Every woman loves going to the salon or spa for some attention and pampering, but going to your appointment prepared is the key to getting the best outcome.

Every woman loves going to the salon or spa for some attention and pampering, but going to your appointment prepared is the key to getting the best outcome. We went to the experts for their advice on how to make the most of your time.

The haircut

Give it some thought

Before taking the plunge with a new ‘do, take a few minutes to work out what you love about your hair, what you hate about it and what your lifestyle is like. “These three things will tell any good stylist all they need to give you the perfect cut,” says Anthony Nader of Sydney’s Raw salon. “For example, if you’ve got a hectic schedule, a high-maintenance cut may be impractical. Also, if that trendy razor-sharp bob you’re dying for won’t suit your face shape, be prepared to listen to the stylist’s advice. After all, it’s their experience you’re paying for.”

Be realistic

When looking for a change, keep your expectations in check. “Some clients will come in and just say, ‘Give me what’s in fashion’,” says Nader. “The truth is, we would all love to be walking down the catwalk with the latest style, but you have to be realistic about it and find what works for you.”

Get vocal

Getting a great haircut is easier if you speak freely with your stylist. “Your idea of ‘chopping it all off’ will be totally different to theirs, so be very clear about what you want to achieve,” says Nader. Treat every session as a lesson. Ask lots of questions and you’ll pick up tricks that you can use at home.

The hair colour

Have a consultation first

“A chat with your colourist before you book any treatment allows them to determine what you want and how much time to allow for it,” explains colourist Caterina DiBiase of Melbourne’s Heading Out Hair & Beauty Day Spa.

Be honest

Your stylist should know your hair colour history. Do you always visit the salon or have you been using home hair colour? What shampoo do you use? Do you use product every day? Are you a swimmer? All these things can affect your hair colour.

Come clean

Come to your appointment with your hair as you would ordinarily style it. “Hair should not be dirty, as oily hair looks darker than clean hair and we need to see your natural colour,” says DiBiase.

Colour code

If you’re bringing in a photograph of the colour you want, “Keep in mind that the colours in photographs are often retouched and may not be achievable,” says DiBiase. “You are better off coming to the salon early and looking at books and colour charts.”

Consider maintenance

This is especially important if you’re changing your colour by more than a couple of shades. Think about how much time you can spare to maintain your colour. Subtle highlights can be touched up every 12 weeks or so, but if you have dark hair and go blonde, your roots will need redoing every three weeks.

The massage

Choose the right treatment

Before you book in, think about your reason for seeking treatment. Are you in need of relaxation, rehabilitation or nurturing? “If you like really strong, firm massage with a lot of pressure-point work then the best ‘relaxation’ massage in the world isn’t going to be ideal for you,” says acupuncturist and massage therapist Keri Krieger, from Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat on the Gold Coast.

Give a brief debriefing

Tell the therapist about any injuries or areas of concern, and what you’d like them to concentrate on during the session. “It’s always good to simply cover any concerns at the start of the treatment. This includes the temperature of the room, or if the music is too loud,” adds Krieger.

Just surrender

Trust your therapist’s expertise. “Just let go, focus on your breathing and let the other things on your mind fall away,” says Krieger.

Speak up right away

Don’t assume the therapist can interpret your nonverbal cues. If the pressure is too hard or soft, tell them. If you’d like silence during the treatment, speak up or just drift off. “Even the most inappropriately chatty therapist will get the hint if you fall asleep and don’t answer back,” says Krieger.

Manicure and pedicure

Make the most of your next manicure or pedicure with these tips from beauty expert Christina Fitzgerald.

Arrive on time

It’s rude to keep the manicurist waiting. And let the manicurist know at the beginning of the treatment how much time you have and if you have to rush off somewhere.

Have a consultation first

Be prepared to have a proper consultation to determine the best treatment for your concerns on the day.

Be hygienic

Make sure you arrive with clean hands, feet and nails.

Be polite

Don’t spend the whole session talking on your phone.

Honesty is the best policy

Tell your manicurist all the problems you are having with your hands and feet. Don’t hide anything.

Serial smudging

Don’t even think about dipping into your handbag with wet nails! And if you’re a serial smudger, don’t expect your manicurist to fix your nails for free.

Appropriate footwear

If you’re having a pedicure, wear open-toe shoes or thongs.

By Naomi Jackson for