How to Get The Hairstyle You Want at the Salon


The “before” shot.

I like to treat visits to the salon as a learning experience. If I’m spending an hour in the chair of a hair expert, I feel like I might as well get some insight out of it. Which means I usually throw out a question here and there about the best shampoo for my hair type or how I can get blowouts that will make me look like a brunette Blake Lively.

So, when I recently booked an appointment at Sassoon Salon on Boylston Street to get a cut and color, I decided that, given the fact that it was beauty month on L&C, I’d make it a point to actually ask as many questions about how to get a great hairstyle as I could in the time I was there. I ran this by the team at VS, and they agreed it would be fun, and set me up with two of their (very talented) senior staffers. Talia Wildes did my color, while Lena Vinnitsky did the cut.

After three hours of quality chair time and some furious note taking, I emerged from the salon with some new layers, a few face-framing highlights, and a whole lotta know-how. Here, 14 of the questions we all wonder about our hair, answered by the pros.


Q: How do I get my hair color to look shinier?
A: “Consider going darker. In the summer, everyone wants lighter hair. But, if your hair tends to get dry and frizzy in the heat, a slightly darker color might be a better choice. Darker shades always look shinier.” – Talia

Q: I like the way my hair looks colored, but I don’t want to come to the salon once a month. Tips?
A: “If you’re low maintenance, get highlights only around the front of your face. You’ll be able to go longer between touch-ups at the salon because roots will be less noticeable.” – Talia

Q: How do I know what color is right for me?
“Again, it has a lot to do with your routine. Talk to your colorist about your lifestyle before settling on a look. A drastic change will require lots of upkeep, which might not fit into your schedule if you have a busy lifestyle. Just remember, the farther away your new color is from your natural color, the more upkeep it will require.” – Talia

Q: How do I make sure my color comes out the way I want it to?
A: “Bring photos. Color is so subjective. How one person perceives a color is totally different from another person.” – Talia

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Q: Is short hair easier to maintain in the summer?
A: “Not really.  People often think long hair doesn’t work well in the summer because it’s heavy and hot. But because it’s heavier, long hair is less prone to frizz and actually needs less styling.” –Lena

Q: What about hair type? Should certain hair types go for certain cuts? 
A. “It’s going to vary case by case, but in general, the thicker the hair, the simpler the cut should be. Thick hair does best with fewer, longer layers.” –Lena

Q: What are some things you wish people knew when they come in for a haircut?
A: “Wear your hair the way you normally wear it when you go to the salon. This gives the stylist a better idea of how it will fall day-to-day.” –Lena

Q: Is there anything I should discuss with my stylist before a haircut, besides the basics of what I’m looking for?
A: “Like color, it’s important to discuss maintenance when deciding on a cut. If you straighten your hair every morning, your stylist will create a different shape than if you’re someone who regularly air dries or wears their hair up. Also, if you’re getting your hair cut and colored in the same day, make sure your colorist and stylist touch base. It’s important for the cut and color to work together.” –Lena

Q: My hair always looks good when I leave the salon, but then sometimes I hate it when I get home. How can I fix that? 
A: “Have your stylist blow dry your hair straight, without using a round brush. A round brush creates artificial volume and can hide the true shape of the cut, while straight hair allows the stylists to check for symmetry and geometry. We don’t use round brushes here for that reason.” –Lena

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The lovely Lena

Style and Product

Q:  Best way to prevent frizz in the summer?
A: “Work with your natural texture. Instead of blow drying, use leave in conditioner and air dry.” -Talia

Q: What if I don’t like my natural texture?
A: “Then make sure to use the right product.Oil-based products give hair more shine and tend to sit on top of the hair and are generally best for fine hair. Cream-based products sink into hair, and make it heavier and reduce frizz.” -Talia

Q: Sometimes, I feel like volumizing products make my hair look flatter.
A: “Are you putting them in the right spot? Volume products should only be sprayed on the top third of your hair, since spraying it on the bottom will weigh hair down and negate the effects. De-frizzing/smoothing products, on the other hand, should only be placed on the lower two-thirds of the hair, again, because spraying them at the roots will flatten it.” –Lena

Q: What if my hair is both flat and frizzy? 
A: “You can use both volume products and smoothing products at the same time, so long as you make sure to put them in the right places. If you have a few hair issues you’re solving for, you can also ‘cocktail’ products that go in the same spot together. Just use half of the amount of each product that you normally would, and mix them together in the palm of your hand before applying.” –Lena

Q: I wait to blow dry my hair until it’s dried a bit, so I put products in my almost-dry hair . Is that OK?
A: “Unless a product specifies that it should be used on dry hair, products should be sprayed on out-of-the-shower wet or towel dried hair. It’s a small tip that makes a big difference. If you’ve ever put mousse into half-dry hair, you know this.” – Lena


And after!


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