5 Mistakes Hairstylists Always Notice and How to Fix Them

Even when you're not in their chairs *gulp*.

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Having been on the receiving end of some well-intentioned (opens in new tab) hair-shaming (opens in new tab) lately, I began to wonder what stylists were saying about me when a camera and thousands of live viewers *weren't* around. Hmm...::descends into paranoia::

Luckily, for the sake of my sanity, I got Sheenon Olson, celebrity hairstylist and creative director of ATMA Beauty (opens in new tab), to break his profession's code of silence and reveal the top five mistakes he notices on clients sitting in his chair, just walking down the street—literally anywhere. (If he seems familiar, he's also the guy who very gamely cut my hair live (opens in new tab) in Central Park that one time.) Don't worry, though—sometimes, bad hair happens to good people.

1. Cutting your bangs too deeply into your hairline

"The key here is to not cut past the corners of the peak of your eyebrows as a general rule of thumb," Olson says. Go too wide, and it's like you're wearing a cap. There's really not much you can do until your fringe grows out beyond pinning/slicking them back, so prevention is key—read up before you take the plunge.

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

2. Choosing the wrong color for your skin tone

It's all about complementary colors: reddish undertones with ashier or darker colors, yellow undertones with warm colors. But it's also 2016, and there are so many options out there, so study study study (opens in new tab).

3. Dyeing your hair too dark

High-contrast hair and skin—what Olson calls the "Snow White look,"—can be super striking, but several weeks later, when your hair grows out, your light roots will make it look like your hair is thinning or balding. Yikes. Olson says the best rule of thumb is to not darken your hair more than two levels from your natural color to lessen this effect.

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4. Using the wrong heat setting on your hot tools for your hair texture

"Flat irons cause the most damage to hair that I see, beyond anything else," Olsen says. "Couple that with bleached hair, and you have a recipe for a chemical haircut." For colored and/or thin hair, use the lowest heat setting available. For everyone else, use the lowest setting too and vary the length of time you apply heat to the hair. (Science says this is the ideal temp, BTW. (opens in new tab)

5. Texting while you're getting your hair cut

Uneven ends are no LOL matter. You must keep a level head, both literally and figuratively, unless your hairstylist asks you to look this way or that. We'd like to point out that this also goes for crossing your legs. 

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Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at MarieClaire.com. She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.