We’ve all had haircuts we love—and, unfortunately, most of us have also had haircuts that had us fighting back tears. What’s almost worse than an occasional hair catastrophe, though, is a lifetime of haircuts that are just okay. You know the ones: you can’t get them quite the way you want, but you don’t hate them, either. You loved it when you left the salon, but it’s been comparatively lifeless since you first washed it. Not good. Not bad. Just okay.
Well, we believe you’re entitled to a lifetime of truly great haircuts. So we sat down with Scott J. Creative Director Hauns Korpela—an Aveda Hall of Fame cutting educator and platform artist—to get the scoop on what will make your next haircut one you truly love.
START WITH A CONSULTATION
The last thing we want to do is make you think you are responsible for ensuring you get a good haircut. At the end of the day, that responsibility falls on us, your trusted stylists. What we’re here to do is give you a little insight into what takes a haircut from good to great, and some advice on how to be part of the process.
And that, friends, starts with a consultation. “Particularly when you are making a big change, I would recommend that you set up a consultation ahead of time,” Hauns says. “Even if you’ve been going to the same stylist for 10 years.”
A proper consultation gives your stylist a chance to talk you through all aspects of your cut. To name a few: the practical or emotional reasons you’re ready for a change; what kind of look you’re going for; whether you would have to adjust your color and styling commitments to accommodate the new cut.
“It’s difficult to come in for an appointment without prior discussion, have that conversation, make it constructive—and still be able to perform the service,” Hauns says. “Think about it like shopping for furniture. You look and take time to digest what you’ve seen. You rarely buy on the spot.”
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE VOLUME
More accurately, it’s all about where the volume lies in the haircut—and how it corresponds to your body type. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll look most balanced and proportional when the most voluminous parts of your hair correspond with the most voluminous parts of your body.
“If your hips are a little wider, you might want to have more volume toward the bottom of your hair,” Hauns says. “Whereas if your shoulders are wider, you might want more volume at the top.” This holds true for overall body type, too. “If you’re lean, you shouldn’t have a lot of volume on your head, because it will flatten you out.”
A properly trained stylist will be able to deliver on a balanced cut. But if you know there’s part of your body that you feel needs to be balanced in your hair, bring it up to your stylist during that crucial consultation.
“These are the haircuts that people tend to love, because they look balanced,” Hauns says. “Friends will ask what you’re doing differently, you’ll notice your hair falls into place better, and even if you can’t pinpoint what about it works so well, you’ll know it looks fresh.”
DON’T LET YOUR HAIR TYPE LIMIT YOU
Too often, our guests fall prey to the idea they can’t pull off a certain haircut because it’s not suited to their hair type. And while a good stylist will certainly steer you away from something that truly won’t work, you’d be surprised at how versatile your hair might be.
For instance, if you have thin hair and assumed the volume rule doesn’t apply to you, think again. “Sometimes you can’t cut the volume you’d like to, because the hair density isn’t quite right,” Hauns says. “That’s where color comes into play—we can use darker tones and lighter tones to create the illusion of volume.”
During the consultation, a properly trained stylist (like the Scott J team, all taught by Hauns) will consider your hair type, color, and lifestyle—and recommend looks that take those factors into account. You’d be surprised at how even a small color tweak can make the difference between a cut you regret and one you love.
DETAILS ARE SECONDARY
Face shape matters—but not as much as you might think. While an unbalanced cut is immediately apparent, making a cut work for your face shape is just a matter of ensuring the face-framing pieces fall correctly. And while there are certain things you might avoid—straight bangs on a square face, for instance—most cuts can easily be adapted to flatter you.
“When I’m teaching haircutting, I use this example,” Hauns says. “When you see people walking down the street and notice they look good, that’s because the cut is balanced with their body type. But you have to be very close to them to notice the details around their face.”
TELL US WHAT YOU LIKE—AND WHAT YOU DON’T
When it comes to choosing new cuts, visual tools are immensely useful to both you and your stylist. But in addition to bringing photos of styles you love, choose photos of styles you don’t. Use the consultation to go through your Pinterest board and explain what, exactly, drew you to—or repelled you from—each style.
This not only lets your stylist better understand the look you’re going for, but to get a sense if it’s not so much a specific haircut as an overall vibe that you’re after. “Maybe you see a photo of an all-white living room that you love, but you know you’d never want an all-white living room,” Hauns says. “What you really love is the crispness. Well, there are other ways to accomplish crispness. [Your stylist] can tap into what they’re seeing versus what you’re seeing. They’re trained to look specifically at the components of a hairstyle.”
Ready for a new look you’ll love? We can help with that. Appointments are available online for cutting experts at all five of our Manhattan and Brooklyn locations. We can’t wait to perform your next great haircut!