A Guide to Picking the Right Hair Stylist
The struggle is finally over! Gone are the days of searching far and wide for a reputable Afro hair salon. No more waiting hours to get your hair done regardless of booking an appointment. You don't have to compromise on quality or customer service anymore. Visiting an Afro hair salon doesn't have to be a stressful experience. You can have it all, customer service, professionalism and a skilful stylist.
We’ve teamed up with the founder of The Black Hair Book, Josephine Otuagomah to bring you her most important tips when trying to find the perfect hair salon. The Black Hair Book is a website designed to help you find your perfect, local Afro hair salon in London and take the stress out of salon visits. The site lists all the details of the best Afro salons depending on need, hair type and location. Read on to find out her recommended tips:
What are 3 qualities everyone should consider when looking for an ideal salon? Skill, Customer service and Environment. Skill is a no-brainer - if you’re going to a stylist, they should be good at what they do. Customer service - because no one likes to be treated poorly. Environment - Hygiene matters!
As the founder of TBHB, you’ve dealt with numerous salons. What would you advise someone who has no idea where to begin their salon search? Don’t take chances! Read reviews. Know what your non-negotiables are. When looking into a salon you should consider these key areas:Price, Speed, Environment, Customer Service and Skill figure out what matters most to you and let that guide your salon choice.
How do you know a salon is reputable if there aren’t many reviews online? A reputable salon should have a website and social media accounts. You can usually tell if a salon is good by the effort they put into maintaining a good image. Branding matters. But don’t just take them at face value, ask around and if possible, book a consultation. Consultations will give you a feel for the salon.
Afro-Caribbean salons are notorious for long waiting times, how can clients avoid this problem? I would always advise customers to book an appointment. The best times are daytime appointments during the week. There’s always a mad rush for weekend appointments, so if you can, book a weekday appointment. If your schedule does not permit weekdays then opt for the first appointment on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Alternatively, there are many great mobile stylists out there as well, so no need for waiting in a queue.
Are there any warning signs to look for when searching for the ideal salon? Salons with negative reviews – both written and word of mouth. A good tip is to call the salon and ask questions about their products and methods. If all they’re interested in is getting you in the chair without trying to understand your hair needs, that can be a red flag. Stylists won’t spend all day on the phone talking about your hair, but a short conversation can reveal the culture of the salon.
Is it worth compromising good customer service for quality hairstyling at a salon? That only works in the short-run. Eventually the poor service will deter you from the salon even if they are very skilled at their craft. People like to feel valued especially when parting with their money.
Is there a way to find out if a salon is good without wasting time or money on their services? Definitely! Look the salon up on theblackhairbook.com if they’re not listed, try Google reviews, and ask past clients. Some salons tag their past clients on their social media, slide in their DMs if you feel comfortable.
What would you do if you were unhappy with the end results of your hair at a new salon? I would tell the stylist what I didn’t like about the end result and ask if they could fix it. Show the stylist a picture if possible because sometimes the problem is poor communication on the customer’s part. An image should be able to help. However, if that fails, but they made a good effort to rectify the problem, I might consider them for a different hairstyle in the future.
What qualities do you look for when looking for a permanent go-to salon? All the key rating points on our website; Price, Environment, Skill, Customer Service and Speed. The first four are my personal non-negotiables.
How do you go about choosing a freelance stylist when there’s so much choice and variation in price and quality of work? A good freelance stylist will have an Instagram portfolio of their work. Some even have their own websites. Get in touch with people they have styled in the past. The freelance market is a fickle one with stylists charging anything from £45 - £100+ for braids. I would recommend doing a price and skill comparison. Cheapest isn’t always worst and most expensive isn’t always best. I also just ask people at random. I’ve found an amazing hairstylist for short hair by asking a lady I saw in Tesco once.
What inspired you to start The Black Hair Book? Frustration. I was fed up of always having to ask friends to recommend good salons/stylists to do my hair. The tipping point was when I tried a local salon in 2016. I had been searching for a stylist to do Senegalese twists for a few weeks. I met a lady on the train with the same hairstyle and asked her where she got her hair done. I booked an appointment with the salon and although my hair turned out great, the service was abysmal! The frustration from that experience propelled me to set up The Black Hair Book – to provide others with enough information to make an informed decision before making a hair appointment.
If you had to summarise your experience in the hair industry in 3 words, what would they be? Challenging, rewarding and exciting!If you're a stylist or a hair salon interested in partnering with ASC, join the Ambassador program and earn yourself some coins. Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Find your perfect salon at The Black Hair Book here.