So You Need a New Stylist...Now What?

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that breaking up with your stylist is extremely challenging to do. They’re never fun, especially if your stylist has become a friend and confidant. How do you know if a breakup is needed?

  • Are you unhappy with your look?
  • Do you feel your hair isn’t responding to your current stylist’s hands?
  • Do you and your stylist speak the same language (literally and figuratively)?
  • Do you feel your hair has been the same as far back as you can remember?
  • Do you and your stylist set goals for your hair?
  • (This one is my favorite) Has your stylist has been your hairstylist since you were a kid?

If you said yes to any of these questions, it may be time to find another stylist or, at least, a second stylist. You don’t necessarily have to run from your current hairstylist; perhaps your current stylist may do very well with your hair’s health, but can’t achieve a style you like and you always have to go home and “fix” your salon style. Maybe you just need a second stylist to give you a new cut or color. But it can also be the other way around—your hair color is to die for, but your hair is falling out or breaking off and he or she can’t figure out why.

When shopping for a new hairstylist, do your homework. Just as you would or should with anyone else providing you a professional service, you should get a referral. Hairstylists should be licensed by the state in which they work (yes, even a kitchen beautician!) if they provide services that involve heat, chemicals or products that can, if done incorrectly, cause temporary or permanent damage to your and/or hair loss. Remember:  hair health comes first; style, second.

The best way to get a referral is by asking someone who you think has great hair where she goes. Only ask a woman that has healthy-looking hair. And I’m not talking about the sew-in; look at what she has going on underneath the bundles. Once you obtain a stylist name and contact information, call and set up a consultation. ALWAYS set up a consultation first.

Prior to the consult, know what you want from the session: information about health and style (I know, I repeat this often). Get knowledgeable about your hair and scalp. Does your scalp always itch? Is it dry or oily? Does it flake? If you get chemical services, does your scalp burn? How often do you get chemical services? Is your hair breaking? If so, when and where do you notice the breakage?

The consultation is the time that you and your prospective hairstylist discuss your hair, scalp and style—and get to know each other! They need to know everything about you that will affect your hair. Here are some quick reference points on what should be covered during a good consultation:

  • Your daily hair routine
  • Home life (i.e. if you have children) and stress level
  • Workout regime
  • Hobbies or activities (i.e. swimming)
  • Career
  • What you have time to do in the morning
  • What you will do for home maintenance
  • What you can honestly afford in salon maintenance
  • The time you liked your hair the most, the least
  • What you love about your hair and what you hate

If the stylist is not asking the questions, tell them about you and your hair and ask for their recommendations. You will know immediately if you feel they are confident in what they are saying. If you have any doubts don’t make an appointment.

If you have decided to give someone the opportunity to work with your hair, you should allow three sessions with a hairstylist to decide whether or not they can work with your hair. It takes time for both of you to get acclimated to the new relationship.

Finding a new stylist can be tricky; breaking off a relationship with a stylist can be even trickier, but knowing your hair is in the right hands is priceless!