How to Find the PERFECT Hair Stylist

There seems to be a salon either already existing or popping up on every corner these days. How do you pick the right one or, better yet, find the PERFECT hairstylist? Maybe you currently have a stylist you aren’t happy with. I say it is YOUR hair, so stop feeling frumpy and check out these three tips to finding The PERFECT Hairstylist.

1. Do your research

We already have established that there are many salons in our area, so how do you know which one is right for you? I would first ask you a couple of questions. Do you believe that you get what you pay for? What exactly is that you are looking for? A confident and continuously educated stylist, a specific salon atmosphere, customer service, certain products, etc.?

To me, a quality haircut is about MUCH more than the cut itself. It starts with how you feel when you walk in the door. Is it warm and friendly? Is there someone to greet you and make you feel comfortable? Are the employees dressed appropriately with hair and makeup done?

Your shampoo should be relaxing, quiet and the stylist and/or assistant should be informing you of what they are doing and using at each step. It should be all about you and your needs, NOT about the stylist or their problems that day. These are all things I would either find out when talking to someone who is recommending their stylist and/or what you should be looking for when you go in for a consultation. Which leads me to tip number two.

2. Interview the stylist
After you have asked your friends, co-workers (or the lady at the grocery store who’s hair you just LOVED) who they see, call that salon and set up a consultation with the stylist. You could also just walk in the salon right off the street to check it out and book your consultation.  A good and credible salon is more than willing to offer a free consultation and, in fact, would encourage it. I have been “interviewed” by potential clients often and I love it.

You want to tell your potential stylist your likes/dislikes about your hair and what has been done to your hair in the past. Be honest, especially when it comes to chemicals used on your hair. Even if you had a moment and bought a box two years ago, (let’s not got there right now — that’s a topic for another time). A  confident and experienced stylist will be open to many and all questions and they will be willing to tell you what you want isn’t going to work rather than agree and say “okay” (which you DON’T want).

3. Communicate
Communication on both ends really is the key to success. While it is the stylists job to understand how to do something, your idea of a Pixie cut and the stylists version can be totally different. This is where pictures are important. I love when clients bring me pictures, lots of them. Pick up a hairstyle magazine at the grocery store and mark things you like and dislike about haircuts. You may not find just the cut you are looking for, but it gives you a starting point. It is really helpful and if your stylist doesn’t “do” pictures, than you need to find another stylist.
Be realistic about what style you are asking for. Do you have thin fine baby hair and show them an picture of a Victoria’s Secret model….really? Almost every single long hair model/actress or chick in a magazine has hair extensions and a personal stylist who styles their hair for them daily. Obviously, not a realistic option for a working mom of three who tells me she has 20 minutes to get ready in the morning. See where I am going with that?

This would be where the stylist should tell you to be open to suggestions. I do my best work when I am given the opportunity to do what I think is best. My clients are at the point where they just say “Gina, just do what you think.” I love that, but not every stylist is like that and not every client wants to give up that much control.

You may just love everything about the salon, but are not completely sure you want to work with the stylist you got that day. Remember this: No two stylists are the same and just because you don’t feel comfortable with one stylist in the salon, that doesn’t mean another wouldn’t be perfect for you and that is alright.  A good stylist and a professional salon are NOT going to be offended by this choice. I often have even recommended a client to another stylist who I think would work out better. On the flip side, I have had employees who had a hard time with one client and I took that client over (I love a challenge) and it was a perfect fit…honestly! I have gotten some really great clients this way. Often clients worry about offending their hairstylist and I am telling you right now you don’t and you shouldn’t. Once again, if you DO feel that way at all, you are in the wrong salon.

I’ve written more on communication than about the other tips, but it is the KEY to success and your new found love of your hair!

Once you have been to your first appointment and you are home either loving it, hating it or still undecided (because “it looked good when I left and now I can’t do it like SHE did”), this is what needs to happen next. Let’s call it the follow through:

Follow Through:

A good salon will guarantee their work for some reasonable period of time. Sometimes a new cut or new color may need some adjusting. That is not necessarily a bad thing. If you loved the service and the experience but it is not PERFECT the first time, that is not a reason to not go back. If you have issues, you should always call your stylist and give them a chance to adjust the cut/color. I tell all first time clients to give me three shots. It does take some time to get to know one another, and  I think if both stylist and customer know that going in, then it will work. A relationship with your stylist can be long lasting and you both should feel comfortable.
Your stylist is trained and licensed and hopefully getting more training frequently, so listen to her suggestions. Maybe you don’t think you can do the things she recommends, but try it. If she recommends some products to support your new cut and color, get them and try them. If you just got an amazing color and then you go home and shampoo with some store bought “floor stripper” (that is what I call it because that is what it is good for), than you are not going to get salon results at home and that my friends is NOT the stylists fault. If you are happy with your stylist take the time to make another appointment with them. They know best how you are going to keep this new fabulous head of yours just that — FABULOUS!

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7 Responses to How to Find the PERFECT Hair Stylist

  1. Jennifer Ryan says:

    Thank you Gina! What you said is the perfect rendition of how I met stylist of the past 4 years… *wink*… I walked in the salon, was greeted and felt welcome… you listened to what I had to say and took the time to work with my crazy hair! It was honestly the very first time in my life that I left a salon and felt like I could hit the town! Years later, the communication continues and so does my fabulous hair!!! Keep up the great work!!

  2. Alisa Bragg says:

    Exactly what I expected from you Gina, lots of greats points. Great ideas for all of us very picky people, I happen to trust and love my stylist. Great first blog Gina, looking forward to many more.

  3. Tina Smith says:

    Great blog! Packed full of information and great suggestions! It makes me realize that getting a haircut can be more than “a chore.” With our hectic lives and busy schedules, having your hair done should be a relaxing, pampering moment. Great tips on how to find the right hairdresser. Thanks! Keep up the great work.

  4. Super advice. Especially about the photos! It’s so much easier to show than tell when it comes to cuts and color.

  5. Ellen Magoon says:

    Gina you are truly amazing! I am never supprised to see your new ventures. You truly inspire me. As a salon owner now , I can only hope to have a great sucess as you . Continue the great work that you do , and stay true to you.

  6. Lanie says:

    YES, having a style who does the thinking and worrying for you is the BEST! My favorite thing about finding you? I don’t have to think about it, I walk in a tired working mom and I leave looking HOT! Well, my version of hot anyway..

  7. Sharon says:

    Thanks for the great reminders! Inspiration to make a change.

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