Of all the businesses that struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic, the salon industry was one of the hardest hit. Between sweeping closures and stringent regulations making it difficult for cosmetologists to practice their art, you’d be hard-pressed to find a salon that wasn’t affected.
However, as vaccines rolled out and restrictions lessened, many salons re-opened their doors. If you’ve been looking for a top hair salon to help you fix your pandemic haircut or dye job, you’re in luck. Our guide will show you 15 tips to help you pick the best hair salon for you!
1. Get Social (Media) With It
If you’re wondering how to choose a hair salon, your first port of call should be social media. Check the accounts of local influencers and celebrities. They’ve more than likely collaborated with local stylists to craft gorgeous looks.
Plus, many salons have social media profiles of their own, which can give you an idea of the services they offer and the staffing that they have access to. And if the salon doesn’t have a social media profile, that, in and of itself, gives you a useful hint that maybe you should take your business elsewhere.
2. Look for Salons With Well-Trained Staff
Obviously, every salon in legal operation has stylists with active licenses in cosmetology. However, there is a serious difference in quality between a freshly licensed cosmetologist and someone with years of experience working with different types of hair and procedures.
The best hair salon you can find will have stylists that strike a balance between youthful exuberance and the wisdom that comes only with time and training. Especially as new technologies develop in the hairstyling industry year after year.
3. Consider Supporting Local Salons Over Chains
When you search for the “top hair salon near me”, the first page of results will likely have more chains than anything else. Hair salon chains might offer lower prices. However, if you give them your custom, you’re lining the pockets of the stylists’ corporate overlords, rather than the artisans themselves.
Wherever you can, try to support local hair salons. Getting your hair done there, you’re helping local kids attend after-school activities, keeping roofs over the owners’ heads, and bringing money into your local economy.
4. Don’t Forget Your Budget
Of course, when choosing a hair salon, it’s important to work around your budget. There may be celebrity-level stylists near you, but if you can’t afford them, they don’t do you any good. Make sure to check the prices of all the local salons so that you can find the most affordable option without sacrificing quality.
5. Look for Specializations
Certain salons focus on haircuts and styles over all else. Others are well-known for their skills with dye and colorant.
Consider the main services that you use with your hair. If you’re fond of getting your hair dyed, you need to go to a salon known for its quality colorists. If your main focus is cuts and styles, then look for salons that specialize in those. And, if you want to work with more natural ingredients, you need to find a salon that works with those.
6. Consider Clear Communication With Clientele
A salon lives and dies by its reputation. If you know that a salon’s stylist doesn’t manage expectations or try to forge lasting relationships with their clients, then it’s a sign of overinflated egos at play. Best to avoid any hair salon that doesn’t actively try to communicate with clientele.
Plus, no one wants to sit in an uncomfortable chair with someone messing with their hair and not talking for what could be hours on end.
7. Ask Your Social Circle for Recommendations
Social media is not your only resource when it comes to finding the best hair salon near you. Don’t hesitate to ask your friends where they go to get their hair done. If any names become recurring elements in your conversations, keep them filed away in the back of your mind.
Even if there’s not much overlap, by speaking with your friends, you’ve given yourself a ready list of names to research on your own time. Your social circle can also give you a great idea of which places you should avoid as well.
8. Research Client Reviews Before You Go
Once you’ve got a list of hair salons compiled, it’s time to start digging. Client reviews can give you a better idea of the quality of the salon itself. Not those featured on the salon’s social media page or website, but those on Google reviews or similar services. Those reviews can reveal a lot more about the salon than their carefully curated online image.
If the salon’s reviews tend to be inconsistent or overwhelmingly negative, then it might be a sign to take your business elsewhere. If the salon seems to have a massive amount of high ratings without any typed reviews, it could be a sign that they’re buying review bots or finding other ways to manipulate their ratings.
9. Don’t Forget the Wash and Styling Products
We mentioned this briefly above, but it’s important to know the wash and styling products that the salon uses. Any salon worth its salt will have products suitable for multiple hair types. Or else, products that can account for common chemical sensitivities.
If you have a sensitive scalp, knowing the products that a salon uses to wash and style your hair can be the difference between a lovely time or a series of uncomfortable rashes. If the salon isn’t forthcoming with that information, then that should be a sign for concern and suspicion.
