Finding the right chair: How to get a good haircut

Trysta Eakin

April 2, 2011 at 7:01 p.m.
Updated April 1, 2011 at 11:02 p.m.

How many times have you walked out of the hair salon feeling defeated, bereaved about the cut or color that didn't happen?

Unfortunately, this happens all too often - what we want to be a life-altering, feel-good experience falls short of that, leaving us speechless.

"Getting your hair cut should be a calming, relaxing experience," said Kelly Humpert, owner and stylist at Split-enZ Salon in downtown Victoria. "If your sitting in the chair and you're nervous or stressed out, then you're in the wrong chair."

With 26 years of hairstyling experience, Humpert shared some secrets to hair success.

Communication is key

"A good haircut always begins with the stylist behind the chair and both of you looking at you in the mirror," she said, "talking about what's good (about your hair), what's bad and what you want."

A consultation should be a must-have whether it be for a $20 haircut or $200 salon session.

Bringing a picture of your ideal cut is also helpful, she said, as mere descriptions can often be misconstrued.

"Communication is hard because the same words can mean different things for different people. So at least if you have a visual as a place to start, then you can go from there."

What looks good

With different facial structures and hair textures, certain cuts are going to look phenomenal, while others look awkward.

"My friend calls the salon my ministry," said Humpert. "Because if you look good, then you'll feel good and then you don't have to think about how you look; you can go on to do your thing."

On its website, Marie Claire magazine has a few suggestions for choosing a style:

For square faces, a softer cut is in order, such as longer hair with soft curls, gradual layers or long, piece-y bangs. Avoid angled bobs and blunt-cut bangs.

If you have a round face, choose styles that are chin-length or longer, face-framing layers, or choppy bangs. Side parts are also ideal to offset roundness.

With oval faces, almost anything goes - blunt cuts, layered styles, or a short crop. If the face is long, then long bangs can help balance that out.

Minimal effort needed

There will come a day when you won't have time to fix your hair, the alarm didn't go off or the hot water has gone out. On those days, you might find yourself cursing the very thing you've spent so much time and money on maintaining - your hair.

Humpert suggests that blame should rest, in part, on the hairstylist.

"My job should be giving a really good cut and color, so that it looks great with minimal effort. I shouldn't make you work harder."

Honesty = best policy

Lastly, Humpert advised that you be honest with your stylist if you don't like your cut or color.

"I know strong, independent women who don't know how to say that something is wrong. Because they come to me to fix what someone across town did. I do a lot of that, especially for color.

"If you are not happy, you should be able to tell your stylist. You should not be afraid of your stylist."

But, Humpert said, that's another opportunity for her to step behind the chair and conduct her "ministry," repairing what's been seemingly broken and making people feel good about themselves again.

"You might say that's my trade secret: There's always going to be plenty of bad hairstylists to keep me busy."



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