When you’re looking for the best hairstylist for you, that “best hair color salons near me” search can feel totally overwhelming. There are so. many. options. And while you’re toggling between Yelp and Google and Angie’s List, everyone seems to have totally conflicting opinions and experiences. And once you find a great hair salon, how in the world do you pick your hairstylist? They all dress in black and have perfect hair!! Ask them their astrological sign??? (By the way, no, please don’t do that.) After years in the industry, I’ve come up with a really straightforward and de-cluttered process to finding the best hair color salon near you. 1. Start with the price tag The first key to finding the best hair color salon near you is understanding that you get what you pay for. This can be a frustrating pill to swallow, because we all know “you get what you pay for” is not the case in all industries, and especially not in fashion. Like when Kanye charges close to $3,000 for a wool sweater that looks like it got caught under a lawn mower. But when you’re looking to take care of your hair, the price tag is actually a really important key to finding a good hair color salon near you. Why? It’s pretty straightforward. The hair salons that charge the most are using that money to buy the most high quality products to use in your hair. Even more importantly, they’re paying their hairstylists more, which attracts the most talented and experienced professionals around. The best salons are also paying to continue their hairstylists’ education, making sure they’re up to date on the latest trends and techniques, and those classes aren’t cheap. So your first step is to do a little price research. Look at a handful of hair salons near you, and find out who charges what for the services you’re interested in, and try to aim high. It may feel like a bummer to spend extra on your hair, but, as I always say, your hair is you’re number one accessory! You wear it every single day. Spending $150-$200 on your next salon visit might feel excessive at first, but if someone who’s inexperienced or a little rusty messes it up, it can be a lot of time and a lot more money to make it right. Make a list. Check it twice. From your list, narrow it down to the best ones in your budget, and move on to the next step! 2. Read reviews on the best hair salons near you and each of their hairstylist While price is a great indicator of the quality of service you’ll receive, there can be a few hairstylists who slip through the cracks or just aren’t as experienced as their coworkers. Only after you have your list from step 1, check out the ratings websites such as Google Reviews and Yelp. Find out what people are saying about specific hairstylists. If they had an amazing experience, they’re most likely going to name drop. Same for if they left the salon crying. Looking for a great balayage artist to take care of your highlights? See if anyone left a raving review using the word balayage. It’ll take some time, but this is your hair we’re talking about! There are enough reviews out there so you can learn through other people’s experiences, rather than having to learn through your own. 3. Reach out and consult with the hairstylists Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few of the best hairstylists, schedule an appointment to talk to them in person. Because they believe in the quality of their services and want to build great relationships with clients, the best salons are happy to do free consultations. Online reviews are a fantastic resource, but nothing beats that one-on-one conversation. A little note here… if you try to make a consultation appointment with a hairstylist and they’re immediately available, this might be a bad sign! It depends on what kind of city you live in, but usually a good hairstylist will be booked for at least a couple of weeks. If you live in a major metropolis like New York City or LA, it could be a month or two. This means they have regular and faithful clients and are in demand. While you don’t need to find out if your horoscopes align, it is nice to find someone who you wouldn’t mind spending time with every couple of months in a place where you feel comfortable. By stepping into the salon, you’ll be able to see how they take care of their own hair, and if there are any other stylists who style their hair in a similar way to yours. Not sure what to ask them? Literally anything. Let them feel the texture of your hair. Talk to them about products and styles that have gone very wrong before. Discuss the balance between respecting what you want, and a willingness to teach you about what they think would look best on you. Ask them if they’d be willing to fix a color for free should anything go wrong. Having a quick conversation with a hairstylist can let you know if he or she will be the best fit for you, and make you that much more confident when you walk in for your first appointment. It takes a little bit of homework, but if you find yourself asking yourself, “How do I find the best hair salon near me?” The answer to that question is very imporant. Remember, your hair is your number one accessory, the crown you never take off. Find someone to take excellent care of it, and you’ll always feel like royalty.