Five Tips to Find the Perfect Hairstylist

Five Tips to Find the Perfect Hairstylist

Do you have a good hairstylist? In my past, every time I have moved, I found that it took me a long time to find the right person — someone who really understands what I am looking for, listens to me, and perhaps, most importantly, guides me to the right haircut. 

I have lived in the San Diego area for nearly three years now and I still have not found that perfect stylist. I have had a few good ones but no one who is just the right fit. 

I started to wonder: how should you find the right hairstylist? What should you look for? Is it a high-profile salon? Specific experience? Education? Or is it really about referrals? 

I asked the super-talented Ben Barnes of Off Camber Studios in Scottsdale, Arizona to share his expertise on what women should look for in finding the right professional for your hair. I met Ben through a trusted colleague, a beauty editor, from my days working at a luxury magazine publisher in Arizona. Ben has been my go-to for more than 10 years now. He has built an amazing reputation, his own studio, and launched a patented color product for stylists. When I was in Arizona last month, I used the chance to get a cut from him, and I was so happy I did. Here are his tips on how to get the best haircut.

 Ben Barnes in his studio, Off Camber Studios.

Ben Barnes in his studio, Off Camber Studios.

Start with a referral.

"Ask someone who is in your community with a haircut and/or hair color that is appealing to you (and that has similar hair type) for their hairstylist's name. Local searches on the web could work too, but there is something special about getting a personal recommendation about the stylist's personality, energy, and experience (along with the look)."

And do a little homework once you have the referral: "Follow up with research on that stylist as far as location, price, experience, availability, etc., to determine if it could be a good fit for you."

Try a consultation before big changes.

"If you're looking for a big change (especially your hair color), I recommend booking a consultation first to determine all the details (maintenance, price, if it’s a going to be a good fit for your hair type, facial structure, etc.)."

 Beautiful blonde color by Ben.

Beautiful blonde color by Ben.

Quality is in the details. 

Seek out an "excellent experience," Ben says. Look for quality and attention to detail through "the entire journey beginning to end. From marketing on digital media, booking the appointment, reminders, greeting, atmosphere, consultation, shampoo, haircut (hair color, blowout, etc), conversation, product recommendations, checking out, rebooking, follow up."

Bring pictures! 

"I always recommend bringing multiple screenshots of looks that are appealing to you and a couple of pics that are not appealing to you. Hair is very hard to communicate verbally so many examples are better for clear targeted results. For example, your idea of auburn hair color is probably different than my idea of auburn. Your idea of short bob is different than my idea of a short bob. Also, if you're interested in getting bangs, for example, bring multiple pics of bangs that you think are appealing. If you're interested in dimensional blonde hair color, bring multiple dimensional blonde pics. This will help get you and your stylist on the same page of what you are going for."

Focus on your hair type. 

"Find a great haircut and hair color that works best for your hair type FIRST. Next, find what looks best for your face and body (proportionally). Then, you can apply little tweaks and adjustments to your look to keep it fresh (for seasonality, trends, events, new technology, etc.)."  

Thanks, Ben! I wish Arizona isn't so far away. Be sure to check out his studio on Instagram — it's chock full of hair inspiration, and Ben's travel adventures are pretty inspiring too. 

P.S. Two French beauty products I can't live without and dry shampoo that works on fine hair.

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