I recently moved to a new salon without knowing what would happen with the clients I had at my previous salon. I obviously cherish each and every one of my guests and would love to continue seeing all of them, but I wasn’t sure if they would feel the same way. It feels like dating again after a long relationship… I just hoped the clients I’d come to really enjoy spending time with would call me.
And they did! With some really amazing compliments to boot. One client told me that I’m one of the two people (the other being her gynecologist) that are completely irreplaceable in her life. Another of my beautiful clients told me that I gave her by far the best haircut she’d ever had and she needed to keep seeing me. And another guest told me she couldn’t imagine seeing anyone else for her blowouts… that she’d already found the best. All of these women I’ve known less than a year.
But that’s the power of a relationship between a hairdresser and a client. Let me rephrase, the relationship between an attentive and grateful hairdresser and her client. Yes, a great highlight and haircut are a large part of it, but it can go way beyond that if you find the right hairdresser for you. And I want everyone who sees a professional for their hair care needs to be able to have that. To help with this, I’ve created my list of how to find the perfect hairdresser for you! And if you end up with any questions along the way, feel free to share in the comments or contact me and I would love to help you out.
1. Know Your Budget & Time Limit
Before you find the right hairdresser, you have to know what demographic to look in. Your options will look much different if you can spend $300 on a haircut as opposed to $30. Or if you can only commit 20 minutes to a haircut as opposed to an hour. It’s also a consideration whether you want to come back every 6-12 weeks (as most hairdressers recommend) or whether you’re more of a once a year kind of gal. This can impact your budget quite a bit throughout the year. Once you have an idea of what you can do (i.e. spending up to $50 on a haircut every two months), then you can begin the search. But I would advise you to absolutely know these numbers before you even start to Google. The worst thing you can do is skip this step, breeze through the next three, and book a haircut with someone after a successful consultation only to realize that she’s out of your budget. Really spend the time to figure this out.
2. Ask Around
The best way to find a hairdresser is to ask for one. Ask your friends who have great color, co workers who get their hair blown out regularly and anyone on the street who has amazing hair. Great hair speaks for itself and if you compliment someone on their hair and they promptly pull their hairdresser’s business cards out and rave about her customer service, you have a solid lead.
If you can’t find anyone to refer you in the right direction, check out the local beauty blogs in your area. I’ve coordinated and taken part in about five pieces in which a beauty or fashion blogger will come in for a service with a hairdresser and review the salon and service unbiased. They’ll capture the good, the bad and everything in between to give you the scoop on what the real story is. You can even contact the author if you have further questions on the salon or service.
3. Read the Reviews
Reviews are so incredible for giving you a glimpse into a salon’s culture, pricing, skill level and professionalism all before you step inside the door! How amazing is that? Unfortunately, reviews can get out of hand and bring out the worst in either the customer or the business owner. But positive or negative, I’ve found they tend to give you a pretty unbiased view of what you are stepping into.
My opinion is that a good salon has mostly good reviews. There can be a few bad ones sprinkled in because let’s face it, every salon has a couple kinks. What really matters is what the bad ones say and how the owner approaches replying to the review. If a bad review speaks about a specific technician not being as skilled, that can be okay. That technician could not be there anymore or could have been trained since the review. When I was managing, I received a few bad reviews regarding newer stylists I’d hired and their skill level not being up to par. So, I spent time training them and teaching them some key skills (blowdrying bangs, smoothing out curly hair) and within a couple months, those stylists were getting requests and being told their blowouts were amazing. Problem solved!
But if a review speaks negatively about the salon regarding pretty crucial items, it’s probably a red flag. Examples would be if someone was hurt during a service, if a service went terribly wrong and management did nothing about it, if the salon was unclean or unsanitary, or if the salon was very unprofessional. Those things typically aren’t a fluke and are usually a problem from the owners down, meaning they probably won’t change.
And probably the biggest red flag would be how the owner responds to any reviews, good or bad. If they are helpful, attentive and want to find a solution, this could be redeeming depending on the content of the review. They could have recently changed management or had a special circumstance that has since been fixed and a kind response from new management can help to turn that around. However, if they are defensive, threatening and feel bullying, run. I would advise you to not take a chance on it and move on to a new salon.
4. Schedule a Consultation
Any hairdresser that demonstrates exceptional customer service and dedication to her client’s happiness will have no problem booking a consultation with you before a service would take place. It’s a really good sign when a hairdresser you’ve never met before is willing to volunteer some free time in an effort to make you more comfortable and give you dedicated time to ask pointed questions. That shows you she’s serious about your business and most importantly, she’s serious about your happiness.
But there are certain rules to follow. Try to book the appointment on a slower day since she will likely be fitting in this consultation between paying customers. You might become a paying customer, but you also might not. So be sensitive to that fact and try not to request a prime appointment slot if possible (think Tuesday at 3pm as opposed to Saturday at noon). It’s also customary that you come well prepared if you do have specific questions. Find photos, write down questions you’d like to ask and if possible, look up some of the hairdresser’s work online to compare and evaluate. And if you really are unsure what you want to do, that’s fine, too. Just be prepared enough that you at least know what hair care services you are interested in (cuts, colors, keratin treatments) and what you are looking for in a hairdresser (years of experience, specializations, customer service level). You can check out my haircut terminology guide to be prepared with some key terms. But remember, this appointment is mostly to feel her out as a hairdresser, check out her listening skills, figure out what the vibe of the salon is and see if it all feels right.
Above anything else, listen to your gut. If you aren’t feeling it, don’t be afraid to move on and keep looking. Remember that a good hairdresser can last you a lifetime and you can’t rush finding her. But if you feel completely comfortable and know that through the consultation, this hairdresser has listened to your needs and formulated a plan, then go ahead and book your service. And give yourself a huge pat on the back because you’ve found her!
Image via ShutterStock