It's been three months since your last haircut and you're ready for a change -- not just a new hairstyle, a new stylist, too! Starting over with a new stylist can be daunting. With so many different salons to choose from, you want to be sure you choose the right one. Here are some things to think about when starting your search for a new salon and ways to make sure you always get the look you want.
Ask for help
Don't be shy to ask your mother, daughter, friends or coworkers for advice. Word of mouth is a great way to start your search. People are thrilled to be asked for their opinions based on past experiences. Picking a salon through trial and error is a lot easier if you can learn from the errors (or successes!) of others.
Talk to strangers
If you see a woman on the street with a style or colour you covet, go ahead and ask her where she got it done. Don't be embarrassed -- it's flattering to be approached by a stranger with a compliment. Chances are, if you like her style, you'll like her stylist.
Stake the place out
If you've seen a salon you're interested in trying out, stake out the joint first. Take a look at the hairstyles of clients as they leave. If you like what you see, there's a good chance you'll find a stylist who suits you inside.
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Know what you don't want
Allison Legere, manager of Halifax's Kara's Alternative Day Spa, says that you don't need to know exactly what you want when you arrive. "It's a lot easier to explain the things you don't like about your hair than what you do," she says. "Stylists are trained to know what will look good and what won't and they can interpret your feelings about your own hair and make suggestions or come up with solutions."
As long as you don't expect the photo of Teri Hatcher's latest hairstyle to turn you into the spitting image of the actress, load up on magazine photos of styles you like. But be realistic in your expectations: your hair's length and texture may not be ideal for achieving the look you want. According to Legere, referring to a photo makes it easier to start a discussion and visualize the finished style. "If we're both looking at the same picture, it's harder to have a miscommunication." Legere recommends being armed with pictures especially if you want a major change in cut or style.
Talk, talk, talk
We've all heard the horror stories of the stylist who fancied him/herself an "artiste" and played Picasso with someone's head. This horror can be avoided, if you make sure you are an active participant in the experience. Ask questions and make stipulations (for example: "no layers shorter than the jaw line"). "It really comes down to good communication," says Legere, adding that the main reason clients change stylists is because they don't feel they are being listened to. Don't rush to get to the cutting and colouring, either. "A good stylist should consult with you for as long as it takes to make sure you are both on the same page about what you are about to do," she says.
Your hair should complement your sense of style and who you are. Don't let anyone talk you into something you're not ready for and don't be afraid to shake things up a bit if you're feeling adventurous. Whatever you do, make sure you and your new stylist are speaking the same language and have some fun.
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