How to Choose a New Hair Salon (3)

Hair salon client with rollers in her hair
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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 you are observing, you should also take a moment to look at the premises closely. Are the work stations clean and tidy? Even behind them and underneath? Are there jars with sanitizer liquid (the blue stuff) and is it clear, not cloudy? Do the brushes at the workstations have hair in them?
If you see signs that the place is not being kept clean (there isn’t someone cleaning up behind the stylists, or they don’t clean up after themselves) or if there is signs of long-term lapses in thorough cleaning (such as accumulation of dirt and dust behind fixtures, etc.) you should consider that the concern with hair salon sanitation and hygiene may be lacking.
This is doubly important when you’re talking about the condition of the tools and supplies at a workstation. The combs and brushes used are supposed to be cleaned between each and every 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 a while, you will have gotten some positive impressions of the salon and the staff working there. If you feel it worthwhile, ask the receptionist (or someone who can help you) if you can speak with the salon manager or the lead stylist if she is available.
At this point, explain again that you are looking for a new “salon” and that you like what you’ve seen and would like to know how best to begin with the salon in order to develop 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 newcomers.
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 in the hair salon, because 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.
Which is the final thing to pay attention to: a client record should be begun and kept current when you go to 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 a record should be started. The hair stylist will want some personal contact information, and make notes on your hair (texture, color, wave pattern, etc.) and will note information on everything she does 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 a few tips on why the client / hair stylist relationship gets so 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.
Stacy - Hair Stylist     ©
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