Finding the right hairdresser for my curly hair has been the biggest pain in the arse ever! I was spoiled for a very long time, about 7 years, with my stylist. She made it look effortless, she knew my curls, she understood toward the top of my hair the curl pattern is different than at the nape of my neck and requires a different technique.
She constantly gave me a cut that made people say, “Your hair looks great, where do you get it cut?” Ugh, it was awesome. My curls even managed to make it through her first two maternity leaves. Each time I’d try other stylists, and while some were okay, some were blah and others were down right insulting to curly hair everywhere. Which leads me to a little side note to hair stylists, I love y'all but please don’t say you can cut curly hair just because your cousin has curly hair and you trimmed it once 5 years ago.
Cutting curly hair is a skill set, no seriously. Not all curls are the same, there are a lot of different curl patterns and textures and curly hair is temperamental. Finding a stylist that understands our curls is key and takes a lot of time and effort. I beg you to only market yourself as a curly hair stylist if you have multiple curly clients and have consistently trained in different curl types and cutting techniques. Growing hair out after a bad cut sucks. I beg you to save us the trouble.
Okay, moving on. So, when my stylist went on her third maternity leave, I was thrilled for her growing family, she’s such a great mom and her babies are GORGEOUS, but honestly, I was kind of sad for my hair. Now fast-forward, she’s back from maternity leave but no longer working on weekends. I can’t make it to SD during the week and have been forced to find a hair stylist closer to me in LA, the utopia of overpriced everything. It feels like my stylist and I have broken up. The pain and horror of trying to find a new one.
I’ve been on the hunt and had more than my share of bad haircuts, not to mention the time it takes to grow out each bad cut. I know a lot of my curly confidantes have gone through the same thing and feel my pain.
Through all of these curly trials and tribulations, I’ve learned the following valuable lessons while trying to find a hairstylist that speaks my curls’ language:
1. Try Different Price Points.
Here in LA, curl salons and “specialists” charge well over $125 for a cut, and extra if you have long or thick hair. That’s not even including coloring or deep conditioning. I personally have never paid that much and felt like it was worth the steep price tag. That’s not to say there aren’t great stylists that warrant such a charge; I just haven’t found them, yet. On the other hand, I’ve also done $40 cuts that were great and others where I felt like, eh, that was a crappy cut and I’ll end up paying someone else to fix it. Since I’m still on the search for a hair stylist maybe I’ll find someone for $65 or someone for $200, I don’t know. I really hope it’s not $200 though. In the meantime, I’ll keep an open mind and try different price points until I find what works for my curls and my wallet.
2. Think Out of The Box
I used to think I could only go to stylists that had curly hair, nope, that theory didn’t really work so well. Although we could talk curls for days, it was never a guarantee the curly stylist was great at cutting my particular curl type or texture. I’m sure this isn’t everyone’s experience but I’ve learned to step out of my comfort zone and try all different stylists. Black, White, Asian, straight, gay, male or female, I’ve had cuts from all sorts of hairdressers. No specific race or gender has ever cut my hair better or worse. I also suggest looking beyond your current locale. While it might not be convenient to find a stylist 30-45 minutes away, it might be worth it for the health of your hair. I was driving 2 hours to San Diego for a cut and I was always so happy I did.
3. Research Everything
When we’re planning a trip or picking a restaurant, we rummage through Yelp reviews searching for the best picks. The same should go for the salons we choose. Not only looking through stylist reviews but looking at pictures and seeing actual results. But it doesn’t stop there. What will you say to your stylist at your appointment? What kind of cut do you want and what are you trying to avoid? I strongly suggest researching different cuts for curly hair such as the Deva Cut, the Carve and Slice technique, Dry-Cutting, etc. Take pictures to show your stylist what you’re trying to accomplish with your cut. Some stylists even offer consultations beforehand to see if they’re a good fit for you.
4. Don’t Give Up
Don’t let that last bad haircut get you down! If ya fail, try and try again. Don’t end up pulling your hair back into a bun or ponytail for the rest of your days. Have fun with your hair journey and learn from each good and bad experience. You can even learn from other curly girls around you. If you happen to see a curly girl with a great cut, don’t be shy; ask for recommendations to her fave stylist. Word of mouth and healthy looking hair are always positive indicators of a good hairdresser.
Good luck and may the curly Gods be with you!
Have you found your curl-friendly stylist yet? If so, share your story and tips with us in the comments below!