What a Good Hair Stylist should do for You
At the first Natural Hair UG meet-up a few weeks ago, I listened to one or two horror stories about salon experiences from the natural-haired ladies, and exchanged some of my own. I once wanted a simple blow-out to wear that evening, and I popped into the first decent-looking salon I could find… only to leave with a headache, some unshed tears and a good deal of my hair on their floor.
You go to a hairdresser who claims they do natural hair, only to find out the hard way that they may have exaggerated their skills. Now, many naturalistas prefer to DIY their hair care and styling, which is a great thing, but sometimes we just don’t have the time or energy for wash day, or we may want a more formal hairstyle.
These conversations got me thinking, how would my ideal hair stylist treat my locks? If you haven’t yet found a good hair stylist, here are five tips to look out for when you’re searching for an amazing professional to care for your natural hair.
What kind of products does he/she use? There are two culprits here: the ones that cut costs by using the cheapest products they can find (Chinese egg shampoo out of a massive jerrycan, anyone?) and the ones who assure you that this new conditioner is magic, but it will cost you 100k per use.
Avoid these ones! Don’t be afraid to ask what is in the shampoo or moisturizer they use (yes, familiarize yourself with good ingredients versus the bad). If something is working, stick to it. Buy yourself a bottle of it, and carry it to the salon with you.
A stylist’s technique will tell you how dedicated they are to learning their craft. Do they comb your hair from the roots upwards…with a tiny little comb (gasp!)? Do they roughly wash your scalp with their fingernails? Do they rinse out conditioner with cool water?
How high do they set the hairdryer temperature? Do they use a good heat protectant when blow-drying? These mistakes are often overlooked, but together and over time, can lead to serious breakage and thinning of your hair.
The best hairdressers are the ones who encourage you to take care of your hair on your own. Let’s face it: it’s YOUR hair. Only you can care for it 100%. The hair dresser’s role should be styling, braiding, and the occasional trim or cut. If he/she creates a dependency on their services, they aren’t helping you.
Where did you hear about this salon? Have you seen pictures from their previous clients? Don’t just bandwagon. Don’t assume that, because a salon is on the rooftop of the newest poshest mall, they know what they are doing. Ask around so you can get the best services for your hard-earned money.
Speaking of money, no one wants to blow theirs in a salon where they don’t feel welcomed. If the hairdresser acted like they were doing you a favour, why go back? A stylist will be patient, take time to listen to you, and analyse your hair to gauge its needs.
They will be willing to learn when you offer to show your technique. They will not snap when you ask questions about products and maintenance. Of course, stylists are human beings and we all have off-days, so try to book appointments on slower days to get their full attention.