Sunday, 16 January 2011

How To: Choosing a salon and getting the most from a consultation

A good consultation is key to getting a good service.  I feel, alot of things can be said about a stylist with a good, thorough and clear discussion.  I have witnessed some potentially great stylists lose a future "lifer" client because they can't nail their consultation.  Sometimes, no matter how good a stylist's reputation, they just won't click with.  It's nothing personal and nothing against their skills but you will not always imagine the same result as they do.  In order to get the best you can, a good, indepth consultation is the key.

Here I hope to give you some good tips on how to get the most from your hairstylist before you even get to the backwash.

- Check the reviews!  Loads of larger towns and cities have reviews floating about the web - check them out!  It gives you a great feel for the type of salon it is and how they work. It's also great to see the negatives (no one thing is perfect!) but someone's negative may very well be your positive.

- Get a price list.  If you are on a budget, DON'T be frightened to know what you'd be paying first.  Sometime popping in for a pricelist is a great way to get a quick nose inside the salon, see how you are greeted and have a look at some stylists working.  There is nothing worse than having someone in the chair who asks you mid-service what the price is and gives you the face that says they aren't happy.  Or WORSE, they literally can't afford it.  I don't know what to say, they don't know what to say.

- If you have questions about prices, services or anything else, don't be afraid to phone in and ask.  This is great if you are on the shy side as it's anonymous.  You won't be bothering anyone.  I answer several calls a day that are simply queries with no bookings.  I would suggest however, NOT phoning for advice on how to colour/what to do with you hair.  They can't see you, it's not fair to anyone.  For people who do this to me, I won't get into it.  I ask them to come in for a consultation. 

- Ask a salon what their policy is on consultation.  Some charge.  Most do not.  I don't think they should, mind you, but that's a whole other topic.  Some will do consultations on spur of the moment, others prefer to book time out for them.  Try to aim for the beginning or end of the opening hours if you are just going to pop in.  Don't be disheartened if they ask you to come back because they are busy.  That means they want to give you individual time that they don't have right now, or they have clients they don't want to keep waiting or are running behind on their schedule.  These are all good things - they want to keep their clients happy!

- Do not badmouth other salons.  It's rude.  Noone likes clients who do this.  It's a small world.  I've has people bitch about other salons and I trained with some of these girls.  They are my friends.  By all means, expain what you weren't happy with but don't mention names or places.  No-one likes to have these clients, because one day, you can guarantee they will do it their new favourite stylist. 

- Listen to what they say.  For example, if you previously had bleach blonde hair, dyed it black and then want to go back blonde but the stylist advises you that the procedure is too damaging to your hair, LISTEN.  She is telling you this so your hair doesn't become further damaged or worse, snaps off.  If you truly believe that she is not correct, get a second opinion by all means. Or a third.  But don't go round every salon in town til you get the answer you want to hear.

- Bring pictures if you don't know what you want.  But, be realistic.  Angelina Jolie hair will not turn you into Angelina herself.  Try to cover the faces in the pictures and then look at the hair.  Don't expect your hair to be an exact replica.  Texture, type and the original hair cut all play a part in the finished product.

- Be honest.  If you don't straighten your hair, but you will need to style the cut you want in pictures, tell the stylist.  That way, they can give you options that best fit your needs.  If you've got bleach under all that colour, tell us.  Alright, you may not get the colour you want, but at least your hair won't snap off.  (Yes, this has happened.)

- Be realistic about your upkeep.  If you can't afford to get a haircut every 6 weeks but can't bare your pixie crop looking overgrown, don't get it cut in the first place.  You'll be moaning you look a mess all the time.  Bright colour needs topping up more often, so expect it to fade if you can't keep up with it. 

- Be on time for your appointments.  I know sometimes, life happens, but if you are going to be more than a few minutes late, even for a consultation, you can throw off a stylist's whole day sometimes.  For actual cuts, on a busy day, I will usually allow 15 minutes of delay, anymore than that and you'll have to reschedule.  Phone in if you are going to be late, it's just polite.  As for cancellations, please do it in a timely fashion.  The worst thing is leaving it til five minutes before your appointment, it's a slot that can't be filled.  Again, sometimes things happen, which we understand, but people who repeatedly do this do themselves no favours.  If say, you were desperate for a last minute appointment but I have very little time, I am not going to squeeze it in for the person who doesn't show up appropriately. 

Well, I think that's all I can think off!  I may add to this post as time goes on! 

Have a good day everyone!


  1. Very interesting and useful!
    I find it strange how shy people are with hair stylist in particular and feel to scared to be specific about what they want. I am super directive with my stylist, she laughs at it sometimes but I do always get out of their with the style I have asked for :)

  2. Agreed with Musing on Beauty. I have had a hell of a time finding a salon that I am completely in love with in Toronto. Most of them have been able to deliver in terms of final product, but I never leave feeling 'awesome.'

    My question to you is how do I spot a salon that I know is capable of delivering the whole package (customer service, knowledgeabe, and passion). I want to go to a salon where people are happy to see me when I walk in and aren't attached to a blackberry or a coffee cup instead of interested in what I would like to do to my hair.

  3. Mariella - I prefer it when people are direct. I try to be the same with them. How do people expect to get what they want if they don't tell you? We aren't mindreaders lol!

    Meredith - The 'awesomess' for me personally, comes from the conversation with the stylist I think. Especially if you don't dislike the stylist's work. If they don't feel happy and excited, then neither will you.

    I think you can only truely feel like you are getting the package by taking up a consultation. I think from the moment you open the door to the shop, it should be there. Even if I am having a rubbish day I try to put on that happy face. (Even if my daily tweets suggest otherwise!!) Personally, if that standard isn't there for the getgo then they shouldn't have your custom. They should present you with ideas doing your consultation, touch your hair, interact properly. The skill is harder to check during consultation but if the knowledge appears there then you should be good. :) The only way it to try!!

    Thanks for the comments you guys!


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