This year I embarked on a hunt for a new hairstylist. My old stylist is the best, but expensive, and I was searching for someone a bit more friendly to my pocketbook. I tried a new person three times: the first time it was pretty good, but the last two times were awful. It was my bad for returning for a third try, but I gave this stylist the benefit of the doubt. In the end I’m right back to my old stylist because with natural hair, you get what you pay for.
Natural hair has becomes booming fad. I’ve been natural for almost 15 years and in that time I’ve worn a myriad of natural styles, many of which I learned to do on my own. But I never stopped loving the pampering effects of visiting a professional stylist to get my do’ done – and with a great stylist, the results are stunning. However, when it comes to natural hair a certain set of criteria must be followed before you allow someone to put their hands in your hair. Further, that initial visit will tell you plenty about whether or not they should continue putting their hands in your hair. Transitioning sisters, listen up!
– A great natural hair stylist should know about both natural and processed techniques and styles. Why you might ask? It’s important that your stylist be well-rounded in their knowledge of hair and scalp health and the best way to achieve this is to know how to style all types of hair. If you start with a natural stylist who has no knowledge of perms and you are transitioning, a stylist with limited knowledge might not know how best to advise you during the process and style you for maximum growth. They also might not be as sensitive to the process you’re experiencing. Also, knowing what styles best fit your face shape is knowledge your stylist should be equipped with. A style that looks good on one person may not look so good on another, and you want a stylist who 1) tell you this before styling you and taking your money and 2) can come up with an alternate style that you will love.
– A great natural hair stylist has an arsenal of tried and true hair products. A stylist with years of experience under their belt has tried many products, and knows what product work best on a variety of hair types. He/She might even concoct of few of their own but whatever they choose to use will ensure that your natural hairstyle is looking its best. Red flag: If your hair does not hold a style, frizzes easily, or your stylist is always trying to sell you their homemade products, chunk up the deuce on that stylist and move on.
A great natural hairstylist can….style. There is NOTHING WORSE than being held captive in a chair for hours getting styled without a mirror. If you’re in the hands of a new stylist and they purposely keep you from seeing the mirror that’s a problem. When they swing you around and your appearance isn’t an improvement, that’s a problem. If your braids, twists, locks, etc. aren’t uniformed but different sizes and crazy looking, THAT’S A PROBLEM. Never sit in a stylist’s chair without seeing a portfolio of their work. If they can’t produce one there is a reason why. Don’t pay good money to let somebody just play in your hair.
A great natural hairstylist is committed to their craft. That commitment includes keeping appointments to do hair. A stylist that constantly cancels due to other obligations is a warning sign. Some “stylists” are simply people that know how to braid or twist – but their passion lies elsewhere. That’s not the type of stylist you want to commit to when they aren’t committed to the job themselves. Your hair appointment will always come in second to what their true passion is.
A great natural hairstylist doesn’t have too many “don’t do’s”. I’m wary of any stylist that doesn’t do this or doesn’t use that. The beauty of natural hair is that it can do so many things, and a great stylist is willing to try a variety of things to please the client. Even if it is a new process, a great stylist can be innovative and try something he or she has never done before.
A great natural stylist has a great reputation for their work. The best way to meet a great stylist is to approach someone with a hairstyle you like and ask about it. If the person speaks highly of the stylist, get that stylists’ number and book an appointment. Clients who are happy with their hairstylists can’t say enough about them, and tend to be loyal customers. Be wary of stylists who approach you – chances are they are still building a clientele. Unless you are willing to take a chance on an amateur, keep you eyes open for a good-looking head of natural hair and get the information you need.