Finding a stylist that is the right fit for you is really not a difficult process. The best way to find a good stylist is to ask a person who's hair you really love who their stylist is. Seeing with your own eye is the best way to gauge how good of an artist the stylist really is. Next to that is word of mouth. A person who speaks highly of their stylist truly loves what they are getting from them.
Just walking into a salon and sitting in a chair and hoping that you get a good stylist should never be an option for you. I have seen both ends of the spectrum. A person comes in sits down and finds their stylist for life, and a person walks in sits down and walks back out hating what has just been done to their hair.
A good stylist that is working with you should provide you with a thorough consultation. He or she should take their time to make sure you two are talking about the same thing. They should analyze your hair and ask you personal questions like how long do you like to spend on your hair each day, do you see yourself as conservative person, what is your work environment like and has your hair been previously colored. You need to discuss color placement and the technique that will be used. They should point out face shape and visual points on the body where you want the hair to fall. A great way to communicate with each other and to make sure you two are visualizing the same thing is with pictures. My copper red hair with highlights may not be the same visualization that you have.
Bedside manner is another important factor in finding a stylist that fits. Of course you want a clean person to work with your hair. But maybe you like to sit there, quietly and not be bothered or your the type of person who loves to talk. There are many different personalities that you will come across in the cosmetology field so you should be able to find, that perfect stylist your personality fits with.
A good stylist should give you directions on how to style your hair, ways to improve the condition of your hair and any special care that your hair needs. What good is a great cut if you get home and you cannot do anything with it?
There are plenty of great stylists out there and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Your hunt for the right stylist should not be too hard especially if you start with your friends favorites.