How to Advise Clients on What to Expect from a Haircut

hair consultation with client

Tyler Olson-

One of the jobs of hairstylists is managing their clients’ expectations. Often, clients will see a new hairstyle on their favorite celebrity online or in print and will save that image to share as a reference with their stylist. While even the most skilled stylists can take damaged hair and make it look lustrous and attractive or add sunkissed highlights to brown hair, there are certain limits to what they can do. 

Getting face-framing money piece highlights and a voluminous blowout that your client sees in professionally styled photos might be the style that lasts for a few hours or a day. The hairstylist’s job is to explain to the client that they won’t wake up with the same hairstyle they left the salon with. It takes effort and regular visits to the salon to maintain luscious, healthy-looking locks. 

A haircut can feel life-changing. Bad hair days send some of us wearing our hair in a messy bun all day or hiding under a hat. Hair plays a big role in how our self-confidence is affected, which is why it’s so important for stylists to consult with clients before taking the shears to the hair. 


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Una publicación compartida de Chris Appleton (@chrisappleton1)

Attribution: @chrisappleton1

Pictured above is celebrity stylist, Chris Appleton, demonstrating how to manipulate and sculpt hair. 

Here are two examples you may encounter with your client: 

Scenario One

Let’s say the client hands over a reference photo, hoping you’ll give them exactly what they want. You don’t want to dash their hopes, so you tread lightly by opening with a compliment, explaining how to achieve the haircut, managing their expectations tactfully, and ending on a reassuring note. 

Hair Stylist: “This is a great style! The stylist added balayage with golden-hued blond highlights to the model in this picture. It looks like she gave her a modern shag. I can tell that this model has a lot of thick hair. Your hair is a bit thinner and shorter than the model’s hair. We can add highlights and do a long shag cut that flatters your face shape, but it won’t look identical to this photo since your hair is different from the model’s. Her hair is also lighter overall. If you want your highlights to be as light as hers, we can achieve that hair color (with minimal damage) by doing a couple of salon visits. It will look great when we finish!” 


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Una publicación compartida de Mara Roszak (@mararoszak)

Attribution: @mararoszak

Pictured above is Olivia Wilde, styled by Mara Roszak. Roszak prepped Wilde’s hair with styling oil before adding volume and waves with a blowout. 

Scenario Two

Going from jet black hair to platinum blonde takes time. It also makes most hairstylists nervous for valid reasons. The hair can split, break off, or worse, fall out. If a client wants to go platinum or even golden blonde, here’s an honest way to approach your consultation if you are experienced and feel comfortable with the process. 

Hair Stylist: “Going platinum blonde can be achieved, but the best strategy and process for healthy-looking hair is to do it in stages. That way, there is minimal damage to your hair. It might take several visits or investing longer hours at the salon.”

Attribution: @dimitrishair

Dimitris Giannetos, Los Angeles-based stylist, styled Ella Richards’s platinum blonde lob for Cannes (pictured above). 

Manage your client’s expectations by being gentle in your feedback, giving them the facts, and informing them of the realistic result while maintaining enthusiasm about the outcome of the hair. 

The longer you work as a hairstylist, the more requests you’ll get. If your customer wants a hairstyle you know will require daily maintenance, like a blowout, with additional styling products, educate them before you begin on how they can recreate the look at home. Learn more about the esteemed cosmetology program at Evergreen Beauty College. 


Frank Trieu
Vice President of Business Development & Industry Relations

Frank Trieu is a cosmetology industry leader, and despite his accomplishments and accolades, he still prioritizes students on the Evergreen campus. Through building relationships within the community and local salons, retail stores, and spas, he helps facilitate job placements for aspiring beauty professionals using his expansive network.

Happy Evergreen Beauty College Students


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