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How to get a good haircut. Wet is not always best

A good hairdresser looks at things afresh each visit. The best helps you spend less

Déja do

If you’re out of ideas it’s easy to ask for the same “do” on repeat. But this can kill your hair and your pocket. “One of the main problems is people getting their hair coloured without needing to,” says Wendy Hyland, owner of Frame Creative Hair in Skerries.

A good hairdresser will look at things afresh each visit. The best will help you spend less. “You might have Mary coming in for a half head of highlights and masking, but the next time she might not need all of that again. We suggest two big services a year. A hairdresser should look at ways they can reduce your cost and reduce the colour you put in your hair.”

I said an inch!

An inch cut off wet hair can look like distinctly more when it’s dry. “There is less control over the hair when you cut it wet because it has a tendency to stretch,” says Hyland. She cuts on dry hair where possible. “If you are opting for a re-style ask your hairdresser to show you where the hair is likely to sit once dry.”

These are hands, not wands

Whether it’s Kate Middleton’s bouncy blowout you are after or Claudia Winkleman’s killer fringe, bring evidence. “It will give your hairdresser an idea of what’s in your head,” says Hyland. The look may not be fully achievable, however, and it depends on the texture of your hair.


Sometimes the look may not even exist, she warns. “With Instagram, over the past 18 months in particular, people come in with these images but they are looking at filtered images. That’s where you get crossed wires.” Get to the root of what you want and what’s possible before a chop.

Wash and go?

If you’re getting your hair coloured you can skip washing it that morning. The scalp can be a bit more sensitive after washing, says Hyland. It’s perfectly fine to come with “dirty” hair.

Holidays planned?

If you love your stylist but hate the chit chat request a “silent service”. It’s an idea that has trended on Instagram since the pandemic, says Hyland, as salons recognised some clients needed to feel comfortable saying they needed time out. If you dread small talk and just want downtime say so.

Sensory overload

Hair dryers, clippers, hairspray, dance music, water running down my neck – help! For adults and children with sensory sensitivities or those who are autistic, a haircut can be downright traumatic. Experienced hairdressers know the score and will tailor their service accordingly, says Hyland. This may mean booking clients for quieter periods or offering a dry cut.

Fade to grey

Embracing your grey will release you from a war of attrition you can never win. It will save you money and hours of salon time too. If it’s finally time to raise a white flag, agree a plan with your coiffeur. “We might suggest toning down existing colour to match the way the hair is going. We don’t want you feeling your worst in that period,” says Hyland.

Expect the fight for good hair to continue, however. “The quality of the hair changes when it goes gray. It’s coarser and yellow tones can build up.” This might mean spending on other treatments or glosses.

Covid safe?

Hair is everything. But it’s not more important than protecting others from a virus that can kill. “Just don’t turn up if you are feeling unwell in any way,” says Hyland. Wear your mask. And yes, you can ask if your stylist is vaccinated.