after spending years on hair forums and discussion boards, i've noticed that many curlies avoid a trip to the salon like the plague. ive worked at a salon before, so i kind of have a different perspective on things. i dont think salons and stylists are the devil. and i think some of the issues folks have with not being happy with their salon experience is partly their own fault. don't get me wrong, not all of my salon experiences have been filled with puppies and rainbows. but out of the visits that ended in a hot mess, i can admit that i could have avoided it.
i think the key to finding a good stylist is to treat your hair like you would treat your child. you would'nt just drop your kid off at the first daycare center you saw or even one recommended by a friend, simply because they recommended it. but we tend to do that with our hair. we go to some random place and expect things to be okay. it took us God knows how long to figure out how to manage our own hair but we expect a stranger to get it right in the 1st 5 minutes of dealing with it. we don't ask questions, we don't watch how they are with others' hair. we don't tell them what we expect them to do and why we expect them to do it.
sometimes i hear people saying time is money and stylists don't want to spend the time trying to style curly/kinky hair because it takes too long. and they can;t make money if we're sitting in the chair all day. well yes, time=money. but i see it not only as the uneducated stylists don't want to spend the time doing our hair, but alot of times we dont want to spend the money on an educated or skilled stylist. once again, would you drop your kid off at the cheapest daycare in town just because it was the cheapest? or do you look for one that meets your requirements/expectations as well as your wallet?
countless times i've heard people say that they avoid going to a salon because all stylists are scissor happy. whenever you ask for a trim, they always give you a haircut. having worked at a salon and being a customer at a salon, ive seen both sides of the coin. there are some stylists who think scalping you is a trim. but ive also seen clients in denial about their hair. they want to hang onto raggedy ends that they think aren't that bad. i am fully ready to admit, that i have avoided getting a trim this month because i know i'm going to need more than i want taken off. no matter how much i baby my hair, i still get breakage, split ends, and single strand knots. and the longer i go without a trim, the more hair needs to get cut off. i wish i were one of those people who could say i havent cut my hair in a year or more because i just haven't needed to. but i'm not. and i'm going to have to put on my big girl panties and get the trim. if i would have been real about the situation and had it trimmed months ago, i wouldn't be in this situation. and as much as i'd like to blame my impending trim on an overzealous stylist and her scissor happy hands, i know it's my own fault.
some people complain taht stylists won't just look through the hair and trim only the damaged ends (search and destroys) without considering the overall shape of the hair. as a stylist, you can't do that and apparently a lot of people don't realize that. if any of you watch project runway, its kind of like how the designers throw something together when they run out of time right before judging. they sew models into dresses instead of having proper closures, they have pin things instead of hemming them correctly, they glue things on, etc. in real life, a designer wouldn't sell the finished product like that. asking a stylist to do a search and destroy is kind of like asking a designer to glue you into your outfit and then getting upset when they wont do it.
the best salon experience i ever had was this past november. i walked in knowing id pay a pretty penny for my service but it was well worth it. i went to a stylist who was ranked at the salon as a master stylist (they cost the most) and i was very vocal about what i wanted, what i didn't want, and why that was the way it was going to be. near the end she even admitted to me that even though she is the professional and always trusts her own judgement, she valued my opinion because she knew that i was knowledgable when it came to my hair and hair in general. it wasn't the best salon experience because it was the greatest my hair ever looked leaving a salon. as a matter of fact, i left the salon thinking "i cant wait to get home so that i can fix my hair!" but my appointment was for color and the color looked great. it was a great salon experience because i walked out of there with a feeling of trust. i know she will listen to me in the future, she was open and interested in learning how to style my hair, and she knows that i am not in denial about the state of my hair.