If you care anything at all for your hair --- and one not-long-ago super-short do truly taught me just how goshdarn vain about my locks that I am -- then you will indulge me and my brief list on How To Ensure You Will Always Have Awesome Hair.
Now disclaimer goes here. No waxing lyrical on the merits of great shampoo. Not this round. This is about the investment known as Awesome Hair, and that all hinges on one very important catalyst: finding an Awesome Stylist.
I have one, and so here goes my little list:
1) Find someone good. I know this goes without saying. Maybe your personal rule is the old standby, about finding someone who's got hair you like. Pssssh. It's a nice rule, it seems like it should obviously make sense. But look, if you're not choosing that stylist over yonder bc he/she is sporting some 'do that you're cringing at, maybe you are overlooking a seasoned pro who has had practice with different cuts and different colors -- and the proof of their efforts is staring you in the face!!! Besides, what makes you think that you're even worthy of the choppy spiky green and turquoise confection they've sculpted on their own head?!
Case in point. My Hairstylist Robyn. She has been doing my hair for more than ten years. Where I'm somewhat conservative and rigid, she is so not anything like that. Everytime I come in to see her, it always takes me a few moments to figure out where she is - her hair is different every time. Color, style, length, etc. And then I boldly announce, "Robyn, I want to do something really different today. Brace yourself." She polites yesses me to death as I describe concept and emotion and evocative visuals. And then she delivers meticulous cutting and styling that ends up looking quite similar to what I had last time because truthfully it's what I really ended up describing, and because she knows I am not anywhere near as daring as I pretend to be. And the haircut withstands months of forgetting to schedule an appointment, and even as it is growing out, I can see the mark of an excellent cut... it still looks perfect and even all around as it grows. That's quality right there. Several salons, two cross country moves, and many years later, and I will still go whereever and Robyn and her quality workmanship land her. And yes, that has included a plane trip, road trip, and a visit to have her style my hair in San Diego. True story.
... which brings me to the next item
2) Trust. This might be scary stuff for some of you. I know. "But Toni Ryan," you plead. "I have trust issues." To that end I say, it's ok. But learning to trust again takes baby steps, and if you're going to conquer your bigger demons, easier to dip your toe in by learning to trust someone who you have no emotional investment in. Someone who you're paying to utilize their experience and extensive training. Yoohoo! Experience? Extensive Training? Yes, yes, you see where I'm going with this. Your hair stylist has been trained. You haven't. Now that having been said, if someone off the street said to me, "I need someone to make me look awesome, and I have to choose between these two people...." and these two people were YOU and the trained professional with a gazillion hours under their belt... well duh, obviously you're not the person I'm going to pick, right? Let them do your job. Especially if you're forking over what you consider a lot for a haircut.
Back to My Hairstylist Robyn. When I've finally had to turn around say, "Really. I'm serious this time. I know what I always say, but keep going. Cut more." ... I've held my breath as she cut and cut and cut. And later nearly got into a car accident looking admiring the new short 'do in the rearview mirror on my way home. I didn't know what I was talking about, but she did. Thank God!
3) The people populating the planet outnumber you. What does that have to do with my hair, you ask yourself. It has everything to do with it. It's what you need to keep repeating in your head when you are in the salon, most especially if you've come with some kind of fear, or are trying something new and here's why: Unless you have some ability to inspect your entire head three-dimensionally, you really really have no idea what your hair looks like. Ever. Think about it, you know it's true. In which case, what your hair looks like is something the rest of the world has to deal with not you. What do you know about your own hair? You can't even really experience what's on your head!
This little mantra is what will help you with Rule #2 above about trusting your stylist. If they tell you that something is gonna look good , you might just have to throw caution to the wind and think... well she knows what she's talking about, and I'm doing it for the aesthetic good of all mankind!!!! (overdramatized, but true)
And! It also comes in handy if you have some hair crutch... something you can't seem to let go of because you fear the unknown and would rather live in that decades-old bubble in your head where the curling-iron-fried-and-spritzed barrel bangs really bring out your eyes. They don't. They bring out the fact that you think 2007 is overrated, and that you are singlehandedly campaigning to bring 1983 back with a vengeance.
I hate to be harsh, but I cannot, in good conscience, allow you to do a disservice to yourself. For godssakes, I'm the one that has to look at you and that hair!