From the time I was old enough to need a haircut up until I graduated from high school, I blindly went to the same hair stylist that my mother used.
It wasn’t really an issue back then because my haircut of choice was pretty simple – all one length to about my shoulders, with the occasional experiment with basic bangs to keep things interesting – and honestly, I didn’t have any clue what I should want or look for in a stylist.
Then I went off to college and started my obsession with hair style experimentation. Every month, I wanted to try a new cut or a new color and I always had an exact idea of what I wanted each time I sat down in the salon chair. And I found that it wasn’t always easy to find a stylist who could make a reality out of the image that I had in my head.
Fortunately, in the years since college, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to find a good stylist no matter what type of style I prefer or what my budget it is. It definitely takes a little effort, but knowing that you’re going to leave the salon with hair that you love after every appointment is definitely worth the trouble.
This probably sounds pretty obvious, but the best way to find a good hairstylist is to ask for recommendations. Usually, that means starting with your family members, friends and co-workers to see if they have a stylist that they really love – I can thank my friend Laura’s mother for the fact that I have a fabulous stylist of my own right now. But you don’t have to stop with people that you know – if you’re out at the mall, grabbing a quick lunch or just walking down the street and pass a woman that has a style or color that you love, don’t be afraid to ask for the name of her salon. These kinds of personal recommendations are usually the best way to discover a top notch stylist.
Use Social Media
Twitter and Facebook are fun ways to keep up with what’s going on in family and friend’s lives, but they can also come in handy when you want to find a great hairstylist. If you’re like me, you use social media sites to connect with friends and acquaintances in your area that you don’t necessarily see on a day-to-day basis – put out an S.O.S. asking for stylist recommendations and you may be surprised at how many leads you’ll get. It often helps to explain the kind of style that you’re going for so your online friends know exactly what you have in mind and can recommend a salon more suitable to your preference. You can also use online review sites like Yelp or Angie’s List to read up on some of the salons in your area to see if there are any hidden gems.
Get a Consultation
Just because you get a recommendation from a family member or friend doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve found the stylist for you. Before committing to an actual cut or color, make an appointment with your prospective stylist for a consultation. Explain the type of look that you’re going for, so the stylist can provide feedback as to what’s best for your hair type and face shape. If you don’t have any ideas for your hair, see if you like the suggestions that the stylist has to offer. Even in a ten to fifteen minute session, you can get a pretty feel for whether you’re on the same wavelength or not.
Even if you get a good feeling at your consultation appointment, it’s best to start out small with a new stylist so you can be certain that s/he is the right one for you. Don’t get 10-inches of your hair chopped off or have your chestnut locks dyed platinum blonde at your first appointment. Instead, go in for a simple trim or blow out and see how you feel about the results and overall experience. If you’re comfortable with the stylist – and feel that s/he is really listening to what you want – then you can make your next appointment for a more intense styling session.