Beauty pros share their style secrets1. Ditch Celeb Cuts
Most hairstylists hate it when you bring in pictures from magazines, says Diego Raviglione, Wella top stylist and Bellus Academy artistic director. "When clients bring in photos, they're losing the actual point of a great haircut-getting what looks best on you." After all, are you really sure you want "The Miley" or the "The Jennifer"? "Miley's crop may not flatter your face while Jennifer's caramel-colored highlights could wash you out. Instead, go for a consultation or ask your stylist for ideas of colors and cuts that will work best for your hair type and face shape.
"Make your appointment on Thursday or Friday, preferably in the morning," says Candice Betz, spa director at W Hotel's Away Spa in Austin, Texas. "Often the most-requested therapists have negotiated Sundays, Mondays, or Tuesdays off, so having an appointment as the weekend approaches ensures you'll be with a therapist who has high-seniority or a really strong fan base." As for time of day, the morning staff will be freshest for the first treatments of the day. Plus, spas are usually quieter, meaning you'll get more attention and privacy to spread out and relax.
3. Pain Management
For a less painful wax, avoid caffeine for five hours prior to your appointment. "Caffeine constricts the skin's blood vessels, which may increase sensitivity for some people," says Lisa Lazzara, director at The Pretty Kitty. Taking an Ibuprofen one hour before will also help reduce any inflammation on a freshly waxed area.
4. Show Your Face
If you are consulting a makeup artist for a bridal run-through or special occasion, arrive at your appointment in your everyday look, says Sharon Becker, New York City makeup artist. In other words, don't shy away from your heavy eyeliner or rosy cheeks. "This will give the artist a chance to see how you do your makeup daily, and can then make your new look special, artistic, and outstanding," she says. However, every makeup artist is different, so you may want to double-check her preference, or simply bring a snapshot of your typical look on your phone.
5. Reap Referral Benefits
You probably know that referrals are worth their weight in gold to beauty pros. But another way to get on their good side is to engage with them online, says Liz Washer, a professional makeup artist based in Northampton, Massachusetts. Write a detailed review on Yelp.com, listing both pros and cons; your hairstylist, masseuse or makeup artist may seriously consider your constructive feedback and improve your next experience. You can also follow stylists on Facebook and share their content, read their blogs, and comment on their posts. Think there isn't something in it for you? Think again. Some beauty professionals offer freebies or special deals for customers who help spread the word.
6. Cheat On Your Sylist
Britney Huinker, owner of The Argyle Salon & Spa in Los Angeles, is a big fan of switching stylists for a cut once in awhile. "This is a great way to [get] a fresh look and try someone new," she says. On the flip side, she suggests staying loyal to your colorist, unless you are unhappy with the results. "Color is trickier to match up, and you don't want to start seeing panels or variation of color," she says.
Related: 5 Ways to Fight Fine Lines
7. Dirty Do
Don't book a wash along with your updo appointment. These styles should be created on unwashed strands. "If you're going to an event and want the updo to look great and last the whole night, unwashed hair holds better," says Mingi Kim, a stylist at Fix Beauty Bar in New York City. Skip the shampoo before a cut, too. Going to the salon with dirty hair can actually help you score an even better cut because your stylist can get a sense of how your locks fall naturally, says celebrity hairstylist Nelson Vercher.
8. Tanning Prep
Looking for a faux glow? Make your appointment 48 hours prior to your special event because the tan will look best two days after application, says Dannielle Crouch, founder of Southern California sunless tanning service Plush. And, for the best results, do some prep first. "It's essential to wax and shave 24 hours before your appointment," says Crouch. On the morning of, use brown sugar and a washcloth to exfoliate your skin so the color sticks on a fresh layer.
9. Speak Up
The first and most important thing to do when you go for a wax or facial is to communicate with your esthetician. "It's amazing how often people forget to mention the acne medication they're taking or discuss their skincare regimen," says Carol Behrens, esthetician at Beauty Collection in West Hollywood. Some prescriptions may render you ineligible for getting a wax. The same goes for facials. Estheticians want to be sure they use the best skincare products for your complexion; knowing about any conditions, allergies, or drugs will help ensure the best result and prevent blotchy, irritated skin afterward.
Related: 5 Ways to Fake an Eye Lift
10. Skip the Shave
Next time you treat yourself to a body scrub, don't make the mistake of shaving beforehand. Your therapist won't think of you as a prickly pear, we promise. It's good to have a little stubble when you go for a body treatment, says Betz. "Shaving essentially takes off a thin layer of skin, and a scrub (of either sugar or salt) will then render your skin red and irritated."
11. Tweeze, Please
Don't be afraid to maintain your brows in between plucking or waxing appointments. Pamela Jeschonek, a licensed esthetician at Everyday Esthetics Eyebrow Studio near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, asks her clients to do a bit of tweezing in between visits. "I teach them to stay 1/8-inch away from the brow line itself, but to tidy up underneath the brow and in between above the bridge of the nose," she says. "Your esthetician should empower you to do a little shaping on your own, not make you fear your own brows."
Whats your secret to scoring the best salon treatments? Let me know in the comments!
--by Julie Seguss
More from Good Housekeeping: