CHOOSING THE RIGHT HAIRDRESSER

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Choosing a hairdresser is like choosing an artist to commission a painting for your home. It's like choosing a therapist who can hear words you're not saying and understand things you can't explain. It's helpful if they have the same sense of "pretty" as you and stay up on their education enough to know how to do the things you're asking for. They also need to be confident enough in their work to know when to tell you "no". 

THE ARTIST

Each artist has his or her preference of tools to create the look that inspires them. No canvas is perfect, so the artist has to adjust and adapt to what you bring in. The artist knows that watercolor won't work on coloring book pages, oil wouldn't work properly on fabric, and spray paint wouldn't work for fine lines. 

You wouldn't ask a realist to create an abstract piece, or a graffiti artist to create a watercolor scene. You wouldn't tell Monet to copy something Da Vinci did, or criticize the lack of realistic proportions in the work of a street caricature artist. You can't tell an oil painter that you only want him to use charcoals for you. 

Find an artist whose work you like rather than treating all artists like they are all the same.

THE CANVAS

Your head shape, body shape, facial features, eye color, skin tone, hair shaft diameter, hair shaft texture, and underlying hair pigment are all things you cannot control, but play into the way your hair will look. Your home care, ability to style your hair, and hair history are factors within your control, and also play a role in the outcome of your hair. Two-thirds of your results are determined by your canvas. The remaining third is determined by your stylist. 

Because the bulk of responsibility falls on your shoulders when it comes to the way your hair looks, it is important to listen to your stylist when he or she tries to help improve your canvas or find ways for you to work with the canvas you have. The worst thing you can do is hop from chair to chair trying to find someone who will do what may not be best for your hair. Build a relationship with someone you trust.

It's hard to find a good stylist, but it's worth the effort. 

THE ART

Art is subjective. It makes you feel something. It's a message without words. Your hair is one of the first things that people see. It's one of the first statements you can make about yourself. What are you saying? What do you want to say?

Art is as personal and unique as handwriting. No matter how talented and celebrated the artist is, he or she might not have the art style you're looking for. She might be able to paint for you, but not in the way you had in mind. You would walk away from the interaction disappointed in her and you might even tell everyone you know how terrible she is at her job. 

By not understanding the unique creativity of a hair stylist, by not letting him use the tools with which he has honed his skills, or distrusting her to the point of questioning and criticizing her work as she's creating it, you are effectively tying your stylist's hands together and sabotaging your own results. A practiced stylist would withdraw her welcome. An un-empowered stylist would take the abuse and question himself. 

THREE THINGS TO CONSIDER

Does your stylist provide a way for you to see what inspires them? Some stylists create a "lookbook" of beautiful hair for their guests to pick out styles. I have a Pinterest board of hair that I think is beautiful and makes me feel inspired. It's a collection of looks I wish people would ask for. 

Does your stylist provide a way for you to see his or her work? Every stylist should be photographing their work. Photographing my work has changed the way I do hair. I want to like the pictures I take, so I make sure to create looks that photograph well. Plus, it increases trust when the guest can see the artists work before the appointment. 

Does your stylist keep up with education? Trends and techniques are always changing. In the era of online connections and sharing, there is no excuse for a stylist to not have the latest information. Product lines offer education, testing, and certification online. Industry leaders offer small  and affordable workshops to teach their techniques. And stylists document their work and formulas online with videos, live videos, and photographs. You couldn't possibly exhaust the field of information and education available. So, there's no excuse for a stylist to not keep up on what is happening in the industry so they can provide their guests with the best possible experience.

Choose a hairdresser wisely. Find someone you can trust so that your hair represents who you are. Don't underestimate the power of beautiful hair.