Product research is also an important part of verifying that a “natural salon” is true to its word. It’s easy enough to market yourself as an eco-friendly option without putting in the hard work of making the wash and styling products actually sustainable. Don’t get taken in by marketing ploys.
10. Find Out If the Salon Is Willing to Conduct a Consultation
There is very little that you can do to your hair that won’t undo itself in time. All the same, when you make dramatic changes in length and color, you should be able to consult with their stylists before you commit. A high-end salon such as Mockba Beauty Salon will typically be willing to offer a free consultation before an involved styling process.
Plus, trained cosmetologists should be able to see when someone wants a dramatic hair change as a result of trauma, rather than a desire for a new look. The best hair stylists will find a way to talk someone out of making a major change that they may come to regret, even if it means costing them a sale in the end.
11. Visit the Salon Itself to Check the Vibes
When you have a list of potential salons to visit, it’s time to start paying visits. Whether you’re going in for consultations, or just to take a look, seeing the salon in person can give you a better look at their day-to-day operations.
You can see at a glance how clean, well-kept, or pandemic-safe this salon is. If the stylists go around with masks around their chins, for your health, it might be wiser to stay away. If the waiting area is full of people, or the stylists seem overbooked and overworked, it could be a sign of short-staffing.
Plus, visiting the salon in person gives you the opportunity to check the vibes of the place. Does it seem like a place you want to spend your time, or does it make you feel uncomfortable? Take note of your gut feeling, and heed its warning, even if it seems foolish at first.
12. Look for Salons With Busy Stylists
We mentioned above that it might be best to avoid a salon where the stylists seem overbooked. However, there is a serious difference between overbooked, understaffed salons and simply busy ones.
A busy salon could be so because it’s the only option around, true. But the more likely reason behind its business is because it’s in high demand and well-liked by the clientele.
You want to call ahead and book an appointment with one of the busiest stylists that you can. A stylist in high demand is one of the best in the salon, and as such, someone you can trust with your hair.
13. Check Their Website
Another crucial element of your research process should be to check the salon’s website. If the salon doesn’t have a website or a social media presence, that should serve as a serious red flag to any would-be clientele. Websites are all but a necessity for any business in today’s environment, after all.
A salon’s website can give you a better idea of the services they offer and their general price points. Many salons will even give you the ability to book an appointment from their website, which streamlines and simplifies the whole process. The best salons might even allow you to choose your stylist.
14. Make Sure They Can Handle Your Hair Type
It’s no secret that different hair types require very different hair care products and routines. If you’re a person of color living in a predominately white neighborhood, finding a salon that’s familiar with your hair type can prove a difficult task. If you have a biracial background, working around your hair type can become even more difficult if the salon doesn’t have the proper staff or training.
Even among “white” hair, there is a multitude of textures and types. Plus, not all processes will work the same way on curly hair versus straight hair. Thin hair might struggle to retain styles and colors more than thick hair, for example. So, check the stylists and the clientele to ensure that your chosen salon can work with your hair type.
15. Don’t Be Afraid to Shop Around
One last thing to keep in mind when looking for the top hair salon near you: Don’t be afraid to shop around for the perfect fit. Your hair is one of the few things that you can truly customize to your preferences. Settling for “okay” or “good enough” isn’t going to cut it.
Take your time. Conduct thorough research. Shop around for price, services, and experience before you commit to a salon near you. Then, you can be sure that you have the best hair salon for your personal needs and style.
Above All Else, Don’t Neglect Your Health
As we mentioned above, the pandemic shuttered many salons for months. In some cases, for good. While style and hair care are important, they should not come at the expense of your health. If the salon you want to visit isn’t following regulations or doesn’t seem to have a regard for the health of your scalp, do not give it your business.
Finding a top hair salon can be a difficult process, requiring a lot of time and research. Use every resource that you have at your disposal, be they social or online, to gain a complete profile of the hair salons near you before you commit to your final decision.
While we hope that the tips we provided above can help you through the process of choosing a hair salon, there is always more to learn. So, why not check out our blog for more information and tips? We update each day with more health and beauty articles like this one.