Hair salon treatments can range from a simple trim or haircut, to a hair color and conditioning, to texture-changing processes like Brazilian blowouts and Japanese straightening. No matter what the treatment, it's important that you feel comfortable and confident with the salon and stylist you've chosen. We've gathered some tips and information about how to optimize your salon experience to ensure that you leave your appointment feeling great about the outcome.
Hair extensions are an option for anyone looking for a fuller or longer mane.
"Like hair coloring, a hair weave is a relatively easy and non-invasive way to change your appearance," said hair stylist Amoy Pitters, owner of Amoy Couture Hair in New York City. "Extensions have been long thought of as only for the rich and famous; however this is no longer the case. New technology and consumer education is driving cost down while at the same time, increasing the quality of products that are now available."
If you're considering adding extensions to your natural hair, it's important to explore your options in order to understand how each technique might affect your hair and how natural it will look.
For example, for shorter hair, it's best to sew in extensions to attain an even flow of layers. For longer styles, Pitters recommends fusion or micro link weaves to add fullness and texture. Here are some other important pointers from Pitters:
Choose the Right Hair Type: Extensions and weaves come in both synthetic and natural forms (human hair) and you will want to think carefully about your lifestyle and desired look before choosing a hair type, advises Pitters. Human hair is better for free-flowing styles and is less damaging overall. There are many types of human hair to choose from, and your hair type, preference, and cost restrictions will determine which extensions are best for you. Extensions usually last about two months.
Hair Extension Maintenance: Treat your extensions the same as you would your natural hair. Always wash your scalp and hair (natural and extensions) at least every seven to 14 days. Weave hair is especially prone to becoming brittle and dry because it's not attached to the scalp and doesn't receive any of the body's naturally nourishing oils, so it is important to condition and moisturize regularly.
How to Pick a Stylist
When seeing a new stylist, it is very important that you feel comfortable and confident in his or her hands. While we've all heard, "it's just hair, it will grow back," a bad haircut can be particularly upsetting. Here are some general tips on picking a stylist that should help you leave the salon happy and confident:
Getting to Know You: While all salons run on a tight schedule, make sure the initial consultation time with your stylist is thorough, rather than glossed over or rushed. This is the time when you have the opportunity to communicate to your stylist what you want out of the appointment, and when you and the stylist can make sure you're on the same page before the cutting commences. Not only should the stylist be listening to what you're looking for, but he or she should also be taking into account your energy and style, deciding whether or not you're ready for a high-maintenance cut and color, or a more wash-and-go style.
Speak Up: If, at the end, or at any point during your appointment, you feel unhappy with the result or the way things are going, speak up. Your stylist wants to give you the best look possible and should work to turn things around if you're not pleased with the style.
Ask for a Tour: If it's your first time in a salon, sometimes the different stations (wash sinks, cutting chair, blow-dry chair) can be confusing. Ask your stylist to walk you through the process and tell you where you will be going and when, in order to feel more comfortable with the entire process.
Changing your hair color can be a great way to change your look without chopping your locks. A crucial part of the process is the consultation, so it's important to have an idea of what you want, and bringing some inspirational photos with you to your appointment can help. Your colorist should be able to combine your input, any photos you bring, and his or her expertise to create a color that will work with your natural tones and overall aesthetic.
There are many hair color processes:
Single-process color is when a dye is mixed and applied to hair for all-over coverage, which is good for changing your base color or covering grays. While single-process hair color is easy enough to do at home, if you are a first timer, it's best to leave this to the professionals.
Double-process treatments are typically used when lightening the hair. After the hair is bleached and the color is lifted, the new desired color is applied.
Spot hair color processes like highlights and lowlights are also common. Highlights take thin or thick sections of hair and lighten them by at least two shades to complement your base color. Lowlights, which darken hair, are less common, but can enhance a hair color scheme. Created by selecting thin or thick portions of hair throughout the head and darkening them by at least two shades, lowlights can deliver a more subtle look for those who like the appearance of highlights but wish to opt for less drama. For balance and dimension, try combining highlights with lowlights.