There are so many horror stories of clients' hair goals being undermined by their stylist, like the time that trim turned into a serious cut (it's happened to all of us). Perhaps you have boycotted the hair salon, or maybe your visits are few and far between, but in the event that you do need to see a stylist it is helpful to know the signs that a client needs to interrupt the service, and what are the questions you should be asking.  In-the-chair hair disasters come quickly and suddenly. Sometimes you blink and realize half your fringe is on the floor. We must arm ourselves with the knowledge to know the cues to look for when visiting a stylist. Tracey Ducksworth, owner of Honey B Hair Salon near Atlanta, shares stories she has heard from clients over the years. Here are her top cues to look for when visiting a new stylist.

1. Your stylist doesn’t educate you on heat styling

If opting for a heat style, take a quick glance to see if their flat iron has a temperature gage. They should use 400 degrees or less, a heat protectant every time, and give a recommendation for how often you should or should not heat style. For example, no more than two flat iron services per year is best for fine, fragile, kinky hair. If the stylist does not volunteer this info, it is time to speak up now!

2. You feel they don't know about natural hair, it is a wrap!

After your service you will be unhappy and will need to embrace it or address it either with that stylist or another stylist. You need to choose someone who will not just go along with what you want but will also give suggestions of techniques and products to make your hair healthier. So there is a lot to pay attention to. On top of these cues here are some proactive ways to prevent a hair disaster. 

3. Your expectations are not met

Before you even walk into the salon, take some time to think about what you want from the service. What is most important to you regarding your hair. Is the health of your hair most important, length, using organic products, salon cleanliness, etc.? Know what you are looking for, that way when you see your needs displayed, you know if you have found a match.

4. Your consultation didn't go well

This brief time period prior to the service is not just a time for the service provider to discover your needs, but it is also your time to discover whether the stylist is capable and willing to meet your needs. This session involves you telling the stylist what you want, being as specific as possible. It is important to know that there is a language that hairdressers speak, which you may not know and therefore communication may be an issue. Bring photos along with your verbal descriptions to effectively articulate what you want. Then, be an open listener to the stylist. Listen beyond her words, listen to her passion. Listen to know why she is in this business. This alone may give you most of what you need to know. If she communicates that she loves natural hair, loves women, and loves this business, you are on the right track.

Then, observe whether she is capable of performing what you need. Ask her for some photos of her work or ask her when was the last time she performed the style or service you are requesting. You as the consumer are welcome to ask as many questions as you please. High-end salons may have a charge for consultations that span beyond 15 min. but this cost will be well worth it, as it ensures peace of mind for you and clarity for your service provider.

If you are left unsure, undecided, or do not have peace after this consultation or after the onset of the service, then kindly communicate that you appreciate his or her time, but will explore other options. This entire transaction will require patience, confidence, and assertiveness to be effective. Do the work before hand to be completely prepared!

Have you ever interrupted your salon service?