How to break up with your hair stylist

Breaking up with your hair stylist can be a tricky situation. Do you know how to properly cut ties? (Photo courtesy of Heather Mason)

Breaking up with your hair stylist can be a tricky situation. Do you know how to properly cut ties? (Photo courtesy of Heather Mason)

For many, the relationship with your hair stylist is topped only by a best friend, spouse or sibling. But what happens when the relationship has run its course and it's time to move on?

Angie's List has 5 tips to break up nicely. If your hair stylist just isn't cutting it, here's some advice on how to move on:

1. Realize that breaking up makes you more uncomfortable than the stylist.

2. Break the news gently and keep on point. If you're moving on because the stylist just wasn't following direction, say only that. No need to bring up her cell phone habits or personal flaws.

3. Write a break-up note to the hair stylist explaining that you’ve decided to transfer to a different hair salon, even if your new stylist is across town. That way, you’ll feel less awkward if you have a chance meeting. Be straightforward in your note, but kind, and be sure to say “Thank you,” for past good service.

4. Don’t lose your temper or snub your stylist or the salon owner - to their face or to your friends. You may want to use their services again someday and word can travel fast.

5. Simply consulting with a different hair dresser about new styles isn’t cheating. Maybe you don’t have to break up after all. Share those new ideas that intrigue you with your own stylist. He or she may appreciate a fresh perspective.


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Comments

My hair dresser has done my for over 16 years. Lately she has attitude when I want knew stuff done to my hair and many times doesn't even do what I ask after complaint about it. I'm ready to go to someone new but I don't want to tell her. We are friends but more so we share many friends and some of my friends are her family. We all went to school together so this is all a little personal and hard to deal with. Help

as a stylist I think it's important for clients to understand that while we 'squeeze' people in, we are still giving you all of our time and attention and we are paid commission based on our clients. more clients=more pay. we are passionate, generous and artistic people who really care but like ANYONE ELSE need to make a living to pay the bills. notes are nice. stylists are sensitive and we work extremely hard to make men and women feel their absolute best.

I think the heart of the problem is communication. A stylist can do a thorough consultation with a client, but if the client has a personality that isn't compatible with the stylist, it's like oil and water. Oftentimes, a clients "fear" of being honest with a stylist is ultimately what the problem is. "I'm afraid to tell her that this is what I want, because I don't want her to get mad or offended." Never assume!! A stylist can't give you your desired result if you don't communicate it to her clearly. If the communication on one person's end is interpreted incorrectly on the other's end, the end result will always be unsatisfactory. Also, some clients may not have considered this, but maybe the stylist purposely repeatedly didn't provide a desired result because they wanted to get rid of the client? Ever think of that? Stylists have clandestine ways of breaking up with clients too. Perhaps the client is a repeat offender of being late, doesn't tip or tips poorly, cancels all the time, is never satisfied/always on their cell phone, etc. whatever the issue. The stylist may purposefully do a poor job just so the client doesn't come back. There's some food for thought. Also, about the "I want an early appointment and I can never get one with my stylist." Well, do you book in advance enough? If your stylist is popular and always busy, perhaps poor planning on your part is to blame for this, NOT THE STYLIST. If you try to book an appointment the day before or the same day, you risk the chance that you may not be able to get an appointment. Maybe rebook standing appointments with your stylist so that ensures you to have the time you need. There are reasons why stylists encourage you to do rebookings, prebookings--so you can avoid time conflicts. If you don't take the advice from the expert, don't complain if the results are not satisfactory. People seem to want things to work when it's convenient for them and when it doesn't, they want to blame someone else for their inability to prioritize or plan properly. It's life logic. There are two sides to every story. I find it hard to believe that the stylist is always to blame. Just something to ponder. If a stylist is blatantly incompetent and unprofessional (eats while doing your hair, on the cell phone, profusely late, etc) then, yes obviously, it's time to go elsewhere. BUT, I just wonder how many of you are going to salons that are inexpensive. You get what you pay for.

I found out my stylist repeated to another client what I told her in confidence about me. I do not plan to go back. Am I expected to explain myself when I do not come back?

How would you like for your boyfriend, husband ,wife or girlfriend to just leave without and explaination?..What's worse is what if they leave you to start a relationship with someone you knew? If there is a relationship the break up needs to be done right to help with the healing process. It does hurt.

