Friday, January 19, 2007

Tips - Finding a New Hairstylist, Getting a New Hairstyle

Confessions of a Former Hair Salon Receptionist
Back in the day, I used to be a "salon coordinator"(that's a fancy term for lowly paid receptionist). I have met many clients who were searching for a new stylist to give them a funky new 'do. There are no rules to finding a good hairstylist and cut as it's all a matter of opinion. I can, however, make you a short list of things to keep in mind when searching for a new hairstylist and new style.

Talk to the Receptionist
The receptionist is the brains behind the artist. Well, at least that is what one salon owner told me once. The receptionist is the representative of the salon. She or he is the first person that a new client will see once entering the salon so go ahead and talk to her. Tell her what you want and what you don't want, for your hair and in a stylist. If she is a good receptionist, she will be paying attention. And if she is really good at her job, she will match your personality and personal needs to the best-suited hairstylist in the salon who has the skills to work with you and your hair goals. Not all stylists excel with curly hair or textured cuts, for example. It is the receptionist's job to match you up with the best-suited stylist. Of course, be patient. The best-suited stylist may have a full schedule. If you demand someone who is free at that exact time, you might be walking out of the salon with something you are not happy with. Or worse, you had to sit for an hour with an irritating stylist.

Most hair salons offer free, short consultations with their stylists. Don't be afraid, they don't bite. Well, not usually - only when they are hungry and craving a cigarette. Be as clear as you can when telling her what your hair goals are. Confessing to a stylist that you want a little snip or to look like that star in that film that is out in the theaters right now - tells them absolutely nothing. Ask them for their opinion. Bring in a picture for a visual reference (although I worked with a lot of stylists who loathed people who brought in photographs). Be honest with what YOU want. It's your hair, right?

Trust Your Gut
If you get the dread no-feeling when talking to the stylist or even once you step foot in the salon, don't be ashamed to politely leave. Booking a free consultation doesn't mean that you have put your hair in their hands. Trust your gut.

Accepting the Cold, Hard Truth
It's a bitter pill to swallow but you have to accept that the style you may want is honestly not suited to you and your hair. It's fabolous that you were concise with your description and you brought in a visual reference...however, this is their profession. A good hairstylist will tell you when a particular style will not be possible with your hair type or hair colour. A great stylist will suggest another cool 'do that is better suited to your hair type. Accept the cold, hard truth - you just may not get that hairstyle you really, really, really want.

Bling, Bling
During your consultation or while talking to the receptionist, get an estimation of how much this is all going to cost. A haircut is fairly simple, but add some colour and lowlights and it's starts to get pretty steep. With the rough cost in mind, you will know what to expect when you are leaving the salon and you can also shop around at other salons.

Pay Attention and Don't Be Cheap
Watch what your new stylist is doing while you are in the chair. Ask her to explain what she is doing with your hair. Pay attention to how much she is cutting, in case you don't want that short of a haircut. Ask them to show you what products and tools are being used in the styling process. The stylist is usually more than happy to explain and show you! If there is anything you hate, let them know without raising a stink. Ask for some stylist suggestions.

The moment you leave the salon, your hair will hopefully look amazing. And then you get home.

When you are trying to recreate this style, chances are it won't look the same. That's a good reason to watch what your new stylist is doing and ask her questions about styling. When leaving the salon, ask your stylist to show you what products they used. Salons carry a great variety of haircare products and tools. Don't be cheap either. If you want salon results, buy salon products. There is a huge difference when comparing them to the majority of drug-store brand products. It is okay to be cheap. Check eBay for auctions, for example. You can find almost any professional haircare product there.

Happy and Satisfied
If you are honestly satisfied with your new hairstyle, for cryin' out loud - leave a tip. Stylists work very hard, believe it or not. They don't just stand around and look pretty. They skip lunches, they deal with a lot of nasty people, and they usually remain charming even on their shittiest days. Oh, and don't just leave a dollar in coins either. That's really embarrassing for the receptionist to bring back to them and they are not going to enjoy seeing you in the future.

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