Note: This post includes a free, editable MS Word form/download: https://blossomingfitnatural.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/form-preparing-for-my-next-salon-visit-1.docx
Greetings! How are you? I hope this post finds you and yours well. 🙂
Before my visit last week to a new-to-me stylist and salon, I was feeling nervous about my upcoming hair-shaping appointment. My feelings ramped up a bit when one of my favorite natural hair YouTubers shared her mishap getting a Devacut (please see the video below).
Her video reminded me of perhaps the most INFAMOUS tragic hair salon experience on YouTube — Jewellianna Palencia’s maddeningly horrible experience at the hand of an inexcusably harmful stylist after having spent 8 years of time, money, and energy carefully growing out her natural hair:
I had additional reasons for being nervous. First, I’ve had WAY MORE bad experiences than good experiences with people purporting to have natural hair care skills. Second, I felt like my below bra-strap length hair might get hacked off, in the name of the stylist “shaping it up.” It’s a very, very, very common occurrence.
To try to remove my worries and to prepare for a happy and successful trim and shaping, I did four (4) things: I studied the stylist’s website and Instagram pages, I communicated with the stylist to learn about her knowledge base and hair care philosophy, I got tips from stylists on how to avoid a tragedy when visiting a new salon, and I made myself a little form to fill out based on the tips I got from stylists.
CHECKING OUT THE NEW STYLIST’S WEBSITE and INSTAGRAM PAGE: What You Can and Cannot Learn
When I went to the stylist’s salon website and Instagram page, I really liked what I saw. She had rave reviews, and a LOT of them. She had photos galore, and not only static photos but VIDEO galore of happy clients’ hair swinging as they shook their hair after the stylist had styled and dried it.
I was encouraged, but I still realized these truths: It’s entirely possible that negative experiences are shared and documented much less frequently, and I was only getting to see a small amount of before-and-after comparison pictures. It seemed like this stylist was skilled and tragedy-averse, but of course, there’s no guarantee with anything. I decided to continue preparing.
A BEFOREHAND Q & A WITH THE STYLIST
Happily, after a week of trying to reach the stylist by phone, she had a lengthy early morning Facebook chat with me to answer the many questions I had. The chat was extremely early in the morning (I actually hadn’t been intending to get a real-time response!), and she was very generous and considerate of my concerns. I was hopeful! 🙂
GETTING ADVICE FROM OTHER STYLISTS and LEARNING FROM OTHERS’ MISTAKES
In addition to researching the stylist’s work and interviewing her, I watched the first two videos below to gain some tips about making a salon visit a happy one.
I also watched SEVERAL videos showing salon-visits-gone-right and salon-visits-gone-wrong. I reflected upon them to try to optimize my experience.
I’m the kind of person who doesn’t want to offend, step on toes, overstep, etc., so it helped me to listen to Whitney’s advice. I remember sharing about my reticent nature at a hair forum once and getting some responses to the gist of “We got grown women on this site afraid to talk to a stylist.”
Ouch, LOL. What I was trying to do was to empathize (not sympathize, but empathize) with the original poster and let her know that I understood her reticence. Some of us have meeker and milder personalities than others, and some of us are non-confrontational or are even passive. We thus have to be more mindful about speaking up, advocating for ourselves as customers, not having an apologetic stance as the customer, etc.
I’ve literally had MORE THAN ONE natural hair stylist tell me that the reason they had to rip out my hair while detangling it is because it’s so kinky/nappy. I was newly natural, and instead of requesting a more skilled detangler or getting up and leaving (since I’d arrived with my hair detangled before shampoo hit it at the salon), I felt bad for having challenging hair and causing the stylist extra work/hardship, can you believe it? Not until I went to a truly skilled stylist who detangled my hair like a champ . . . easy-breezy . . . with very little hair loss did I realize I wasn’t supposed to have sat in the chair losing all that hair with those previous stylists. 😦
Whitney emailed her stylist a PDF containing photos of what she wanted and what she did not want (counterexamples). This affirmed the contents of my preparation document. However, I hadn’t thought to send a document to the stylist ahead of time. I simply ended up saving the document on my phone so that I could open it up, share the photos in it, and edit it on the day of the salon visit. I feel like for a first visit to a new stylist, I wouldn’t mind simply sending two “I want this” photos and two “I don’t want this” photos ahead of time . . . just in the form of photos via text. But I likely would never feel comfortable sending the MS Word document I’m sharing with you today, no matter how chill the stylist seemed. 😉 😀 It’s a document for my eyes, to support my in-salon conversation with the stylist.
FREE MS Word Form
So here’s the form, for those who might find it useful: https://blossomingfitnatural.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/form-preparing-for-my-next-salon-visit-1.docx . It’s the same form that I linked above, at the start of this post for those who wouldn’t have time to read the post.
I used the form, and it helped me a lot. It helped me to remember everything I needed to request of the stylist and tell the stylist about my hair. It reminded me of all of the questions I had for the stylist. While the stylist gave me suggestions as she did my hair, I typed into the document on my phone. I described what was happening during the visit, and I noted the stylist’s tips. I’ve since used the document to remember her styling tips. 😀 Good deal all around. 🙂
My Next Post: All About the Salon Visit and My Results
In my next post I’ll share my reflections about how the salon visit went, along with photos of how my hair looks now. As a preview: My hair has a new shape, I lost 4+ inches (to my husband’s disenchantment after watching me spend so much time growing out my hair these past years), the Olaplex treatment seems to have had great effect, I obtained 3 new hair products (2 of which are AWESOMELY AWESOME), and I’m trying to figure out how to proceed toward my target length going forward. I like that I have a shape and that the damage is gone, but it’s harder doing my hair now with it being short. My stylist had a LOT TO SAY, and I was surprised by a fair amount of it. I’ll share the details next post. 🙂
As always, thanks so much for visiting the blog.
Until next time!