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17 Secrets Your Hair Stylist Wants You To Know

We don’t expect tips, but it’s always a bonus.

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1. You don't need to wash your hair before you come to the salon.

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Marc Trinder, art team director, Charles Worthington: "We will always wash your hair first, so you really don't need to wash your hair before coming in. It’s always better to come with dirty hair – it gives the stylist a chance to see your hair in its natural state. We see a lot, so it’s very rare for us to think your hair is disgusting. Obviously don't leave it unwashed for weeks, but a day or two is fine."

Tai Walker, head of colour, Mahogany Hair: "Always try to leave two days without washing your hair prior to a colour appointment. This means minimum sensitivity for on-scalp applications and gives your colourist better control of the hair for highlighting and other foil techniques."

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2. Depending on your hair length, you can go up to 12 weeks between haircuts.

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Jonny Morrisey, senior stylist, Saco: "If you have long hair you can actually get away with leaving it 12 weeks between haircuts. We say six to eight weeks, but that's just for short hair. Anything past shoulder length can last for about 12 weeks. If you go every six weeks you will end up having a bob by the end of year, so you really don't need to go that often."

Marc: "We say six weeks because it leaves short hair in great shape and keeps the ends of long hair healthy. But long hair can actually be left for about six to eight weeks, 10 at push. But never leave it longer than three months. After three months you need to get yourself to a salon."

Michelle Thompson, hair stylist and Afro Hairdresser of the Year 2015, Francesco Group: "I would suggest trimming afro hair every six weeks, especially if you're after longer hair. It's essential to keep hair as healthy as possible and trimming the ends will allow growth, and get rid of dead ends."

3. You don't actually need to buy matching shampoo and conditioner.

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Marc: "It’s good to mix it up when it comes to shampoo and conditioner; you always need to do what is best for your hair. Your hair has different issues, so different conditions and shampoos will see to it."

Tai: "We're hairdressers and we mix and match sometimes. Don't worry about matching and do what is best for your hair. You hair might be thin and dry, so in that case you should use a volume shampoo with a moisturising condition. It's all about what the hair needs."

Wayne Shorter-Campbell, senior afro stylist, Errol Douglas Salon: "It's fine to mix and match, but always be sure to stay consistent when it comes to the actual ingredients. So if you are using sulphate-free products, make sure both the conditioner and shampoo are sulphate free."

4. No tip is too small.

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Tai: "Tips are not expected but always appreciated."

Marc: "We don’t expect tips, we know that people have other expenses. If people tip, it’s nice and I find people tip around £5–10. I got tipped 50p once and to me it’s like this 50p is more than I had this morning. I also find some people don’t tip but give us Christmas presents. It really doesn’t matter."

Jonny: "How much you tip is totally up to you. I would never be offended if the clients didn’t tip or tipped little. Getting your hair done is expensive now, so I get when people don’t tip."

5. Blow-drying your hair every day is not that bad.

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Marc: "Technically it's bad, but in reality it's not, as long as you respect your hair. Put the heat down on the dryer, use a heat protector, and blow-dry your hair correctly. Make sure you are moving the hairdryer round your head and evenly distributing heat. Maybe keep it at every other day, but every day is not that bad."

Tai: "Blow-drying hair every day is not bad, as long as you use heat-protecting spray."

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6. Always get your hair relaxed by a professional.

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Michelle: "There is an overall feeling that relaxers can be extremely damaging to the hair. This will only happen if it is not applied professionally and not looked after correctly. I always recommend that clients come to the salon and have their hair relaxed in a professional environment."

Wayne: "The damage caused by hair relaxers completely depends on the condition of the hair at the beginning of the relaxer journey, the frequency, and the correct care in and out of the salon. Relaxing the hair is a chemical procedure and that’s a fact – experienced specialist afro stylists and a long-term condition plan are key. Don’t try this at home."

7. We can tell when you cba to talk.

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Jonny: "I can always tell the different between clients who want to talk and those who want to sit and chill, you just get the vibe. I have clients that I have had for a long time and they never talk and I think, 'Does this client even like me?' But it's about knowing the client. If they don't want to talk it's fine."

Marc: "Most stylists can gauge when you don't want to talk, but if you really want to make it obvious, bring a book."

8. It's fine to bring a picture, but please be realistic.

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Marc: "Bringing a picture can be a little annoying when you expect to get the EXACT same look. Every head of hair is different, every stylist is different. Nine out of ten times it's impossible to recreate the exact look. But saying that, it can be a conversational piece; it allows us to know your tastes, your likes and dislikes."

