When I moved, I started what would become a six-year (yes, SIX YEAR) search for the “right” hairstylist.

You know what I mean – the hair stylist who gets you. The one who can take one look at your hair and just know all its nuances. The one who knows how much to cut without cutting too much. The one who, once you find her, you will never leave. You will take her to your wedding. You will plan your life around her schedule.

I found mine and I have to say, she is worth the six-year wait.

If you’re having trouble finding your dream hair stylist, or if you want someone new in the first place, try these steps:

Ask friends, co-workers, and strangers with a look you love (and a hair type similar to yours) for recommendations. Think of it as an adventure; spend the day going to coffee shops, bookstores or clubs with like-minded women and check out their hair. Then call the salon and find out what their hair stylists charge.

Look out for top salons with training nights and see what they’re doing. If the cut they’re featuring seems right for you, give it a go.

Spy on salons you’ve read or heard about and check out the women coming and going. If you like what you see, don’t be shy—step inside and ask the receptionist who does her hair.

Pay for a top-notch hair stylist you know about, then go to a cheaper chain salon for between-visit trims.

Whether you have a name in mind or not, go to Yelp and check out hair salons in your area. Look by address, name or ranking. Then read the reviews posted by perfect strangers; they’ll be the most honest you’ll find. Just be alert for false postings from a competitor looking to ruin another salon’s reputation. How can you tell? Most of the postings will be full of praise, but just one or two will be totally negative, then I will recommend you go to a nearby salon.

If you have special issues such as hair extensions, botched hair color, super-fine hair or ultra-curly hair, search the web and the Yellow pages for a specialist. A hair stylist who’s just out of school isn’t usually the best at fixing hair color gone terribly wrong, while hair additions are a true specialty that takes time, talent and cash.

To learn more, visit Keranique, on Amazon.

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