The Struggle Is Real

How to Shop for a Hair Stylist

Also known as how to survive when your stylist utters the worst words imaginable: "I'm moving out of Texas."

By Beth Levine May 3, 2016

Screen shot 2016 01 18 at 4.57.19 pm v9cflv

Ideally your stylist should have both good hair and good gossip.

I am not a natural blonde but I have been playing one for about the last decade, give or take a year. All my non-blonde blondes out there know that blonde life is not so easy when you want your hair to look natural and not fried—and it can cost a pretty penny if you don't want to look like a head full of shrubbery once those telltale roots start making an appearance.

For these reasons and more, most women (even those whose locks are not colored) revere their hairstylists. We will follow them almost anywhere, from salon to salon, and wait patiently for their openings. No one knows our hair like they do and we won’t trust it to just anyone. Given this fierce loyalty, you can imagine my horror when Natalie, my former hairstylist at Fringe Salon & Color Bar uttered the following dreaded words to me: "I wanted to make sure you heard it from me first, but I am moving.”

At first, I was like okay, we are changing salons again, but then she broke it down for me: She was actually leaving Texas. The horror. What would I do, and more importantly, what would my hair do?! She had an apprentice who was solid but we just didn’t gel. I am really picky about my hair, and Natalie was super patient and knew how to handle me. I toyed with the idea of jumping ship to a new salon, but Natalie told me about her friend Jenna Robichaux Ibarra, who also practiced at Fringe, and suggested that we might be a good fit.

So like any major new purchase, I took Jenna out for a test run. Shopping for a new stylist just might be one of the most important decisions you ever make. Seriously. A great cut and color can make you feel like a million bucks, put a swagger in your step and give you the confidence of a supermodel; a bad cut and color—well let’s just say that is a dark day. For a lot of women (and I am one of them) getting your hair done is one of the things we spend the most money on, the one thing we refuse to skimp on even when times are tough.

Img 2775 ebtqia

Blonde like this ain't easy (but it is fun).

On our trial run together, I could tell Jenna was sizing me up just as much as I was sizing her up. We were on the verge of being intertwined for life if this worked (unless one of us moved!), so it had to feel as good as it looks. Here we are months later, and I couldn’t be happier. (Don’t worry Nat, I still miss you!) My hair looks and feels like I was born a blonde and Jenna gets me—like, really gets me.

I cannot stress this enough: Do not take shopping for a new stylist lightly. This is an important decision! Here are three questions I recommend asking any potential hairdresser to learn a little more about them, their taste and whether their customer service philosophy is a fit for you.

Who cuts your hair and why? (How they do their hair is important insight when shopping for a stylist, though their style doesn't have to be the same as yours.)

What was your favorite hairstyle growing up? (Another insight into your stylists taste.)

How do you want your clients to feel when sitting in your chair? To this one, Jenna's answer really says it all:

"I want my clients to feel like they are home when sitting in my chair. I want them to feel confident that they are going feel even more beautiful when they leave and be excited to come back and see me. I like the rapport that you establish with long-term clients and the chances you get to learn about your new ones. In the end, it is all about the connection between you and your clients."

Show Comments