I agree with Yvette I have been a stylist for 20 yrs and had a client who was with me for 7 yrs just stop coming I felt after 7 yrs of service a note would have been nice just to know what was the problem she always felt comfortable to tell me if I did not cut enough off, or she wanted more highlights or whatever so I saw her at the store she was embarrassed and pretended not to see me and her hair looked just like it did when I did it so I still am puzzled , what makes it even harder is she is a christian woman so I was shocked she did not at least send a note ,I thought maybe something happened to her so I sent her a note to see if she was ok and she never responded that hurt worse It would be nice to know so that I could grow ,learn or improve from it! So ladies if you have went to a stylist for over 6 times just send a quick note it will help the stylist grow and learn from it I would rather have my feelings hurt than not know!

I moved to a new city/state (6 years ago) and have not found a hairdresser I like yet. I keep hitting these national chains that rush you in and out (they see so many people in a week - much less a month - they never remember your name). Most of them look like they just left school and I'm usually wondering if I'm going to be in good hands. I can honestly say I really miss my old hairdresser.

I had taken my son to the same local barber since he was 2 years old. The barbers wife was my friend. When my son started high school he decided he wanted to get "cool" haircuts from a local salon instead. So I just stopped taking him to the barber. A few months later I had run into the barbers wife and told her why my son stopped going to her husband for his haircuts. She was so happy that I had told her because she said her husband had wondered why my son wasn't coming anymore and was worried that he had done or said something wrong to make us leave. He had always given great haircuts so I was glad that he knows why my son stopped going to his barber shop.(I wish my son was still going to that barber because you should see some of the crazy haircuts he is getting now!) I only wish I had told the barber why we left sooner because that would have stopped any hurt feelings or misunderstandings. So I agree with the people who let their hairstylist know why they are leaving if they have been going there for more than a year. It is the right thing to do.

Erma: Maybe try what Judith (comment above) tried. It seemed to work out well for her!

My former boss,I was the receptionist, is doing hair at her house. She always charges me different prices even though I have the same thing done. She's also a friend and I would like to go to another salon but don't want to hurt her and keep her as a friend. What should I do?

Hey; it's hair that sits on my head whether I pay the bills or not. I have the right to prioritize my writing interests. I believe in being polite as often as possible, but these are really tough times. if i have to make a switch I don't imagine my stylist will have a break down if I initiate a change. This is no time to be a Diva. The market isn't steady enough for that behavior.

Salons are service oriented, and time is in VERY short supply while trying to keep up all the factors of our lives. I was a service worker and learned that when times are tough I shouldn't be too thin skinned about who returned to me and who didn't. word to the work wise; forgive you past clients no matter their situation if you are selling service alone. No service Industry person right now can afford to have a "DIVA" attitude; or at least not those I can afford. If for any reason I have to move to another beautician and I have to make a choice of dropping a Beautician a "line" or using that time to pay my precious mortgage bill/s What do you think I should do?

Thanks for the review. It’s very informative.

Note or no note? Sometimes it pays. When I wanted to leave Martha, I didn't want to hurt her feelings. It's a small town and I'll see he at least once a week. I sent her a card and told her I just needed a change in my life and since I was far too old for an affair, I'd decided to try another stylist instead. I also compliment the things about her work that I liked. Martha stopped by my desk at the hospital to say how much she appreciated the note and it was nice to know what happened to a client and didn't have to wonder if you did something wrong. We had a good laugh. The new stylist proved to be unreliable and I called Martha again. I'm sure glad I wrote that note. Might not make much difference in a big city but in a small town it matters.

I have had several different stylists over the many years that I have gone to them. I have never sent a note, which might be a good idea. Usually I stop or call them and let them know that I will be going elsewhere or moving or whatever reason. But most of the stylists have been friends or relatives so I felt the need to be honest with them. I had a stylist that quit me once but she was going to stop working for a while. When she started back up, I told my present stylist that my former one was starting back and I wanted to go with her. She was okay with it.

I've been a stylist for almost 20 years, and it still hurts when I lose a client. It may be my fault, it may not be, but it does hurt. I don't agree that a note is necessary when switching stylists, as a matter of fact, it makes it more awkward. Yes, the client is spending their money, and it's their choice who they choose to do their hair. We shouldn't make them feel bad. Although sometimes, it's the client themselves who snubs their former stylist. Another thing, those of you who say that you rather have the client stay in the salon rather than them switch, only benifits the owner. Sorry, when I lose a client, I lose that portion I'm used to seeing in my paycheck. So I feel I'm justified being hurt and angry. I know it's not personal, it's just business. My clientel is my bread and butter.

