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Going natural is an experience that changes lives. Some will embark upon a DIY (Do it Yourself) journey and some will rely on their regular stylist or a natural hair stylist that they were referred to. Stylists have strengths and weaknesses that could make or break it for some clients. For instance, a stylist may be able to create awesome designs on any kind of hair, or there may be a stylist that is excellent with weave integration services, and then there may be a stylist who is wonderful with conditioning, and making your hair and scalp feel great.  Is it possible to find someone with all of those qualities? Sure there are, but everyone has a forte.

What should you look for in a natural hair stylist? The requirements are different, and a greater deal of time is spent in the process of cleaning and styling natural hair than straight hair. Curls are not something you can wrap up and sit under a dryer then send them on their merry way. Some things to consider when choosing a natural hair stylist include:

Training, Credentials and Experience

Is your stylist trained or licensed? While it doesn’t matter to some, there are clients who prefer a licensed stylist. Who are their regular clients and what do they have to say about the stylist? How long have they been styling natural hair? Keep in mind that some states do not require that natural hair stylists obtain a license to do natural hair. There are some things that traditional stylists do not learn in cosmetology school as well. It is also true that natural hair styling, for the most part, is learned outside of a traditional educational setting.

Portfolio

Does your stylist have photos of clients they have styled? Not pictures from magazines, but actual clients. There should be some examples of what they can do made available to you as a potential customer.

Consultations

Does your stylist offer in person consultations? Unless there is a set up for personal online consultations, where photos can be exchanged or video conferencing, etc, it is important to know what they can do and they need to know what they are working with. You may say that your hair is short and ‘curly’ but they stylist may see your hair and note the shrinkage is 50% which means the hair may 2 inches compact but 4 inches when stretched out. This is important for booking service times, so that overlapping doesn’t happen or rushing doesn’t take place. Finally, consultations also help determine which products should be used and what styles can be achieved.

Location

Is this stylist local? How far are you willing to travel for good service? You will want to allow travel time for your entire natural hair service appointment.
Atmosphere

What is the salon like? Is it in a home or a building? Is it loud, quiet, aromatic or caustic? Is it clean and organized or chaotic and trashed? These things are important for the overall experience of having hair services performed. If you are at the shampoo bowl and the shampoo and conditioner are across the room or if you left your styling implements at another station, this adds time to the service and discomfort to the client. What makes a relaxing hair appointment for you?

Customer Service

Is the stylist courteous on the phone and in person? Are they prompt and do they use their time well? Do they address your needs and answer questions you need answered? Are they professional when booking and completing hair care services? Are they accessible (and this does not mean calling 5 minutes before to ask for a 4 hour service like kinky twists)? Finally, do they book clients accordingly, not having people lined up and walking in while trying to rush through services.