Beauty | How to get the haircut you've always wanted

Being experimental with my hair has had its perks—I've found hair care products that do magic for me, I've discovered a comfortable length that works for my face shape and I've even found lowlights that are subtle enough to sport at work. However, not without its failings. While experimenting led me to my new bob a few summers ago and helped me find a friend in dry shampoo, it also led to some disastrous experiments that took place behind the scenes.

Image of a young woman wearing a grey outfit and plaid scarf with red lips and a wool beanie hat over a straight lob hairstyle on a brick background

The most scarring of them have been bad haircuts. Yes, I say haircuts in plural because were multiple times when my hair looked like something Edward Scissorhands would have been responsible for. I've had a too-short fringe that belonged on a 60's pin-up poster, a shaggy crop that made me look like a teenage boy and a fantastically styled 'do that unravelled minutes after I left the salon.

Even for someone who isn't very attached to her hair, they cut deep. However, through the awful cuts and awry trims, I learned that it is possible to get a good haircut and it doesn't just depend on your hairstylist. Yes, a truly good, 'makes-me-want-to-kiss-my-reflection' kind of haircut. It took years of hair trials and tribulations to create the list of how I did it, which you'd want to know about of course—what self-respecting beauty lover would you be if you didn't!

Know your hair

Before you step into a salon, understand you own hair. Is it straight, wavy or curly? Is it prone to breakage, split ends or frizz? Is it thick or thin in volume? These are questions that will shape your hairstyle. Next, find your face shape and the hairstyles that suit both, your shape and texture. Together, they'll help you form an idea of what you want when you speak to your stylist.

Illustrated motion image of a woman sitting in a salon chair and getting her short hair cut by a hairstylist with a scissors and comb

Find the right hairstylist

When it comes to this one, the struggle is real. Hairstylists can be intimidating to the extent that you come out looking completely different because you got coaxed into a hairdo you didn't intend. They can also be extremely uninvolved and just eager to get it over with. Unfortunately there's no easy to way to find the right one other than testing and trying them. Ask everyone you know with covet-able hair who they go to and try a trim with them for yourself. If you're pleased, go in for the whole shebang. Find out what area of expertise the stylist specialises in; short crops, styling, layers etc so that you can select them based on their speciality.  Exhausting, I know but what works for someone else may not work for you. Play the field for the right hairstylist and with a little luck, you'll find them.

Expensive need not be good

I've come to learn that a high price being equated to an excellent service or product is the most illogical belief. While I say this from my experience of surprisingly spectacular restaurants and budget beauty products, hairstylists also fall under this category. While a more expensive hairstylist is meant to be more experienced and knowledgeable, this isn't always true. I've actually noticed that the more I shell out for a chop by the creative director/head stylist/other fancy designation, the less attention my hair gets, which results in a strictly mediocre cut. Regardless of whether a stylist is fairly new to the hair game or has been in it for years, don't let price be the sole factor in choosing them. Look for someone who understands your hair and is receptive to opinions.

Image of a woman sitting in a salon chair covered with a salon cape getting her long curly hair cut by a hairstylist

Stand your ground

When you're finally in the stylists chair, it's very easy to get lured into their recommendations. They throw around words like layering and glossiness which can easily intimidate you. They may even recommend an exorbitant treatment or unnecessary colour job which can make you look ridiculous. Save yourself the horror and instead, stand your ground on what you want. While it is important to take your hairstylist's input into consideration (they are the experts after all!), don't let it persuade you into doing something you aren't comfortable with. You're paying good money for a hairstyle you want so politely take their recommendation and assert your choice because you'll be the one sporting the style for the next few months.

Don't let styling fool you

Between the whirring of the blowdryer and wafting fragrance of fancy argan oil, it's pretty easy to think that your hair looks great once finished. But don't be fooled by the guise of clever styling. You'll be amazed at how a simple blowout can leave you thinking your hair looks a Victoria's Secret Angel. Unfortunately, that may all change a few washes later. While styling is great to add flair, at its base the haircut needs to be well done. Once it is, whether styled or not, it will look fantastic.


Trending on Style File