Often finding the best hair salon can just seem too hard; you've got a big date and you're in a rush and the last thing you can be bothered doing is thinking about which place will give you the best new hairstyle. You simply want an appointment and you want it now. But more than that too, you're probably not sure what to look for in a hair salon, and so you end up taking a gamble and booking into the first place that looks okay.
If you knew what to look for in a hair salon- if you had a simple checklist of things to bear in mind saved in the hard drive that's your own brain- then it would take some of the bother out of looking and get you on the right track. And if it's not such a pain in the neck, if finding a good salon is easier, then you have all the chance of finding the best hair salon and developing a long and fulfilling relationship with a great stylist.
One of the first things you should be aware of when looking out for the best hair salons is the location you're in. The trendiness of neighborhood has a big impact on the kind of salons around. A hair salon in a fashionable area is more likely to give you a fashionable hairstyle- one that's very “now.” That may be what you're after, which is great, but beware too that it's often the case that a busy, fashionable hair salon- because they're so busy and fashionable- may have to sacrifice the amount of personal attention provided to clients. They may also charge you more money simply because of the rent of their neighborhood.
You should also spend a minute checking out the kinds of hairstyles worn by clients leaving the salon- this is another way of getting an idea about whether or not the hair salon is the best one for you. If everyone is leaving with the same hairstyle- which can often be the case with those fashionable and expensive salons- then it probably means you'll end up with that hairstyle too. It probably also means, and this is quite important, that there's the possibility the salon won't be interested (or even able) to cut your hair any another way.
Another obvious way of sorting the best from the rest in the world of hair salons is simply to give each potential salon a good eye-balling. This will only take a minute, but if you look with the eagle-eyes of an FBI agent you'd be amazed what you can deduce from appearances. As a general rule, a salon doesn't need to be filled with the latest expensive facilities (a chrome-plated espresso machine), but it should be clean and organized. If there's hair all over a dirty floor then they're rushed, and they'll probably be rushed when they cut your hair. Like a restaurant, busy is good- but chaotic isn't. If the reception desk is a mess and the phone's ringing off the hook then cross that hair salon off your list.
Take a look at the stylists working in the salons too. Don't discriminate, but make a preliminary assessment of your potential hairstylist. Look at the stylists own hair- the way it's cut and styled, and its health- and use what you see as a basis for thinking about the kind of hairstyle they're likely to give you. Think about their experience too. New stylists are often enthusiastic and eager to please, but may lack some of the experience required to make decisions about more complex/specific hairstyles (maybe, for example, complicated formal hairstyles). But by the same token if a hair stylist looks way to comfortable and blase- like they've been doing the same thing for donkey's years- then your consultation may end up lacking the individual attention you need. Go for a hairstylist who's in the middle of their career and who's also well groomed and has the kind of healthy hair you wouldn't mind having yourself.
While you're looking around for a new salon, you'll probably pass a few chain hairdressers or franchise salons. While it's not the case for all chain salons (for example: Tony and Guy and Rush UK), the bigger ones are typically the starting place for new stylists. Often they don't get paid much, meaning also that experienced and talented stylists rarely work there, and the emphasis is on getting you in and out as quickly as possible. Obviously you'll get what you pay for, which is probably not a thorough consultation and/or an individual hairstyle tailored to your specific needs.
The things mentioned here are ideas you should think about when salon shopping, and these ideas will help you spot the best hair salons. But you need to bear in mind exactly that: they will only help you get a feeling for the best hair salons. If you're pressed for time these ideas will give you a starting point for culling the number of hair salon options before you. It will only take a couple of minutes to assess things like the cleanliness of a salon, its level of organization and the stylists' experience, but the next thing you need to do is pop in for a chat. Test out your assessment of a salon by talking to the hairstylist for a few minutes and remember to always be open and allow your assumptions to be challenged.
Next week read TheHairStyler.com's article “Talking to Your New Hairstylist” to find out what you should ask them and what you should listen out for in their answers.
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