Taking gradual steps toward a drastic change is recommended by the experts.
By MISSY GOOD
It's too short. It's not short enough. The layers are all wrong. Did I ask for bangs?
If any of these thoughts have crossed your mind after visiting the salon, you've experienced the struggle that many women face: trying to find the perfect haircut.
We asked three stylists in the Milwaukee area for their tips on how to avoid a disaster and find a great cut that fits your style and needs.
Whether you request a style from a magazine photo or describe a celebrity's coveted locks to your stylist, chances are your hair won't turn out exactly the same way.
"Your hair type could be totally different from the person in the picture," said Britani Elliott, a stylist at Elements. "You might not have the right face shape for a particular cut."
Mylinda Junkermeier at Cost Cutters says an experienced stylist will help you determine whether a certain cut will look flattering on you.
"A stylist with several years of experience will be better able to tell you what style will look good and help figure out your hair type," she said.
If you're not sure which salon to go to, ask friends, family and co-workers where they go -- especially those who have a haircut that you admire.
"Ask them where they go, how long they've been going there and if they're happy," said Junkermeier, who has worn her hair curly, straight and with layers.
"Ask if their stylist listens to what they want."
Poetry Loggins of Queen's Salon agrees that good word of mouth will lead you to a dependable stylist.
"If you see someone else's work, you know what they're capable of," she said.
Take it easy
When you're considering a major change, whether it's a cut or color, it's a good idea to schedule a consultation before taking the leap. Most salons offer this service for free, so ask the receptionist about it before making an appointment for the cut.
"I like to discuss how long a person wants to spend styling their hair and how much effort they want to put into a style," said Elliott, who changes her hairstyle and color often and has sported pink hair and black extensions (though not at the same time).
"A lot of pregnant women come in with long hair and want it all chopped off," she said. "That can come as a big shock if they haven't thought about it enough."
Junkermeier recommends taking gradual steps toward a drastic change.
"Making a huge change all at once can be scary, and you shouldn't do it on a whim," she said. "If I sense someone is nervous about getting a totally different style, I'll suggest making the change over three or four appointments rather than doing it all at one time."
A good rule of thumb for helping your stylist figure out what you want is to bring in several photos.
"Cut out pictures from magazines and look on the Internet for ideas," said Junkermeier. "Pictures really help because a stylist can go over what you like about each style and implement several different aspects into a cut you'll love."
Loggins, who has microbraids and a deep wave, says looking at photos helps create an understanding between you and your stylist.
"A picture gives you a map, something to go off of," she said. "It's a good way to make sure they know what they're getting before the haircut."
Enjoying your time at the salon can be just as important as how you feel about your haircut. If you're not comfortable being in the salon, you may not feel great about the style you get there.
"You want to be able to feel open to talk to your stylist and say what you want," said Loggins. "Make sure your stylist is communicable before you trust them with your hair."
"You shouldn't feel put-out when you visit a salon," said Elliott. "A friendly atmosphere and staff that get along with each other helps you enjoy your experience."