I once had a long time stylist break up with me. I had sent my mother to him, and apparently she said something that really annoyed him. After that, the stylist wouldn't schedule any of us. It could be that stylists that aren't accommodating your needs really don't want your business.

How about a sylist that gave you her skin infection, then tells you her "doctor" tells her she was on meds for 24 hours--your ok. Has the "nerve" to ask you to come back. Doesn't ask to help pay for the STAPH INFECTION she was spreading from her bandaged finger to my face!

What happens if the new hairstylist is in the same salon as your old one?

I am a stylist and owner. I agree the relationship with a client must be a professional one. I think it dangerous for stylists to see clients as 'friends'. (This is not to say a client cannot become a friend but this is not and should not be that common.) I have seen clients drop a hairdresser after years for the slightest thing. The professional relationship should be warm and pleasant but not familiar. I wish stylists would understand this protects them and the client. We encourage clients to feel comfortable with anyone in the salon. A fresh take on a client's hair is a good thing. The visibly hurt feelings and negative emotions are tiresome, rude and bad business. Children stomp around and pout. I get my hair cut and colored. There are people I feel comfortable with, people that are technically gifted but annoying, people that don't know me and can be objective--you get the idea. There are thousands of reasons for a client to change stylists. Clients have the absolute right to go to anyone they want at anytime. There is no mystery about this--we are there to serve them, make them look and feel the best possible. We then get paid and it is a lovely thing all the way around.

What if your new hairstylist works in the very same salon as the one you wish to leave? Many thanks as ever for your great service.

Sending a note to your stylist is just silly.

I agree with Jane. Since I am paying for the service they shouldn't rush..I had a bad experience with my stylist; and she was very aware of what she was doing wrong. I will not be returning. And she does not deserve a note of any sort!

To Sandy... If 'your' stylist can't make an earlier appointment for you, go elsewhere! You deserve better. I used to pay a babysitter so I could go to the hairdresser and not be stressed. I would frequently have to sit for a L-O-N-G time while he 'squeezed' other people in. Apparently, my business wasn't important enough for him so I went to another salon. Your question?...What can I do to make her understand? Ditch her!

You may not think your stylist cares, but I had a terrible experience doing this. My stylist was not available when I needed to get my haircut, and the salon gave me the woman right next to her. Well, I got a fabulous haircut from the new stylist, and then tried to make appt.'s when the other one wasn't there. My friends and family told me I was being silly worrying about it, but when I went ahead and scheduled with the new stylist and ended up sitting next to my old one, my old stylist became furious and wouldn't talk to me or look at me! And this went on for 2 or 3 uncomfortable years. I was rather shocked that she took it so personally, but since that episode, I will now switch salons if I don't like my current stylist rather than go through this again. And the sad thing is, if she had been nice to me, I would have probably continued to go to both.

As an AngiesList member and Hairstylist, I have to say I appreciate this advice. I would LOVE it if my clients dropped me a note to say they've decided to go with someone else. Hairstylist are often befuddled when a longtime client (3 years or more) just vanishes. On the rare occasion I bump into a former client, I can feel that they are embarrassed, but more than anything, I feel like I want to know why. Did I do something wrong? Were you just bored? Did you move? I don't think I have ever known a hairstylist who wouldn't like to know why and even use the information to improve their own service. So thank you for suggesting the note. It's a great idea!

Why the agony? Do you write a letter to your doctor apologizing when you get a second opinion? They do far more invasive and personal things to you.

If you have a PERSONAL relationship with your stylist, then I agree that an explanation is proper and absolutely required. Beyond that, I don't think I need to explain to anyone -- except perhaps my husband -- where I choose to spend my money. I agree with Mary ...

I stumbled upon this blog while here for something else--so interesting, and so glad I did! It has really pushed a few of my buttons! I usually have to be sandblasted from this kind of service relationship change, but I have left a lot stylists over the years--and inevitably, it's because of their rudeness and insensitivity. When I have to repeatedly ask for the same things, or endure hair in my handbag and water all over my clothes (no kidding--three times with the same girl! At two salons! I actually followed her!) then the only reason I would write a note is to vent! I wouldn't write a note to a bartender, or a physician, or a dentist...I just move on. And obviously, if I'm not there, then something isn't right. Enough said. My recent experience was with someone who had just given me a perm--I went in for a trim--she cut off the perm, and razored the hair in the back of my head to a "stacked" style that left me almost bald at the neck! We were growing to a bob...and when I asked her what she was doing--she told me she thought I had naturally curly hair! Huh? Don't you make notes? Or read them? And--I am one of those clients who want peace and quiet and to enjoy the attention. Because I don't share much information about me, the hairdresser usually chatters away about their life, or their other clients. That's the worst. But how do you tell them to shut up, when you've politely smiled and said things to suggest the alone time is nice? :) Thanks all!

