Finding a hair specialist that will meet your personal hair styling goals is never easy. A search for the right stylist will definitely require some time and patience.
If you decide to switch stylists, allow yourself plenty of time to do the research to find a new stylist.
Note: For more information check out: Consultations: Key To Perfect Hairstyles
Choosing a new hairstylist right before a special event (like a wedding or formal dance) is usually not a good idea.
Using a brand new stylist right before your big event could be asking for untold troubles. Since you won't have an established history with the new stylist, you can't be assured of the outcome of your style.
Ask For Stylist Referrals
The best way to locate a trusted new hair stylist is to ask for referrals. Ask friends and family for references of stylists that they trust and recommend. If you have a particular hair style requirement such as long hair, curly hair or problem hair, be sure and mention that fact when you ask for any referrals. If you have cost or location constraints, be sure and mention that information as well.
Compile a list of recommended stylists. Don't feel you have to go to the first one that is suggested. Take your time and get 4-5 names of referrals before you decide to set up an initial consultation.
Check The Yellow Pages
Check the Yellow Pages and phone directories to see if a stylist with the specialty you need has a listed advertisement. Many stylists will list their specialties in ads (long hair consultant, color expert, chemical specialist). If you live in a large city, call a top model agency and ask if they have hair stylists they recommend to their models.
Write or call the fashion editor of the daily newspaper and ask who the current names are in the hair industry. They will often know the hot hair stylists because of their connection to the fashion and beauty world.
Ask People With Hair You Admire
When you see people out in public with hair styles that you admire or would like to try, ask them for the name of their hair stylist. This is a great way to get unbiased references. Sometimes close family and friends will apply pressure for you to visit their stylists. Make sure you only select a stylist that is right for you and your needs. Don't select a stylist just because it may please a friend or relative.
Don't worry about offending a stranger if you ask for the name of their stylist. Most people will be flattered that you noticed their hair.
Check Out The Recommended Stylist
Once you have compiled a list of 4 of 5 recommended names you need to check out the stylist and their salon. The best time to get a true feel for a stylist and a salon is on a Saturdays when they're busiest. Drop in and buy one of their hair care products or inquire about the services that they provide.
While you're there you can check out the shop and decide if it has a comfortable atmosphere. Notice how efficient the salon is. Are the stylists relaxed and focused or rushed and stressed? Take the time to notice how clean and organized the salon is. Before you drop in, you can make a list of features you value in a shop and then evaluate those items when you visit. If the shop is busy, you may even be able to hang around for a short period of time and watch the stylist you are considering while they work.
Schedule A Consultation Only
Once you've found a salon that you like, make an appointment for a hair consultation with the stylist you are evaluating. Be firm with your request to schedule a consultation only. Keep in mind that some stylists may pressure you to let them cut or style your hair on the first visit. It's important not to be pushed into receiving any services until you're absolutely sure that the stylist is right for you and your hair. Some stylists will give you a complimentary consultation. Others will charge. Make sure you ask at the beginning what the consultation policy is before you begin. Also make sure that you are not pressured in any way to accept services you may not be comfortable with.
A good stylist will be happy to meet with prospective clients and schedule a consultation.
The Initial Consultation
During your initial consultation be sure to check all the prices that the stylist charges for different hair care services. Find out what products they recommend. Ask them their policy if you are not satisfied with their service. Check to see if they will do complimentary touch ups or bang trims.
Be sure to ask the stylist questions about their training and their philosophy on hair care. Explain any personal history with hair problems (bad perms, color or trims). Explain any unusual hair care requirements that you may have (limited time for styling, need for a simple style, desire to grow hair long, etc.)
All of these steps may seem tedious and a waste of time. However, a hair stylist can make or break your overall appearance. A great hair stylist can do wonders while a bad stylist can cause pain and heartache over your hair. Take the time to make sure you are completely comfortable with a new stylist before you trust them with your hair.
A good stylist will be innovative and up-to-date in their area of expertise. It is important to remember that if you have selected a hair care specialist, they may not be good at all types of hair care. They may only be an expert in their specialty. Many people go to a color expert and are disappointed that they are not great at hair styling. Or they may visit an expert stylist and be disappointed with their color skills. Keep your hair care goals in mind. If you are looking for a hair professional with a specialty, be realistic and don't expert them to be an expert at everything. If you are looking for a hair stylist who is more a generalist, keep this is mind too.
Schedule An Appointment
After you have had your initial consultations and have chosen a stylist schedule an appointment. The first appointment will be very important. Don't assume that the stylist will remember what you told them in the initial consultation. While many stylists will remember, it is your responsibility to remind them of your specific hair goals and needs. Pay attention to what they do and ask lots of questions.
Be Firm About Your Hair
If at any time your become uncomfortable with what they propose or do to your hair, feel free to end the appointment and leave. Do not let the stylist talk you into anything that you are uncomfortable with. Be willing to consider what the stylist suggests, but be firm about making the final decision on any hair care decisions. Remember, it is your hair and the stylist is working for you. If the stylist seems pushy or demanding about their goals for your hair, terminate the appointment immediately.
Cultivate A Long Term Relationship
Finding and cultivating a long term relationship with a great hair stylist is just as important as finding and bonding with your dentist or doctor or therapist. The best way to develop great hair is to have a great stylist that can advise you and get to know you, your hair and your needs. If you do not feel that you can develop a long term beneficial relationship with your new stylist, be prepared to move on and find someone you can grow with. Once you feel you have found the right stylist stick with them and let them help you achieve your long term hair goals.
It's important that you and your stylist treat each other with mutual respect. Always schedule your appointments well in advance so that your stylist does not feel pressured to squeeze you into their schedule. Be prompt for all appointments, come prepared to spend the time necessary for the service you have scheduled. If your stylist treats you well and does a great job, tip them well to show your appreciation.
A good stylist is very hard to find. When you do find one, treat them with respect and appreciation. If they are a good stylist they will do the same for you.
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- Revised Publication Date: 10/19/10
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