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Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Salon and Stylist: The Right Fit

Living in a country where there is a salon/barber shop on every corner, it can become intimidating when it comes to hair needs.  Each person is different in expectation and desired results when it comes down to it.  Whether you are someone who is looking for a color artist, someone that knows how to cut and style short haircuts, or just someone to trim your flowing locks, it is most important for you to find someone who you are comfortable with when receiving a service.

As a stylist, I know each person or potential client varies in their needs when it comes to their hair.  Some look based off price, others off of building a personal bond with their stylist and some based off the quality of the service itself.  It is most important no matter what your needs are to find a stylist that is able to listen and support your needs all a while exceeding your expectations for your service.  Picking a salon that you feel comfortable in is just as important as finding the right stylist to fulfill your needs.  Each time you may try some place new where you go to a new stylist.  Every time you try a new stylist, you place your trust into someone that you may or may not get the result you desire, and a feeling of disappointment may arise.  To eliminate this disappointment, here are a few helpful tips to help you decide which is the proper salon setting for you and finding the right stylist.

Do your research.
If you need a plummer and you need someone to fix your broken pipe, what do you do?  My first go-to is to ask someone or look on the internet.  Facebook too can be a helpful and quick way to get an answer from friends.  If you are looking into finding a new salon in your area or a new stylist, ask around!  I have found this is the best way to get the most candid and honest responses.  Don't just take people's word for it, but it is a great place to start.  You can look at salon reviews almost anywhere online.  If you are on the fence about one, step in and take a look.  You will know from the first impression whether that is a salon you can see yourself patronizing.

"I like the salon feel, but not so sure about the stylists...."
Sometimes when exploring the salon scene, you might really like the feel of the salon, then you look at the stylists and it totally blows your impression.  The feel is fresh and clean.  It's a little edgy, but you can deal with it.  Then, a stylist walks up to you that is tatted up, piercings up and down their ears and mid-drift showing.  You might be saying, 'this is totally not me'.  If that is the case and you don't feel comfortable then that salon is probably not for you.  Odds are the salon culture to which I described above are targeting trendy hipster type Millennial generations to which desire to be on the edge of cultural hair trends.  Not every salon is like this but that is why it is so important to walk-in and check-it out for yourself as you are the only one who will know if the salon is right or wrong for you.

Quick Cut Shop, Salon, or Day Spa?  Where do I start?
First, define your needs.  If you want someone who can cut your hair quickly, a 'quick cut shop'--like Great Clips might be a great place for you to start.  Their stylists are efficient and have had training the way their company teaches them.  They are quick, efficient, in and out sort of service.  You won't have the perks of getting your hair washed, but you will be guaranteed a quick service.

If you want a little more than the just the quick cut, maybe try a place like a Famous Hair, SmartStyle (Walmart), or a Fantastic Sam's type salon.  These type of salons perform basic services like shampoo, cut, color and other chemical services to which you will not see at the quick cut shops.  They have a little more value added services.  These are corporate type salons to which price and services might have limitations.  This would be something to look into if you are interested in something a little more than just a cut.

Another salon you might consider is the independent salon, if you are someone who wants a little more individualize attention.  This salon is one with usually a single owner and local to the area you are living.  These are where you are going to see a little more variety in pricing and demographics.  Since they all vary, I would say you might search a little bit about each salon and check if price and services are what you are desiring.  They are more individualized.  These salons might be a little bit pricier than your basic salons, but they offer a lot more and will be more specialized if you are looking for something specific--for example a specific trendy cut or achieving a color that is unique.  Maybe you like a specific brand such as Redken or Paul Mitchell products, so you want to find a salon that is devoted to the brand.  Finding a salon in the independent realm might be your best bet, if that is important to you.

Maybe you are looking at going to one place for all your needs: facial, massage, hair and style.  The Day Spa setting is definitely the place to start.  These type of salons offer everything.  They usually have a wide variety of products and services ranging from hair, nails, and complete body wellness.  This all being said, they are usually higher end and attract higher end clientele.  Their prices will be higher going into it, but the service being rendered should go above and beyond your expectations.  Read the reviews before spending the money.

"...She just didn't listen to me....and now my hair is all wrong..." 
I feel like we all have been there.  There are so many times where we tell a stylist one thing and they do something completely opposite.  The result can be either positive or negative.  One way to avoid this is to visit a salon and ask for a consultation with one of their stylists.  If you go to one that is reputable and has a staff member at the front desk to which is friendly and able to ask you what your needs are, they will guide you to a stylist who may be your best fit.  A consultation costs nothing but a few minutes of your time.  As a stylist, I would rather you come in and spend 15 minutes to talk to me about what your needs are before you get a service done and dislike it.  You can tell whether you have a connection with a person in the first few minutes of conversation and if you don't click, cannot guarantee they can achieve what you are looking for or doesn't give you the time of day--try somewhere new.

Finding the right salon and stylist for you is so important.  Don't settle for just an OK salon experience.  You deserve a stylist that is attentive to your hair needs as much as they are at keeping you a happy customer.  You deserve to have a salon that fits your comfort level and one that will keep you wanting to come back.

If you aren't satisfied, talk to your current stylist about your needs.  If you are not satisfied with their response, then it might be time to find a new stylist.  I would encourage you to explore what is out there.  I can guarantee if you aren't happy with your current stylist or salon situation, there are many very qualified stylists in the salon setting you desire that would love to see a new client.  You would be surprised at how much better your salon experience is when you feel comfortable in the environment and are reassured you have a stylist that truly puts you first. The right fit makes all the difference in the world!

--Catie Manning

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