How to Choose a New Hair Salon (3)

Hair salon client with rollers in her hair
Photo: Depositphotos
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Of course, a salon that is packed with clients waiting in the waiting area could mean that the staff regularly overbooks its clients. If this is the case, you could find yourself feeling like a “walk-in” even though you have an appointment.
While observing, take a moment to closely examine the premises. Are the work stations clean and tidy, including behind and underneath them? Are there jars with sanitizing liquid (the blue stuff) and is it clear, not cloudy? Do the brushes at the workstations have any hair in them?
If you see signs that the place is not being kept clean (there is no one cleaning up behind the stylists, or they are not cleaning up after themselves) or if there are signs of long-term lapses in thorough cleaning (such as an accumulation of dirt and dust behind fixtures, etc.) you should consider that there may be a lack of concern with hair salon sanitation and hygiene.
This is especially important when discussing the condition of the tools and supplies at a workstation. The combs and brushes should be cleaned between each client. Because of this, a stylist needs to have multiple sets of brushes for use, so that one set can be cleaned and drying while the stylist uses another set with a new client. If you see a stylist reusing brushes without cleaning them, ask yourself what else he or she is being slipshod about.
Interview the Staff
Hopefully, after watching for a while, you will have gotten some positive impressions of the salon and the staff working there. If you feel it is worthwhile, ask the receptionist (or someone who can help you) if you can speak with the salon manager or the lead stylist if they are available.
At this point, explain again that you are looking for a new salon and that you like what you have seen and would like to know how best to begin a working relationship with a stylist. Some salons have independent hair stylists who have their own client lists, and in these settings, there can be competition for clients who are new.
Hairdresser and client
Photo: Dreamstime
However, some salons work as a team, and you may see different stylists from time to time based on the availability of a given individual. This can be good provided you like a number of the stylists at the hair salon, as it means that if you need an appointment in a hurry and your regular stylist is sick or out, you can see someone else who will be somewhat familiar with you, or at least have access to your file.
The final thing to pay attention to is that a client record should be started and kept up to date when visiting a new salon. When you make your initial appointment with a new stylist at a salon, one of the first things that should happen is that a record should be started. The hairdresser will need some personal contact information and will make notes on your hair (texture, color, wave pattern, etc.) and will record information on everything they do to you in the salon.
If this doesn't happen, question it. Unless the reason is something like "we usually wait until the third visit with a client to begin a record," you should consider that the salon views you as disposable, and it will be up to you to maintain all records of what was done if you continue to go there.
So, there you have it: a few tips on why the client-stylist relationship can get complicated, and some important information on choosing a new salon and stylist. Remember, the bottom line is that you have to be your own advocate. Put in the effort and you will enjoy the results.
See also:
How to get a good haircut
How much to tip in hair salons
Scissor happy hairdressers and unhappy clients
Why do hairdressers always cut your hair too short?
Why many hairstylists prefer short hair