I have switched stylists within the same salon on 2 occasions. In the first instance, the original stylist was not available, so I went with another. I liked the way she did my hair, so I stayed with her (she was the owner). From that point, I felt that both the original and the new stylists were cold and evasive. I moved on. The second time, I tried one stylist 3 times and did not like the way she cut my hair. When I went in for a redo, she was not there and another stylist helped me out. He is the owner, so I discussed with him any issues with staying with him. He told me he wanted me to stay with the salon and not to worry about the switch. I let him handle any hurt feelings there may have been with the first stylist. I did not feel I owed anyone an apology. I pay my hard earned money for their services - and any service should be subject to cancellation if the buyer is not happy.

I agree that sending a note or some other form of communication is simple common courtesy and good business practice. I would treat everyone who I come into contact with who does work for me the same way. Contractors, lawn care, etc.. Why would someone choose to not be courteous?

Whether to send a parting note to a stylist depends on how long they have been doing your hair. If you have been to this stylist once or twice, a note may not be necessary. On the other hand, if you have been their client for a long time (like mine, for 20 years) they at least deserve the courtesy of a note. I moved across the country recently and did just that.

I have been trying to get my hairdresser to give me an earlier appt. for a long time. I see she gives other people the early appts., and some time I sit for an hour or more waiting, and with a very bad back I need the earlies appt. I can get. What can I do to make her understand?

I think that a client that wants to try another stylist in the same salon should be encourage to do so. And their should feel at ezee about it . Everyone like a change now and then. Stylist too get bored.Also if your stylist is gone on vacation or get sick you would have someone to fall back on. After all you have already seem they work. A good salon works together with each other and trys to take care of the cliets needs even sharing them.

I agree with Chris! A hair stylist provides a service for which you pay. You have every right to go to any stylist whose services you can afford! And no, it is NOT "cheating" - because this is a BUSINESS relationship, not a marriage. It's incredible how many grown women seem to believe that they owe their stylist eternal "fidelity". (Have you ever heard a MAN agonize about No, neither have I!)

Loved the advice but as others have mentioned....how to switch to a new hairdresser within the same salon???

I agree sending a note to the hairdresser is just crazy. If they are going to rush through your haircut to get as many people in there as they can they should not be doing hair to begin with and need to lose customers. Maybe they will figure it out at some point when they are stearing at their emty schedule wonder why.............

I've been a salon owner & stylist for 30 years {i started very young}, I seen it all, done it all, & can't think of anything i haven't seen or heard before. Now I work in Jenkintown,pa. with Studio Artur. I don't care who you are, or how great you think you are, rejection hurts. In my case I (over years of experience) know that I give 100% to every client that comes into my salon. so when I don't see a client again, I know I gave it my best, but I still feel a little down,I think a letter is ok if you've been seeing your stylist for over 6 visits, & you're moving away, or that it's too costly for their budget, but not because you weren't filling their needs. (from experience)

I am a hairdresser and am wondering how one would contact former clients (been with you over 6 visits and have a standing appt through next year) Would you call them and very humbly thank them for their business and ask if there was anything to y.ou could do to insure the same experience didnt happen to anyone else? Or just take them off the books? I dont want to send a letter. Thanks, Lily

I am a stylist, and salon owner. we have run into situations where a client would prefer to see a different stylist in the salon, we would love to have the client stay at the salon, our team is very supportive of one another. Besides, sometimes it's nice to see what another stylist would do

Maybe I'm old school, but unless the stylist were a family member, I would simply stop going to the salon. And I certainly wouldn't write a note! My leaving is not going to crush their ego or ruin their business...they get far more new customers than lose old ones.

It seems that we have two camps: one that thinks communicating why you're leaving is important, and the other that thinks communicating this with your stylist is un-necessary. Why two camps? It may be because people work with their stylists in two ways. Some people engage in simple conversation, while others use their stylist as a confidante, discussing ideas and sharing parts of their life. If your relationship with your stylist includes conversations about your life, I'd say honor that relationship you've made with them by ending it with the same amount of openness. Give them a note. It's all professional, but after bending their ear for months about your personal life, you can at least give them some feedback on their professional life.

Margi, Ben and Jim: When we talked with professional hairstylists to form the tips, they indicated that honesty is always the best policy, so same rules should apply.

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