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  • How to find the perfect hairdresser

    11 posts, 9 voices, 1303 views, started Jan 5, 2009

    Posted on Monday, January 5, 2009 by Christopher Hopkins

    •  



    • Aquamarine
      Offline

      Finding the perfect hairdresser

      Finding a good hairdresser is not an easy task. Clients have told me they would rather find new gynecologist than a new hairdresser. My advice is to ask a woman with a great haircut who cuts her hair. You know who they are. Someone you just know would have a good hairdresser. Get the name of the stylist and the salon. Then schedule a consultation. A consultation is often free and good way to "try out" new locales.  

      Often people go to the stylist in a salon with the best haircut. The problem with that is that she didn't cut her own hair, someone else did. If you think one of the staff in your salon has a great cut, ask who cuts her hair. Hairdressers expect good haircuts too, and they know who does the best cutting in the salon.  

      If you're not sure if your hairdresser is best for you, try this:

      •Brainstorm. Sit and think of women who always look great and write down their names then email or call them. They will be flattered I assure you.  

      •Check the yellow pages. Read the ads under Beauty Salons in your area. If you're in a very small town, check in nearby towns if you've had no luck with the locals. Also check the nearest big city. Write down salons that appeal to you, not just by name, but also by the image of their ad. You are building a resource for your image here. It's an important task.  

      •Internet shop. Search under beauty salons, salons, salonspas, makeovers, and haircutting. Try words like top, award-winning, and best.  

      •Check out sales associates in better apparel stores. Generally, these folks are more fashion forward and might have leads to someone they'd recommend. If you see someone in the mall or on the street who looks great and has a fantastic cut, stop her. Ask her where she goes. Write down the name of the stylist and the salon immediately and schedule that consultation.

      If you're very serious about finding the perfect hairdresser, try writing a personal letter to the owner or manager of a salon. Just calling will usually result in an answer such as "all our stylists are great." Explain your situation, your style, and that you want to start becoming a regular to that salon. Ask who they honestly would recommend for a woman with your hair type or situation. I want someone who listens. I want someone who will tell me what they think will be best. I want someone very creative and artistic. I want someone who does very precise work. If someone took the time to personally write me, it's likely I'm going to have someone contact her with the name of the stylist I think would work best. If you find you're not comfortable with that stylist, explain to the owner or manager why not. Then try someone else. We are here to work with you.  

      Why do I always end up with the same haircut?  

      Occasionally I'll find a guest in my chair who tells me that no matter where she goes, she always leaves the salon looking the same. I have a pretty good idea why. The job of the hairdresser is to meet your needs with a flattering hairstyle. If you tell the professional your needs (i.e. soft wispy bangs, some hair around your neck, height on top, and you like it away from your face...) chances are they are going to give that to you. And chances are it is what you've always had.  

      Some have worn the same style for a quarter century or more. I believe there are two reasons. Either she's afraid of change, she knows what works, or both. In the second half of life, possibilities are reduced and probabilities increase. That's life. There is also the possibility that within your parameters, there is only one realistic style to fit your needs. There is nothing wrong with that. That can be your signature. Any appropriate look for you done well will be attractive. No need to reinvent your own wheel if it works for you and makes you happy. But even if you fear change, it is still painless to go around for a few consultations. If they're not free, often the cost is credited toward the cut.  

      Some women, on the other hand, are constantly changing their look. My good client Louise used to have full, dark, curly hair. I loved cutting her hair as no matter what I did, it just fell into place. I'd create a different haircut at every appointment. Long, short, layered, bobbed, curly, or straight. She has never come to me and told me what to do. She just closes her eyes and lets me do whatever I think is best. At the end, she opens her eyes, smiles, thanks me, and on she goes. We do it again every five weeks.  

      But like all of us, Louise has aged. Her hair has thinned and the curl has straightened. Though her husband likes her hair long, Louise will never have long hair again. But rather than hold onto lifeless stringy hair, we cut it short. It's a look—sassy, fun, and confident. We adapt to her new hair rather than force it to do something it used to. She, to me, is the epitome of aging gracefully. She accepts what she cannot change. So we don't do a totally new look every cut as we did ten years ago. This is one of life's beauty lessons. Find what works and embrace it as good. Yearning for what used to be will only lead to disappointment.  

      Should I bring in a photo?

      I love it when women bring in a few photos of styles they admire. It helps give me an idea of how they'd like their hair to look. I say a few photos. When a woman comes in with a file folder of neatly arranged images that she's collected over the years, complete with arrows and side notes, I know I'm in for trouble.  

      A photograph can help you express how you'd like your hair to feel. Perhaps the photo is wispy, or long, or cropped very short. This gives us an idea of the direction you'd like to go. But expecting a stylist to make your hair look exactly like the photo is not often realistic, especially if you don't look nor have the hair of the person in the photo.  

      Over the years certain celebrity looks have captured the hearts of women everywhere. Dorothy Hammel, Farrah Fawcett, Meg Ryan, Jennifer Anniston, Jessica Simpson. Most often the photograph is of a woman under age 30. If I were to show her the exact same haircut and style on a woman over 45, she'd say... “Oh no, I don't like THAT haircut.”  

      Avoid bringing in a photo of a woman who has a lower hairline and thicker hair than you. Many women have thinning hair in the temple and front, which makes it virtually impossible to recreate the look in a magazine.  

