The Salon: A Girl's Best Friend

The Salon: A Girl's Best Friend

The Salon: A Girl's Best Friend

I can say from painful firsthand experience that it's best to get your hair styled by someone who knows what they're doing! After all, hair is one of the main ways we have of expressing ourselves and it takes a long time to grow back.

Whether this is your first transfeminine haircut or you just need a new spot for whatever reason, the search for a salon can be intimidating. But you're here reading this right now, so I'm guessing you already know that choosing a new salon isn't a decision to be taken lightly!


First Steps in Finding a Salon

First things first, the tried and true method: Word of mouth. Even in the digital age, word of mouth still easily holds its own. Have a friend or a coworker whose hair you love? Ask where they go. Most people are more than happy to help out and show off their results.

Social media is another great option. There are countless local groups and communities to be found within these apps and websites, which can usually be discovered through targeted searches. So for example, type in something like “#NewYorkHairStylist” on your instagram or whatever app you prefer, and local businesses and satisfied customers will pop up. This is an easy way to do research without even having to leave the house.

Visual apps such as TikTok and Instagram tend to be better because you can see the results and some salons will do reels and before and afters, but even sites like Twitter and Facebook come in handy. And on a side note, Reddit is a great place to find groups dedicated to the trans community and discussions regarding MTF transitions.

There are even apps specifically designed for finding a salon. StyleSeat is a popular one, and can be used to find potential local salons and read reviews and price points.


Things To Look For In A Salon

Well, it's a given you're looking for talented stylists with affordable prices. Fortunately many salons offer at least a partial price list on their websites, and also have photos of their work or links to their social media. So that can help you quickly weed out the places outside your budget.

Next and just as important, you're gonna want to of course find an LGBTQ+ friendly salon that offers a relaxing and supportive atmosphere. You’ll potentially be spending a lot of time there, after all. Many businesses nowadays actually make a point to advertise and present their spaces as welcoming to all genders, making the search that much less intimidating.

There's also been a recent push in many cities for more staff diversity and LGBTQ+ beauticians. But don't let a lack of an LGBTQ+ stylist be a dealbreaker for you; though shared experiences go a long way towards removing any lingering doubts, there are tons of cisgendered and heterosexual stylists with years of experience working with and offering judgment-free spaces for transgender and nonbinary clients.

One last thing: definitely read the reviews, especially the bad ones (to look for patterns and common complaints). A place may advertise themselves as inclusive to all genders and sexualities, but then you read multiple reviews and find out otherwise. They may have amazing photos on their social media, but then you read three reviews claiming that the good stylist quit and the new one left them looking like Carrot Top. Basically, the more you can learn before risking your money and hair, the better.


Communication is Key


Once you've got a few possible candidates, it’s a good idea to call ahead and take it to the next step. From the start, let them know your personal situation and any questions or concerns you have. State your gender identity up front and that you’re looking to change your style to a more feminine cut as part of your transition, etc.

This removes all the guesswork on their end and helps avoid misunderstandings. If you’d feel more comfortable with a stylist who has experience working with trans women or non-binary femmes, let them know. More often than not, the salon will be pleased to accommodate you.


Book a Consultation

The first visit to a prospective salon should always be a consultation. The soon-to-be stylist will be using this time not just to see what they'll be working with, but to discuss your personal goals and how to best achieve them.

If you have any visual aids, like photos of celebrities with hairstyles you love or images from the salons website, make sure to share that with the stylist to help give them a better idea of what you're going for.

They'll probably have some suggestions and alternative ideas of their own to throw out there along the way if you're open to it. Ideally, they’ll be taking into account your unique qualities, such as your hair growth patterns, hair texture, face shape, etc.

From all this, a good stylist will be able to give you a realistic idea of what to expect as far as styles, coloring, price, maintenance, etc. This is also a perfect opportunity to gauge their personality and your own comfort level. Pay attention and don’t be scared to ask questions. This is a collaboration in many ways, so it’s really important to be direct.

Finally, if you're feeling anxious for whatever reasons beforehand, it's usually okay to bring a supportive friend along! Just make sure to mention it on the phone when you book the consultation, but many places should be fine with this.


Dont settle for less than you deserve.

The early stages of the search can be a bit tiresome, but follow the tips in this article and you're bound to find the right fit eventually; a safe, welcoming space that makes you feel confident and happy to visit, with a stylist who knows just how to pull out your full potential. Happy hunting, ladies!

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