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How to find a board certified hair colorist

Hair Colorist

How do you assure the hair colorist you choose is knowledgeable, competent or . . . qualified?

Any licensed barber or beautician can legally color your hair. Cosmetologists and Barbers are tested on basic aspects of hair coloring in board exams. But, I can tell you first hand, there is much more to learn in becoming an accomplished board certified hair colorist than just becoming licensed to use hair color on the public.

Additional education is needed to become a board certified hair colorist. Unfortunately, to the demise of our profession, some learn by trial and error, or strictly by experience. Has your hair colorist chosen to extend education in the profession of hair coloring?

If you have been unable to find a good hair colorist by referral, here is one way you can assure yourself the hair colorist you chose has reached a higher level of competency and knows this complex subject matter.

The American Board of Certified Hair Colorists, has created a program with a stringent test mechanism, created by a committee of fellow licensed hair colorists professionals. The test has been developed and refined over the past 5 years to establish in the profession, a greater level of ability.

Adjustments have been made to balance the degree of difficulty of the exam, as the first year, 50% of the students failed the examination. (Only licensed barbers and beauticians can take this course. That may tell you how much the average licensed professional, is lacking, in the way of hair coloring knowledge.)

Clearly, there are various levels of ability in hair colorists. There is always more to learn about this subject. A recognized “Board Certified Hair Colorist” is an easy way for the consumer to recognize a hair colorist that has achieved a higher level of capability in hair coloring.

So how do you find these Board Certified Hair Colorists?

Currently, you can find board certified hair colorists listed in ads that run in hairstyle magazines. You can call 888-425-6578 or just go to their trade association website and follow the link for finding a hair colorist in your area.

I know there are good, competent, hair colorists out there who are NOT Board Certified and that have gone the extra mile to get the training necessary to be superior hair colorists. But, I talk to a lot of consumers who have problems finding competent people. This is just an excellent resource for the consumer to be able to select those hair colorists, in their area, that have clearly reached a greater level of excellence.

The website has a practice exam online for professionals. I suggest any of you licensed professionals, who question if you could get any benefit in taking this course, to go there and take it. Go to, FAQ’s, Review Study Material, Practice Exam.

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How to Find the Best Hairdresser

Hair Colorist

Insider Secrets on How to Find the Best Hairdresser

Hair matters, so finding the best hairdresser is high on many of our readers’ priority list. We thought Christopher Hopkins of Minneapolis, Mn. Also known as ‘The Makeover Guy,’ recently shared  some  good tips on how to find your best hairdresser. Here’s what he had to say.

  • Ask someone with a great haircut — Christopher advises seeking out someone with a fabulous haircut and asking them who their hair stylist  is. “Some of my most devoted clients have come from referrals from this type of situation”. This is the #1 answer hair stylists agree upon in order to find a great stylist.
  • Schedule a consultation — Schedule a consultation with the hairdresser to ‘test them out’. This is a great idea because it gives you time to meet and see if you click. It’s also a scheduled time to give some hair history; to let them know who you are, what’s important to you about how you look, and how much time you are willing to spend on your hair. You’ll know intuitively if you are both on the same page. If not, there is no harm done and no hair lost!
  • Do an Internet search —Search for the best hairdresser on the Internet. Seek out hair salons in your area and you are sure to find many online reviews about different salons and hairdressers, both good and bad. Chris suggests searching under, beauty salons, salons, spas, makeovers and hair cutting. Try searching terms like; best, award-winning, and top.
  • Seek out associates at better apparel stores — Ask the sales associates at fashion forward stores. Since these guys and gals are usually up-to-date on the best fashion trends, they are probably up-to-date on the best hair stylists and salons around too. Find an associate whose hair you adore and ask them for their recommendations.
  • Ask the salon owner — You know what happens if you call a hair salon and ask for their ‘best stylist’. You’ll hear something like, “they are all good.” So why not put your request in an email to the owner, who is in the position to help you out. Be sure to include what you are looking for in a hairdresser and some information about yourself and your hair type too. With this information, they will have the information needed for suggesting the best hairdresser for you!

Thanks Christopher . . . great suggestions!


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How to Talk to Your Hairdresser

How to Talk to Your Hairdresser

Here are some ways to make sure you and your hairdresser are on the same page

It is my firm belief that most hair salon disappointments can be traced directly to miscommunication. What you’re trying to describe is not what the hair stylist sees. After all, when you think of it every woman has her own unique idea of what “short hair” is. To one it means chin length, to a stylist it may mean above the ears and to a third person it could mean a buzz cut.

Let’s face it, our language is simply not very precise, so it is vital that you learn the terms you’re likely to hear while you’re hanging around your local salon. Like any profession hair styling has its own insider lingo. To the average client hairdresser-speak can sound like Greek, so how do you get your message across when you describe the look you want? To the rescue this quick hair dictionary.

  • LONG LAYERS lighten the weight of the hair and add swing; achieve a textured look by shortening the top of the hair.
  • TAPERING is a form of layering used to take the weight out of back of hair.
  • SLIDE LAYERS are used mostly on curly hair to reduce bulk from the top layer allowing curls to fall evenly.
  • CHIPPING is also known as point cutting, is used to add texture.
  • TEXTURIZING is done using thinning shears. It adds movement and body by reducing weight from heavy sections, while leaving extra length in others.
  • RAZORING is done with a straight-edged blade to cut or texturize the hair.
  • SLIDE CUTTING uses a very sharp scissor blade to skim over the surface at an angle.
  • SINGLE PROCESS HAIR COLOR is best used for covering gray hair.
  • DOUBLE PROCESS HAIR COLOR is used for highlights and to bleach the hair.
  • HIGH LIGHTS lighten and brighten a solid background hair color.
  • LOWLIGHTS add depth and contrast to a light solid look.

I have an article Getting the Best from a Hairdresser which can give you some other tips as well, but if you still are having trouble communicating with your hairdresser, maybe it’s time to move along, in that case check out my article Smart Girl’s Guide to Finding the Best Hair Stylist.


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