      Another idea is to bring in photos of haircuts you have liked and not liked on yourself. I get this frequently. It helps me figure out where you're at. Hopefully it's a realistic consultation, and you're not bringing in a photo of you 20 years ago when your hair and face was 20 years younger. Recently a client brought in a selection of haircuts she has worn over the years. They were all the same. Short, layered, with "height" on top, tucked behind the ears, wispy bangs, and hair around the neck. Classic and appropriate. It was a good look for her, but she wanted another opinion. Because any suggestion of change made her start to shake, she left with the same cut. I told her this is a good look for her. If it works, it works.  

      What doesn't work is bringing in several photos and pointing to different elements of each one. "I like the bangs in this one, but the crown in this. I'd like it longer than this one, but I like how the hair goes forward on the sides in this..." This approach is a recipe for trouble. I can't tell you how many times I hear someone say, "I'd like that hairstyle, but with bangs." Its like, "I'd like those chocolate chip cookies, without the chocolate chips." If you want that hairstyle with bangs, it's not that hairstyle. I get where you're going, but you'll be disappointed with the results. It's best to find a plain cookie you like, rather than a chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate chip. They are two different recipes.  

      This approach is only topped by drawing pictures. When a woman is drawing pictures of how she'd like her hair, there's an excellent chance it's just not going to happen. I remember an attractive and mature woman with an exact idea of how she wanted her hair. She wanted to use no product and no tools—just a blow dryer when she absolutely had to. She wanted the hair very blunt and inverted (shorter in the back longer on the sides) with face-framing layers. She had had her haircut like that years ago "in New York" and had never again found another stylist able to duplicate it.  

      What she didn't seem to grasp was that her hair had become wavier over the years. The gray hair around the temples was wiry, and some alterations of her expectations (such as use of a flat iron to straighten out the disobedient areas and products to add softness) were in order.  

      As she showed me her etchings, giving me precise directions as to how she wanted the look to be created, I realized I wasn't the right stylist for her. I am sure there is someone out there who could recreate her vision but it wasn't me. Finding the right hairdresser is more than just communication and cutting it's also about chemistry.  

      How to make photos work when consulting your hairdresser:
      •Choose photos of hair texture like yours and a hairline similar to yours.
      •Choose photos of real women rather than airbrushed and enhanced celebrities.
      •Realize most celebrity shots are after they've had a stylist spend much time on them.
      •Don't expect an exact replica of the cut in the photo, but a general feel of that look.
      •Avoid trying to show a cut, but add exceptions (i.e. like this, but with bangs, or like this, only longer).



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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          UK Girl wrote Jan 5, 2009
        • Christopher,
          I had the perfect all round hairdresser cut and colour but she retired and then after a few major mistakes – tiger stripe high lights and a brassy blonde look I decided to stop people in the street if I saw a good cut and colour – so now I have Mimi at Total Look in Fulham cut my hair perfectly – my hair is very straight so any mistake is highlighted ....... and the wonderful Bruno Lial does my colour at Paul Edmunds in Knightsbridge a lot of effort but I love my hair and people stop me and comment – it is my crowning glory ......... shoulder length blonde glossy hair !



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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          (華娃娃) ChinaDoll wrote Jan 5, 2009
        • Thank you.  Great info.  My husband is a retired hairdresser.  It is great that I pay him differently (wink) and the problem is I cannot freely say how I want my hair for he has his own interests in me.  I do agree with all your nice comments.  Sometimes, hairdressers do not want to risk of losing a client, so keep the hairstyle the same.  Unless the clients openly insist of change, still, they do not want drastic change to clients’ hair.  Hope this make sense.



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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Trudy S wrote Jan 5, 2009
        • This is incredibly helpful.  I guess I have to stop hoping someone is just going to be able to make my hair look good without some work from me!!



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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Christopher Hopkins wrote Jan 7, 2009
        • Well, “look good” is relative.  I could make people look FABULOUS but what good is it if they can’t do it themselves?  So, alas, you cut it so they can do it themselves.  

          Kind of like decorating. You can make a room look stunning, but if they don’t get it, or it doesn’t fit how they live, it really isn’t doing the client any service.

          That’s why I love doing TV or Magazine makeovers.  It’s all about no holds barred.



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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Trudy S wrote Jan 7, 2009
        • I saw my stylist today and told her to just go for it.  Surprise - it looks great!!  Thanks for the direction.



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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Jenni0811 wrote Jan 7, 2009
        • I usually have the difficulty of finding a stylist who will “think outside the box“...which is where I usually live! I am not able to pay mega bucks for hair services every 4-6 weeks...this is probably the reason.



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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Lisa Middlesworth wrote Jan 7, 2009
        • Great information, thanks for sharing this. I sure could use a hairdresser about right now.



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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Christopher Hopkins wrote Jan 13, 2009
        • There are talented stylists who “think outside the box” who do not charge a fortune.  But it doesn’t take long for them to raise prices!  It only makes sense.  They‘re building their career and their, hopefully, financial stability.  By learning their craft and catering to their clients’ needs, soon they get to a price that not everyone can justify.  

          [Link Removed] 

          [Link Removed]

          (If you happen to be in Minnesota!


          Makeoverguy, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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