I’ve been incredible lucky over the last three years to partner with Sassoon — first while I was living in Boston, then later in Seattle and again after I moved back to Chicago. Over the course of three years and multiple cities, I’ve had my hair done by their talented teams about a dozen times, and besides the obvious perk of walking out of the salon looking like a babe, I’ve also loved using my chair-time to pick the brains of my stylists and colorists. I’ve never been particularly gifted at doing my own hair or figuring out what products work and which ones don’t, so going into the salon every few months has been like my own beauty boot camp.
If you’re anything like me (i.e. your favorite hairstyle is “dry” and you’ve used the same Suave hairspray since 10th grade), here are some of the best hair care and styling tips I’ve learned from my Sassoon team.
Photos work wonders.
One tip that virtually all of the stylists and colorist I worked with echoed: bring photos of the style you want. Even the most experienced stylists aren’t mind-readers, and long layers might mean one thing to you and something completely different to your stylist, and the same goes for common color references like “honey,” “chocolate,” and “ash.” However …
Listen to your stylist’s recommendations.
I’ve kept a dark brown base shade for my hair for years, but in the summer I do like to lighten it up a bit with a few highlights, since my hair naturally lightens up in the sun. I’ve always loved the look of caramel highlights and dark brown hair. But, any time I tried that combo on my own hair, it looked like a bad run-in with sun-in. After explaining this to my Sassoon Chicago colorist, Ronny, she told me something obvious: that caramel wasn’t the right tone for my skin or my hair, despite my insistence that that’s what I wanted. She gave me an ashier blonde color, and I’ll never go back to the warm tones of my past. The lesson here: A picture of hair you love that you found on Pinterest is great to show your stylist an overall effect, but color is incredibly individual. You’re better off explaining the look you want to your colorist and asking for their professional opinion instead. Find out more about choosing the right color for your hair and skin tone here.
Dark hair is shiny hair.
At my first-ever Sassoon appointment in Boston, I learned that the secret to making my mousy, dull brown hair look more vibrant was actually making it darker. Darker shades naturally look glossier, so they’re a great choice if your hair tends to look dry or frizzy, who knew? Find out more about how to get what you want from a salon visit, here.
Your hair cut can enhance your face shape.
During the time I was visiting Sassoon in Seattle, contouring was a major makeup trend. I was talking about it with the Seattle Creative Director, Lisa Baber, who told me that similar effects could be achieved with a haircut and a lot less makeup. Fine hair, for example, needs a stronger shape and curly hair often needs movement and layers, while people with thick hair need the right type of layering to remove weight in the right areas. Find out more about contouring your face shape with your haircut here.
Don’t get caught up in trends.
Given that I’ve been blogging about my experience with Sassoon, I was always eager to ask my stylists about the latest hair trends. And every time, in every city, they hesitated to tell me about them. Instead, all of my stylists gave me a different answer: your hair cut shouldn’t be determined by trends (see: every high school yearbook photo from the 1980s). The reason is because most trends don’t work on most people. A dozen Hollywood celebrities may have just gotten a Lob, but if your hair is super-thick and needs layers, a Lob might make your head look light a lampshade. In my case, about a year ago I really wanted ombre balayage highlights because they were everywhere, but my Sassoon colorist told me that they wouldn’t really work for my hair because I always wear it straight and the look I wanted was best for people who spent time curling their hair every day. Find out more about choosing a hairstyle here.