02/07/2012 03:05 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How To Break Up With Your Hairdresser

My last hairstylist worked just one block away from my apartment. It was convenient on those Saturday mornings I'd wake up really late, but I dreaded the close proximity once I started seeing another beautician behind her back.

I dodged follow-up calls and took longer walking routes all because I was afraid to confront her about spending too many hours in the salon or being heavy-handed with curl defining creams. Luckily, my hair is in much better hands, but a part of me wishes I would have opened up about things going bad.

At some point or another, you may have broken up with your hairdresser or tried to and ended up not loving your locks as much. Take back control with these expert tips on how to cut ties without coming to blows.

Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Give a heads up
When you call to schedule your next hair appointment, that is a great time to mention any issues you'd like to discuss. Jodyne Speyer, author of "Dump 'Em: How to Break Up With Anyone From Your Best Friend to Your Hairdresser," recommends being as specific as you can. For example you can say, "I noticed that this last haircut grew out a lot faster than the previous ones" or "The color had more yellow than usual."

Set a "get it right" deadline
Speyer points out that it is key to remember everyone has an off day and that your hairdresser wants you to leave their chair happy. Allow them to fix the problem, as this lays the groundwork should you decide to dump them later. Your next salon visit should show that any or all issues are corrected, adds celebrity hairstylist David Babaii, the pro behind Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman and Olivia Wilde's red carpet looks. "If you don't like something, speak up. If you do like it, it is always nice to hear."

Trust your instincts
No one knows your best hair better than you, says Vivian Diller, Ph.D, New York City-based clinical psychologist and co-author of "Face It," a book about the psychology of beauty as we age. "I've heard of people who decide to leave a hairstylist and think they may be punished or feel as though they've breached an implicit trusting relationship. Yet, that switch is sometimes needed."

Babaii believes that cutting your hairdresser loose is definitely valid if they are constantly late for your appointment, not styling your hair as requested, avoiding your concerns or even talking on the phone and texting while doing your hair.

Say it simple
Women tend to over talk when it comes to dumping service providers, according to Speyer. She adds, "There are usually one or two reasons why we are not happy. Stick to those, pepper it with kindness and do not confuse things by bringing other issues into the equation." And if your stylist starts to cry or get upset, hear them out and don't react to their anger with more anger.

If you struggle with confrontation, try sending them a card that wishes them well, but lets them know you've decided to move on and do thank your hairdresser for the years you've had together.

Don't use outrageous excuses
I'm guilty as charged of dialing up my stylist to say I've had a family emergency to avoid a fee. However, Babaii has heard of clients going as far to say they had surgery and no longer will be able to drive or moved out of the country. Disappearing without telling your hairdresser is a big no-no, says Speyer. "There is nothing more awkward than running into your stylist at the market."

Leave the door open
Dr. Diller notes that there is a strong bond shared with hairstylist as we hand over complete control for them cut, color and curl our hair, creating a need for this relationship. "It is an association with stability and saneness and while some people are able to let go with ease, others may be more hesitant."

If you think there is a chance you might return to your stylist, Speyer advises telling them just that. However, one shocking fact she's learned is how many hairdressers wish they could dump their clients and not necessarily for personal reasons. "Sometimes they just don't like cutting a specific type of hair, so many are relieved when you dump them," says Speyer.

Have you ever experienced a bad hairdresser breakup? Share your stories in the comments section below.

Meanwhile, here are five tips on how to transform a bad haircut.


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