Friday, April 4, 2014

6 Questions you should ask

6 Questions you should ask 
Cosmetologist Before Becoming A Client

I went to cosmetology school 9 years ago. After spending over 1000 hours learning to cut, color, perm, relax, and set hair, I was prepared to pass the state board exams. Unfortunately, after all that time,  I still was not prepared to care for my transitioning strands. Cosmetology teaches its students the general theory of hair. It is up to the hairdresser to apply those lessons to their individual clients. Your prospective cosmetologist may have passed the state board exams, but they should also pass YOUR 1on 1 oral exam, before you allow them to touch your crowning glory.

1.       Are you familiar with the needs of natural hair?  Believe it or not, every cosmetologist has not had the distinct pleasure of working with kinky, coily, curly hair.  Some cosmetologist may jump at the idea of growing their client base regardless of  prior experience. While others may refer you to a relaxer. Be sure that whoever you choose can handle your  kinks with love and respect.

2.       Are you ok with using my preferred products or methods? When choosing a hairdresser, communication is key!  If you have unwavering preferences for your hair, speak up!  If you are picky about the products used on your strands, be sure to carry your choice products to the salon.  There are a few horror stories of naturals going into a salon for conditioner, and leaving with an unwanted texturizer.  Set clear expectations. Personally, I only finger detangle, and I will go so far as to ask the hairdresser to do the same.

3.       How Much will this Cost? Get a price quote ahead of time. Maintaining natural hair at the salon can be expensive. In general, when you get a price quote  while your hair is in a shrunken style, the hair dresser will quote you a higher price.  If you’re a curly girl on a budget, you may want to do some of the dirty work yourself, wash your hair, and show up to the salon ready to style. Tightly coiled hair isn’t  more difficult to style, but an inexperienced, or over booked hairdresser may see it as such. Don’t get hit with sticker shock. You may want to meet with your hairdresser ahead of time to work out important details like price.   

4.       Express concerns of heat, and manipulation damage:  Be adamant about avoiding damage.  Many hairdressers are so transfixed on getting your hair styled, they may forget about the more important things; like the overall health of your hair, being gentle,  and using low heat settings.  Before you take a seat in anyone’s chair, make sure they FULLY understand your needs, and concerns. If you feel like that message may have been lost in the midst of styling, be sure to reiterate your concerns in a kind manner. If the hair dresser is not hearing your pleas to be gentler, make noise. Is your hair too tight? Sizzling sounds, from the hot iron striking fear into your heart? Did your hairdresser reach for that Extra Small tooth comb?! Speak up curly girl. You are your own curly advocate!

5.       Talk in detail about your short term and long term hair goals:  Curly girls, Let me tell you a True Story. Want to hear it? Here it goes! I was walking down a busy shopping strip when I was approached by a hairdresser. Her chair was empty, and she was on the hunt for clients. As I walked passes her she shouted “Do You Want A Perm?!”. I looked at her, and kept walking, my fluffy ‘fro waving in the breeze…. Your hairdresser NEEDS to share your curly vision. If  the prospective hairdresser offers you a relaxer in the middle of your natural hair journey, that hairdresser is not for you! Be sure to talk in detail about, not only your current style, but your long term hair goals. If the prospective hairdresser does not share your visions, keep searching!

6.       Can you do this, or something like it? Bring visual aids.  I can’t tell you how many times I have walked into a salon, gave a detailed description of a hairstyle, and walked out with a completely different look. You know what they say; A picture is worth a thousand words. Bring a picture to help the hairdresser fully understand your concept. Now, as a hairdresser, I want to share with you ladies a common saying: I’m a Beautician, not a Magician. Work with experienced, recommended hairdressers, to achieve a variation of the desired look.