How to Talk Change With Your Hair Pro

We asked Joico Guest Artists, Pam Mezinger and Ricardo Santiago, and CosmoProf Artistic Team Member, Olivia Smalley to weigh in on 5 “I’m-in-a-rut” rules so you get the best makeover ever. Here’s what they had to say:

1.Avoid springing a surprise on your stylist

Hairdressers love a creative challenge; but like any pro, some time to dream on that masterpiece is oh-so helpful.

Pam says: “Many times, guests come in asking for something different – and it catches us off guard. We have to think fast and fit it into the scheduled time slot. Try contacting your stylist via phone, text, or messenger and give them the head’s up that you’re thinking of a change; then schedule a consultation to talk about those thoughts.”

Olivia says: “Letting your stylist know that you’re thinking about a change before your appointment will make sure they book enough time for your service so it won’t be rushed. You can also brainstorm ideas before your appointment to make sure the two of you are on the same page.”

Ricardo says: “These things need to be planned out. Your hair may need to be prepped prior to your appointment, or your stylist may need to stock up on a certain product for your hair. Also, your request may come with a higher service price, requiring you to set aside a budget.”

2. Get real about what’s actually possible.

A hairdresser may be a wizard…but he or she isn’t Houdini. So walk in with a request that a human being could actually pull off with your hair.

Pam says: “If you come in for a hair-color change with a photo of a beach-wave blonde, and you wear your hair poker-straight, you will not get the same look – even once you’re blonde.”

Olivia says: “If you’re unsure of what’s realistic for you, bring in a good collection of inspiration photos and ask your stylist what they think will be the most attainable.”

Ricardo says: “I know it’s easy to look at a picture of one of our favorite celebrities on the red carpet, a friend, or perhaps even stranger on the street and say, “That’s so cute! I want that!” Truth is, not every look is a one-style-fits-all. Your source for inspo may might have a different hair texture, density, or face shape that makes it work for them. They also may be willing to invest in more time and product to style their hair daily. And let’s be really honest: If they’re a celebrity, they have a stylist who does their hair for them every single day, making them picture-perfect!”

3. Don’t expect a metamorphosis in a single appointment

defy damage consumer product bottles

Pam says: “If your goal is to be lighter and you’re currently dark, realize that you may need a couple of sessions to get you where you want to be. No two people have hair that lightens of holds color in the same way. So, realize that when your stylist tells you it may take a few appointments, it’s to help protect you and your hair.

Here’s the real bonus: You may even find that while you’re going through the transition, you end up with hair color or a cut that you like and want to stay with for a while — before moving on to you final end result.”

Olivia says: “If you have hair that is super-dark, don’t show your hairdresser a platinum blonde, expecting it to be done that day. Knowing what is realistic for you is incredibly important and makes your stylist’s job so much easier.”

Ricardo says: “Sometimes, it takes multiple sessions with your stylist; especially if you want to have healthy and/or long hair. For example, if you have been getting the same root retouch for the last couple of years and now you want to go lighter, there’s a history of color deposit that needs to be lightened and balanced out carefully; and that can sometimes take a few sessions to successfully achieve. Also be sure to take their product recommendations to heart during this time, because hair needs to be as protected as possible from the chemical services. Defy Damage Home Care System is a must when you’re going lighter.”

4. Be super honest about your daily routine

Pam says: “Most change failures come from this missing piece of communication. Your stylist must know your daily hair-care routine and how much time you like to spend doing your hair, and which tools you use.”

Olivia says: “Let your stylist know how high/low maintenance you are with your hair. This way they can recommend a plan for you that actually suits your lifestyle.”

Ricardo says: “Your new look might require a different level of effort. That may mean more frequent visits to the salon, new home-care practices, or an additional investment in product or time. If that’s the case, your stylist will help you figure out what’s the best way to tackle your new look head on!”

5. Bring way more photos than you think is necessary

Pam says: “Pictures are a great way to show your stylist what you like as far as style and color. When choosing your photos, look for hair similar to your own – i.e., straight , curly, wavy, coarse, or fine. But also bring in pics of a few styles or colors you DON’T like. This takes away some of the guesswork for your stylist if you’re not quite sure how to explain your dislikes.”

Olivia says: “The more inspirational photos you have, the better. Having a wide variety of options will really give your stylist an idea of what kind of style you like; and help them customize a great look for you!”

Ricardo says: “There are so many resources readily available to us now that weren’t in previous years. Between Google, Instagram, and Pinterest, you can most definitely find some inspiration for the change that can get you out of your rut. When you are using social media for inspo, make sure to look up keywords/hashtags that represent your specific hair type or hair goals: For example, it doesn’t make sense to look up pictures of Sofia Vergara’s hair as an inspiration if your hair is short, fine, and thin (unless you were looking up extensions!). Instead, you might search #shorthairstyles or #shorthairtrends.”