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.