How to Finding A Good Natural Hair Stylist
Finding a good stylist or salon is generally a difficult task but finding a natural stylist can be almost impossible. Not to say there are no good natural stylists out there but with much of the industry catering to processed hair, many stylists follow the money trail. There are a few key things to look for in a natural stylist or salon before you entrust your curly locks to someone else.
Supportive not Complacent
There is a fine line between a supportive stylist and a complacent one. The need for a supportive stylist mainly comes from the fact that many women are accustomed to processed hair so may have issues with other hair. At the very best, an uninformed stylist may just not know how to care for curly and kinky hair and at the very worst, they may chastise you for having the audacity to go against the norm. What you want is a stylist who appreciates your texture, knows how to care for your texture and encourages you to continue your personal hair journey.
You will want a stylist who will help you but not simply agree with you out of fear. Part of the reason you pay a stylist is for their unique ideas and expertise that you do not have. In addition to support you should find someone who will respectfully challenge ideas that diverge from your goals such as growth and health.
While you may go to separate salons for different services, why not find a stylist who can do it all? This is not a must-have for a good natural stylist but with so many styles including twists, braids, extensions, blow drying and more having the same person perform has its benefits. How many times have you gone to the braiders and asked them to use certain products, watch your edges or loosen the braids? Your own stylist who is well versed in your natural hair will know what your trouble spots are and that your main concern maybe to avoid tight braids.
Check the Product Arsenal
While products are not everything they will help to tell you about the salon and stylist a bit. Some naturals do not mind using non-natural products but for those who care products are very important. A stylist who creates certain products by hand such as oil treatments and mud masks is most likely knowledgeable about their effects and who to use them on. The level of personal research versus what they learned in school shows a level of dedication to their natural brand.
Even if they use commercial products, a quick peek at what is on display will be a good sign of things to come. Is there Carol’s Daughter and Oyin Handmade on display or nothing but Mizani and Clariol? All great product lines but just serving two different sets of clientele for the most part.
Check the Clientele
No, your stylist does not have to do Beyonce’s hair for them to be fabulous. They do need to have a mixed and/or similar clientele to really seal the deal. That is not to say that if you go to a primarily African-American salon versus a Dominican salon your hair will be in better hands. Focus on the hair textures and types. If you have a wavy, coarse texture you could very well go to an Asian salon. If you have very thick, kinky natural hair and the clientele consists of women with processed hair and hair extensions this may not be the salon for you.
Following the ideas above of the supportive stylist you will also want an atmosphere of support through clients as well. Talking about hair is apart of the salon experience so do not limit yourself by only being able to speak with your stylist.
Reputation Is Everything
Finally, reputation is key. Chances are there are some Yelp reviews, forum posts, google maps commentary or something out there about the natural hair stylist you hope to use. Use these to become more informed about stylists. Also, ask women whose hair you like if they use a certain stylist. It is fine for a stylist at smaller or at home salons to not have much online traffic. A stylist with nothing to hide should not outright deny the idea of a reference from a current client. A happy client is usually more than happy to boast about their stylist.