One of the most important relationships a woman will have in her life is with her hairstylist. It can take years (decades, even) to form a lasting bond, but once you do you can become beauty soulmates. You’ll slump into the salon feeling a little less than yourself, but like magic, you’ll emerge from under his/her capable hands looking and feeling the best you have in years. This isn’t a relationship anyone should take lightly.
But things happen. Maybe you’ve moved to another part of town or grown tired of your stylist’s communication style because you can’t seem to agree that you don’t, in fact, make a good blonde. Your decisions are ultimately yours to make, but as with any relationship there are certain rules of etiquette you should follow if you suddenly find yourself at odds with your stylist. Here are four every woman should remember.
1. Don’t ghost your stylist. Everyone seems to be “ghosting” everyone else these days, meaning they pretend everything is nifty at their last appointment and then immediately change their phone number and never bothering calling it quits. Ghosting is a rude, period. But it’s especially rude to your stylist who counts you as one of her trusted clients. “If it’s just not working out, I would prefer a client didn’t ‘ghost’ me and actually broke up with me,” says Master Stylist Shreeda Tailor of J. Tailor Salon. “Think about people in your past that you never called back and just left hanging. It doesn’t feel good and it leaves you wondering. An open conversation about why it isn’t working will help me improve as a stylist and a person. If I’m not ready to take on the improvements right away or I’m being asked to do something I’m just not comfortable with (like risky hair processes), I might have a colleague who would be a good fit for that client. Your stylist is doing what she/he loves. She or he loves to make you feel good about yourself. Even if that means guiding you to a stylist that will be able to fulfill your desires.”
2. Understand why its important to stick with one stylist. You may think the only reason you should stick with the same stylist is because it’s rude to stray, but the benefits are actually quite numerous. Tailor reminds us that hair is directly related to your internal health. “If something is going on inside, it will show in the hair,” she says. “Who better to realize that change than your long-term stylist? I have seen colleagues go through cancer, thyroid problems and alopecia. To me, this is the more important reason for a steady stylist. Another reason is that all the processes a person does to their hair, whether it’s color or smoothing services, leave a lasting effect on the hair. A steady stylist will know your hair and what it is capable of. It isn’t as cut and dry (no pun intended) as slapping bleach on because the client wants highlights. The clients who have been with me for years have a history with me. I know their hair, I know whether it pulls warm during a bleach process or if their gray is resistant. I no longer have to guess and try things with them, we nail it every time. I also know how the water in their house affects their hair and on what schedule they will need to tone their hair because the minerals in their water have changed the tone of their highlights. Hair is unpredictable–especially when the stylist is going in blind.”
3. Be honest with your stylist. One of the reasons you might not be seeing eye to eye with your stylist could be because you are failing to communicate your needs or you’re not being totally honest about what you’re doing to your hair at home (or in another stylist’s chair). When you fib or pretend you like something your stylist has done, they are less able to do their jobs and provide the results you want. No one wins. “My newer clients come to me after they have had a rough experience with another stylist and I have to ask a lot of questions to get a slight idea of what has been done to the hair,” Tailor says. “Even still it is guess work because most clients have no idea what was done to their hair and many times they lie. Find a stylist you trust and get along with, someone you can be honest with. Then actually be honest with them. Tell them if you hate something or prefer things a certain way. I go above and beyond for my clients when they tell me exactly what is on their mind. Their honest feedback helps me improve as a stylist and it helps me improve their overall experience at my salon. I am able to see where I might need more focused training, or it might help me to see a weakness in a product line.”
4. Break up the right way. Sometimes things just don’t work out. Respect your stylist’s feelings and the fact that she or he relies on you for business, and have a chat before splitting. “If you would like to switch stylists, have an honest conversation with your current stylist and let them know why you wish to leave,” Tailor suggests. “They will probably try to resolve the issue, but if you still feel uncomfortable, it’s okay to say ‘no thank you’. Then track down your friends who have amazing hair that is similar in texture and density to yours. This will tell you that their stylist already has experience dealing with hair like yours.”