There comes a time when you need to change salons, whether you’re moving or just not pleased enough with your current one. What qualities should you look for in a salon?
An important feature is obvious when you walk in the door. Do salon members greet and treat visiting clients with respect. Focus is on the clients and not their own needs. Choose a salon that revolves around you and you alone.
Obviously, a good salon will have highly qualified stylists that have been trained to work with many different types of hair. If it looks like everyone’s leaving with the same haircut, ask if they requested that, or if that’s just how the stylists do it. If the latter, run, run away.
Sometimes salons that have been in business for a long period of time are those who have a high level of experience and satisfied clients, but not always. Often newer salons open because there’s a gap in the market that long time salons aren’t filling. So you can’t assume one way or the other – it’s going to be based on the stylist.
The same is true with location. Sometimes, salons located in posh areas employ more qualified, high knowledge stylists that are aware of current fashionable styles and provide excellent hair styling services, but it’s also possible that those salons employ people who haven’t had an incentive to improve their repertoire and skills through ongong education, and while you probably want to be cautious with someone fresh out of school, sometimes the newer salons employ the most mobile, up-to-date, and motivated staff members. Again, it’s going to be based on the stylist.
Good hair salons will employ hair dressers that are caring and will listen to what your beauty needs are. They will create a style that suits your personality and structure the style around what you would like to see. Communication is important. A stylist who doesn’t listen but cuts your hair his or her own way, regardless of your input, isn’t doing you a service. The same is true with a stylist who never challenges you. You should rely on your stylist to tell you when something you’re asking for will make your face look funny, or may emphasize features you don’t like, or will just plain damage your hair. A stylist that doesn’t provide this kind of feedback also isn’t doing you a service.
When selecting a salon, make sure the equipment and the premises are clean. A neat and organized environment often means the salon is well managed and geared toward excellence, or at least it means the stylists have a professional approach to their profession.
Salons that either offer higher pay to their staff or lease space to stylists who are out on their own and depend on their own clientelle, often have more experienced stylists. You don’t earn extra pay by doing a bad job, and you don’t survive on your own that way, either. Don’t be afraid of “booth” salons, where each stylist is their own proprietor – often that means the stylist did well enough in a corporate or other salon environment that they went solo with their clientelle.
In short, is the atmosphere friendly, or is it nasty and gossipy or just dead? Do the stylists treat it like a business, or is it sloppy and poorly arrayed? Do the stylists listen and advise, or do they dismiss and control or just do what they were going to do anyway? Are the stylists well-paid staff members or entrepreneurial independents, or are they fresh from school underlings who haven’t yet developed their skills? Does the salon rely on location and continually throwing money at rent to draw traffic, or is it actually the work that they’re producing that’s the draw? These are the questions you want to have in mind when changing or selecting salons. Lastly, ultimately, it’s about the stylist. If you find the right stylist, stick with her, whether it’s in a corporate, private, or independent environment. The longer you work with the same stylist, the more that person is tuned into your needs, history, and future goals.
Anastasia is a salon hair stylist in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Out of town appointments welcome.