Many women who decide to go Natural are quite unsure of how to do it and whether they CAN do it all alone. It sounds scary and complicated but I promise you, thousands of women have done it before you and continue to do so. I'm one of them and while it was hard over eleven years ago, it has become an easier path because of all the knowledge, products and persons willing to help.
Despite all the help, many women who go natural still want a professional in their life to help them with their journey. Whether it is just for trims or for styling or even for maintenance like caring for Locs; some just want a stylist on board. Are natural hairstylists a thing an if so, where are they? Fret not, as they exist but not everyone who CLAIMS to do natural hair actually CAN DO natural hair. Here are some vital tips to find that special professional.
I have found some of the best professionals to work with simply by hitting up the folks closest to me. They are a wealth of information because either they know someone or they know someone who knows a natural stylist. Hit them up first.
Women on the street
I'm out-going so I have no qualms about asking total strangers questions. If you are the same or really want to find someone good, ask someone who's hair is laid and find out who they use. Now, they should be natural (of course) and look like they have healthy hair. Make sure it's not crochet braids or a weave/wig too (they are sometimes hard to tell) and start off by saying their hair is gorgeous and ask if they use a natural hair stylist. Simple as that.
Check out StyleSeat
A great resource of local talent is found right at StyleSeat where thousands of qualified stylists link their profiles so women such as yourself can find them. You can even book from their site and they even have reviews and pictures right on their profile.
We use Google for everything else so why not for a natural hair stylist? Don't knock it till you try it especially if you've run out of resources for finding one.
Call shops and not just natural hair shops
I found my natural hair stylist right in a Beauty Brands shop and I love Tiffany! She doesn't work in a natural hair shop but she's been taught from Ouidad and she actually teaches others about the various cutting techniques for curly/kinky/wavy hair.
Instagram / Facebook / Apps
Many stylists are advertising right on IG and you get to see their work and they offer sales and promotions from their pages. Simply do a search on IG looking for one in your area. You can find them on FB and even some apps specifically created for you to find stylists like the new App, Bantu App. Social media is one of the best place to find them and see their work right now so tap into it and use it to your advantage.
What to do when you find one?
Have a consultation
This is a must! Do not even SIT in their chair until you have had a consultation (in person) and they have had the opportunity to see your hair. Let them explain what they know and how they were trained. When you walk away make sure you know what you can expect from them and what they expect from you. Feeling unsure or getting a bad vibe, walk away and find someone else.
Pick someone more concerned with health of hair over styles
Some stylists can give you the best style imaginable but if they are yanking your head, applying heat without heat protectant or concentrating less on your hair's health then leave them be! You want someone who is trained and concerned with keeping your hair healthy. I've been in too many chair with persons concerned with a style being laid and ended up with hair on the floor.
Read Yelp or other sites Reviews
Hairstylists are like every other profession and are subject to reviews so find some (if you can) and read them thoroughly.
Know that you do not have to spend a grip
Take it from me. I have spent way too much and got taken for a ride. I learned the hard way that you do not have to spend $500 for the perfect cut! Now, if you just want to head to those upscale salons for expert A or B to do your hair, then by all means do it. Just know there are tons of qualified stylists that will do an excellent job without taking all of your paycheck.
Paying more does not equate with getting a better stylist or style. You may be paying for the name for the salon or the stylist. It is possible to find the right stylist for the right price and it may take some work on your part (driving a couple of towns over) but know when you FIND that right person you and your hair will benefit. Also be leery of stylists that charge more for certain hair types. Qualified stylists can work with all hair types and charge the same across the board.
What other tips have you found for finding the perfect natural hair stylist?