"The best way to find a great colorist is online. The Internet has become such a valuable tool for finding out what other people's experiences have been like, what the salon atmosphere and social climate are, and if it's worth making the switch at all," says Paul Cucinello, Master Colorist at the Christopher Stanley Salon in New York.
By simply typing in "best hair colorist" and your city in a search engine, chances are you will find out a colorist in your area that people are raving about. Then make an appointment. Since most salons offer free consultations, make a day out of it and get a second, third, or fourth opinion. You are never obligated to book the appointment and the consult will tell you right away if this new colorist is right person to execute your color makeover.
Paul Cucinello was voted as best colorist by New York Magazine. Here are some of Paul's expert tips to keep in mind when choosing a color and a colorist:
1. Make three piles of photographs. One of yourself with various hair colors: They can be baby pictures, bad frostings, or a picture of a time when you had the color you liked the best. Next, start a collection of photographs from magazines depicting hair colors you love. Any color is fine as long as you're open to having it on your head. Then, make a pile of hair colors you hate - and make sure to tell the colorist, "These are hair colors that I do not want."
2. Go into the bathroom or the area in your home or office with the best light. It should be a place where you look the best. Pick up each picture and hold it next to your face. How does each color look? Does it bring out your eyes? Does it make you look too ruddy or sallow? Did you surprise yourself and see that you might look great as a redhead? Don't stop until you've gone through all of the pictures, good and bad.
3. Put together a neat folder and separate the pictures into 3 categories: Love it, Hate it, Not so sure about it.
4. Wear a white t-shirt to your consultation and don't over do your makeup. Try to give the colorist an accurate representation of who you are. Show him or her your style without giving away too much.
5. Ask them what they think and brace yourself for the worst. If you have bad color and you know it, they should tell you right away. If you have good color and they know it, they should also tell you that right away and ask you why you are changing colorists. Honesty is key. A good colorist should have a strong hunch as to where they think your color should be.
6. Try something new! Sometimes the color that seems the farthest away from what you are naturally might suit you best. Winona Rider is naturally a blonde! Jessica Simpson is naturally a brunette! Debra Messing dyes her hair red! If you don't take a chance you'll never know how good you might look.
7. Ask questions. "If you highlight my hair very blonde will it still be in good condition?" "What will I have to do to maintain the color?" "How long am I going to be here?" "How much is it going to cost?" "Will it be that much to maintain it every time or just for the first visit?"
8. Once you've decided on a color, discussed the price, and made an appointment, make sure to ask for instructions on at-home maintenance. Find out which cleansers and conditioners are best for your hair type and color. Did you know that blondes require more conditioning than brunettes? Do not leave the salon empty handed or you might be washing all your money down the drain.
9. Be on time for your appointment, if not 10 minutes early. A good colorist is probably very busy and might not take you seriously if you don't respect their time.