How To Speak Hair to Your Hairdresser

I’ve not talked with anyone else about this….

Here's my selfie.

Here’s my selfie.

but do you happen to notice the back of heads when you sit at a play or in church?

Hopefully, whatever is happening soon takes my mind off others around me.
And, I know…I know…liturgy is the work of the people. It’s as though the pastor is the director, we are the actors and God is the audience. Once a week isn’t too much to give a little thanks.

But last week…there I was…noticing the head in front of me, and the haircut I wanted to wear.

I had to resist the urge to pull out my camera phone and take a picture. It’s been made very apparent that, “I don’t speak “hair.”

In case you don’t either…here are some handy-dandy “helps” to make sure you don’t come out of the salon, wearing a headful of something that you couldn’t  wear to a late-night convenience store.

HOW To Speak HAIR to your Hairdresser


    Front. Back. Side. Whatever you can get…which means I’m stopping ladies in grocery store aisles and asking, “Can I take a picture of the back of your hair?” I usually don’t ask for the front lest they think I’m a “Creeper.” Several times, I’ve taken pictures by using the zoom on my camera of haircuts that I’ve seen at concerts and plays.

“Really?” my stylist said with a cocked eyebrow, looking at my blurred photos?  “You want something that resembles an aviator’s helmet?”

Well at least it isn’t a photo from a magazine. She broke me from bringing those to her. I thought Meryl Streep had an awesome “do” in The Devil Wears Prada.  When I brought that photo, I earned TWO arched eyebrows.

“You do understand it’ll take about 5 days to achieve this look?”

“No…” I said meekly.

“Well, it’ll take about 4 consecutive visits to lift all the color out of your hair, then one or maybe two visits to put it back in and work the style.

“Just cut it like usual.” I shrugged.

And that’s when I learned—from every stylist in the salon—what it takes to make hair look like it does in a photo shoot. Lights, chemicals, cosmetics, clothing specialists, 4-5 days of work … “And it’s probably a wig,” one of them added.

Okay, okay. So now, I only bring in pictures of real people in bad lighting.


    Look at hair samples. Then grip your seat as your stylist tells you that because of the color of your hair, your color-job won’t turn out like that. (Or…it’ll take about 5 days to…etc. etc.)

When the stylist says, “It’s going to turn out more like…this,” and she points to a sample shank of hair in another color family, trust him/her. Don’t hope he/she is wrong and your locks will morph into a Julia Roberts sheen if you use a little “anti-frizz” oil and Big Sexy Root pump.

Again…trust me. I’ve learned the hard way. Now if I want a red streak in my hair to advertise the Church Blood Drive, I rub a hank of my hair with a red piece of chalk.


Lutheran Lady secrets

Photo by Jehane

Perhaps you’re mature enough to remember Clairol’s advertising ploy…”Only her hair dresser knows for sure”?

Well…Confess all your hair sins! Your stylist MUST know what you’ve done to your hair.  Statements like, “ I haven’t used color on my hair in a year,” won’t fly.

“Are you sure? Because it looks like it has had color,” the stylist said.

“Oh…no.” I gave a solemn headshake. “I stopped that long ago.”

And then when she put her chemical mishmash on my hair, strange and unexpected greens appeared. I wasn’t being evasive on purpose…when it comes to hair… I forget.

“Breakage” occured in the follow-up days to fix the green sheen.

It turns out that the “color molecule” stays in the hair shaft long, long, long, after the “wash and wear” promise on the box has faded.  Actually, the only way to get rid of it is to grow it out and cut it off.

I’d like to say I’m mature and responsible hair owner. (Ha.Ha.Ha.)

I’d like to say … my stylist has whipped me into shape and taught me lessons about chemical pomades, nutrition, and even drinking more water. (Snort!)

What I’d really like is for my hair to look good without any effort. (I’m lazy like that, and if you’re one of those people who shampoo and run your fingers through your hair to let it air dry, and look stunning…well…I’m happy for you…about like I’m happy for the mother in my kid’s play group who used to say, “I never have to remind my child to do her homework. She just does it.” (BLaaaagh)

Photo by Stilfehler

So for now, I sit in church and notice the back of heads.

  • The mother who didn’t have time to do her own hair because she had children to herd.
  • Girls who have braided tresses without flyaways and loose ends sticking everywhere, and what tremendous patience SOMEONE had to have to accomplish that.
  • The lady who has a big hole in her hairdo because, like me, she never looks at the back of her head.

 And then there are the ladies with no hair.

And I remember why I’m there.

Talking to the Creator of the Universe about hair is different than talking to your stylist, isn’t it?

“Thanks for giving me a head,” is about all that’s needed and puts the rest into a perspective.

From that angle…we all look good.


9 thoughts on “How To Speak Hair to Your Hairdresser

  1. Well, in my case, if the stylist says it’s probably a wig – it is. I am very nearly bald due to an uncooperative thyroid. I have four wigs, all the same color and same length, but different styles. Straight today? Oh, I didn’t bother to put it up. Really curly? It’s the humidity.

    Except yesterday, when the wind was 45 mph, and my wig blew across the IKEA parking lot and I had to go chase it.

  2. My hair is decidedly wash n wear. If the hairdresser talks about product, or blow drying I step away. Quickly. Still wearing their stylish cape…
    Have you noticed that many hairdressers feel free to ask questions about your life? Questions that I would fudge the answers if talking to long-standing friends? Which led me to play the ‘hairdresser game’. I answered those questions with no attention to truth. Couldn’t remember what lies I had told, and had to change hairdressers. And salons. Oops.

    • I love the hairdresser game. Yes, why is it, when someone is working on your hair, they ask about your first (husband, child, sex, tooth-pulling, and bounced check)? I’d love to see you run out of the shop with the cape. Just what you need to complete your Superwoman outfit.

  3. LOL I always worry about how the back of my head looks because I do the same thing of staring at others from behind! I see some who look like only 3/4 of their hair got combed/brushed and wonder if they know. I will work to get my hair to look perfectly coiffed and then by the time I arrive somewhere it looks like it decided to do its own thing!!

    • Well, at least you look in the mirror. A lot of times I arrive somewhere, got to restroom and realize that I didn’t look in the mirror before I headed out the door. It’s always a surprise at what’s going to greet me in the the mirror.

  4. AHHH. Church from Mr. Burns’ pew.

    Interesting perspective, though I’m just here for the writing. I haven’t been inside a salon since the sixties, and what I since learned is my “updo” has been up there since my twenties, and all that I require of it is clean and out of my way.

    I admire, marvel, wonder, and sometimes laugh at some of the styles I see, and am downright AMAZED at others—those towers of braids and shining loops befitting Seussian Royals, and the simple gleam and swing of what even I can recognize as a really expert cut.

    But then I and my Suave and little card of GOODY bands and boxful of old fashioned Bobby Pins go our way, hoping I tucked it all in properly in the back. I once carried a roll of all our “traveling money” on a trip to Washington inside the neat bun atop my head—all I had to do was touch a fingertip gently to the side, and there it was, safe and snug.

    I’ve missed you—hope you’re staying well and warm.


    • Thanks for your kind commments. What a delightful story about carrying your cash in your bun, and I’d love to use it in the next Lutheran Ladies Book. What a clever, clever woman you are. I love bobby pins. They have soooo many uses.

Add your 2cents to the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s