I need my hair done; I need a clean trim, a finished look and the polished results that can only come by hands of a professional. If you follow the L4L Facebook page, then you are aware that it recently took me six consultations before an appointment was finally made and that does NOT include the research I did prior to those face-to-face meetings. Since taking the responsibility of my hair’s health (and growth) into my own hands, the process of how to find a good hair stylist has become increasingly difficult and at times, seems impossible.
When I am home in New Jersey, I have two not just good, but excellent hair stylists, whom I can trust and keep my hair’s health priority above all else. But when I am away and need my hair done, mild panic ensues. Like nearly all of us, I have had more than my share of setbacks and disasters at the hands a so-called professional. However, I also like to have my hair done. Not just neat, groomed or tended to. While there is no foolproof way to find a quality, knowledgeable hair stylist with a successful hair salon, there are precautions that can be taken. Above all, we want to make sure the health of our hair is maintained and we leave happy with our service, right?
Tips on How to Find a Good Hair Stylist
Research them online. Not every beauty professional takes advantage of the world wide web, but they should. A stylist or salon having a website is the first indication that they take their profession seriously and value attracting new clientele. Follow the stylist on social media where you will be able to view ongoing photos of their work and gauge what types of services and hair types they specialize in. Check out their reviews on Yelp and Google, learn what other people are saying about them.
Schedule a consultation. Once you have satisfied your curiosity about the salon online, meet with your potential stylist face to face. It is important that consultations are made before the date of your needed service. Avoid doing your consultation by phone if possible – in person you will be able to see the condition of the salon, what products and tools they use, their sanitation habits and maybe even observe them in action. As for the time you spend speaking with the stylist, here are some suggested talking points:
- What measures do you take to keep the hair healthy? Do they deep condition their clients hair regularly? Use as little direct heat as possible? Recognize when hair needs more moisture or protein?
- What services are your specialty? Every stylist is not an expert at everything. If you want intricate braided updos, but the stylist mainly does extensions and blow outs, they probably are not right for you. A good stylist will openly admit to what services they perform most often and what hair types they are comfortable working with.
- How often do you do relaxers/natural hair/weaves/color? If they usually work with transitioning or natural hair, but you want relaxer touch ups every 8-10 weeks, they won’t work for you. Sometimes there are experts in different areas within the same salon and they work in tandem to satisfy all their client’s needs. Find out if what you want is something they do regularly.
- What products do you use? A professional service equals professional products – period. Ask if they consistently use one or two brands, one of my hair setbacks was due to my stylist switching the relaxer she used without my knowledge or approval. Make sure you are clear that you want consistent product usage for consistent results.
- How do you feel about accepting my requests? Nothing is worse than feeling like you are in a battle of the minds when you have your hair done. Asking them to use a wide tooth comb to detangle, only to have them tell you they prefer their rat tail
hair snatchercomb! Ultimately you should always be right, you are paying for a service and they should comply with your wishes even if they voice their disagreement. Talking about this during your consultation will also make it easier to speak up during the service if they do something you do not like or would like changed.
- How to you handle late arrivals? One of my biggest pet peeves and a sure sign I will never return, is to be kept waiting. Sometimes this is not the fault of the stylist, one late client throws off their entire day. However, salons that have strict policies against lateness (additional charges or refusal to service beyond a certain window) are far less likely to have this habitually happen.
Share Your HHJ. Talk about your hair history and explain your hair goals. A good hair stylist will share your excitement about growing healthy hair and want to help you achieve them. If a stylist seems doubtful or disdainful – LEAVE! Share the details of your regimen at home, what products you use to maintain and what type of styles you like wearing. The best type of stylist-client relationships involve you working together and if you are looking for a good stylist to patronize regularly, you want to be able to trust their advice so they need to be well informed on your hair.
Be Clear On Pricing. I despise going into a salon expecting to pay one price and “extras” are added until I end up paying double the original quote. Ask if deep conditioning services are included with a shampoo and style; Personally, I think any good healthy hair stylist worth anything will always deep condition the hair after shampooing even if there is an additional charge associated. Salons are beginning to charge for things like thick or longer hair, extra detangling time, etc. I’m not here to knock or judge anyone’s business acumen, but all these things should be discussed prior to the final bill being dispensed.
Once you have met with the stylist and have all your pertinent questions answered and concerns addressed, then and only then should you make your appointment. Now it is your responsibility to be a good client – arrive a little early for your appointment. Don’t talk loudly on your phone throughout the service or try to barter to get extras for free. Be clear on the style you want and how you’d like it achieved, photographs always help! Now that you have taken all the appropriate measures and found your amazing stylist…sit back and enjoy being pampered!