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    Getting the Best From a Hair Stylist

    Hair Stylist Sectioning Hair with a Rat Tail Comb

    Get what you want from your hairdresser
    By Victoria Wordinger

    A great haircut starts with the best hair stylist. However, cutters who are great at short hair cuts may not be ideal for longer looks. What’s more, many women unreasonably expect a stylist to be able to do everything, or they stick with someone they like just because they think they’re friends. They’re not . . . hair stylists are simply people who provide you with a service. When you know what you want, start by making a list of their qualifications. Here’s a roundup of places to look:

    Among Friends

    Recommendations are the best place to start your search. If you know someone who has your hair typeand a haircut you love, ask who does her hair, Just be sure the hair salon is in your price range.

    Within Associations

    Hair salons that are members of Intercoiffure are renowned for their artistic training. Members of the Salon Association are more business oriented but they probably have strong training programs. Also, hair salons and hairdressers who belong to the National Association of Cosmetologists tend to keep up on the latest hairstyle trends and techniques in their field.

    Then, there are special associations for hair colorists. Their members tend to specialize, so don’t look there for a great hair cutter. Most can be found on the Internet.

    In Trendy or Sophisticated Areas

    Depending on what type of haircut you want, salons that will best deliver it tend to be located in neighborhoods that reflect that particular hair style, i.e., don’t expect to get the coolest new hairdo in the richest part of town. Once you’re in the right place, watch customers coming out the door. If you see lots of fabulous haircuts, ask the receptionist to recommend a hair stylist for a consultation, or ask a customer who cut her hair.

    On Hair Product Websites

    Wella, Redken, Graham Webb, Paul Mitchell, Matrix . . .  any of the professional hair care product companies offer tons of training. See if any of their educators also work in a hair salon near you by checking out their websites.

    Once you find a great salon or hair stylist, or if you already have a hairdresser you dig, see how many of the following qualifications apply to him or her: Cutting specialist, platform educator, former cosmetology instructor, holder of advanced education certifications, more than 5 years of experience, editorial session hair stylists, in-salon trainer, Vidal Sassoon-trained cutter. The more of these skills and training your stylist has, the better.

    Now that you have a hair stylist in mind, book an appointment for a style consultation. If you want to stay with your current hairdresser, let the receptionist know that you need extra appointment time, because you want to talk about making a change.

    Photo Finish

    Next, collect several pictures of hairdos you like. In addition to the photos in this magazine many Internet websites have images of styles you can print. Some even let you upload a photo of yourself so you can give them a virtual test. Before you walk in the door, set some boundaries for what you will and won’t do.

    In the chair, don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter how trivial you think they’ll sound. It’s a good idea to write down your questions beforehand so you won’t forget any of them. Show your photos and discuss how they may work with your hair type, facial shape and lifestyle. Ask if the look will be easy to work with at home.

    Article courtesy of Harris Publications

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