New Hair StylistQ: I haven't seen this addressed anywhere and I'm not sure where to look. I have been seeing a stylist for a few years and after trying different things, it is apparent she has no idea how to deal with my wavy hair so it doesn't flip up. I like her as a person, and she has done fine with others, does great haircuts on them, but she just isn't "getting" my hair.
I have a referral for a new stylist from a friend who has wavy hair, but I am wondering: should I tell my previous hairdresser that I'm moving on? Send her a parting check? Or just never go back? Do stylists expect that clients will just disappear? I feel strange about just leaving her without a word but I'm not sure what to say. Thank you.
A: This is a good question, and I would like to applaud you for your sensitivity and caring toward the feelings of your current stylist, and for your general sense of etiquette. Speaking as a hair stylist, I can say that a lot of my stylist-client relationships have become genuine friendships over the years. However, I do have a number of clients who are simply clients and nothing more.
Any stylist who is realistic knows that a certain percentage of the people who pass through their station are never coming back again. Generally, in a “walk-in” salon, perhaps only a third of the clients who come through will ever be back, and of those who do come back, only a third will become “regulars”. Of those regulars, even fewer turn out to be a person to whom you become close.
That’s the key to how you should deal with the person who now serves as your stylist. Do you and she treat each other as friends? Does or has she made efforts to work you in or work around your schedule? If she makes special concessions for you, then she probably considers you a “special client” at the very least. Therefore, she deserves at least some measure of courtesy.
I don’t think it’s necessary to “send her a parting check” unless you have a standing appointment with her and you feel she wouldn’t have time to fill the slot with another client. It would be appropriate to at least send her a note explaining that you’ve appreciated everything she’s done for you in the past, but that you’re ready for a change in stylists so that you can get a fresh perspective on styling your hair.
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