The best hair journeys begin with finding a hairdresser that’s right for you. Whether you’ve been bouncing around stylists or have just moved to a new town, the struggle to find a stylist you can build a relationship with is real, right? Unfortunately, it’s not always easy, and even by following my advice it still does require some trial and error, but hopefully I can help reduce the level of error involved, and show you how to find a hairdresser for you.
Where to begin
So, the best place to start is with a good old-fashioned Google search, from here you can start whittling down your local options and see reviews. Google’s algorithms will throw up results by relevance, meaning you will see the pages in which the keyword you have searched for features the most, because of this it’s best to do some different keyword searches e.g. ‘hair salon’ and ‘hairdresser’. This will give you some varying results and you can jot down the top few that pique your interest from each search.
Next you’ll need to narrow down your results by working out your priorities – do you want a salon that uses a specific brand of product, or is cruelty free for example? You will most likely find this information by visiting the salon’s website, while there you can compare pricing and find links to social media (more on these later). For now let’s discuss what you should and shouldn’t do while you’re trying to find a hairdresser.
DO book a consultation.
This is something you should never pay for, it’s a complimentary visit that should take between 15-30 minutes and is a great way to meet a stylist and get a general feel of the salon. Given that it is a short appointment time, please arrive on time!
During this visit I would recommend having any photos of what you are looking to have done, be it images you have taken from the internet or photos of your hair 6 weeks ago when it was on point, images are extremely valuable when communicating to your hairdresser. I also recommend taking pictures of things you don’t like – again it may be images from the internet or images of a previous hair disaster. As a hairdresser being told what you don’t like is incredibly useful in helping create the perfect image and style for you. You should also expect to have a skin test if you are planning on booking for colour – this take a few minutes and the whole process should be explained to you in full.
You should expect to be treated as if you were visiting the salon for your paid appointment, so if you are not happy with the level of service you receive do not shrug this off – the whole point of this process is for you to decide if this is the salon and stylist for you. If it doesn’t meet your expectations you should not accept this as your fate, remember you are trying to find the perfect hairdresser, not just the most convenient.
DO be patient.
A good hairdresser is a busy hairdresser! A complimentary consultation should be available relatively quickly as it can be done in between appointments or colour services. Please understand weekends and evenings are peak times for hair salons, so if you are going to need an appointment for one of these, it may be worth enquiring about the stylists waiting list when booking your consultation. As a result of this, be prepared to book an appointment in advance! I understand this does not necessarily suit everyone’s needs – as a stylist in London I know how busy people’s lives are, but I now have the most disorganised and last-minute people re booking (often two appointments ahead!). Once you ultimately find a hairdresser that you love, you won’t mind waiting or booking ahead.
DON’T be put off by price.
In the wise words of Sailor Jerry, “good work ain’t cheap, and cheap work ain’t good.”
The most common question I am asked when someone is enquiring about the cost is why are there different prices for different stylists? There are usually a set of positions to coincide with these pricing structures, so let me let you in on the secret here. Those names ‘Stylist’, ‘Senior Stylist’, ‘Salon Director’ etc. are all very much made up, they vary from salon to salon and are put in place to make the individual stylist feel good about their position in the salon while showing the hierarchy to you the client. But why is the Stylist £30 cheaper than the Salon Director? The easiest way to explain this is that hairdressers are given promotions to work their way up the ladder based on their reputation, experience, and demand. So, a Salon Director has more of a reputation in the salon and industry as being a good hairdresser, they have more years’ experience and are in higher demand for appointments.
The temptation if you have found an outstanding salon in to go with the cheapest stylist as a good salon wouldn’t employ a terrible hairdresser and that’s a valid point. My recommendation here is to enquire as to what stylist specialises in the particular style you are looking to have done, and be specific when it comes to both the cut and colour.
DO remember who you’ve been booked in with.
Most salons have a receptionist, and some are instructed to essentially book to make as much money for the salon as possible, without regard for how the stylist is going to manage to maintain a decent level of customer care. This means that you may just be booked in with the most expensive available stylist regardless of having asked for the person who specialises in what you want.
They can also move your appointment to a different stylist if it means they can book something more profitable in your slot. This sounds as disgusting and ludicrous as it is, but unfortunately, I have seen it happen and have worked in a salon where I have had it done to myself as a stylist. It may not always be the case, but it is a word of warning, after all that’s why I’m writing this blog – to give you an insider insight! So, if you are told you were booked in with a particular stylist and suddenly come your consultation you are seeing someone else – you can either stand your ground and insist, or see that as a major red flag and walk away.
DO stalk your stylist on social media.
All negativity aside, this may not be the case and you may be recommended to the perfect stylist and go on to lead a life of joyous hair – I just want to let you in on the behind the scenes of a salon to help you make the most informed choices. The next and final step now you have your consultation booked and know the name of the salon and stylist you will be visiting, is to begin a good old-fashioned social media stalk.
A hairdresser’s job is to help make you feel like the best version of yourself, and everyone has different requirements for this. Don’t be shy when you meet them, don’t be afraid to tell them what you want, but mostly just be yourself and allow your stylists to create something that will compliment you.
Good luck, I wish you many happy hair days once you’ve had success finding a hairdresser, and I will be elaborating on some of these points in further posts, but if you’ve any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch via social media.
The Hair Bones blog.