I was stressed-out for weeks before my latest PCS. Not because my son was changing schools, my belongings were changing houses and my whole life was about to be turned upside down. I was horribly concerned that I would not be able to find a good hairdresser at our next location. Hey – I think my worries were perfectly valid. It took me three years to find a gal who could provide the perfect “Pink meets Ellen Degeneres” look without making me look like Roxette or Annie Lennox. I also knew we would only be at our next location for 6 months, so you can appreciate my concerns.
I decided to take my hair into my own hands. No I did not cut or color my own hair. I’m slightly more advanced than that. I didn’t have that figured out at age 6 or 16 but those are funny pictures in my parents’ photo albums and not the point of this story. I did, however, take an opportunity to quiz my hairstylist before my last appointment. I plopped myself into the chair of Amber Beronio at Blonde Salon and Spa in Killeen Texas (insert shameless plug here) and asked her just what information her incoming military spouses should bring with them for their first appointment. She said it is all about the color. The cut is important too but if you don’t share with a new hairdresser what color has been used or when it was last applied you are increasing your chances of a disaster.
“That happens a lot,” she said. “They say they have no color and the color lifts beautifully at the roots where there really wasn’t any color but the rest is a mess and then you have to start at square one and sometimes that means a lot of processes that really aren’t good for the hair.”
So honesty really is the best policy when it comes to hair color, at least at the salon. And she says don’t be shy when meeting your new stylist. They WANT to get it right and they need the info from you to do that. Typically it can take 1-3 visits for her to really understand what a client wants. But together we came up with a list of things to ask your stylist before you leave that can help your next salon meet your expectations the first time. And don’t be shy about asking. I was at first but Amber told me that most stylists that work near military communities should understand.
“I would never get offended because being in a military town I’m used to my clients leaving,” says Beronio. “I do that a lot for my clients that are moving out of town and even go so far as to find a new stylist. You may not do everything the same way but the more information you have the better you can satisfy them.”
If you are preparing for a PCS be sure to take this list of questions to your last appointment. Again – don’t be shy. A good salon will be happy to help you.
1. What brand and formula of color was last applied and when?
2. How does this client like her hair to look afterwards?
3. How does she like it texturized?
4. How does the hair lift (if lightened) or how porous is the hair (if darkened)?
5. Any other special notes.
For example the card Amber wrote for me said things like:
Client has extremely thick hair and needs double the bleach than you would assume. She likes it to look platinum and not brassy. Thinning shears work better than razor thinning. It also contained the exact brand and formula of powdered lightener, AKA Bleach, so a salon using the same brand can replicate her “recipe.”
When you get to your next duty station you can use websites like Yelp.com to research salons or put the work out on Facebook.com that you are looking for a new stylist but there is one tried and true method that I like to employ. Find someone with a killer haircut/color and ask them who does their hair. Works every time. From there you can go to that salon’s website and research the types of products they use and whether they provide regular training opportunities to their stylists.
With these tips you should have more control over the success of your first visit to a new salon without having to literally take your hair into your own hands. Trust me the pictures in my parents’ photo album are not pretty.