Let's get to the nitty gritty, shall we?

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Safe to say, we've learned our lesson when it comes to walking into any hair appointment blindly. Whether it's the time two inches turned into three (plus bangs) or golden lowlights turned into frosted tips, it's been a learning curve of splendid highs and tragic lows on the road to discovering the rulebook for pre-cut and color proceedings. Aside from the core tenets of salon etiquette—arrive on time, tip appropriately, keep off the phone—there are a few guidelines of utmost importance that don't fall under the basics. Getting down to the nitty gritty, here are four essential tips to keep in mind the day of your hair appointment.

Remove Hair Products Before Going to the Salon

It's never a good idea to show up with heavy product build-up from styling your hair the day of your appointment, especially if you're getting a dry cut or color. It can cause hair color to go on unevenly, and it can also affect how your hair stylist evaluates your pre-cut hair type and texture.

Leza Duncan, stylist at Salon U in Birmingham, Alabama, gave a welcome exception: "It's fine to use products you normally use for your everyday blowdry, but stay away from a lot of hairspray."

Bring Hairstyle Examples

We've said it before, and we'll say it until the cows come home. Always bring tangible inspiration that details your vision clearly and objectively. We can't always describe what type of layers or which shade of color we're looking for, and a picture is worth a thousand words.

Leza Duncan, stylist at Salon U in Birmingham, Alabama, added: "Be prepared to really communicate with your stylist about what does and does not work for your hair. Start with a length you want, and find pictures of looks that you could see yourself loving."

Keep in Mind Your Unique Hair Type and Features

If you have thin or super fine hair, that choppy bob with mega volume might not pan out the way you envisioned. And baby bangs with a cowlick smack dab in the front of your hairline likely will not suit just as one might have hoped. No matter how much you love the inspiration, keep in mind whether it will work for your unique hair type, face shape, and so on. It is a rare feat to have a hair cut or color resulting in a 1:1 match to the inspiration, so have an open mind, at the very least.

Wash Hair Before Your Appointment

We gasped when we heard that many clients will show up with hair that hasn't been washed in almost a week. Though it might seem fine if you're heading straight to the washing basin, it's really not good form. If you're getting your hair colored, clean hair helps the hair color be applied evenly and thoroughly; if you're getting a haircut, dirty hair can be bogged down with product and dry shampoo, as well as look a tad too greasy to get a good pre-wash consultation. (Washing your hair the day before is completely fine for both of these instances.) A good rule of thumb: If you're a little grossed out by your hair when touching it, odds are your hair stylist feels the exact same way.

As etiquette enthusiasts, we're always looking for the proper protocol for every occasion, from everyday tasks like getting our hair done to formal events like attending a wedding. We'll be locking these snippets of advice in our head as we get ready for our next trip to the salon.