How Instagram Can Help You Find The Hairstylist Of Your Dreams

Finding a soulmate to style your hair can be as painstaking as finding a soulmate for life. We can Yelp salons for ratings, but from there, it’s a crapshoot, as random chance and scheduling dictate which stylist actually does the deed. We can ask friends and fly girls on the street who they see, but unless their hair is textured like ours, the outcome may not be quite what we were going for. Which leaves us with a lot of hunting, good-faith sampling of hair services, and money wasted, followed by bouts of disappointment, identity crises, and longing. Hair — it’s a complicated thing.

But thanks to Instagram, finding our dream hairstylist is getting exponentially easier. By searching out — and yes, even Instastalking — stylists in your area, you can diminish the disappointment that comes from random trial and error. Of course, like with any online soulmate searching, there’s an art to stacking the odds in your favor. One must beware of false representation (filter-tinged hair color) and become savvy at looking for not only what you like, but what will work best for you.

To learn how to find your ideal stylist via Instagram, we talked to stylists and colorists at Los Angeles’ Sally Hershberger salon and Rita Hazan salon in New York. Read on for their expert tips.
1 of 10
Use Geotagging
Now that geotagging has been added to Instagram, searching for top salons in your area — and the cuts and color created there — just got much easier. If you're lost for where to start, dive in by searching for a respected salon in your area to find posts that clients and stylists created while there.
2 of 10
Filter With Hashtags
The first step to finding a rock-star stylist in your area is to get crafty with the hashtags. Look for the top salons in your city, then search for that salon’s hashtag. From there, you can quickly get a sense of what its stylists are doing and whether the looks — and type of hair styled — suit you.

Search for images tagged with trends (#bronde) or follow a certain stylist to filter exactly what he or she is up to. Finally, when scouting stylists online, be careful to look for those who specialize in working with your texture, not simply what you like but don’t have. Stylists and colorists may work magic, but there’s only so much wizardry they can whip up.
3 of 10
Go Towards The (Natural) Light
Just like prospective dates can post super-flattering pics that don’t represent their modern-day physique, hair colorists can flub the fabulousness of their work through professional photos (celebs in photo shoots) and, hello — filters. These shade-shifting tweaks may be a godsend when posting our out-drinking pictures, but their ability to turn tones bluer or more golden can serve up some serious deceit in a hair colorist’s feed.

“It’s a no-no, but some stylists do use filters when posting their work,” notes Jessica Gonzalez, a colorist at Sally Hershberger's LA salon, who gets an estimated 80 percent of her clients from Instagram. "Beware of images that sport a high contrast. Look at the hair’s highlights in those contrasted images — it just doesn’t look like real hair,” Gonzalez notes. To ensure the color you see is true-to-life, look for images taken in natural light, either outside or in the salon — complete with chaos in the background. They may not be perfectly composed, but they show that the colorist has the goods to deliver IRL.
4 of 10
Single Out The Cut, Not Styling
While a light filter may not change the integrity of a haircut on Instagram, major styling can. When evaluating the work on a stylist’s feed or looking at pictures for inspiration, ask yourself, “Do I like the way this is styled or the way it’s cut?”

“A lot of people see a textured cut in an image, but it only looks super textured because it’s waved out. If it was straight, you'd see it’s blunt,” notes Colleen Duffy, a stylist at Sally Hershberger LA. Look for stylists who show their work before it’s been manipulated into something it’s not. One way to hide a less-than-stellar cut is by curling the hair, something that helps blend hair layers more smoothly and can make highlights look more integrated, too. “The cut or highlights could be too choppy, but when it’s curled, you can’t tell,” Duffy warns. “You can hide anything with styling.”

Look for stylists who try to showcase a variety of cuts and color, not the style, in their feeds. “You don’t want every image to be styled the same — it make it look like they’re hiding something,” Duffy adds.
5 of 10
Find A Stylist You Like? Stalk Her Work Outside The Salon
We all know that salon-engineered blowouts don't necessarily reflect the hair we rock in the weeks to come. So when searching for a stylist, why not follow her work outside the salon? Duffy says she’ll tag the client in a post so people can take a look at the client’s feed and see how the the cut looks in different situations.

"That way, when you go in the client’s page, you can see how they’re styling and wearing their hair when I’m not doing it,” she says. Many times, this allows you to see hair worn in a wash-and-go situation, styled for a night out, and more. Seeing how the cut or color wears IRL gives a much better sense as to whether the stylist’s work is right for you.
6 of 10
Read The Comments
No matter what the social platform, the comments section not only represents society’s cattiest element, it’s often the least likely place to find useful information. But according to Rita Hazan, owner of Rita Hazan Salon in New York, the comments section of a stylist or colorist’s posts is the exception to the rule. “Read the comments [to see] how long it took to create [a look] and make sure there is a consistent message and color that you will like,” she offers.

Nicole Tresch
, a colorist at Rita Hazan Salon who works with Faith Hill and Natasha Lyonne agrees, saying, “often colorists and stylists are followed by their own clientele who comment on their posts. These comments serve as mini reviews — the more positive feedback they receive, the more likely you are to have a similar experience."

Finally, use the comments field to ask questions. "Don't be afraid to comment on an Instagram photo or video and ask the colorist for feedback on what he or she thinks of your desired look,” notes Tresch. “If you prefer to keep the conversation private, send a direct Instagram post or ask for an in-person consultation at the salon.”
7 of 10
Look At The Feed As A Whole
The majority of posts in a stylist’s feed will showcase the cuts or colors created. But don’t skip the random images of flowers, architecture, and art. A person’s feed as a whole will help give insight about their general aesthetic and whether it vibes with your own. “You can see [a person’s] personality and style on Instagram,” notes Gonzalez. “Even angles of the pictures taken communicate an aesthetic.”

Hazan agrees, adding, "I think it’s a great tool to get to know your colorists or stylists more personally and see if you vibe. Usually if you like someone’s posts constantly, it kind of means you have similar aesthetics and the odds of you liking their work are much higher."

And though it might be subconscious, getting to know your stylist via the platform can also help make for a smoother first experience in the chair. “Clients who check out our Instagram feeds are more comfortable with us and our style when they first sit in our chairs,” remarks Duffy.

But the real benefit of that familiarity? It may help you attain an edgier cut. “That comfort level gives us more freedom and creativity because clients trust us right off the bat,” she adds.
8 of 10
Poach A Celeb’s Stylist
Prior to social media, the mythical celebrity stylist could only be found on the pages of magazines. It was easy to imagine these creatures living the high life, never to touch a non-celeb head. Ah, how wrong we were. As it turns out, many of these stylists work on us normals too, keeping salon days on the books at least a few days a month. If you have a celebrity spirit animal, who happens to have the same texture of hair as you, and want to try to snag their cut or color, then stalk their social media for shoutouts and follow that stylist to find where you can get their salon services.
9 of 10
10 of 10
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!