> In recent years we and others in the industry feel that british hairsalons have really upped their game. Though this doesn’t make it any less of a daunting experience. Here is a few tips on finding the perfect salon / stylist for you…

> Are you after a change?

If you are after a change, check online for pictures. We use pinterest (www.pinterest.com) Just type a key word eg; “balayage” and save any pictures you like.

> Where can you find a new salon?

Check online (yell.com) and speak to family and friends. Make a list of 2 or 3 salons that take your fancy:  Book in for consultation with the one the stands out the most. Its industry standard for salons to consult free of charge. It is a good idea to touch base with your stylist first and check you pair up well.

How will you know if this salon is right for you?

When you arive, are you made to feel welcome? This is the perfect time to check you are comfortable with the way the salon runs. Have a look around, how do the other customers seem?

 > How will you know if this stylist is right for you?

During your consultation, first and foremost you want your stylist to have a good set of ears. Tell them about your hair desires and struggles. If you have pictures, show them and ask for an opinion. Are you happy with that opinion? Please note a good stylist will intervene if they think you are making a mistake. This should be backed up with their reasons why and maybe an alternative idea.

> Are you thinking colour?

As well as discussing your requirements, also run through your previous colour history as accuratley as possible. Missing anything out may cause unforseen problems that could become costly and time consuming. Being as clear as possible may not prohibit the end result, your stylist will be able to get you there without any scares.

> What questions should you expect to answer?

Listen to your stylists questions. Are they asking about your previous colours? Are they interested in how you wear your hair day to day? Were you asked about your lifestyle, the time you have to style in the morning, your hair products, colour history? All salons will have their own personalised consultation techniques, however plenty of questions is universal.

> Are they listening to you?

Is your stylist listening to you in regards to what you are saying or are they just trying to get you to book in asap and get back to their coffee? A stylist that cares will put you first and couldn’t care less about a cold coffee.

> When will you be told the price?

 A consultation is a good time to get an accurate price for the service you desire. Many colour jobs (as well as other services) are taylor made to work with your hair. What looks like a simple job might turn out more expensive than you thought. However the reverse is also true, and you could be in for a nice surprise when quoted. A good stylist will ask you what your hair budget is and give you a realistic option as to what can be done for what price.

> What are these tests your stylist keeps talking about?

Tests, make sure your stylist is concerned about how your service might affect your hair condition. some services might not be available to you at first due to the work involved or the condition of your hair, a stylist who cares knows when to say no. A stylist who wants money in the till will do anything you ask even if its not achievable or if it will damage your hair beyond repair. Be warned of this.

The type of tests your stylist might do: 

 > Skin Test: This is a dab of colour on your skin, this is to be kept dry and left for 48 hours. This will make sure that we are safe to use our colour serviceas you could be allergic or sensitive. This is very important as colour allergies can be deadly.

 > Elasticity Test: This is a test done on wet hair (or a section of wet hair) were your stylist pulls a single strand to see how well it forms back to its original shape. If it ends up stretching too much your stylist may suggest a treatment regime or home care that will help improve your condition. This is not to get you to spend more money. This is to make sure your hair gets to the optimal condition.

 > Strand Test: This test is done by cutting a small selection of strands out of the back of your hair (don’t worry you won’t miss them) and then doing either a colour test on the strands, your stylist will use different colour combinations or shades to see what will work on your hair for the desired look. Or maybe a stress test using high level bleach to see how far they can punish your hair without damaging the condition beyond repair.

> What should you do after the consultation?

If through this process you don’t feel comfortable, you weren’t listened to, feel uninspired or questioning the stylits capabilities. It’s time to try another salon on your list untill you find your perfect fit.   Good Luck  ~ Sam Brannon.