Have you ever been told “No” when asking your stylist for a change? It may hurt to hear it at first, but usually there’s a reason behind the reluctance. The best thing stylists can do is talk openly with clients about why a change may not work, and offer an alternative. But that doesn’t always happen. So, in case you’re still not sure why your idea was shot down, here are some of the most common reasons I see.

1. It won’t look good on you.
If your skin tone won’t support the color you’re asking for, or if the cut will not be flattering to your face shape, your stylist may hesitate to make the change. For some stylists, it’s difficult to navigate these conversations because they don’t want to hurt feelings or say anything that could be perceived as negative or critical about your look. Try asking your stylist, “Do you think this cut or color would be flattering on me?” and follow up with, “Why?” This can open up a conversation where your stylist feels comfortable giving advice.

2. The maintenance will be difficult for you.
Some styles require more maintenance and some clients just won’t commit the time or the budget to keep them up. Generally, stylists like to do something that will look good until they see you next, not something that will only look good for the first couple days. Even with all of your good intentions, if your stylist knows that you rarely get into the salon as often as you say you will, they may hesitate to make a change.

3. You are asking for something too extreme.
Typically, if you stick within a range of a couple shades lighter or a couple shades darker than your natural color, you will look great. If you want to go much darker or lighter than that, there are other adjustments that may need to be made, like a change in makeup or clothing, for example. If you’re willing to make other adjustments in order for the extreme change to work, be sure to let your stylist know that you’re committed and ready. If they still hesitate to make the change, maybe your past history is telling them otherwise.

4. Your hair is in really bad condition.
This one can be tricky because clients often don’t realize just how compromised their hair is. Your stylist wants you to be happy about your hair, but they also want to do good work. If your hair is too damaged, not only is the color result unpredictable, but there’s a chance that you won’t end up with any hair on your head at all. If your stylist says your hair cannot take it, don’t push. Follow the repair regimen they recommend and then you can start working toward the change you want.

5. You aren’t willing to do the aftercare.
Sometimes it’s possible to do a change, or push the hair a little further, but only if you commit to take care of it afterward. Otherwise, your stylist may feel it’s not worth the risk. If the repair regimen isn’t going to be followed or if the color will not be protected, you will be dissatisfied with the change in the end and may blame your stylist for the problems. A stylist cannot put their personal guarantee on your color, or the condition of your hair, unless you are following their recommended aftercare advice.

6. You don’t really know what you want yet.
A stylist may want to decide with you, not for you. Your stylist should offer professional advice or opinions, but ultimately you have to wear the hair, so you have to help make the decisions about it, at least until more trust is built. If you are unsure, your stylist won’t want to force you into something. They may have been burned doing that in the past. Once you have built a solid relationship with your stylist, and they can tell that you are totally confident in letting them take the reins, then they will be more willing to make those decisions. And often, that’s when you’ll really get your best looks.

7. They are protecting you from yourself.
Sometimes a bad situation or an emotional time in life makes you want to do something different. But often, what you think you want in the moment isn’t really what you want long term. If you’re in a fragile state, your stylist may talk you out of making the change, at least for the time being.

Overall, a good stylist wants what is best for you, what will work for you, and what will make you happy when you look in the mirror. Sometimes they’re not saying “No” permanently, they’re just laying the groundwork for you to be happy with whatever changes you decide to make. Talk to them, ask questions, and build a good rapport with them. You’ll see that they actually do have your best interests at heart.

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