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

The big question is: Do 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 scene in a movie I saw several years ago. 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 that it shows only 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.

In that case, consultations and – especially for bridal hair – practice appointments are strongly suggested.

As far as my salon clients, visual examples are greatly appreciated. I have learned the hard way that when someone says they want layers or stacking, they might be using the incorrect term for what they want. 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 about hair color. “Balayage,” “ombré,” “highlights,” “lowlights,” and “hair color” are all terms and processes requested yet not really desired, based on the pictures they show me. I can’t tell you how many times a week a client has scheduled an appointment online for color but really 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 face and your lifestyle.

I always say, the right overall cut, color, style and makeup generally will take 10 years and 10 pounds off you. And, unfortunately, sometimes the opposite happens.

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 make the choice. All we have to do is check out your pictures to be sure they are realistic. Or we’ll have to get out the roll of tape.

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