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HELP! I Moved Out Of State: How Do I Find A Good Stylist?


Never one to keep a useful personal experience to myself, I can now share with you my own successful pursuit of a good stylist in a new state. Long story short—in March of this year, I moved out of Texas back home to New Hampshire. In May of this year, I married for the second time, hence the new last name.

By the end of March, I was looking and feeling pretty shaggy, and desperately needed a good hair stylist. Since I haven’t lived in NH for over 13 years, all my connections to good hair have long since moved on. What to do?? I was interviewing for a new job, and had to look at least decent, so I slunk into one of those "$10 per haircut - no questions asked", haircut mills in a strip mall (hey—I said was desperate!). To give them some credit, my husband can walk into one of those places and come out looking like Peter O’Toole in Camelot. However, that look just doesn’t work for me.

Ten minutes later, I slunk back out, looking for a nice, head-hugging paper bag to drive home in. The cut was just awful, but my one consolation is that my hair grows fast, and needs trimming every three weeks whether I like it or not.

During a job interview a week later, I found myself face-to-face with a smart-looking young woman who had a great haircut. Once the interview was over, I said, “I love your hair! Do you mind if I ask where you go to get it styled?” She was flattered and gave me the business card of the stylist who has since transformed me from frumpy to fabulous. (By the way, I didn’t get the job, but I did get a stylist!) She is one of those wonderful hair artists who take the time to get to know you, check out your hair, listen to your hair problems and preferences, and then discuss the next step—all this before even shampooing!

So the lesson learned from my experience is this: when you are in a new place and are searching out a stylist, go where the people are, and check out the ‘dos. Nearly everyone responds favorably to a compliment about their hair, and will be glad to tell you the name of their stylist. Of course, before you go, be sure that you do your homework first: 1) decide what you want done – trim, color, permanent, etc., 2) have a good idea of the style you want, and 3) be ready to tell her/him about what you like and don’t like. For example, when I am in this situation, I tell them that I always wear bangs, and always need them feathered, not cut straight across, as my hair is heavy. If you’ll take the time to prepare first, then you will have laid the groundwork for a great relationship with your new stylist, and beautiful hair!

By the way, if you’ve ever read my article, “Becoming a Bed Head,” you’ll know that for a long time I wore and loved the Bed Head look. However, I like change and have adopted a newer, softer look with the help of my wonderful new stylist. These days I am wearing my short hair a bit longer, with a longer, more feathered back so that it hugs my neck. The crown is higher, and the front is swept softly over to the left. This new ‘do allows me a lot of freedom to style. Depending on my mood, I can blow-dry it smooth, or I can do a modified Bed Head and blow-dry it straight up, and use gel and spray to spike it. I can also part it on the other side, mousse it up and get another soft look. The sides of my hair are cut up over the ear, with the ends feathered and brushed forward. For a change, I can gel the sides behind my ears, and fluff the hair out behind the ears to get a fuller look.

For all of you who are or who will soon be living in a new area, don’t despair! Get out there and find folks with hair you admire, and don’t be afraid to compliment them and then ask for the name of their stylist. This is how your make valuable connections, plus you just might end up making a few friends. As a matter of fact, the gal I interviewed with whose hair I admired emails me once in a while to see how I’m doing. Who knows? Perhaps the next time her business needs people, she’ll think of me. But through her, I met a terrific stylist.

If you are or soon will be considering a change in location, your future hairstylist should be on your list along with searching out a new doctor, vet, dentist, massage therapist, manicurist, etc.—you get the picture. Also, moving somewhere new is a fabulous opportunity to make a change in your ‘do. Hey, you’re changing your address, why not your hair as well? Have you always wanted to color your hair? Now’s the time! Have you longed to perm those straight locks for a new look? Now’s the time! Do you yearn for a more stylish, sleeker look for the coming holidays? Repeat after me: Now’s the time!

I am happy with my new home, my new husband, my new name, my new stylist, and my new ‘do. Change is good! Remember, if you found one great stylist in one place, then it follows that you will find another one in another place. Every time I’ve moved and wailed, ‘I’ll never find anyone who understands my hair as well as <fill in the blank>!” I always have. And you will, too!

Good luck to all you movers and shakers out there! Note:

Although Jane has left Texas for the wilds of New Hampshire, we are happy to report that Jane will continue to be one of our favorite regular columnists (although long distance) for Jane is currently busy working on a new series of articles that will appear over the next few months.

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