So I was watching an episode of Tabatha’s Salon Takeover on Bravo (love that show!). For those that aren’t familiar with the program, the show consists of a high end hair dresser named Tabatha who visits a different salon each episode. The owners ask for her to help them make their salon better. The salons that she visits usually have either mediocre stylists, bad management, filthy environment, etc. or all of the above. Tabatha takes over the salon for a week and basically makes the stylists go through a hair dresser bootcamp. There is also renovation of the salons.
Anyway, Tabatha visited one salon where one of the hairdressers reminded me of the bad experiences I’ve had with hairdressers when I was younger that scarred me from having any hair services for a long time. The stylist’s name was Mazi, who also was very poor at communicating with her clients. She also has a habit of flirting with the males, actually asking a client for a kiss if he liked what she did to his hair! One client came in and wanted to blue highlights. Mazi declined the service saying that it would not look good on her. The client was persistent on having blue hair. Mazi then said she couldn’t because she did not have blue color. Another stylist lent her blue dye and when the coloring was done, nothing had changed on the client. The client had jet black hair and I’m not sure if Mazi bothered to bleach her hair or not. It wasn’t shown but it may have been edited out. Mazi went on to complain about the hair and it came off as if she was trying to blame and put guilt on the client, which the client expressed to Tabatha and the lead stylist.
The client ended up having blue extensions put in by the lead stylist but seeing how Mazi treated her client reminded me of the experiences I used to have with salons when I was younger.
I used to go walk in places that cost about $15 for a haircut. I think I sometimes brought in a picture and would show them what I kind of wanted and that was it. No consultation, no conversation throughout the cut. It was just all very awkward and I wanted in and out as quickly as possible. I actually thought that people who did a quick job meant that they were more experienced. Now it takes about 1 hour 15 minutes for my shampoo, cut, and style and I don’t even think about it because I feel comfortable. I actually don’t mind staying longer!
Back to Mazi and her making a client feel bad. I remember I went to get my haircut and after the cut was done, I wasn’t satisfied. My bangs were a bit too long or just something minor like that, but I clearly could hear the stylist complain under her breath! I guess you kind of get what you pay for and can’t expect to ask for too much if the cut only costs $15. It made me so upset. I basically paid to be in a bad mood. It doesn’t matter how much a service costs. A client/customer should never be made to feel bad about themselves, even for free! After that, I didn’t get my hair cut again for over three years.
Then when I moved, I decided it was time to change my hair since everything else was changing. I found this great place and stylist through the internet. I was offered beverages. I’ve never been offered beverages before, sweet! The stylist’s name was Rachel and she gives a fabulous head massage! I went in not sure what I wanted but I gave her a vague idea. She knew exactly what would suit me and worked her magic. I loved it! Unfortunately, it was in downtown and I couldn’t keep up with the costs and annoyance of driving and parking. It cost me $10 to park for two hours AND sometimes I couldn’t even find a spot in the nearby lots! I can’t go too far into the city to find other places to park because I don’t know my way around downtown and dealing with the one way streets, I wouldn’t be able to find my way back! My second appointment there, I had to actually cancel because I could not find parking. THEN I accidentally ran a red light while stressed out about parking and being lost. Lucky for me, I never got anything in the mail about me running a red light. After that day, I said NO MORE. I can’t go through all this each time I need to get a haircut.
So, I went back to the internet and found another place that I thought would be okay. The place actually didn’t have many reviews and their website is a myspace page. I decided to go there because I thought it was cheap. There was no information on their rates online but one of their few reviewers said that it cost $60 for her and her boyfriend to get their hair cuts. I figured it would be about $40 dollars then? Yeah yeah, not good to assume. I took the gamble anyway and went ahead and scheduled an appointment. I should have seen the warning signs when the receptionist said that they were open everyday and stylists just work whenever they want to, followed by a careless laugh, when I called to set an appointment. Being that I’m still very ignorant when it comes to hair, I didn’t catch it. I set up an appointment with the stylist that was available for the time and day that I wanted. That’s how I pick my stylists really. I just find whoever is available for the days I’m available.
The place was decent. I was offered a beverage, comfy feeling decor mixed with an industrial touch. The salon was very quiet and empty. There was just me and one other woman. The hairdresser, Laura, actually wasn’t too bad personality wise. She was nice and I liked her. I can’t say I feel the same about how she cut my hair. Her consultation wasn’t too detailed (but I had no clue at the time). I gave her this picture of Heidi Klum:
She saw the picture and started throwing the word “volume” around. She said she could do a cut like that and using some method that would add “volume”. Volume volume volume. When most of hear volume, we think, good! That’s exactly what I thought and Heidi’s hair is voluminous, so I was confident she was going to do a great job… wrong! I seriously ended up getting a cut looking like this:
Yeah… that looks nothing like Heidi’s hair! It was curvy along the face and fell straight down the neck. I hated it. It was nothing like I expected. I of course was trying to be polite and pretended that I liked it since I figured it couldn’t be fixed to something I’d like more anyway.
The cut ended up being $50! I wouldn’t mind that cost if I loved the way my hair turned out but I was not happy with it. When I got home, I found out that a small section of hair had not been cut! It wasn’t anything extremely noticeable. Maybe 20-30 strand of hair, but still! Perhaps it’s my fault for not catching it during the end of haircut examination, but can you blame me? Most people just see their overall new hair and try to adjust to it. They don’t really notice the technical stuff until later. It should be the stylist’s job to check to see if everything is even and whatnot. Needless to say, I never came back!
