So you are on the hunt for a new stylist. Where do you look and how to you get an appointment? The best way to find a new stylist is to ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers or even strangers on the street where they go. If you like their hair, ask them for the stylists’ contact info and call the salon to make an appointment. Be sure to let the salon and the stylist know that you were referred and by whom. Smart salons and stylist reward their clients for referrals as this is the backbone of how they build loyal clientele. Then, if you like your end result, pass along the love and refer them to others (your stylist will really appreciate it and possibly reward you for it).
Now that you have a lead, when is the best time to book an appointment? Getting a great time (especially for a first time client) will greatly increase your experience with the stylist. Good times to book are early in the week (like a Tuesday or Wednesday) in either late morning or early afternoon. Your stylist shouldn’t be tired but is settled into their routine, it’s less busy so you’ll get more time with the stylist, and it’s easier to get a last-minute appointment if you don‘t have the luxury of waiting. Try to aim for the second or third appointment of the day, that way the stylist is there, set up and in the swing of the day.
Worst times of the day to book an appointment is first thing in the morning, last appointment at night and Friday evening. Stylists need a little time to get going in the morning and may run a little late. A new client first thing in the morning can be overwhelming. Likewise, the last appointment in the evening may mean a stylist is spent, running late and may be hungry. Friday evenings we are all trying to get to a social event and are not as focused on our work, so are stylists.
A great way to have a safe appointment with a new stylist is to schedule a consultation first. Most stylist don’t charge for this and it gives you both the opportunity to discuss what you are looking for, how much time you will need and how much your service might cost. Maybe you need a couple appointments to achieve your overall goal. Giving the stylist a little heads up is a GOOD IDEA! Stylists say fine hair is quicker to cut than thick hair and that texture matters more than length. So if you know you have really thick hair, be prepared and prepare your stylist for a slightly longer appointment.
Communicating with a new stylist needs special attention as well. A good stylist will be honest about what they can realistically do and will work with you to find something that will be right for your face shape and hair type. Listen to what they recommend and then tell them what you are looking for. If you are not sure what you do want, be sure to express what you DON’T want. Express any fear you may have about getting too short, too dark or light. Share any bad experiences you may have had with your hair to give your stylist as much information as you can about your hair and your personality. Instead of saying I want 2 inches cut off here, show them how much of your hair you want cut off so there’s no confusion. Everyone has a different idea of what an inch might be. Be careful when using words like “brassy,” “ash,” “layers” and “graduation.” All of these can mean different things to different people, even different stylists. To be clear, bring pictures or use other adjectives to describe what you want or ask your stylist what these terms mean so you’re on the same page at your consultation.
If you are happy with your results, TIP WELL. If you want the best service (and a chance at scoring the ideal time slot or last-minute appointment), you’ll need to tip well (20 percent is ideal). Stylists remember the customers who treat them well. Don’t forget to tip The stylist’s assistant and/or the shampoo person, as well. It doesn’t have to be much, $2 to $5 is reasonable. A great shampoo deserves to be recognized since it is a BIG part of your experience and remember cash is always King, especially for the tip. If you use a credit card for service and product, remember the processing company will charge a fee and adding a tip means you will be paying them a little less than you intend. People in the service industry appreciate being appreciated.
Now that you have a stylist you like, how do you become a valuable client to them? First of all pre-book. Pre-booking saves you both the stress of trying to get in at the last minute. Your stylist will appreciate this show of loyalty and will take good care of you in return.
Next, be on time for your appointment, don’t be late. Even if your stylist has run a little late from time to time, it is almost always because another client has run late. This shows disrespect for their time and undoubtedly make them less available to you the next time you need a last minute appointment or a little extra time. If you know you are running late, be sure to call and give your stylist a heads up.
What about all those pricey salon products? Are they really that important? The answer is Yes. If you are going to spend good money to get a great style, invest in the right products to support it. A good salon offers a range of price for products to choose from. Different hairstyles have different needs, so if you trust your stylist, listen up. Especially when it comes to color-treated hair, the right shampoo and conditioner can help maintain the color and keep your hair healthy. Purchase the products from your salon, not the discount stores. You really won’t pay that much more (if any) and you know the product was purchased responsibly and is not old stock. Put the money back into your local salon’s or stylist’s pocket.
So what if you find that you need a last minute appointment or you need to reschedule? Here’s a tip for getting in: If the salon is booked, ask to be put on the wait list. This is usually first come, first served so be patient, but if your situation is urgent, let them know. If you know your stylist well, ask to speak to the stylist directly. Call back once during the day, but don’t stalker call, this is just annoying. If you find you are in a rush, expect an appropriate appointment. A blow-out or a few foils are quick, a cut or color is not. And tell your stylist ahead of time that you’re in a hurry so he or she is prepared. Some stylists double-book appointments so it is crucial to be clear about how much time you have and what you expect.
So why do salons differ so much in pricing? Understand salons in more affluent areas will likely charge more. Another reason can be the hairdressers at the salon. Often prices can vary based on how much experience a stylist has or whether he or she is a “master” or “junior” stylist. If you choose to go downtown to a great salon, expect to pay a little more for an experienced stylist. If you don’t want to pay as much for your service, go with a less experienced stylist, but ask the receptionist to refer you to the best one for your needs. Receptionists ususally know who is skilled with what types of hair and can be a great ally for you.
Working on a trusting relationship with a stylist will pay off for both of you. You will get the best your stylist has to offer and the comfort of knowing your hair will always be great. Take care of them and they will take care of you.