blonde highlights from the salon
By: Mateus Lunardi Dutra

One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever make in life is choosing the right hair salon. Asking for a golden balayage could quickly turn into bright orange streaks—yikes. Hair is important because it can transform your entire look even on those days when you don’t want to try. It is crucial that you pick the right salon and be extensive in your description of what you’re aiming for.

The easiest and best way to find your salon soulmate is to ask around. Be on the lookout for great hair everywhere you go. The stranger in the grocery line might have better knowledge than your friends, so don’t be afraid to ask. Be sure to ask the name of their stylist too, because stylists within a salon often vary.

Another good detector for a top-notch salon is to check out their website. If the site looks like your favorite fashion magazine, then it’s probably a good sign. The quality of the salon’s website is a good reflection of the quality of how your hair will turn out. Look at the services they offer to see if they have a variety: partial highlight, full highlight, partial balayage, full balayage—the more thorough the better.

Once you choose a salon and a stylist, the real challenge comes when you talk to your stylist about color for the first time. Begin by asking about color corrections. A talented stylist will probably bring this up before you do, but it is vital to your hair’s lasting health. Color corrections will reverse any mistakes previous salons have made on your hair. It takes several months of treatment to fully recover from a bad salon experience, which is all the more reason to be careful when selecting someplace new!

Always bring a photo that closely resembles what you want. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. The photo can describe everything from the style of cut, length, color, and even how you want it blown out when you leave. Be open-minded and listen carefully. If you’re in the right place, your stylist will begin talking to you about what he can do with the hair you currently have, and he will discuss the process required for achieving your desired look. He may offer suggestions of similar ideas you could try that he knows are currently popular and in style. At this point, he is probably giving you great advice, but ultimately it is up to you how you want your hair to look.

If you are not receiving these professional signals from your stylist, this may be a good time to change your mind and just ask for a cut and blow dry. You never want to mess around with color. Hair color is long-lasting, difficult to reverse properly, and because it damages your hair, you want a talented stylist to take care of yours.

Kate Wilke is a 200-RYT yoga instructor, meditation teacher, and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She teaches and works with clients in Nashville, TN. She believes in self-care in the form of colorful, healthy cooking, daily walks with her dog, and a glass of red wine. Follow her on Instagram — @meditatekate