The 7 Rules of Working With a Hair Stylist

The 7 Rules of Working With a Hair Stylist

Finding the best person to be your stylist, especially in a new place can be a terrifying thing. If you’re like me, it can be one of the most anxiety provoking things you can do because so much can be at stake if you’re a hair person (which, if you are no longer a teen, you should be).

Regardless if you have short or long hair, it should always have some sort of style to it. And even though my dad used to make me so mad when I was a teenager, and he would beg me to cut my hair off or at least style it, I have to admit he actually was right.

I like to think I’m making him proud now, but it took a long time, and finding the right stylist to get it right. In an effort to help prevent the same thing from happening to others, I took the liberty of talking with 3 different stylists who work in totally different salons and with different areas of expertise to help others who may be searching for a new stylist to maximize success and minimize disappointment.

Here are seven basic tips while you research and are meeting with a new stylist for the first time:

1.   Have realistic expectations of what you want to achieve:

    If you have black hair and want to be platinum blond, it’s going to take a while for it to be done right and not damage your hair. Managing your own expectations is key and if a stylists says it can't be done, it's not because they are incompetent, it's because your hair won't freakin' do what you're asking for in one visit...Trust the expert.

2.   DO. NOT. LIE. about “box coloring” your own hair:

    When you “box dye” your hair from chemicals from a convenient store, you’re getting what you pay for. Especially if you have been going darker on your own, you are putting layer upon layer of color on your hair and when you want to go lighter, you’re stylist is going to know because you will have lines for each time you’ve colored your hair. Think of it this way, If you color your hair black, and when it grows out 1 inch you re-color it all over, your ends have 2 layers of color and your roots only have one. So when you go lighter you will be able to see that line no matter how good your colorist is.

3.   Listen when a stylist is trying to manage your expectations:

    If you come in with fine hair and you want to look like a Victoria Secret model, no amount of talent or hairspray is going to make you look like you have 3 more pounds of hair than you actually do. Work with what you've got and listen to the guidance of your stylist.

4.   Consult Yelp, but know it’s not the Bible!:

    Some people are just mean for fun and pride themselves on yelping a 1 star if everything wasn’t as picture perfect as they expected in their unrealistic heads. Yelp can be a good tool, but if someone has 99 percent positive reviews and one scathing one, odds are, the reviewer didn’t have rule 1 under control, or they are just a jerk.

5.   Bring reference pictures:

    Points of reference are always helpful, but its even better to tell a stylist what it is you like about a look, such as the specifics of a color, cut, length, etc. Keep in mind too, that sometimes what you see is different than what the stylist sees so make sure you’re really specific about what it is you like about any photos you bring in.

6.   Tip appropriately:

    Standard tipping etiquette will tell you that you should tip like you do at a restaurant. Don’t be afraid to go above and beyond especially if you like their work. Stylists are basically miracle workers and often times a significant portion of the cost of the service does not go to them.

7.   BE ON TIME:

    Every persons time is valuable, but what most people don’t realize is that a stylist's day depends on everything being timed out perfectly and you being 20 minutes late because you needed that extra caramel, extra whip, extra hot, what do you mean I have to pay extra “coffee”, may keep them from getting a lunch break. Which I’m sorry but.. who wants someone cutting their hair who is hungry? Just saying! 

Some final food for thought (if you will), you need to know that not every stylist specializes in EVERYTHING. If you want to achieve a particular look or like particular products to be used on you, research salons through Instagram and find someone that has done similar styles or looks on other clients. 

As I mentioned in the beginning, I happen to know some pretty incredible San Francisco stylists all in very different neighborhoods and salons: 


Marc Reyes
Follicle Hair Salon - 798 Sutter St. San Francisco, CA
Specializes in: Cut, color, & smoothing treatment (Brazilian Blowout)
To book an appointment: 415.402.5277 or 415.402.5288
Marc has worked with Kelly Osbourne


Justin Wahle
B Parlor Salon - 782 Haight St. San Francisco, CA
Specializes in: Cuts & creative fun colors
To book an appointment: 415.255.8554
Justin has been featured in 10 shows for New York Fashion Week 2017


Sammy Passion
B Parlor Salon - 782 Haight St. San Francisco, CA
Specializes in: Natural looking hair color & straight blade razor cuts
To book an appointment: 415.255.8554

Benefit Cosmetics, Eyelash Tinting

Benefit Cosmetics, Eyelash Tinting