Finding a new stylist can be absolutely daunting – a lot like finding your soulmate!
Not only do you need someone who is skilled and talented, but you also need someone who is reliable, trustworthy, and a good listener. But it doesn’t have to be scary. There are some characteristics to look for and some questions to ask to make sure you’re not entrusting your locks to just anyone.
Do Your Homework
The best way to find someone great is to get a referral from a trusted acquaintance (whose hair you admire!) However, the next best avenue is a simple internet search. Finding someone with an online presence – a nice website, Instagram, or Facebook – is not only a great way to view examples of their work but, often, you can glean quite a bit about their work ethic and personality through media. As you’re perusing their portfolio, make sure you are seeing samples of hairstyles that appeal to you. There is a lot of great talent out there but if the stylist you are viewing specializes in, for instance, vivid colors in all hues of the rainbow, it doesn’t mean that they can’t do a blonde balayage, but it does mean that their passion may lie with something different than what you’re after.
Don’t expect to get in with a great stylist today. Great stylists are booked out days, weeks and, sometimes, months ahead (depending on their and your availability). Prepare in advance and be respectful of their schedule. If you expect to get in with someone
today, you need to lower your expectations of the stylist’s experience and, possibly, their skillset. That doesn’t mean great stylists won’t be available on short notice – we all get cancellations occasionally. But a great stylist is usually worth the wait so plan accordingly.
Stylists are busy people, but the rule of thumb is to return phone calls, texts, and emails within 24 business hours. Peak busy times may result in a longer wait time but if you are having a hard time connecting with your stylist or waiting unusually long to hear back from them, you may want to move on. Though we are busy people, we need clients in order to make a living, therefore, expect to be treated with some priority.
Keep Your Appointment
Reliability and trust are a two-way street. In a new stylist-client relationship, we are still getting to know each other. Make sure you are as reliable as you expect your stylist to be and do everything you can to keep the initial appointment you make. If you must cancel, give at least 24-48 hours notice, offer to pay a cancellation fee (if they have one), and take any appointment they are able to offer you as a reschedule. You scratch our back, we scratch yours – being dependable goes a long way to establishing a good mutual relationship.
As a new client, your stylist should allow a few minutes of extra consultation time at the beginning of your appointment. Be prepared – being at the salon isn’t a surprise and you’ve been potentially waiting for this appointment for awhile. Have pictures of hairstyles you like and be ready to ask and answer questions. Some topics that should be covered by you and the stylist:
When was the last time you had your hair done?
If you are getting color, do you have home box-color on your hair? (BE HONEST! This can and will impact the result of your professional color service and hiding the truth will only harm your hair!)
If your hair is styled a particular way, is this the standard way you style it?
If your hair is styled a particular way, is your natural texture different than how it is styled?
What products do you use, or would be willing to use, to get the most out of your cut?
Do you spend time on your hair each day or do you need an easy, fast style?
If you are seeking advice about a big transformation, have you ever HAD the very different cut or color you may be interested in trying?
Are you willing to wait another visit or two for a dramatic transformation in order to allow your new stylist to get to know your hair? If not, are you prepared that your stylist (no matter how talented) may not accomplish what you’re after? (This is more of a question you should ask yourself because, regardless of talent and experience, sometimes we need to get to know a client’s hair to be able to cut it in precisely the way it needs.)
Preparing ahead of time for your initial salon visit could save you a lot of heartache afterward if things don’t turn out as you had hoped. Some butterflies are okay when meeting a new stylist but you should ultimately feel confident in their ability. If this is a concern for you, schedule a consultation prior to the actual appointment. The stylists at my salon all offer this for free. It’s a chance to get to know the person better, see how well they listen, gauge their reliability, and even get a price quote. Doing your homework, working to create a mutually trustworthy relationship, and preparing for your appointment will go a long way toward solidifying a beautiful relationship with your new stylist!