10 Things Your Colorist Wishes You Would Stop Doing

Photographed by Jennifer Avello.
Your hairstylist has a big job: He or she is there to help you look your absolute best, reinvent yourself if you wish, and maybe even get over a breakup. So, shouldn't you be there for your hairstylist, too? We're not saying you need to give the same kind of support (you are paying this person), but there are things that you can do to make his or her job — and life — a little easier. And, unknowingly, some of your (bad) habits could be doing just the opposite. We talked to some of the industry's top colorists to find out the behaviors that really get under their skin.
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Photographed by Jennifer Avello.
You may think adding a layer of dark dye to frazzled hair at home will give you a fresh start and your strands a boost of healthy color. Matrix celebrity stylist George Papanikolas begs to differ: darker dye will just makes your hair look darker. “The damaged hair underneath the darker color is still damaged,” he explains. “Plus, it makes it very difficult for the colorist to remove the darker color to give you the requested color.”
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Photographed by Jennifer Avello.
One of celebrity colorist Rita Hazan's biggest issues is when people jump from colorist to colorist. "You will never really get what you want," she explains. "It takes a colorist two or three times to put their stamp on what they’re doing. If you’re always working on somebody else’s work, it’s never your work. It takes about three times to settle in and for the client to get the appropriate visual of what is happening."
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Photographed by Jennifer Avello.
Products are everything to Hazan, and it is crucial that you use shampoo, conditioner, and mask treatments for color-treated hair, or your hair will always be dry. “They are the foundation for what comes ahead in styling,” she says. “You’re spending a lot of money on your hair color; you want it to last the longest possible and look the best all the time. If you treat your hair properly, then the blowdrying is easier. You don’t have to put that much heat into it, you don’t have to curl it so much or straighten it so much.”
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Photographed by Jennifer Avello.
Speaking of products, Hazan suggests that her clients do a treatment like her Weekly Remedy Treatment For Deep Hydration & Superior Shine one to two times per week.
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Photographed by Jennifer Avello.
Hazan knows that many women think the whole "trim your hair to make it grow" thing is a myth (the hair grows from the scalp, so how does that make any sense?). But, this old wives’ tale is based in fact, and Hazan explains the simple reason: “Your hair splits from the ends, and if your hair is splitting, you’re never going to get the length out of it because it keeps splitting and getting really fine and thin. Cut it every six to eight weeks, or two to three even, and you’ll have cleaner ends and you’ll see the length growing.” She suggests dusting — just trimming the very tip of your hair to help it grow out.
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Photographed by Jennifer Avello.
“Following trends is probably my biggest pet peeve, because a trend isn’t for everybody,” says Hazan. “If leopard is in fashion, you’re not going to wear head-to-toe leopard; you’ll incorporate a bag or a pair of shoes. You’re not going to go hat, scarf, jacket, shoes, belt, everything leopard! It’s kind of the same thing with hair —if the trend is to go lighter, you don’t have to go blonde; you can go a little bit lighter and you’ll still be on trend. If you want to do something funky with your hair, and the trend is to have pastel color, you can do pastel highlights underneath; you don’t have to do your entire head. You can incorporate a trend into your hair so it’s appropriate and still sophisticated.”
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Photographed by Jennifer Avello.
Papanikolas recommends that highlights be done every 10 to 12 weeks. “Coming in sooner will result in over-processing the hair,” he explains. “A lot of clients color the regrowth every four to six weeks and expect the colorist to do highlights every time. As much as we want to make you happy, it could ultimately be harsh on the hair and devastating for both of us. The best way to avoid this is issue is that in between appointments, you can maintain your color by using a color-safe and low-pH shampoo and conditioner — to extend the color of your hair... Matrix Biolage COLORLAST Shampoo and Matrix Biolage COLORLAST Conditioner [work great].”
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Photographed by Jennifer Avello.
Papanikolas warns that if you veer either too dark or too light from your natural color, you will most likely not leave the salon happy.
It's best to staying within four shades of your natural color. "Even though you brought in a picture and want your hair colored to look like Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Aniston, or Megan Fox, you need to work with your existing hair color," explains Papanikolas. "Your colorist should point you in the direction of the realistic colors that can be achieved with your hair color and will give you the best end result."
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Photographed by Jennifer Avello.
Papanikolas advises that you should have clean hair the way you normally wear it for your first appointment with a new colorist. This allows him or her to see your actual hair color and decide on the right placement for highlights. Coming in with very dirty hair usually results in your hair color looking darker than it actually is,” he explains. “Plus, no colorist wants to smell your head that hasn't been washed for a week. If you're getting just a regular root touch-up, then having it one day dirty is okay.” Papanikolas also warns against coming to the salon with a lot of oil in your hair. “People take these precautions to protect their hair from damage, but it makes it very difficult for the colorist to see your actual hair color and manipulate your hair with highlights."
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Photographed by Jennifer Avello.
This should probably go without saying, but things like showing up late, last-minute cancellations, and bringing your kids along are not really kosher (your colorist may love the little one, but can she really sit still for up to four hours?) “Most stylists work on commission or in a booth-rent situation; they pay a weekly rent to their salon owner,” explains Papanikolas. “When you no-call, no-show, or call to cancel at the last minute, your stylist doesn’t make money. And, when you show up late, you're cutting into another person's appointment.”
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