I'm writing today to share how to go about finding a new hairstylist without having your beautiful locks undergo "trial and errror" that leaves you terribly upset!!! This is the second time that my fashion friends have gotten into the Haircut from Hell Experience... So I'm feeling it's time to share how to do this & protect our style and beauty!
Image Source: Richard Gere in Runaway Bride, *This is SO NOT the hair I asked for...*
First of all, if you are suddenly finding yourself without a reliable trustworthy hairdresser, go in with Visual References. Use Google Images that effectively demonstrate the length, cut, texture, and color of the hair you're going for. I'm so bad at explaining the hairstyle that I want, that I search like 200-300 (sometimes over a thousand) hair images. I guess I'm research crazy like that! Good keywords to search for are "women's hairstyle" or "trendy hairstyles" or "hairstyles for 2016" etc. If you already know the cut you're going for, you can specify the lengths like "women's hairstyle long/medium/short" and add in other words like "curly/wavy/bang/bob/pixie/beach/prom/straight" and so on. To be absolutely clear, always have 2-3 images to pinpoint EXACTLY how you want your hair to look. eg. I'd go in with 2-3 photos of asymmetrical bob that are similar in lengths and styling. Since I'm not good with styling my hair, I usually throw in a third image that looks like a similar cut but styled different than the first two. I also take in 2-3 images to specify the color I want. If you're blonde, it's easier to do a variety of hair colors, but if you are naturally dark haired, then, some colors just may not work unless you bleach it.
Secondly, you need to know the skill level of your hairdresser. This can happen in 3 ways. a) You were recommended a stylist from someone you know, and the style they have is what you want. Do NOT go for a hairstyle that looks good on your friend but is NOT the look you're going for. Remember that each person has different a style vibe!
b) You looked at the hairdresser or hairstylist's portfolio either in person or online. See if the hairdresser is versatile and skillful with a variety of hairstyles, or specializes in a hairstyle that is more distinct. eg. I know some hair stylists who are more avant-garde, and others that are more conservative. Make sure that the stylist you're contacting is skillful and experienced at the style you want.
c) If you're going in without having been recommended or having checked out their portfolio, you MUST assess HOW THEY DRESS and HOW THEY STYLE THEIR OWN HAIR on the spot!!! This is SO CRUCIAL LADIES! Here are two stories that illustrate my point.
-- I once lucked out with a hairdresser who was really cute, and even though she was shorter than me in height, she dressed in a way that I liked. I was a sophomore or junior in university at the time, and I had asked her for a glamorous looking hairstyle. She looked at my overall attire and she asked me if this was how I dressed most of the time. I said yes. She looked at my shoes and told me that the hairstyle I wanted would not suit how I dress normally... She then asked me if I was good at using the hair styling tools. I told her no, I have two left hands when it comes to styling... She laughed gently, and she told me that the hairstyle I asked her to give me from the magazine was achieved with at least a medium to high level of using a curling iron or flat iron. We settled for a less glamorous but easy to style hair that suited me, and the questions she asked me that day really stayed with me. It was the first time that a hairstylist asked me a series of questions that really mattered to my personal style. Ever since that day, I have always told a new hairstylist upfront that I have really little hairstyling skills, and that narrowed down my options, and gave me a more realistic clarity of hairstyle direction!
-- The flip side of that experience happened a couple of years on. I was working at the time, and my previous hairstylist (above) was unavailable due to maternity leave! I had to find a new hairstylist, and just walked into a salon en route to another appointment. It was a well reputed salon, a familiar brand name, so I thought I was in good hands. A lady who looked really feminine, with wispy long hair and a romantic dress came to do my hair. I hadn't worked out the style I wanted, but I described to her the kind of hairstyle I wanted. She said OK, and went to work. Well. After she said it was all done, I was so bummed because after all the chopping away, my hair still didn't have the shape I wanted. The lady had been too scared to make distinct changes to my hair, but what I wanted was a distinct cut. She really didn't understand what I wanted. And she was the nervous type who just trimmed away a little and didn't create a more obvious shape! It was then that I noted how her own hairstyle, lacked any distinct shape. Her hair was so wispy and breezy, and lacked a distinct silhouette. I was so bitter that I had to pay her money for a haircut that led me nowhere. But I was short on time, so I couldn't ask for a redo that day.
So, as these two experiences relate, you MUST assess the overall "aesthetic bent" that your hairstylist has. Some hairstylists are more punk rock, and edgy. Some are more severe and sophisticated. Others are more girly, others more classic and so on. Unless they are super well trained by the masters, most hair designers tend to give you the kind of hairstyle they have on their own body. I guess there are hairstylists who might wear a certain style, but give you a different cut, but as a general rule of thumb, I have found that by and large, they tend to wear the same style that they are able to emulate on the client!!!
d) This is also a safety point ladies... When you go into a hairdresser for your Virgin Cut, or Virgin Color, PLEASE ONLY GET A TRIM or a ROOT TOUCH-UP.
This alone can save you the heartache, upset, anguish, and $$$. This is kind of like a test run or a "let's get to know each other" type of experience. Tell them that this is the first time coming to this salon, and that you would just like a trim. See how well they do this mini task. Listen to the questions they ask you. And see how well your hair grows out. The masterful hairdressers will give you two awkward hair days, but give you a haircut that grows into a beautiful shape for up to 6-8 weeks. I personally believe that this alone might be the LITMUST TEST to see if they're really pro or not. Other more novice hairstylists will give you a hair that looks nice that day, but the hair will lose its shape or silhouette once you wash your hair. If that's what you get, then you must find a different stylist, someone who is more competent. The next time you return to the "competent stylist" you can give them an intermediate task; go for either color or haircut. Don't ask for both. Or if you need better texture, just go for the hair repair. That way, you can evaluate their skill and return the third time to create that dream haircut you wanted. It will take three visits to get what you want, but you wouldn't have lost your locks, you will save yourself from weeks of terrible emotional upset, and you'll definitely protect your money from being wasted. And in most cases, the hairdresser will also give you good services to get you coming in for the next appointment, or that's how it works in Korea. :)
Aight ladies!! I hope this blog post serves you!!
And may you crown your personal style with the best hairstyle of your lifetime~~