other form of social media readily available on your mobile device, there is no shortage of pictures and ideas for your hair. Almost every guest in my chair, everyday, pulls up a Pinterest page full of hairstyles they love. One of the first things I like to do when someone shows me a picture with the face of a celebrity or hair model, I immediately put my thumb over their face and say, “Do you love this hairstyle?” I’ve found, over the years, that you may love the celebrity, but when they are removed from the equation that hairstyle doesn’t necessarily suit you. Here are some tips that can help facilitate that process:

  1. Find your celebrity look alike.

Find a celebrity or model that has a face shape, skin tone, and hair texture similar to yours.  If you have a square jaw line, than what looks good on Jennifer Lawrence probably will not suit you because she has a heart shaped face. That short-angled bob that falls just around her cheekbones may accentuate your jaw line in an unflattering way. Many women love the long, smooth locks of Jennifer Aniston, however, if you’ve ever heard an interview of hers about her hair, you will find she has very thick, semi curly hair, and many times has a head full of extensions. In other words it takes smoothing treatments, extensions, and a longer finishing regimen for her to achieve those goals. If you have fine, thin hair, it will not look that full when straight. What does all this mean?  Talk to your stylist.  Ask them if the color or cut in the picture will work for you.

  1. Evaluate what you really love about the hair in the pictures you’ve chosen.

Do you love the golden blonde highlights?  Is it the placement of the Balayage around the face?  Do you like the bluntness of the cut? Make sure to talk to your stylist about what specifically you love in each picture. I had a guest show me a picture of a beautiful brunette with shoulder length hair and a side swept fringe (some may call them bangs).  She had long, highlighted hair; my first thought was “Are we changing her color today?” Going from blonde to brunette properly is a process that takes time, and I was unsure the ashy shade would suit her skin tone.  Thank God I asked her how dark she wanted to go, she replied, “Oh, I just want my bangs like that!” That point when you pull up a picture make sure you say, “I like the placement of these highlights, but not necessarily the color, I think they may be too blonde for me. What do you think?” This will open up the conversation for you and your stylist to take what you love about the picture and customize it for you.

  1. Have realistic expectations when it comes to color.

There was a great meme going around about the evolution of Khloe Karadashian’s dark tresses, slowly becoming the beautiful pale, platinum rooted look she currently has. It took about a year for her to do and she lost some length. It’s not impossible for you to go from dark brown hair to blonde in a day, but it is improbable and you will damage your hair.  Sometimes making a big change to the color of your hair should take time.  Talk to your stylist and set goals. Commit to coming in every two to four weeks to accomplish your transformation in a healthy way. Most importantly, tell us everything you have done to your hair in the past few years, especially if it is long. Yes, I’m even talking about that box of color you used to color your hair when you had to cancel your reservation two years ago. The remnants of the color molecules of that box color still remain in the shaft of your hair and can hinder the process. Just like a doctor needs to know every medication you are on, we need to know everything that is in your hair. Even if you aren’t lifting your hair with lightener, but going to a darker color, there is still a process. The hair has to be filled with missing pigments, colored, and toned. This process may need to be done more than once, depending on the condition of your hair. Most importantly, when you book your reservation, let the receptionist know you are making a change, that way they can facilitate extra time with your stylist. In short, don’t expect to walk in with dark hair and leave blonde in two hours!

  1. Filters aren’t your friends.

I love having the ability to filter a picture on Instagram. It changes the lighting and makes me look younger if I do it right, however it also changes the color of my hair. I have long, blonde hair (and a head full of extensions), and some filters make my color very golden, while some mute the highlights, or look more platinum. The color of your hair is very sensitive to light. These filters also are used to enhance and change hair color for the purposes of good photography. In other words, that beautiful teal colored hair may actually be a more muted tone, enhanced by filters and Photoshop. This means this is a color that is harder to achieve. In order to color someone’s hair teal it first has to be lightened to the point where there are no underlying pigments, so they do not affect the tone of the direct dye. Sounds complicated, right? It is. Most importantly because the hair is completely lightened, the cuticle is wide open and direct colors have a hard time holding onto the core of your hair, which means they will fade fast. If you want the beautiful color in that filtered picture, you have to commit to getting it touched up weekly or biweekly, or for blondes and brunettes, toned and touched up every four weeks.  So, have the conversation with your stylist about the financial and time commitment it takes, but most importantly, at the end of your service you should be able to take a picture and hashtag no filter!

