Hook up with a new hairstylist

Mar 11, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. ET

If you've been sporting the same hairdo since high school, it may be time to think about a change. Yes, it's a little bit terrifying, but change can be a great thing. The right haircut can take years off your face and make you look -- and feel -- terrific. But how can you make sure you get what you want?

If you've tried to talk to your stylist in the past, you might be ready to move on. If you're not quite ready to make that leap, though, you can start by what Jodyne Speyer, author of Dump 'Em: How to Break Up with Anyone from Your Best Friend to Your Hairdresser, calls "Laying the Groundwork" -- you're preparing for a breakup if your demands aren't met, in other words.


Before you dump your stylist, try to give him or her a warning "that if things don't change you are going to need to go to another stylist or salon," says Speyer. She recommends that you start with something positive when possible. "For instance, 'Stylist, I've been coming here for six years and enjoy our conversations, but it's super important to me that you and I are on the same page in terms of the new hairstyle I want.'"

Most hairstylists really do want you to be happy, says Speyer, and sometimes this reminder will do the trick. But what if it doesn't? Well, now it's time to break up. Even if you hate confrontation, it's important to actually speak with your stylist about why you're leaving -- otherwise, you'll force yourself to live with too much stress.


Just how to do the dumping? Most hairstylists that Speyer spoke to said a nice card or note was just fine. "You don't even have to go into great detail unless you want to. You could write, 'Just a quick note to thank you for five years of service. I have decided to go in a new direction with my hair but wanted to wish you and your salon continued success.' The point is to let them know that you have moved on, so they are not left wondering what happened to you," she says.

In some instances, when you have a more personal relationship with your stylist, you may need to break up in person. After you compliment the stylist on her past work and acknowledge the difficulty of the current conversation, remind the stylist of the warning you gave two weeks ago. "Because things haven't changed, you've made the difficult decision to move on, but want to wish them continued success. Remember they want you to be happy," says Speyer.


You should allow your stylist to respond, Speyer says, but she cautions against overtalking." A big mistake that people, especially women, make is that they keep talking and suddenly instead of dumping their hairstylist they've made their next appointment," says Speyer, who recommends rehearsing and preparing what you want to say ahead of time.


When you start checking out new salons, take advantage of the free consultation that many offer. Then, says Speyer, "Come prepared. Bring pictures, either torn out from magazines of the hairstyle you want, or if you know or see someone out and about who has the cut you want, ask them if you can take a picture of their hair."

You absolutely deserve to have a look you love. And it's within your power to get it.


Hairstyles for round face shapes: The best cuts and styles for women

21 Beauty shortcuts

Get hairdos, hairstyle ideas and more


Tagged in