7 tips for choosing a natural hair stylist

I am a huge proponent of doing your own hair at home. Sometimes you need a quick style and the last minute, so you should at least have one go to style that you can do well in a pinch.

woman with natural hair done by stylist

But if you enjoy having someone else do you hair, or you just want to be pampered every once in a while – here are some tips for choosing the right stylist to take care of your natural hair.

1. Find a natural hair specialist

Naturally curly or kinky hair behaves very differently from straight hair or relaxed hair. You want a stylist who is very well versed in caring for natural hair and considers it their specialty.

It can be hard to keep up with the latest products, techniques, and hair care advice. Look for a stylist who is dedicated to knowing as much as possible about curly hair care.

natural hair specialist

Check out their website and social media pages before booking an appointment. Do they have photos or videos of their work on multiple different hair textures and lengths?

Even if a stylist is capable of giving you the style that you want – a blowout, twist out, silk press, etc. – if they don’t specialize in caring for natural hair you may find that the methods they use to achieve your style are very damaging.

Too much heat, rough combing, improper detangling, bad product selection, the list goes on. There are many things a stylist could do wrong to cause damage to your hair, so finding a specialist who cares about the health of your hair will ensure that you get the style you want without hindering your long term hair goals.

2. Request a consultation

Set up an appointment with your stylist to discuss what you’re looking for before you make an appointment for an actual style. Give the stylist the opportunity to examine your hair and scalp and give you an assessment of the health of your hair and what they recommend for you.

black woman gets natural hair consultation

Ask questions about what products they use, their stance on trimming, hair growth, salon policies, and anything else you might need to know. Pay attention to their attitude – are they helpful and willing to teach you how to care for your hair? Or are they rude or dismissive?

You should feel comfortable asking questions and a friendly stylist will also make it easier for you to speak up if you’re uncomfortable with the style or service.

3. Don’t get a trim on the first visit

I like to get comfortable with my stylist before we bring out the scissors. Let’s get to know each other a little first. Now if your hair is severely damaged, you might not be able to wait until the next visit.

hair color done on natural hair

Either way, don’t let your stylist just whip out the scissors and start cutting. Have a conversation about what your goals are, where the damage is, how much needs to be cut, etc.

What shape do you want for your hair’s hemline? Do you like blunt ends cut straight across? Or a softer U or V shape? Ask for a mirror if you’d like to watch while your hair is being trimmed.

4. Talk about heat

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve gotten heat damage at a salon. If maintaining healthy hair is a concern, please have a conversation about heat before your appointment starts. It is a commonly held belief among many stylists that very high heat is necessary for optimal results.

black woman with heat styled hair

The truth is, just because you have kinky or coarse hair, does not mean that you need to turn your flat iron up to 450. Anything over 400 is almost guaranteeing that you will have heat damage. High heat is normally used to cover up improper technique and a lack of adequate moisture in your hair.

Your stylist should not be going over and over the same section of hair with the flat iron in order to get it straight. Look for a stylist who uses heat in moderation and who will let you know if your hair is not currently healthy enough for a straightened style.

5. Speak up

This one is really near and dear to my heart because we are often so afraid of being rude or confrontational that we just sit there and let someone ruin our hair and then go home and cry about it later.

woman gets hair trimmed at salon

I once had a stylist who tangled my hair while shampooing, then pulled through it with a tiny comb to detangle. Once she was done I had to cut 6 inches of hair off. I was livid, but really it was my own fault because I knew she was shampooing it wrong, and I knew she needed a bigger comb but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to tell her how to do her job.

If you are uncomfortable with the methods your stylist is using, stop them and say something. Once your appointment is over it will be too late and you’ll be spending months trying to repair the damage. It’s not worth it.

This is why having a consultation is so important. It gives you an opportunity to set your expectations and if you don’t think the stylist is a good fit, you don’t have to make an appointment.

black woman with braids

It’s your hair and you have to live with it, so don’t be afraid to speak up if something is not going the way you expected.

6. Ask about their policies

You should know what to expect at your appointment. During the consultation is a good time to ask about their policies. Do they double (triple) book? How long should you expect your appointment to last? Is there a deposit required or a cancellation fee?

black hair salon

Each stylist has their own set of rules for their salon. Make sure you read through the information on their website and ask questions if you have any. That way there won’t be any surprises on the day of your appointment.

7. Ask for referrals, but do your own research

Choosing the right stylist can be a very personal decision. What’s important to someone else may not be important to you. While it’s great to get a recommendation from a friend or co-worker, make sure you check the place out for yourself to make sure it’s a good fit.

black woman does hair care research

Once you find a great stylist, they will become an invaluable resource and an important part of your hair care journey. Remember, even with a stylist, it’s still important that you know how to care for your hair between appointments. If you have questions or need help, you can always email me at contact@indaranaturals.com.


1 comment

I appreciate your tip when you told us that we shouldn’t just let our stylist pull out their scissors and immediately get down to trimming since we should have a conversation first about our hair goals and the type of damage we’re dealing with among others. I wanted to give myself a makeover, so I was thinking of cutting my hair short to drastically change my appearance. I’ll keep this in mind while I look for a hair salon nearby that I can contact for an appointment next week. http://www.salonkeiji.com/

Elina Brooks March 21, 2023

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