Have you ever felt like you would rather learn to maintain your own natural hair than to leave it at the hands of a hairstylist? *raising hand* Well I certainly have. I don't want to get into salon bashing (because there are great natural hair stylists out there), but I have had some bad natural hair salon experiences in the past.
As discouraging as bad salon experiences with my naturally coily hair have been, I'm thankful for being 'pushed' to learn how to do my own hair. Having said that, there are still some hair treatments that I would rather leave to a natural hairstylist. Either because I need a second opinion, or I just don't have the time. For those who are looking for a natural hair stylist:
- Ask around for recommendations or search online for highly rated natural hairstylists. The best determinant of a good stylist is hearing from his or her clients. For me personally, it helps when the client actually has natural hair, or even my type 4 coily hair. Knowing that a hair stylist has worked on my type of hair before gives me the confidence to trust that the hairstylist can too work on mine... if needed.
- Opt for a consultation. You are essentially building a relationship with your hair stylist, and every relationship begins with getting to know one another. Taking advantage of a consultation gives the stylist a chance to 'learn' your hair, hear your concerns, and answer your questions. In turn, it gives you a chance to see if this stylist fits the bill.
- Know your hair! When you know what your hair likes or doesn't like, it makes it that much easier to determine if a stylist is right for you. If your hair cannot take direct heat, for example, don't settle for a natural hair stylist who is direct heat happy. Do you know your hair type? Density? Texture? Some natural hair salons display client photos of natural hair styles that were performed on clients who actually had relaxed hair. So if you're basing your natural hair styling decisions on a collection of client photos, remember that hairstyles look different from person to person, depending on the texture of the hair (i.e. coily, curly, straight, texturized, etc.) Knowing enough about your natural hair will help you choose the best styles for your hair.
Take your time and start your search early--when you don't need a stylist. Otherwise, you're taking a gamble and your hair may face the consequences. Do your research and your hair will thank you for it.