It seems that more and more my clients as well as brides and their wedding parties are arriving with pictures of cuts, color, styles and/or makeup looks that they are hoping to receive.

The big question is: Do we as stylists appreciate these visual examples?

My personal answer is “yes, yes, yes” – for the most part. Of course there are always exceptions.

I will never forget a movie I saw several years ago where a woman came in with a picture of what she wanted to look like. The stylist answered with, “Honey, the ONLY way you are going to look like that is if I tape this picture to your forehead!”

Yes, there have been times I’ve wanted to say that to a client. However, for the most part, the internet, especially Pinterest, has a plethora of realistic styles that help give us a visual starting point.

The main drawback with Pinterest as far as wedding styles is it only shows one (usually the prettiest) part of the style. Therefore, more than one picture is needed for the other parts of the style, or we need to play around to have the look be cohesive. That being said, consultations are very helpful.

As far as my salon clients, visual examples are greatly appreciated. I have learned the hard way in the past that when someone says they want “layers” or “stacking,” they might be using the incorrect term. This can end badly without clarification of what they really mean.

Pictures of what they really want help tremendously in the consultation and decision to proceed with the haircut.

The same is even more vital when talking hair color. Balayage, ombré, highlights, lowlights, and hair color are some of the processes requested, yet are not really desired. I learn this when looking at the pictures they show me. I can’t tell you how many times a week a client has scheduled their appointment online for color but actually wanted highlights.

The consultation is vital in giving you, the client, what you want or – better yet – what will be the best, easiest and most flattering style and color for your lifestyle and face.

I always say, the right overall cut, color and style and makeup will take 10 years and 10 pounds off you. And unfortunately or fortunately, as each case may be, it’s sometimes the opposite.

Look at the many cuts and styles movie stars like Meryl Streep or Brad Pitt have had in their various roles. This is concrete proof that we as stylists are a crucial part of you looking desirable and youthful or old and haggard. We can help you make the choice.

All we have to do is check out your pictures to be sure they are realistic – or we get out the roll of tape.

Joy Ross is owner of Style It Salon in Old Town Bluffton.