The consultation before your hair appointment is one area that can either make or break you. Obviously, it's important to be as honest as you can with your stylist, but a variety of points like previous color or keratin treatments, hair texture, or other key topics often get left by the wayside when you're waxing poetic over your ambitions for Jessica Alba-esque highlights.
First things first, if you're new to your salon, the consultation process can start as soon as you call for your appointment. "I think it's important to explain your wants to the receptionist if they're booking the appointment—but you don't need to go too far in with details at that point," says Richard Mannah, hairstylist and International Artistic Director for Label.M. "If you're specific enough with your hair type and your needs, they'll think of someone who is experienced in say, curly hair or color, and pair you with them."
Head into the salon with your hair styled as you normally would (though, not too dirty, of course), and be clear with your stylist about any chemical treatments or coloring you've done in recent months. "The consultation is when we can see the hair texture when it's dry, how you wear it, and when you can explain all of the little details of what you want done," says Mannah. Get specific with the look you're going for, and save a few example pictures to your phone if you think it would help illustrate your point.
Especially in terms of getting a chemical treatment done, treat your consultation like a doctor's appointment and be as honest as you can—even if it's not their own handiwork and you've technically "cheated" on your long-term steady. "Make sure you tell your stylist if you've had your hair done by someone else and it got messed up, because technically, that would be a color correction," says hairstylist Mirna Jose. "You should also tell them if you've had a relaxer or Keratin treatment, because that could make a huge difference in your result." Jose also recommends letting your stylist know the products you're currently using, as some of the formulas won't mix well, and depending on your treatment, can be damaging or cause breakage. And remember, don't ever think you can fool a professional into believing the aftermath of your boxed dye gone wrong is the work of their competitor. "If your stylist asks you, 'Have you ever colored your hair?' they already know that you do, so you might as well just tell them what you used!" she adds, laughing.