I was just thinking the other day about how long I have been going to the same hair stylist – more years than I care to count.
By now Carol knows my hair as well as her own I think! A few years ago she left the salon she was working for and started her own and of course, I went with her.
But how do you find a treasure like Carol?
Here are 10 tips to find a good hair salon and stylist so that you never have to leave the salon wishing you hadn’t bothered.
Ask Your Friends
If you have a friend or coworker whose hair you admire, check where they get their hair cut and which stylist they use. There’s nothing better than a personal recommendation. That’s how I found the right hair salon and stylist for me (thanks Sandra for the recommendation!) This works best if your friend has similar hair to yours, then you are really onto a winner.
Check Out Salons Nearby
Of course location means nothing, but you may as well choose the best hair salon in a convenient place for home or work. As you wander past, see how welcoming the salon looks. Is it clean? Are the stylists gossiping or looking after customers?
Choose one or two you like the look of and check out how polite they are on the phone. The best hair salons are as careful about choosing and training their receptionists as they are about getting the best hairdressers. How do the receptionists treat you? Do they try and rush you? Are they willing to book you in for a consultation prior to making an appointment? Ask which stylist would be best for your type of hair and the kind of hair treatment you are looking for. The receptionist should have a good idea.
Have a Consultation
If possible book an appointment for a consultation where you can chat about the ideas you have for your hair and what the stylist thinks about them. Ask for their ideas too especially if you’re not sure what you want or what hairstyle suits you, but even if you do, the stylist may have better ideas.
Try not to book a complete restyle without testing out a salon first. You can find out a lot by checking out the salon while having a shampoo and blow dry or just a trim. How are you treated? Do they keep you waiting while they chat? Is the whole experience enjoyable? You could also use this appointment for an initial casual consultation. You can talk to the stylist about the changes you are thinking of making, even if you don’t make an appointment for a full consultation.
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Don’t Go By Price
Of course you need to make sure you can afford regular visits to the salon, but if the salon is constantly having to find new customers by advertising special offers, that’s a bad sign. A top hair salon or even a good hair salon will be able to keep customers without a problem. Exception: when a new salon is opening up and getting an initial clientèle they will usually advertise special offers and this is a good way to test them out.
Also, remember a salon that is cutting costs has to make a profit somewhere and it is unlikely to pay for the best hairstylists or the best products so you may be getting what you pay for.
Cutting Edge or Not
When thinking about how to find a good hair stylist, consider the type of look you are going for. If you want something ultra modern and edgy, then look for that reflected in the salon decor and the type of cuts other customers are getting. If you are more of a gentle waves, natural look kind of gal then choose a salon that reflects that instead.
Don’t Be Afraid to Switch
Sometimes you just have to try out a few salons and stylists until you find a stylist you gel with and who “gets” your hair and how it behaves. If you’re not completely happy with your look after a visit or two it’s time to switch. Same goes even if you have been going to the same salon for years. If you need new ideas and your stylist is not coming up with them, then it may be time to move on.
If you want something a bit special, you may think it is a good idea to travel to a top hair salon in a big city but don’t expect to get a top haircut there unless you are going to go regularly. You want something which suits not only the shape of your face but also your personality and unless they know you, how can they create a good match?
Sometimes the best hair stylist is the one you know. If you are still generally happy with your hairdresser there’s no need to switch. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Loyal customers usually get great treatment (you are the life blood of their salon) and they will often fit you in if they can at short notice. Plus, it is much more relaxing to go to a salon and stylist you know, like, and trust where they are familiar with your hair and can chat about your life without the usual “getting to know you” questions.
Do Your Part
Whatever stylist and salon you choose, help them do a good job for you and don’t judge them unfairly. If you turn up late, or have to leave in a rush, you are less likely to be happy with the result. Be as clear as you can be about what you are looking for and bring pictures, if you can.
Also have realistic expectations. Most important of all, know the limitations of your hair. If you have an Afro you are unlikely to turn into Jennifer Aniston as a result of your visit. You ought to look your best with your hair cut but you can’t expect to look like a model or celebrity with one snip of the scissors, even if you give your stylist a picture of who you want to look like. A good stylist will steer you away from that kind of thinking, but it’s best not to be thinking along those lines before you arrive at the salon, if you don’t want to be disappointed by your visit.
Do you have any tips on how to find a good hair stylist (or a good salon)? Had any hair disasters by choosing the wrong one? Please share in the comments below