I can’t count the number of times a client has sat in my chair and said “I want something different. Just surprise me”, and as tempted as I might be to do something which I think would be fantastic for her following my particular aesthetic sense, I never do it. The truth is, that when it comes down to it, everyone has an opinion on their own hair, you can either help them get to a decision on what they want beforehand, or you can deal with their dissatisfaction afterward.
If you’ve been seeing the same stylist for decades and you’re best friends, you might have a pretty good idea of what you could end up with, but unless you and your stylist are so close you can finish each others’ sentences, the odds are that you could end up unhappy with the results of your “surprise” haircut.
This is why hairstylists are taught early on the importance of consultations. Even with a regular customer, when they say they want a change, a good stylist immediately starts asking questions like, “What would you like to see different?”, “What’s your favorite thing about your current look?” “What’s the least favorite?” and “How much of a change are you looking for?”
Trust me. The last thing your stylist wants is to have you unhappy at the end of a service. Most stylists know that when a client says they want a change, they aren’t thinking of anything TOO dramatic, but there are those who think that because a client says “Surprise me” that she has free reign to create something “avant garde”. And when you sit in a stylist’s chair with shoulder length hair and afterward find yourself sporting a pixie cut with spiked angled fringe, you may never utter the phrase “surprise me” again.
So before you learn the lesson the hard way, always try to have some idea (at least) of what you are dissatisfied with regarding your current hairstyle. Look through magazines and websites to see what styles you like, and at least make notes of how they differ from your current look. And a picture really is worth a thousand words in this situation, so print or cut out photos whenever possible.
Remember, “surprise” simply means “unexpected”, so either know your stylist REALLY well, or ask for surprises at your own risk.