9. It's OK to use box hair dye. Kinda.

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Wayne: "It's a yes and no. For between-salon-visit maintenance and root management perhaps. However, the only way to have a bespoke colour solution is to see an experienced colourist."

Marc: "I understand that people use it to touch up regrowth, but you can find yourself in very sticky situations with box hair dye. Changing your hair colour is not like changing wall colour. You need to get rid of the right pigments before you achieve certain colours, and replace pigments too. I would say box dye is more for people covering grey hair."

Tai: "I would always say NO! to box hair dye. If you want to cover greys use a hair chalk or hair mascara."

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10. You only need to wash afro hair once every seven to ten days.

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Wayne: "Afro hair only needs to be washed once per week. This allows the hair to be cleansed without stripping it of natural oils. Afro and curlier hair types find it difficult to retain moisture and stay hydrated; a once per week only wash routine assists with keeping up moisture levels."

Michelle: "I would suggest shampooing the hair once every seven to ten days. Many of my clients swear by co-washing, whereby you wash the hair each day with conditioner instead of shampoo. It allows you to cleanse the hair without stripping it."

11. You only need to use purple shampoo once a week.

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Sam McGee, senior colour technician, Saco: "Using blonde or purple shampoo and conditioner every day isn't going to make your hair blonder. Once a week is plenty!"

Tai: "Seriously, blondes, once a week is just fine."

12. You shouldn't leave your weave in for longer than 12 weeks.

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Michelle: "Generally I would say a weave should be kept in for no longer than six to twelve weeks. The reason for this is you don't want to put too much tension on the hair, plus your hair needs a little relief. Also leaving it for long periods of time increases the risk of severe breakage and in more serious cases hair loss."

Wayne: "After six to eight weeks, it's time to take the weave out. Your hair needs to breathe, so any longer is detrimental to long-term hair and scalp condition. Leaving in for longer than this puts you at risk of traction alopecia due to the tension on the hair and scalp. If you stay within six to eight weeks the risk is minimal and it’s a perfectly reasonable hair maintenance programme."

13. You should deep-condition your hair after every wash.

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Marc: "I would say deep-condition your hair every time. If you think this is too much for your hair, then your conditioner is too strong. You hair is around so much pollution, blow-drying, and straightening; deep-conditioning will put back the oils in your hair. So every time you shampoo you should deep-condition."

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14. Use a silk pillow or scarf when sleeping.

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Marc: "Be sure to secure your hair in either a plait or a high ponytail when going to bed. Using a silk pillow is good because it means less friction, but I would say it’s more for damaged hair, and not a must."

The rules are different for afro hair.

Michelle: "I would always recommend sleeping on silk pillowcases or with silk hair wraps, for afro hair. Smooth-comb the hair into a comfortable position and loosely tie the silk scarf. Avoid going to sleep with hair in a ponytail."

15. A salon blow-dry is definitely worth the money.

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Jonny: "Honestly you really can't achieve the salon blow-dry at home. You can use heated rollers or straighteners, but it's not the same as the blow-dry. You can get a nice style but it won't be like the salon. We use round brushes and a hairdryer. Plus, unless you have four hands you won't be able to do the back."

Tai: "You just won't get that real professional finish."

16. But a salon treatment can be done at home.

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Jonny: "You might not be able to achieve a salon-style cut or colour at home, but you can definitely achieve the salon treatment. Just be sure to invest in the best shampoo, conditioner, and mask. One of my favourite treatments is the hot towel treatment."

"Shampoo hair as normal and then towel-dry the hair. It's essential to towel-dry hair as excess water will water down products. Then apply hair mask to mid length and the ends of your hair, and comb through for even distribution.

"Put a towel under hot water then place in the microwave for two minutes max! Wrap the towel around your head and then place a shower cap over it and leave on for 15–20 minutes. Your hair will benefit from the heat and steam and leave it glossy, shiny, and healthier."

17. It's OK to tell us you don't like your new hair.

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Jonny: "Always say if you are not happy. I would hate for a client to leave and never come back. Things can always be fixed. Call when you get home, call the next day, just let us know."

Marc: "We want you to leave the salon 100% happy. If you hate your hair ALWAYS say. We would rather you said it then and there so we can fix it. But if you don’t feel confident enough, then call us as soon as you get home and we will fix it. Don’t leave it too long: Some people can be cheeky and drag it out a few weeks.

Wayne: "You should always be able to have an honest and open conversation with your hairdresser. Absolutely say if you are not happy with your hair."