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Just as important as the cutting, coloring and styling skills of your hairdresser, is his or her ability to listen and communicate with you. If you want to get the most out of your salon experience and ensure that you don't run home to cry in the bathroom mirror, here are a few tips to remember:

First and foremost, spend time with your stylist before you are whisked away to the shampoo sink. A good hairdresser needs to look at the current state of your hair, how you style it and how it performs. He or she also needs to take a look at your attire and how you present yourself. This initial consultation will supply plenty of good clues about what type of hairstyle will best fit your lifestyle.

Second, bring a photo. As long as you don't walk in with a picture of a model sporting long, thick wavy hair when you have short, straight, fine hair, your hairdresser will love this. Photos can often convey images that words cannot, and they can be the quickest way to communicate exactly what you're looking for -- and what your stylist thinks may or may not work on you.

Third, don't be afraid to speak up. Often times, we're shy about asking for a little more off or how we like our hair parted. Your stylist cannot read your mind, so if you want your vision to become a reality, you have to communicate. You won't offend your hairdresser. Just be careful that you don't expect him or her to work miracles right away -- sometimes the look you're after can take several visits before you grow into it.

And finally, find a salon that suits your personality. Your visit should be relaxing, soothing, pampering and fulfilling. Because there are so many styles of salons out there, be sure yours matches who you are. If you find you're uncomfortable, intimidated, frustrated or constantly let down, move on. "Within most salons, you'll find one vision of the "look" of the season," Louis Licari of Louis Licari Salon in New York and Beverly Hills told iVillage.com. "I often compare salons to stores. If you want to look like Prada, you'd shop at Prada. If you prefer a more classic look, you would shop at Ralph Lauren. Usually the same is true with hair salons."

Want to see a stylist who does right by her clients? Take a look at what this one did for "The Biggest Loser" contestants!