Woman at hairdressers

Learn how to speak ‘hairdresser’ and get the look you’ve always dreamed of

Want to up your hair game? You just need to know what to ask for. Celebrity stylist Andrew Barton offers his insider advice

Learn how to speak ‘hairdresser’ and get the look you’ve always dreamed of

Pausing, post-salon session, to admire your hot new hairdo in a shop window is a fabulous feeling.

However, getting to that point can be tricky, not to mention a little scary, as what you want from your appointment isn’t necessarily what you end up with.

"Going into a salon can be daunting," explains stylist to the stars Andrew Barton. "Loud music, a hectic atmosphere and having to look at yourself in the mirror for at least an hour are all things that can make you nervous and put you off your hair game. However, with a few simple tips, it can be an enjoyable experience with incredible results."

Ready? It’s time to go pro to bag the barnet of your dreams...

Book a free consultation

"Before you block out a day in your diary for a tress makeover, pop into your chosen salon and make the most of their free consultation service," says Andrew. "Top stylists are always happy to do this to discuss whether a certain cut or colour will work for your hair type. If your salon isn’t happy to offer this freebie, it might be time to find a new hairdressing spot."

Ditch the lingo

"Often you’re sat in the chair and phrases like 'balayage' and 'baby lights' start flying around," says Andrew.

"Let them go over your head! Instead, describe looks rather than shades. For example, instead of asking for 'strawberry blonde with honey tones', say: 'I want my hair to look as if it has sun-kissed strands.' Your stylist can then work their magic to create this."

Picture this

"Pinterest is your go-to for visual aids of a new look," says Andrew. "Search for styles, then save the pics to your phone to avoid lots of scrolling when you’re in the chair. Make sure it’s the hair you love, though, not the celeb or model!"

No more maths

"An inch is an inch, but with no ruler figures can be up for interpretation," says Andrew. "Show your stylist how much you want to lose by holding fingers against your hair. If they suggest going shorter to lose split ends, it’s for your own good!"

It's all about you

"When in the salon hot seat, you need to be honest... not just with your stylist, but with yourself," says Andrew.

"Don’t have time to style your hair every day? Your stylist will probably suggest a one-length cut with no layers, as these can easily kick out of style if not tamed. Have the luxury of time and love to style? Shout about it and you may even learn some new skills from your hairdresser. By being yourself in your appointment, your new style will work for you in everyday life."

Don't be shy

"All through your consultation, make sure to ask, ask and ask away. If you want to know why the stylist is suggesting a blunt cut rather than lots of layers, or is saying that a colourwash will work better than adding more bleach, then speak up," says Andrew.

"They want what’s best for your hair, but you also have to agree to their suggestions. The hairdresser/client relationship is a long-term, give-or-take love affair, so keeping lines
of communication open on both sides is key."

Do your homework

"Before your visit, jot down the styling questions you want to ask your hairdresser, such as: 'Which way is best to tie this new do?' or 'How can I blow-dry it?'" says Andrew. "Then you’ll be able to care for your new look."

Salon style at home

Andrew picks the products that will help you recreate a professional finish...

Andrew Barton Heat Protect Spray. Andrew says: "Mist each section before drying, curling or straightening to protect and style."

Moroccan Argan Oil Ceramic Thermal Round Brush. Andrew says: "With a ceramic centre that heats up as you blow-dry, hair needs less time under the dryer."

L'Oréal Elnett Infinite Shine Hairspray. Andrew says: "To hold onto a style for longer, spray with your head upside-down so all strands get coated."

Looking to give your hair the makeover it deserves this autumn? Find everything you need to give your 'do a little TLC, from colourants to styling products and tools, online or pop into your local store.