Not all stylists are created equal. Most of us know this and tend to search around until we find someone that we’re comfortable with – and who knows how to handle our hair!
But you don’t have to go through a bunch of different stylists (or horrible hairstyles) in order to find that glass slipper. You just need to know the right things to ask before you go through with the new do.
Here are seven questions that will tell you whether or not a stylist is right for you.
1. “You know how to work with Black hair, right?” Most of you probably think that this is a given – at least I hope so – but it’s important to mention because there are some amazingly talented stylists out there who just don’t know what to do when faced with a Black person’s hair. Before asking any other questions, make sure they’re comfortable dealing with your hair type and have done it many times before.
2. “Does this style work for me?” A good stylist will know that this question really implies several things. Depending on what the style includes (a specific color or length, for instance), you need to know if it will work with your hair texture, skin tone, and face shape, as well as your typical hair routine. They should not only be able to answer these questions, but also suggest ways to alter the style to make it work better for you.
3. “What shampoo and conditioner do you recommend?” Stylists tend to have brands that they prefer, but you want to make sure that they’re really offering you what’s best for your hair, not just something that they earn a percentage on. In general, you want to avoid products with petrochemicals, phthalates and parabens, as well as moisture-stripping detergents like sodium laurel (or laureth) sulfate.
4. “How can I maintain this style at home?” Yes, it’s great and all that your hair will look good when you leave the salon, but what about a week from now? The best stylists can give you tips and tricks that will help you to keep – or at least recreate – the look until the next time you come in. Be sure to ask what tools they would use and if there are any shortcuts for those days when you just can’t spend hours on your hair.
5. “What about products?” Along with the last question, you need to know what kinds of products are out there that will work with the style. Get names, costs, how much you should use, and how and when you should use them (when your hair is wet, or when it is dry). If your hair stylist knows what they’re doing and has worked with this style before, this should be a fairly simple question for them.
6. “How long will the style last?” This is an especially important question if you’ve already gotten your hair styled this way before, because you’re looking for that perfect balance of quality and quantity. Plus, if they tell you it’s good for a year – or a week! – you know right away that something is up and you probably want to move on.
7.”When should I come in for my next cut?” Just like the last question, you’re looking for quality, quantity, and honesty. Good stylists should be able to give you an answer that seems reasonable, and it shouldn’t take them more than a few seconds to size you up and decide.