In this edition of “Step Into the Chair,” Cleve McMillan, stylist and DSC’s resident hair expert, weighs in on your burning questions about the mysterious adventure that is getting a haircut.
Is there really a difference between a £10 haircut and a £50 haircut? What more should I expect to receive for that additional £40?
First off, it’s important to know that a hairstylist who gives £50 haircuts could choose to work for £10, and a stylist who gives £10 haircuts could charge £50. That’s why it’s so important to do your research—look for online reviews, ask your friends, check out some of the haircuts that stylist has done before—to make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for.
With that in mind, here’s what I would expect from a £50 haircut: The stylist should spend more time cutting my hair, shampooing my hair, cleaning me up once the cut is finished and making sure I leave the shop with my hair styled with product. I would also expect a consultation that involved the barber finding out who I am, what I do, which products I use in my hair—all to make sure they give me the right haircut for me.
It’s also possible that the extra £40 is reflected by the establishment itself. Maybe this barbershop is especially clean, they call or text to remind you of your appointment, they offer you a coffee or a beer—whatever it may be. But most importantly, you should walk out of the barbershop thinking, ‘I just got a £50 something,’ whether it was the haircut or the experience.
I’m starting to go grey. How can I have my barber dye my hair without everyone knowing that I’m colouring it?
I’m probably one of the few stylists who actually tries to talk clients out of colouring their hair. That’s because there’s a finite window, when you’re about 20% grey, where you can dye your hair without looking like you’re dying your hair—or like you’re trying to hang on to your youth.
If you are within window, you never want to cover the grey 100 percent—that looks too obviously fake. To do that, ask your stylist to brush on the colour. That way, they’ll put the colour on what’s called a vent brush and brush it through the hair, leaving a few greys but reducing the percentage. That’s a good way to cover up some greys without looking like you’ve dipped your head in hair dye.
Once your hair is past 20% grey, just let it go. Grey can be a good look. Think George Clooney or Simon Cowell—they both look better when they leave their grey hair alone rather than dying it.
If I want to drastically change my hairstyle. (1) How should I go about doing that, and (2) how can I know it’s going to look okay?
To answer the first question, I recommend changing your hairstyle right at the beginning of a vacation. That way, you have two weeks or so to cope with your new do, and for it to soften a little bit around the edges.
As far as how to get it done, depending on how long you’ve been going to your stylist, I might consider visiting a new one. That’s because, if you’ve been seeing your barber for a long time, they might only be able to see you with the hairstyle they’ve always given you. A new stylist can give you a great, different hairstyle without having any bias towards how you’ve looked over the past few months or years.
Lastly, there’s no real way to see if a haircut looks good on you until you’ve actually gotten the haircut, but you could try a virtual hairstyle app. They can be a little janky, but that’s about as close as you can get to wearing a different hairstyle without actually getting your hair cut.