5 Questions to Ask Your Natural Hair Stylist

source: Indigofera

by Sherrell Dorsey of Organic Beauty Vixen

Transitioning from chemical or heat-styled hair to a mane full of kinks and curls can be a daunting journey. Especially when you are searching for the right professional to help you in the process. A friend of mine truly doesn’t even know her real hair texture as she has had a perm for the majority of her life! Folks like her can be challenged with style options and choices when it comes to styling their natural hair.

Before you jump into the hands of a “natural” hair stylist, be sure to do your due diligence and make sure your stylist has the credentials to really take care of your hair before showing you how to become re-acquainted with it.

Here are a few questions you should ask a potential stylist during an initial consultation:

  • How long have you been natural? - Don’t let your stylist fake the funk. While pressed and permed stylists can have the skills to play the natural hair frills, it’s always best to go with your own kind. What better stylist to have taking are of your hair but one that has been taking care of their natural hair for a few years? As a natural OBV, I know that this process is a journey with ups, downs, questions, experiments and a whole lot of confusion. A natural hair stylist that has gone through that journey can provide better answers, advice and solutions for you as you travel down this path.
  • Do you use natural and/or organic products? – What’s the point of going natural if you’re still going to lather your hair with chemicals and toxins? Your natural hair stylist should be up on the organic game with great product suggestions, in-depth product knowledge and a database of information related to some of the best brands of natural hair products for your hair texture. I’m a sucker for someone that knows their products. Your stylist is the person that will recommend the best shampoos, conditioners, oils, sheens, etc, for your hair so make sure that they appear to be well versed in this area.
  • Are you licensed? - While many natural hairstylist don’t have to be licensed, it’s always a relief to know if your stylist has gone through cosmetology school, has been trained in different hair textures and can do everything from color to heat-styled looks. They’ve made a conscious decision to turn to natural hair. Also, find out how committed they are to this field and ask if they continue to take courses on natural hair. A stylist that invests in learning new techniques and trends is a great one to stick with!
  • Can I see your portfolio? – Can they really do some hair? I can throw in some cornrows and put a flower on an afro in a minute, but that doesn’t make me talented. Check out your stylists’ portfolio to see their style, creativity and innovation. Even if you are simple with your look, it’s always great to know that you have someone on your team that can develop a great image with your hair and give you new, sexy or chic looks without hesitation.
  • How many returning clients do you have? - This question is really the ringer. They’re natural. Check. They use natural products. Check. They are licensed. Check. They can create some slammin’ looks. Check. The interrogation process is coming to a close but the most important question out of all of these is how many satisfied clients do they have? Are they difficult to work with? Do they constantly double book? Are they always late? Are they unprofessional? Your hairstylist is almost your new spouse. You want to make sure you are creating a healthy relationship that helps you to become a better you. Beware of potential fatal attractions. If you can, speak with some of their clients for the dish on what it’s like to work with them. After all, you are spending your hard earned money. Don’t throw it away with someone you may not be able to trust!

For a list of natural hair salons in your area, check out our directory here.

Do you have a fabulous natural hair stylist that has helped you take care of your natural hair like none other? Please share your experience on how the relationship began!


Sherrell Dorsey is a natural beauty expert, writer, speaker and advocate of health, wellness and sustainability in communities of color. In addition to creating OrganicBeautyVixen.com, Sherrell writes beauty articles for Tyra Banks's beauty and fashion site TypeF.com, Jones Magazine, MySalonScoop.com and Posh Beauty. Follow Sherrell on twitter at www.twitter.com/organicvixen and connect with her on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/OBVMedia.

16 Weigh in!:
Kaybee said...

I live in Saint Louis and I go to Beauty By Design to get my hair done. I found out about the salon at a local natural hair forum. I can honestly say my stylist loves what she does and she is gentle and patient with my hair. I have been doing comb coils for the past 3 months and my hair is growing. If she didn't know what she was doing my hair would not be flourishing. Check her out:http://www.wix.com/btanisha05/beauty-by-design

Shones said...

I reside in the Raleigh area. I found Krika of Sophia Sunflower Salon (https://sophiasunflower.com/Home_Page.php) simply by doing an Internet search for natural hair salons. She's also the creator of the MyHoneyChild line of products. Krika is professional and thoughtful in her approach to natural hair. It's been a while since my last visit, because I've been trying to do more self-maintenance this year, but I recommend her.

CURLYNIKKI said...

I second Krika!

Zhara said...

I agree with every aspect of question #2 hands down!!!!

The amount of synthetic junk in our beauty products is criminal. Alot of people dont know that our largest detoxifying organ ( our skin ) absorbs these deadly chemicals from the skin directly into our blood stream.
Anything absorbed through the skin may be as high as 10 times the concentration of oral ingestion, i.e chemicals & perservatives in food.

Some chemicals are absorbed even 100 times. (Think about how nicotine and birth control/hormone patches work—the chemicals are absorbed through the skin!)

Carcinogens in skin care products pose greater risk than food contaminated with carcinogens!!!!

Chemicals taken orally through food and prescription medications are absorbed by the intestines and pass into venous blood, which is taken to the liver, where these chemicals are detoxified to varying degrees by enzymes before they reach the rest of the body.

Carcinogens absorbed through the skin bypass the liver and enter blood circulation and body organs without this protection!!

Ladies dont sacrifice your health for beauty!!!!

always4evamoi said...

@zhara: thank you so much for that. by reading your comment, you have reinforced my determination to finding natural/organic products. it hasn't been easy, but im keeping on. thank you.

Anonymous said...

This is right on time!! Thank You for the great articles

Anonymous said...

I live in Maryland and BC'd in September 2010 after transitioning for 12mos. Not long after I checked out a Natural Hairstylist about 45mins away. The shampoo and conditioning experience was nice, but I wasn't completely sold on her trimming techniques particularly the use of a tiny rat tail comb to detangle my very wavy/curly hair. About 4wks after, I started to notice splits not on my ends, but higher on various strands. Not one to use any heat on my hair to date, but wanting to make sure it was consistent with the trim, I followed up again about 4mos later for a second trim. 4wks later, again splits. Finally, one of my friends told me about a salon much closer to where we all live and mentioned she was very impressed with one stylist in particular. So, when it was time for my next trim, I scheduled an appt there. The salon is More Hair Salon and the stylist is Jenny M. (My apologies - her last name is long and hyphenated and I don't like to misspell names). Upon my arrival, she gave me some paperwork to complete which covered my information about me including hair goals, type, routine, concerns etc. She then sat down with me and reviewed each part in detail. She also assessed my hair through and through to locate any breakage, assess my scalp, etc. As she shampooed my hair we talked products and ingredients. I was scheduled for a "hair shaping" which is also a "trim" and was thoroughly impressed with her technique, precision and care. She took her time and though there was little conversation during my hair shaping, I did not notice that 45mins had passed as she finished. FANTASTIC! I have not noticed any splits and have referred my sister and others to her. I consider her my go to from now on and am so happy I was referred to her. She finished with a natural leave-in conditioner which can also be used as a moisturizer/sealant. She is also a very talented stylist having done my sister's hair multiple times. If you're in the area, check her out. They also have a website - www.morehairstudio.com.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know of any good natural hair specialists in the Charlotte, NC area? I've been searching, many do natural hair, but don't specialize in it.

Jamila Reddy said...

LocStar Salon on Central Avenue is a pretty good natural hair salon in Charlotte, NC. They're kind of pricey (and they use and Miss Jessie's products--side eye), but all of the stylists in there have the MOST gorgeous natural hair, and every time I've been, everyone in there gettng their hair done looks fabulous!

~Flower Head~ said...

1) Natural products are not "necessary". In fact, natural products can cause the same ill effect depending on the individual.

2) Synthetic product are not "toxic" and actually HELP those with overly porous hair if correct product placement is done. There is a "point".

3) Your stylist does not have to look like you.
I have natural hair and I can do different types VERY well.

This post just perpetuates myths. That's why I created my blog to rebuttle them and talk about these outrageous claims that actually hindered my hair growth.

FlowerHead
http://texturedcaring.blogspot.com/

Naomi said...

I will have to second what Flower Head has said.

I'm natural and I use products with chemicals. I don't see how that makes me any less natural than someone who doesn't. If that is true, then we shouldn't be flat ironing, or anything that "effects" our natural pattern. Or eat processed food. It just seems very militant.

It's just hair. People should have the right to care for it as they wish. Whether it be them making their own products, or buying them.

Too said...

Awesome, my beautician definitely passes this article's test! I live in Kissimmee florida. A bit after I moved into the area I found Jill through a friend who herself was a natural hair diva. On that recommendation alone I had to try it. I was a transitioner, completely frustrated with my hair and results, and needed a professional. Jill was great. When my husband and I went to make the appointment we noticed her georgous hair. I left inspired, and my husband left affirmed that I could look great natural (my hair was looking really rough at the time, lol) During my visit I loved that Jill understood I was a newbie, and she began showing me how to take care of my hair between visits. She has guided me along my journey (still in process :-), given me sound advise, and fabulous styles! I am now about 1 year 100% natural, with hair longer than I thought possible, confidence in doing my own hair inbetween, and loving my natural look! I give a totally unsolicited thumbs up to Jill's Natural! (407-931-1176)

Anonymous said...

Agreed that this article is full of myths/personal opinions as opposed to truths.

Anonymous said...

anyone know of a stylist in la calif i need a trim

newlynatural26 aka laurie said...

If anyone one knows of a good stylist in the northern NJ section, i'm all ears.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know of a stylist in Nashville,TN??

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