I actually don’t think anyone even noticed that I got my hair cut. Well, those close to me could tell there was a slight difference, but I took the extra effort to make my hair look as unchanged as possible with products and teasing.
The search for the perfect stylist and salon was back on! I tried asking some of my friends, the ones that are obsessed with their appearance, on what salon they go to. The place was downtown, but they are located in a plaza that has a parking lot. That made it worth taking a look at least. It was only $35 but when I looked up their information online, I wasn’t too pleased. They had a myspace and the photos of the salon didn’t look too pleasing. The products they use are high end drugstore products, or low end salon products, however one sees it. The decor was extremely outdated and 80′s tacky looking. Some of the leather chairs had holes, rips, and stains! Pass…
I then found a place that I should have gone to in the first place. For some reason I didn’t? I think the place intimidated me at first… or something. They have many fabulous reviews and a professionally and tastefully designed website. There’s a menu available online that shows all their services and pricing. A cut was priced at $46-$70 I guess based on the stylist and your hair. I figured a cut would fall somewhere in the middle, maybe $50. I scheduled an appointment through their online system which I find is really convenient. I picked the stylist available for the date and time frame I was available as usual. I wasn’t too crazy about having to give my credit card information and the whole may be charged partial price of services if I don’t show up part O_O. I don’t plan on bailing out but who knows, shit happens!
The website had a section where they display their staff. After finding out who my stylist was, I saw her picture and read her mini bio. I think it’s great to have a website and display information on the hair dressers because it gives first time clients like me an idea of who will be working with our hair. I also googled her name and salon to find out any reviews on her as a stylist. The only review I found that mentioned her, referred to her while she was an assistant helping another stylist. I was a tiny bit worried about having someone who doesn’t have years of experience, but I was later reassured.
The salon staff were very friendly and my stylist, Julia, was great. I wouldn’t have guessed she was a new stylist because she was very confident and seemed like she knew exactly what she was doing. I guess that salon trains their assistants very well! She gave me the best consultation ever. She was extremely detailed, in and out. She made sure she knew my hair routine, what products I have and use, what tools I have, the time I have to invest in my hair, and every process she was going to do with my hair. I showed her a picture, and this time, I also made sure to show what I DON’T want as well to ultimately avoid any confusion, learned from my previous hair experience. I made sure that I did not want what she ended up calling the “mushroom hair style”.
I also said I wanted a side fringe, but admitted that I’ve never had a side fringe before. She told me that since I’ve never had one before, she would make the side fringe longer and thinner to see how I’d adjust. If I wanted it shorter after a few days, I could come back and get it cut as she provides all her clients free fringe cuts. Cool!
Julia talked about all the products she used on my hair and what they did. She was of course trying to sell me products as it’s her job, but I never felt pressured into having to buy anything if I didn’t want to. I didn’t end up getting anything as some of you who have watched my hair care collection know, I have a lot of stuff but I hardly use it! I think it’s grown a little since then too.
The stylist and salon atmosphere made me very comfortable. I learned from Tabatha’s Salon Takeover that yelling across a salon is unprofessional and bad. I noticed the receptionist handing a note to the stylist instead of having a conversation in front of me. I guess that’s good, but of course I couldn’t help but feel self conscious and nosey, thinking that it’s something bad and about me
I ended up getting a shampoo, mild head massage, cut, blow dry, and some iron work all for $46. I didn’t expect to be paying the minimum so I was happy AND it was cheaper than that $50 hair cut I got last time which left me unsatisfied. I don’t feel bad about the price because I think I actually get a lot for what I pay for and being that I don’t color my hair, which is costly no matter where you go, I can afford to invest a little more into a cut. With the cuts I got in grade school, I didn’t get shampooed or massaged. Just water in a bottle spritzed on my hair to get it wet and a blow dry. That’s it. No styling or iron work either. Oh, and don’t forget the customer service that made me depressed for the day!
Before I left, I also got a gift certificate towards a free brow wax because I was a first time client. Fantastic! I left feeling great. Great customer service, great cut. I was very excited as I felt that I’ve finally found a stylist that I’ll be having a long relationship with.
The next day, I found that the small side fringe bothered me, so I scheduled an appointment for a bang trim for the following week. Surprisingly, Julia spent a lot of time on my bang trim. She actually took the time and effort to slowly make my bangs thicker and shorter in increments to make sure that I was comfortable with the thickness and length. I felt modest since it was free so I didn’t want to take too much of her time but she insisted. She then took the time to show me how to style my bangs with product since I have a cowlick that interferes with it’s positioning (Ha, how embarrassing). She also showed me, in detail, how to style my new fringe with a flat iron since I just got a GHD. She’s great
I found my current stylist and salon while I was also watching Tabatha’s Salon Takeover. I know it’s cheesy, but the show has actually taught me a lot as a rookie hair person, on what to expect from a quality salon and hair dresser as a client. I had no idea that even though hair dressers may have the same legal certifications, they don’t have the same knowledge since there are those that continue their education to learn other techniques and and styles. There are videos from Tabatha on Bravo that give advice to clients regarding salon cleanliness, consultations, being greeted, departmentalized salons, hair color, and choosing the right products. It’s beneficial for people like me, and maybe you
I really wish I could provide the names of the salons if it didn’t jeopardize my privacy! Sorry!