Monday, September 13, 2010

Hair Wars

On Sunday Ken and I went together to get our hair done. Yes, we always go together, because
a) If I book Ken's appointment with mine I get a ride to the Very-Far-Away salon I prefer and
b) If I don't book Ken's appointment with mine he lets his hair grow down past his collar and that is definitely not a good look on him.

These days Ken puts in more chair time than I do because he gets a few bright streaks of colour layered into his naturally black hair. It's totally punk-tastic, for reals, but it takes ages. Anyways, my hair was all done and he still had an hour left to go, so I told him I was going out to window shop and I'd be back for him later.

I shmoozed around for a while, cruising the boutiques and shoe shops. I stopped into a fancy women's clothing store just to kill time, when the girl behind the counter struck up a conversation with me. She was a lovely young thing: perfect skin; big, dark eyes; and an abundance of wavy, glossy black hair twisted up into a loose bun on top of her head. She was also one of the chattiest people I've ever met.

Before long she had broken through my usual keep-to-myselfness and we were blabbing away to each other freely. We came to the subject of haircuts and salons. There were some stories told and comparisons of our worst salon experiences (no shortage of those). She divulged that she has trouble getting what she wants from stylists because she's not comfortable giving them direction.


Well, you know, they're the experts, and you have to defer to them, so if your stylist gives you a haircut you don't like, better just go try a different one, and hope that they do it the way that you secretly desire.

I wasn't following her. So, the stylist should be willing and able to read her mind? Or she's hoping to randomly find a stylist who happens to share her exact taste and vision for her particular head of hair?

This gorgeous girl, who had everything else going for her, obviously lacked the basic skills for dealing with stylists. As an older, wiser woman, I offered her some instructions: Tell them what you want! It's your money and your hair! And if they don't share your vision, find someone who does - before they get their hands on you!

My regular stylist was on vacation, so for this haircut I had to instruct a newbie. I was very specific. "I want the back and sides short, but leave these bits by my ears and the bangs long, with lots of layers, and lots of thinning at the top or it grows out into an ugly hair bulge." When she handed me the mirror at the end I said "This is exactly what I wanted!" and she said "Well, you gave a very accurate description." It was a win-win.

I hope that my sage advice will help the salesgirl deal with stylists more successfully in the future.

And now the floor is yours, people. Hairstyle horror stories from all of you please. Go!


DarcsFalcon said...

Oh my! I'm glad you set her straight! I never heard of anyone thinking they shouldn't tell the stylist what they wanted done with their hair.

My horror stories always involved them taking off way more than I wanted them too. My hair was really long, blond, and the source of my pride. Okay, vanity. I'd tell the stylists, "One inch! Only a trim!" Without fail, my definition of inch and theirs usually differed by about 6-12 inches. They'd see me walk in and their scissors would start snapping in evil glee.

Jameil said...

There's something my usual stand up for myselfness doesn't come through in but I don't remember what. I tell people what I want but sometimes I don't do well when they don't follow through. That's when other people did my hair though. I mostly do it myself now. I'm glad you hooked her up, though!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I've ever met someone who wouldn't at least tell their hair stylist what they wanted! I've seen spouses keep to themselves, friends, family members, but never someone with the hair stylist. Seriously, wth?!

Anonymous said...

My usual hair salon story is waiting over an hour for my appointment then having the actual styling and cutting taking less than half an hour.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

I usually tell them to cut about an inch of that hair and to leave the other one alone as it doesn't grow that quick.....

Sparkling Red said...

DarcsFalcon: The same thing used to happen to me when I had long hair. I'd take off my glasses for the cut and "just a trim" of hair past my shoulder blades would end up in a bob. Infuriating!

Jameil: I colour my own hair. If I could cut it myself, I certainly would!

darcknyt: Yeah, she has a serious conflict-avoidance problem.

WIGSF: That is unacceptable! Hair stylists have no excuse for running behind all the time. If he or she is consistently late, he or she should be booking appointments further apart.

Ron: And trim your eyebrows just short enough that you can see, right? ;-)

Just Plain Tired said...

My instructions for the stylist are pretty simple. Cut enough off so I don't have to see you again for a month. (Usually said with a smile, after all, she's holding scissors and I'm unarmed.)

Kate said...

I've always had trouble with trying to tell someone what I want with my hair. I take in about 6-8 pictures of something similar and hope for the best. However, I have been going to the best stylist in the world for 3 years now and I finally totally trust her judgement. So, when I wanted to go short. I brought in my pictures and she picked the one that would be best for my hair and I've never been happier. She is a true gem.

Jenski said...

You definitely did that woman a favor!

They thinned my (already thin white person) hair when I got it cut in China. I do tell people how I want it cut, but not knowing Chinese and desperate for a haircut ended up a bad combination.

Scarlet Ily said...

I used to get stuck with the hairstylist who wouldn't listen to me and just that wanted to practice all the tricks she learned in school, and NOT ONE of the styles flattered me...but that was back in the day when I thought like the girl you mentored. Now I tell them what I want and most of the time I'm happy with the results (but not always). They don't always listen but if you don't at least tell them what you want, you don't stand a chance!

Sparkling Red said...

JPT: That remind me of when I had long hair and would only go in once every 6 months for a straight-up trim. Now half and inch in either direction can make the difference between cute and ghastly.

Kate: Visual aids are the best way to go, when in doubt. As long as the model in the photo has the same shaped face/head as you, it can work out well.

Jenski: Oh no! That would be rough. I have what my cousin refers to as "big Jewish hair". It seems to be normal amongst Ashkenazi Jews to have thick, frizzy hair. I am no exception. I can only acheive a sleek look by keeping it super-short and thinned. And full of pommade.

Scarlet: You'd think all you have to do is passively sit back in the chair to get a good haircut, but in fact there's some careful preparation required!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

Will you come with me next time I have to get a hair cut? =)

I tend to keep my hair styles relatively simple ... because I think it's a challenge in and of itself to tame my curly locks. Every once in a while, I'll let my hair stylist do what they want (with some minimal guidance from me) and I'm never disappointed. I guess it all comes down to a matter of trust ... can you trust yourself to explain what you want and can you trust your hair stylist to execute it.