Guy Files: How And Why To Break Up With Your Hairstylist

By Josh Nichols
In Style

We’ve all been there … the time comes when you just aren’t feeling your hairstylist anymore. Good hairstylists build lasting relationships with their clients. Great hairstylists become like your family members. Regardless of how unhappy you are, it isn’t easy to break ties with someone you’ve told all of your intimate secrets to, shared life goals and aspirations with, and (until now) who has helped you book every date you’ve had by improving your already dashing good looks with a great cut.

It can be really intimidating to do the deed, but breaking up may not be as hard to do as you think. There are several understandable reasons to break up with your stylist. I’m going to shed some light on a few scenarios that commonly lead to a vacancy in your stylist’s chair: Whatever the reason, you’ll be better equipped to spare their feelings, and save yourself from another bad hair day.

Flickr Creative Commons, TheGiantVermin

Flickr Creative Commons, TheGiantVermin

1/ Their prices have inflated faster than the balloons at your kid brother’s birthday party.
If you’ve been with your stylist for a while, you will most likely experience them raising their prices sooner or later. Trust me, we understand that those price increases will inevitably cause the loss of a few clients, and in all honesty, we expect some losses. It’s important to understand, however, this decision has nothing to do with you. Hairstylists raise their prices because they deserve to have a raise just like everyone else in the working world. The decision to increase them is a hard one because they genuinely enjoy seeing your handsome mug every four weeks. Before breaking it off with them, consider this: You might be able to get a deal if you know how to ask for it.

Tell them the price is a little steep for you. You could get a discount for referring your buddies, booking a standing appointment, shouting them out on Instagram or Facebook, or even because they have a little crush on you and they’re just trying to keep your relationship professional. If your stylist isn’t willing to work with you, then say thanks, and adios. They already know why you aren’t coming back. It’s not personal: It’s just business.

2/They’re always behind schedule, even though you always show up early.
Kudos to you for being prompt and respecting your stylist’s time—you deserve an award. Chances are, you were the only one who respected their time that day. If a client is late, we run late—it’s as simple as that. I have wanted to fire many a client for this very reason. The truth is, even late clients pay for their services (they should pay more, in my opinion, but that’s a different article). We have bills to pay, and we don’t get paid unless we see them. One or two late visits is not grounds for divorce. Be patient, and try to be understanding.

That said, you shouldn’t have to wait more than fifteen minutes—it’s up to you to decide who’s worth waiting for, but a talented stylist should be. If your stylist leaves you sitting with no explanation, they’re being unprofessional and you are completely within your right to call them out on it. Your time is valuable and they should see it as such. Otherwise, tell them you wont be back because your time is important and you can’t spend it waiting on them.

3/ They talk more about themselves than your hair.
Your appointment should be all about you. There’s nothing wrong with getting to know your stylist, and showing an interest in their personal life—your life story should trump theirs, though. You are coming to them for a haircut. You shouldn’t have to hear about where they got wasted last night or what their boyfriend did that morning to put a damper on the day. Honestly, if this is the problem you’re having at the salon, I don’t think you have to give your stylist an explanation. They probably wouldn’t listen to you anyway. It’s best to just part ways and find someone who puts your needs first in this relationship. You deserve most—if not all—of the attention.

4/ They’re still giving you the same haircut you had in your senior yearbook photo.
The number one reason a client leaves their stylist is boredom. Never mind your stylist’s hair changes style and color more often than you change lanes driving to the salon, but for some reason, they can’t seem to suggest anything new for you. Start by asking them for a change. Show them pictures. Offer to skip a visit in order to grow your hair out a little to facilitate something new. Tell them you are open to a new cut or would like to change things up. If you do that and they still make you look the same, it’s time to move on.

Here’s an insider tip to make this breakup easier: lie. That’s right, a little white lie will not hurt them in this case. Just tell them your mom/aunt/girlfriend bought you a gift card to somewhere else, and you’d be crazy to pass up a free cut.

5/ They just don’t “get you” anymore.
Despite all the pictures, explanations, complaints and pleas, your stylist just doesn’t comprehend your vision. First off, if you don’t like what they’re doing, tell them. We aren’t mind-readers. If you don’t like something, speak up. Consider the possibility that you might not have given the best description of your intended style. Your stylist should be able to give you what you want, or offer suggestions for something more suitable. If they still aren’t getting it, move on to a stylist who will. Don’t feel bad if you have to make a change to ensure your stylish good looks. If your stylist values you, they’ll do their best to make every visit count. Otherwise, they don’t deserve you. Shop around until you find a stylist who does. Just remember, when you find a good one, they’re worth keeping around.

Josh Nichols is a 15-year industry veteran who is a nationally recognized expert in hair styling. A St. Louis native, Josh attended Current Trends Academy and went on to become a top revenue stylist at the award-winning American Image Salon in Chesterfield. Josh opened his first salon—Josh Nichols Studio—in 2010. He has since expanded his services, added employees and relocated to Clayton, renaming his salon KINK Salon in 2012. His latest project, Notch, a men’s barbershop concept, opened August of 2014 in The Grove.

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