Too Many Stylists in the Address Book: How to Search for and Find a New Stylist

Have you moved to a new town recently? Or are you looking for a more affordable salon to frequent? Or possibly your current salon just no longer fits your needs. Moving, cost and new hair needs are the top three reasons most women give for switching salons. Surprisingly many of us are willing to forego good customer service for an excellent end result, so long wait times and lack of professionalism usually do not rank high on driving women to another salon.

I personally have searched for new salon and stylists many times and never had it been an easy task. The internet and sites like Yelp and even Pinterest make it easier than ever to see stylists’ work firsthand and to view pricing information and reviews before visiting a salon. Even so, when compared to other businesses and professions such as restaurants, doctors and doctors’ offices and handyman, salons and stylists are behind the curve. Many smaller salons do not have websites and if they do they are relics from the early 2000s that are hard to navigate and an eyesore to look at. Another issue? For all of the talk that we as women do about salons, stylists and styles, the review sections for salons on sites like Yelp are lacking.

Some of the best ways to find a good salon or stylists are old school methods such as ‘word of mouth.’ Below are my suggestions on how to successfully find what you are looking for:

  1. If you see a style you like, ask who did it and where. Don’t be shy! If you are looking for a new stylist and see another woman out who has either a) the style you want or b) a hair style and texture similar to what you have, do not be afraid to compliment her and ask where she got it done. Also ask for the stylist’s name. Most people will find this flattering and will not mind sharing the information.
  2. Accept the fact that you may have to use multiple stylists. When I was in high school I had a stylist that knew how to twist, relax, color and give me the bomb updo for prom. Sometimes I wonder if it was all a dream. It wasn’t, she is still hard at work miles and miles away. But I’ve come to the realization that I will probably never have that again. I’ve accepted the fact that I have to go to different stylists for braiding and twisting needs and another for trims, color and blow outs. I really do not mind. This is not to say that you will not find both at the same salon. You can have multiple stylists at one salon.
  3. Leave your comfort zone. You may have to travel a few miles to find the stylist that will fit your needs. Don’t be afraid to go outside of the neighborhoods in which you live and work. You could also leave your comfort zone and give stylists who are not black a try. This frightens some black women so much, but give it a try, especially if you have naturally curly hair. There are many stylists of various ethnicities and races who have expertise in curly hair.
  4. Pay more. I know this is advice that no one wants, but the truth is nothing costs the same in 2014 as it did in 1990, so why should hair services be any exception? If you’ve been going to the family stylist for years, but she or her does not keep up with the latest styling trends, you may have to pay a little more. If you are able and willing, you probably won’t regret it.
  5. Do not overlook chains. If looking for more affordable services scout the mall to see what services are offered in chains such as Bubbles, Regis and Hair Cuttery. What you find may surprise you. I go to Bubbles for all of my trims and blow outs and the service is fast and results are always good. Don’t forget, many of those stylists at fancier salons got their starts at these places.

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