Personalized Haircut

Hairdresser giving her client a personalized haircut
Q: I have the feeling that most hairdressers simply "cut" hair. They know how to cut a few styles, and that's about it. Only a few give good advice and take the shape of your face and other things into consideration.
I would love to get a real 'personalized haircut'. A hairstyle that really suits me and that brings out the best in me. I don't mind losing a few inches of hair. I might even go for a bob or a pixie. The only thing I want is that perfect and personalized haircut for myself. Are there any tips you can give me?

A: Ahh, the perennial image of the scissor-happy hairstylist with a pretty face and only half a brain. All qualified stylists learned which hair-cuts are most suitable to specific facial shapes, and which hair colors complement specific skin tones in college. This is part of all Hairdressing course syllabus, thus it is paramount that the hairstylist mastered it at least in theory.
The problem comes in when the hairdresser chooses her/his own personal preferences when deciding on which cut or color will work best with the client. This may seem unfair or even unprofessional, but it is actually quite understandable. If your favorite color is pink, your child will most certainly be wearing pink for the first couple of years of her life until she starts to choose her own clothes.
Now you're thinking, "yes, but I actually PAY for professional service, not the stylists personal preference". The thing is, the stylist is better at performing styles, cuts and colorings that she/he likes best. Thus he/she will tend to stick what they do best, and as a consequent the stylist will attract clients that prefer his/her technique, styles, and ultimately, personal preference. This is why clients tend to stick to their hairdressers once they have found someone who works for them, because their personalities and personal preferences match.
Older stylists tend to be better at what they do, but also more set in their ways. They have built up their client-base; people who like the styles and cuts that the specific stylist are good at. Inadvertently they tend to get stuck in a rut. But this works for them, because they keep getting better and better at the specific array of hair styles that they like and do best.
Thus, you have three choices. You can scope out someone who has what you consider beautiful hair (color, style and cut), approach that person and ask him/her where they have their hair done. Chances are that you'll click with this stylist and be happy with the way that they cut and style your hair. Or you can go to a stylist that moonlights on television sets, on the runway or for advertisements.
These stylists tend to be much more open-minded and flexible, as they are required to be able to be very good at any and all styles and cuts that the fashion managers require of them. These stylists tend to be few and far between in salons though, as their work on the sets or runways are very time-consuming and it pays well, so they tend to stick with it.
You can also have your facial shape and skin-tone evaluated at any professional make-up stand. When you have that information, you can research styles and colors that will suit your face and skin perfectly, without the pesky input of a bias stylist. This way you can tell her/him exactly what you want (always take a picture with you to make sure the stylist understands exactly what you want), and she/he has to follow your instructions precisely.
©     Photo: Shutterstock
See also: Why can't I cross my arms or legs during a haircut?