The Fashionista’s Guide to Finding a Great Hair Colorist
To find a fabulous hair colorist, you need to take your time. Entrusting your hair color to just anyone for a complicated process can be risky. But if you start slow, you won’t feel guilty if you need to try out a few different hair colorists.
After all, owners would like to keep your business, and if one hair colorist doesn’t satisfy, there may be another in the next chair who’s better trained or who charges less, depending on your needs. To go down this tricky path, make it known you’re interested in trying out different hair colorists when you book an appointment. This way, you’re free to find the perfect hair color pro for you.
So, where do you look for a great hair colorist? Here are some suggestions:
- Go Online ~~ Do a search for “best hair colorist,” “great hair colorist” or “hair color specialist.” Check the reviews on Yelp and CitySearch. Pay particular attention to write ups that talk about the kind of hair color you want—highlights, red, etc. Searching for “hair color educator” nets you someone who trains other hair colorists. Ask friends and relatives whose hair color you love, especially if it’s similar to what you want.
- Do Your Homework ~~ Look in hair magazines for names of hair colorists whose work you like. If you know you need someone with special expertise, i.e., you’re a brunette who wants to go blonde, your hair is badly damaged or you’re interested in doubling up on chemical services, check out the Amencan Board Certified Colorists.
- Check Out Hair Color Manufacturers ~~ The salons they list on their websites all have pros who’ve received training in their hair color lines.
- Be a Snoop ~~ Cruise the mail, peek in windows, hang out in a waiting room—all to check out the hair color coming out the door of the salon you’re considering.
Once you have a name and number, book an appointment for a consultation. Bring photos and questions. In addition to talking about your own hair and asking for ideas, ask about their training, and how often the colorist takes advanced classes and workshops. Also, find out how he or she would retouch highlights and what shade will neutralize your brassy strands. Any pro worth her palette knows the color wheel and avoids bleach overlap.
Your First Appointment
Start with something simple—color that is just a couple shades from your own, a few highlights or a root retouch. If you like what you’re getting, return to the colorist until you trust your hair in his or her hands. If it starts looking green, brassy or otherwise bad over time or you request a bigger change that doesn’t make you happy it’s tine to look some where else.
When you book your appointment, make it clear you’ve picked the salon because its convenient for you and you’d like to try different colorists. Follow through, if you’re not completely satisfied. Color chemistry is tricky and you can only find a truly great hair colorist by seeing how he or she adjusts your hair color over time. Your color pro should discuss maintenance, home care, budget, skin tone, eye color, seasonal changes and your hair health. If you need true color correction—for instance, if you’re starting with a home bleach job—one or two tries should tell you if you’ve found someone you can count on.
As Time Goes By
Be honest, if you know you’ll want to occasionally color your hair at home to save money, let your colorist know and ask for advice. Or if cash is an issue, you could see the more expensive person for major changes; then, a junior colorist for retouches.
- Build the Relationship ~~ If you’re paying for a pro, you should feel confident enough to ask for new ideas and your hair colorist should be providing them. If you’re always asked, “DO you want the same thing we did last time?” request ideas, If you don’t get them, consider moving on before you get stuck in a rut.
- Send Referrals ~~ There is no better way to show your appreciation than to refer others to your colorist. Show off your new shades on your Facebook page, send out a tweet or simply tell friends the old-fashioned way—by word of mouth. Also, be sure to review your hair colorist online. Many salons reward both you and your friend when you make referrals, so don’t be shy about sharing. It’s nice to spread some good news for a change
How do you assure the hair colorist you choose is knowledgeable, competent or . . . qualified?
Any licensed barber or beautician can legally color your hair. Cosmetologists and Barbers are tested on basic aspects of hair coloring in board exams when they are first liscensed. But, I can tell you first hand, there is much more to learn in becoming an accomplished board certified hair colorist than just becoming licensed to use hair color on the public.
Additional education is needed to become a board certified hair colorist. Unfortunately, to the demise of the profession, some learn by trial and error, or strictly by experience. Has your hair colorist chosen to extend education in the profession of hair coloring?
If you have been unable to find a good hair colorist by referral, here is one way you can assure yourself the hair colorist you chose has reached a higher level of competency and knows this complex subject matter.
The American Board of Certified Hair Colorists, has created a program with a stringent test mechanism, created by a committee of fellow licensed hair colorists professionals. The test has been developed and refined over the years to establish in the profession, a greater level of ability.
Adjustments have been made to balance the degree of difficulty of the exam, as the first year, 50% of the students failed the examination. (Only licensed barbers and beauticians can take this course. That may tell you how much the average licensed professional, is lacking, in the way of hair coloring knowledge.)
Clearly, there are various levels of ability in hair colorists. There is always more to learn about this subject. A recognized “Board Certified Hair Colorist” is an easy way for the consumer to recognize a hair colorist that has achieved a higher level of capability in hair coloring. You can find board certified hair colorists listed in ads that run in hairstyle magazines..
I know there are good, competent, hair colorists out there who are NOT Board Certified and that have gone the extra mile to get the training necessary to be superior hair colorists. But, I talk to a lot of consumers who have problems finding competent people. This is just an excellent resource for the consumer to be able to select those hair colorists, in their area, that have clearly reached a greater level of excellence.