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How to find a great stylist

Are you unhappy with your hair? Did you have to fire your stylist? Did your stylist skip town or I take a long maternity leave? The shock of having to choose a new hairdresser can be mitigated if you know how to successfully conduct a search. One common scenario: You adore your brilliant hair stylist, and he or she changes salons.

Usually, hairdressesr aren’t allowed access to salons’ databases, so they can’t let you know where they’ve relocated, and the salon won’t give you the information, even if you ask. Some salons even have non-compete contracts that prevent hair stylists from jumping to the salon across the street—which means he or she may have moved far, far away. In this instance, sites like may help you reconnect.

If you’re pals with other clients, pooled efforts may help you uncover out your stylist’s new haunts. If that fails, salon owners will offer you an incentive to stay, so why not try out some different talent? Ask the owner or the front desk to recommend someone whose skill levels are as good or better than your dear hairdresser who’s disappeared.

If you can’t find your guru, or if you want someone new in the first place, try these steps:

Ask friends, co-workers and strangers with a look you love (and a hair type similar to yours) for recommendations. Think of it as an adventure; spend the day going to coffee shops, bookstores or clubs with like-minded women and check out their hair. Then call the salon and find out what their hair stylists charge.

Look out for top salons with training nights and see what they’re doing. If the cut they’re featuring seems right for you, give it a go.

Spy on salons you’ve read or heard about and check out the women coming and going. If you like what you see, don’t be shy—step inside and ask the receptionist who does her hair.

Pay for a top-notch hair stylist you know about, then go to a cheaper chain salon for between-visit trims.

You’ll have a harder time if your long-gone stylist is a hair color pro. Sticking with a different colorist at the same salon means they’ll have your color formula and history. Starting anew requires a specialty operation. Find one at the American Board of Certified Haircolorists website.

Whether you have a name in mind or not, go to CitySearch online and check out hair salons in your area. Look by address, name or ranking. Then read the reviews posted by perfect strangers; they’ll be the most honest you’ll find. Just be alert for false postings from a competitor looking to ruin another salon’s reputation. How can you tell? Most of the postings will be full of praise, but just one or two will be totally negative, then I will recommend you go to a nearby salon.

If you have special issues such as hair extensions, botched hair color, super-fine hair or ultra-curly hair, search the Web and the Yellow pages for a specialist. A hair stylist who’s just out of school isn’t usually the best at fixing hair color gone terribly wrong, while hair additions are a true specialty that take time, talent and cash.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing