6 Tips on Selecting a Stylist for Your Natural Hair


by Tammy Goodson of CurlyChics

We are all familiar with the old saying, "good help is hard to find". Finding a good stylist is no exception to this mantra, especially when you are dealing with natural hair. It takes an understanding, supportive, patient, and knowledgeable stylist to keep you and your natural fly and healthy! Once you've found this special person, you want to hold onto them. Not only is the stylist important but the salon facility itself.

1. Salon Environment
What is the overall mood of the salon? I want the salon to be an oasis. It should be inviting, warm, friendly, professional and of course, clean. I am not a fan of your boy, Lenny coming in with a full stock of jewelry, fish dinners and DVDs inside his coat. Don't forget the pound cake for desert he has stashed in his trunk. Don't get me wrong - never knock the hustle, however, there is a time and place for everything and FOR ME, I do not want to shop and eat while I am getting my hair done.

2. A Stylist Who Knows Her (or his) Stuff
I want my stylist to be a subject matter expert on hair. Is he or she familiar with your hair type? Does he or she recognize when your hair needs a trim or deep conditioning? He or she may not know everything or be a master in all areas, however, they should be striving to improve. There should be a comfort level with textured hair as well. If they do not know the answers to all of my questions, provide me with another resource. A professional does their homework.

3. Not a "Yes Man"
I want to be able to trust my stylist to do what is best for my hair, even if I don't think its best. Just because I ask for purple hair, doesn't mean the stylist should comply. I understand the concept of the customer always being right, however, if your stylist provides you with useful information and educates you about your hair, you are more likely to trust them when they tell you “no” and explain the reasons why.

4. Time Management
If you are like me, your time is limited. I am spread pretty thin with 2 children, a full time job and a home to maintain. When I make a 4:30 pm appointment at the salon, I would like to be serviced no later than 4:45, 5:00 at the latest. Some stylists will book 4 people in one 4:30 time slot. In my opinion, this is asking for trouble. Unless you have an assistant and are able to work it out, it is setting yourself up for failure. I understand that things happen which can throw off the schedule, but if this is something that happens consistently, this is not the salon for me.

5. Product Selection
What if you don't like the products your stylist uses, but you like the way he or she does your hair? Is the stylist willing to allow you to bring in your own products? Some salons are "Concept Salons" and therefore, the stylists are only permitted to use certain products. If you are particular about what products you use in your hair, for example, you don’t use sulfate shampoos, this may be a deal breaker for you.

6. Personal Reference
Word of mouth is so powerful! When you see someone’s hair you admire, ask them who does their hair. This is the perfect opportunity to find out all of the things I mention above. This person will already know the ins and outs of the salon and can share their experiences with you.
*Also consider a consultation with the stylist. This way you see them in action.

Sharing hairstories and life experiences from a curl’s perspective. Find Tammy at her blog, Curlychics, on Twitter, and Facebook.

8 Weigh in!:
Anonymous said...

Great suggestions!
I would also recommend asking for a consultation with any stylist you are considering. That way, you can get an idea (in person) about the stylist's philosohpy on hair care. They, in turn, will get a chance to look at your hair and determine best ways to care for it.
When I was searching for a salon who cares for curly hair, I called around and the salon I ended up going to offered a free consultation with the owner- after I expressed my concerns and questions to the receptionist. The owner(stylist) was totally awesome. He looked at my hair, touched it, listened to my concerns, answered my questions, told me about his techniques, told me how long he would need to care for my hair and was patient.

Annie L. said...

"I am not a fan of your boy, Lenny coming in with a full stock of jewelry, fish dinners and DVDs inside his coat"

:))))

Even with all 6 suggestions and Anonymous 1:12's, I've still had a ROUGH time with salons over the years, they're just one of those strange experiences that, despite all the pins lining up, can go really, really bad....

Anonymous said...

Annie
Totally agree. It IS like playing craps. Never really know what hand you will be thrown. Unfortunately, for a natural, a bad stylist can set you back for a looooong time.

Anonymous said...

These are good tips. I went to a stylist for a long time who had really bad time management. I use to get my hair relaxed, and lucky for her I didn't know much relaxing hair so I thought being there as long as I was, was normal. It wasn't until I schedule just a hair cut I realized how bad she was.


My question would be, how do you know if a stylist is telling you the truth or not? I went to one and she was like "Oh yeah I can do it." Turns out she couldn't.

Like the person said before a bad stylist can set you back for a long time.

Tammy - Curly Chic said...

Thanks ladies for commenting!The consultation tip is listed at the end of #6 as a bonus suggestion. You are right, there is no 100% proof that your stylist will be great, but hopefully these will provide some type of filter. :)It would be great to be a fly on the wall.

fabwtalk said...

These are great tips and I would love to find a stylist that I can go to maybe 1x a month so I can get a break from doing my own hair. With a busy schedule it can get crazy. Although this is the case it is hard to find a good stylist. I remember going to one years ago, he is well known and very popular in NYC and I was in the process of transitioning and he convinced me to go back to a relaxer. His shop treated natural and relaxed heads. Since then I haven't been back to a hair salon. Although I wouldn't let anyone change my mind now as I love my curls and I've gained so much length and confidence, it is just annoying when they try to change your mind. Maybe I just need to get back out there and give it another try, we'll see.

Jason said...

Thanks for the great tips! As the Owner of the only Naturally Curly Salon in Colorado,(More Than Curly Salon) your tips are what we strive for every day. I am posting your blog on our facebook page, and forwarding it to out Salon Team! Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Great post. I really needed this because I really want to start seeing a stylist regularly. But truth be told I am scared out of my mind. Between people who simply want to hack all your hair off and those who simply don't know what to do with it, leaves me mortified. At least this helps.

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