We’ve all been there: After patiently waiting for the exciting reveal, your stylist spins you around in that salon chair and what you see in the mirror is…not what you wanted. The cut, the color and the style are all wrong! But don’t just resign yourself to weeks of covering up your ’do disappointment with scarves and hats (and crying yourself to sleep at night). Instead, learn from this experience. You can figure out what you want and how to get it with these four painless tips from Coco and Crème.

Tip 1: Do your research.

If you’ve found the stylist of your dreams, congratulations! But let’s be real; that’s not always the case for many of us. Instead of trying beautician after beautician, before you pick up the phone and make an appointment, do some research to find the best salon for you. Start by asking friends and family whom they trust and why they like that stylist’s services. Then, read online reviews. Finally, select some finalists and visit their salons for smaller jobs, such as a wash and set. This helps you learn where you feel most comfortable and whose services you like better.

Tip 2: Know what you want.

Do you sashay into a salon, plunk down a significant amount of money and say, “Just do whatever you want”? Well, if you’re not being specific and you haven’t done your research, you might as well cut your own hair—with a blindfold on. You’d get the same results. Instead, find a picture of exactly what you want and bring it with you to the salon. Then, have a detailed conversation with your stylist about the color, cut and styles you want before you sit in the chair. And speak up during the hairstyling process. If you’re not sure what your stylist is doing or why, ask.

Tip 3: Be specific.

Unless your stylist can read minds, saying “cut a few inches, kind of like this picture” isn’t going to get you anywhere. After you’ve shown your beautician a picture of what you want, get details. Use your hands to show exactly where you want your hair to fall after the cut, bring in color samples that most closely match the color you want your hair to look like, and tell your beautician about your daily styles and make sure your new ’do will fit into your life.

Tip 4: Be realistic.

Your hair won’t ever turn out the same as it looks in the photo. First, real-life hairstyles aren’t perfect like the ones in magazine pictures. Second, stylists achieve most magazine or celebrity hairstyles with faux tresses; real hair won’t ever produce the same outcome. And, finally, all hair is different and doesn’t react the same to dyes and cuts. It doesn’t mean your beautician did something wrong. Just be patient and as specific as you can before your appointment starts and work with your stylist to get the look you want.

Are you trying to re-create a picture-perfect natural hair style? Click here to find out how you can do it yourself.