Is It Time For A Breakup With Your Hairstylist? How To Know (And Do It Politely)

Hairstylists aren't just there to give you a new look. They often serve as a listening ear to your relationship woes, an observer of your kids' milestones, a guidance counselor, and much more. Often, hairstylists are an extension of your family, so severing ties with them may be one of the hardest things you'll ever do.

The blow is especially difficult if this particular person has been a part of your hair journey for years. Some customers avoid it altogether despite being unhappy with their hair, possibly due to a sense of loyalty or even guilt. However, as with any relationship, there may be a time when you need to ditch your beautician. Several factors can let you know when it's time to say goodbye. Though a complex process, there are ways to quickly deliver the news that you'll no longer be a client when your needs are no longer being met.

Undesirable hairstyles could signal the end of the relationship

Having a new hairstyle can be a huge self-esteem booster. In fact, according to an InStyle poll from 2018, 81% of women reported they feel the most confident when their hair is beautifully done. Since getting that new chin-length bob or halo extensions is such a pivotal moment in the self-care process, weeks-long disappointment can ensue when the style doesn't turn out quite as planned.

Even with their best efforts, some stylists may not always be able to precisely recreate those honey-blonde curls you saw Cardi B rocking, as pictured. While you may be immediately tempted to seek out a new stylist when your look goes wrong, consider a few things first. Your original stylist may not be an expert in the specific look you asked for, or perhaps, your hair texture is not the same as the inspiration. In some cases, you might just be faced with a hairdresser who lacks the skillset to pull off the style. 

Have a conversation with your stylist before making any decisions. As with any relationship, communication is critical. Express dissatisfaction with your look and see if your stylist offers to fix it. If they express empathy and try to make things right, that signals that the bond you've built with them is more significant than money. If they become combative at the first sign of criticism, that could be an indicator that you should look elsewhere for your hair needs.

Constantly being late is reason enough to call it quits

While dealing with many clients and unexpected circumstances, your stylist may occasionally fall behind schedule. Just as you may run late to work if your tire blows or your kid is sick, your stylist deserves the same grace your boss would give you. However, be mindful of how often this happens. Is your beloved hair guru getting you in the chair an hour after your scheduled appointment every time you visit the salon? Do they wash your hair and then disappear to "grab a product" for 30 minutes, causing your visit to run longer than expected? These are red flags and should not be ignored.

The purpose of a hair appointment is to reserve a spot that suits your schedule and your stylist's. Many patrons plan their entire day around this dedicated time slot. Therefore, when it goes way over the allotted timeframe, this may impact other plans. It's okay to be understanding if this happens a few times, but if it becomes the norm, it's time to seek out another hair professional that values your time and theirs. Before making the leap, express how their tardiness affected your life that particular day. Give them a chance to correct this behavior before bowing out gracefully.

How to say goodbye as nicely as possible

You're at your wit's end with your hairdresser. Your patience has run thin with them failing to see your vision, being late, or making excuses. The time has come to say goodbye. But, even in your frustration, recognize that there is a proper way to part ways. 

Celebrity hairstylist and Dove ambassador Mark Townsend told Byrdie that offering gratitude during the breakup can go a long way. Then, simply explain that you've chosen to go with a stylist who understands you a bit better. Medium lifestyle writer Michelle Lee-Ann also advises communicating the breakup instead of ghosting your stylist. Doing so as soon as you have definitively made up your mind can soften the blow.

Your hairstylist can play many roles once you sit in their chair. Some people look forward to their visit not only for the glam but also to tell them about their latest life updates, which can make the separation difficult. But always remember that a customer service transaction is at the core of this relationship. You are paying for a service and should be satisfied with it. If it's not working out, make a clean break.