Understand that you won’t walk out magically looking like [Insert Celebrity Hair Inspiration Here]. It’s very easy to strut into the salon with a photo of Elsa Hosk and expect to leave looking like a second coming of the Victoria’s Secret Angel primed to star in their next Michael Bay-directed campaign. (P.S. if you’re reading this Jerome Duran/Ed Razek/Corporate VS Employees, my hair looks VERY similar to Elsa’s at the moment, so I’m ready and willing whenever you are!!!) That level of expectation will make the best color feel like a disappointment. I was unhappy with my hair color for years because I couldn’t comprehend how even if I went to the same stylist, used the same formula, and had the same haircut, I would not exit the salon looking any more like Gisele/Cara Delevingne/Rosie Huntington-Whiteley etc. than when I entered. These days, I go in with goals much more rooted in reality (although, again, ready and willing, Team VS!) and try to let my colorist use the photos I bring as a starting point. No one likes a copy cat, anyway, even when it comes to hair color.
Bring at least one photo of hair you do like, but more is better. Your colorist will probably spot discrepancies between the different pictures you choose, which will help clarify your color end-goal.
Bring at least one photo of hair you do not like, and be prepared to tell your colorist what in particular you don’t want to see reflected in your finished color.
Make sure the hair (and person!) in your photos is not too dissimilar to you. Texture, density, length, and skin tone all play important factors when you’re doing a color change. If you have yellow skin undertones and coarse, frizzy, warm brown hair, and you bring in a photo of a fair, ashy blonde with fine hair, your hairstylist could *probably* get you close to your reference photo, but chances are you won’t love the finished look since the rest of you looks nothing like the person you saw it on, and styling it like the reference photo without professional help is likely not going to happen.
Maybe don’t show screenshots of color you found on Instagram. Even sans-filter, almost nothing on social media is free from a little brightening & toning action. And why shouldn’t you take advantage of all the tools editing apps have to offer! They’re magic things. But they also can change the color of the hair in the photos you’re seeing, so proceed with caution when using them as a starting point, because even the person you’re referencing most likely doesn’t have hair that looks like the photo you love so dearly.
Have a mini-consultation with your colorist before you go crazy with the dye. This doesn’t need to be a separate appointment, and it doesn’t need to be overly lengthy, but walking through what products you currently use, how often you wash, and what your daily styling habits are helps your colorist make better decisions when it comes to the finished lewk.
And after the appointment, don’t use shitty products. I’ve never understood people who spend hundreds- yes H-U-N-D-R-E-D-$$$- of dollars on their hair color and then go home and use straight up bad products. If you’re rolling your eyes at me right now, you’d be shocked how much more common this is than not. You, the client, are paying for time with your stylist, so take advantage! I ask mine millions of questions, but especially things like: “What shampoo should I be using to make this shade last? Do I need a toner? What about a masque?” They know all the answers! And they want you to look good! That’s literally what they’re there for.