We asked our favorite hairstylist, Jonathan Woss, who works his magic on pretty much the entire Truhair team and lots of other happy clients, to give us his insider scoop on how to search for a new stylist. Plus, his tips on what steps to take to guarantee that stylist will deliver what works for your hair, your lifestyle, your look.
1. Ask your friends (including all your digital pals) for suggestions
“Nothing makes me more excited as a stylist than when a new client finds me by asking a close friend or better yet, a stranger, where they got their haircut,” says Jonathan. “It means I’m doing something right!”
Check the social feeds of any stylists who’ve been recommended. If you don’t have a recommendation, check Instagram hashtags that would be used in your area, such as #haircut(city) or #(city)stylist. Then look for a picture you like and check out that stylist’s page. Pull up reviews on Google or Yelp, just keep in mind that sometimes reviews can be misguiding, so read between the lines: You want to know the facts of how the visit went (was the salon clean; did the appointment happen on time; did the stylist listen, etc.), not good or bad generalizations without details.
2. Request a free consultation before you commit to making an appointment.
“Trust me, most stylists prefer you come in to talk about a plan of action for your hair before your first appointment,” says Jonathan. “This will calm both you and the stylist’s nerves so they can perform the best execution of the haircut.” At max a consult only takes about 15 minutes.
3. Start by telling the stylist how much time you spend on your hair at home.
Share your washing routine, how often you wash, what products you use, how much time you currently spend on your style, and how much time you’d like to spend. Tell them if you use hot tools.
4. Have a list of questions to ask.
- How much experience do you have?
- Have you been trained to work with my hair type/texture (fine, coarse, curly, thinning, etc.)?
- Can you show me photos of your work with hair like mine?
5. Have pictures of the style you think you want.
“Just don’t go overboard with the pictures,” says Jonathan. “Sometimes too many can create confusion and often intimidate the stylist, which might take away from the artistic side of what they do professionally. Also, if there are cuts you really don’t like, feel free to share a few of those.”
Once you show them to the stylist, ask this:
- Will my hair type work with this cut?
- Are you comfortable with cutting the style I’m looking for?
- What will be the maintenance with this style with my hair type? (blowout, straightened, etc.?)
6. Know what questions the stylist should be asking you.
- Tell me about previous haircut experiences you’ve had, both good and bad (to determine what you do and don’t like).
- When was your last haircut? (to determine how often you maintain a cut and possibly how split your ends are)
- How much time do you spend on styling your hair daily?
- Which hair care products are you using to style or wash your hair?
- Is the look you have now what you were going for with this cut?
- (If you’re showing them a photo) Have you had this style before? Have you had this length before?
- Do you put your hair up in a ponytail/bun? (could affect how short they’ll cut.)
- Are you looking to increase the volume? Movement? Waves/curls?
7. If a stylist “yesses” you to death, he/she’s not for you.
“Because you, the client, and everyone in the world have unique hair types, the stylist needs to point out what is realistic and unrealistic with your individual goals,” says Jonathan. “That means if they’re too much of a ‘yes’ person, you should consider that a red flag.”
Jonathan’s other red flag? “A stylist who has a phone present for anything other than looking at pictures,” he says. “The time spent especially at the consultation is the stylist’s chance to listen to and understand what you’re saying and what you want. It should be all about you.”
Next month, part two of our story, with advice from Jonathan on how to get a great cut once you’ve committed to your new stylist.