  1. The perfect finish.

I cannot stress this enough, the way you finish and style your hair will be the most important thing you do over the next four weeks, until your next reservation. Many times, in a picture, it’s all about the way the hair is styled. In 2001, the movie Sweet Home Alabama was released. For years after everyone wanted Reese Witherspoon’s adorable bob, and it was a great cut, with that cute flip out at the ends. A stylist can cut your bob to aide in it flipping at the ends, but it also has to be styled properly, with the proper heat tools to achieve this look. Heat tools can cause damage if used improperly; for example, flipping your head over and blowing straight into it with hairdryer will blow open your cuticle and cause damage (For the love of God, please stop doing this!). You are probably reading this blog on your mobile device, which you more than likely have on you at all times. Do yourself a favor, when you see your stylist turn on their blow dryer, turn your camera to video, hold it up to face the mirror and record your finish. Ask your stylist questions; this way you can achieve the same look you get at the salon at home. Remember, an Ombre looks best with a loose curl or beach wave, it looks its worse in a ponytail, so if you like ponytails, it’s probably not the best look for you. I’ve heard this a million times before “I already get up so early, I just don’t want to do all that!” That is the time I say, “Then this color and cut may not be for you.”  Your hair has to fit your lifestyle. It is said that as people we form an opinion on a person in the first 20 seconds of meeting them, this means the opinion is first formed on how you present yourself. You don’t have to be a glam goddess, but you should have a cut and color that reflects who you are as a person. While we are on the subject, how-to videos on YouTube and Facebook are great. I love seeing interesting ways people style their hair, however many of them are not experts and do not have the same type of hair that you do. What works for them may not work for you. If you see something that peeks your interest, talk to your stylist about it. Make sure you can invest the time it takes to make the best reflection of you every day!

  1. Product matters, so invest in it.

This is not a sales pitch – it’s a fact. “For instantly better hair, stop asking the Internet which product does this and how do I use it? and start asking your barber or hairdresser what will it take for my hair to act this way, and will any product help?” – Andrew, Behind the Chair. You’ve now invested $150 to $250 (or more depending on where you live) in your perfect color and cut. You may have put your hair through a lot to get there. No matter the color line, or treatments used in the salon, if you go to your nearest grocery store and buy the cheapest shampoo, conditioner, and styling products, you will not like your hair, I promise.  Fillers, Parabans, and petroleum rob your hair of moisture, color, shine, and create build up over time. Even some natural oils, like coconut oil, are too heavy, with molecules that are too large to properly be absorbed into your hair. Good companies reduce their size of the molecule so all the nutrients can be absorbed into the hair. If you invest in your health by going to the gym regularly, you wouldn’t negate that by eating fast food everyday, the same goes for your hair. Ask your stylist what they are using and why (if they don’t offer that information up front).  Curly hair needs different care than fine, straight hair, and smoothing your hair requires different finishing products than a style with volume and lift. If you can’t invest in every product all at once, start with shampoo and conditioner.  Slowly build up your arsenal of products so you too can become the expert at finishing your hair and maintaining its health and beauty. Your stylist is an expert in your hair. Just as you ask a doctor what medicines you should take, you should also ask your stylist what is best for your hair.

  1. Finally, REBOOK.

Book your next reservation with your stylist before you leave the salon. Even if you are growing out your hair, you need regular trims. If you delay your reservations and your hair has too much regrowth, it becomes very difficult for your stylist to maintain your results. Banding can happen and you will not be as happy with color, or split ends can creep up the shaft of your hair, requiring more hair than you would like to be cut off. Take time for you and book before you leave so you already have your calendar blocked off and you’ve made it a priority to give your hair the care it needs.

The goal should always be that the selfie you post is the one someone else is taking to their stylist because it looks so good on you!

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