One of the great mysteries in life for me is why women feel bad breaking up with their hair stylist. I am a non-active Master Cosmetologist. I can honestly say I now understand both sides of the equation.
I have always been very particular about my hair. However, having the type of hair that I do, full, frizzy, curly and out of control, it has not always been easy to find a stylist whom I felt did all the things to my hair I thought should be done. In the past, I would find a stylist, stick with her or him and would become very comfortable with them. However, whenever they would have a bad day or not complete the look I wanted, I typically would not say anything but would leave, be unhappy and talk about how unhappy I was.
Now, after having been in the cosmetology profession, I understand how wrong I was to not verbalize my dissatisfaction. You see, a Stylist is a trained professional. They are trained to KNOW their craft. They are trained to take feedback. However, whenever when they initially get their license, they are not trained to know YOUR hair. They are trained in technique and laws.
First, let me speak to the client’s point of view to the stylist. 1) I am coming to you because I’ve heard you are a good stylist. 2) I am coming to you because I saw someone else’s hair that I liked and thought I would give you a try 3) I am coming to you because you are trained in your trade and 4) When I leave your chair, I want to be completely satisfied with the results!
Now, from the Stylist’s point of view. When someone would sit in my chair for the first time, here are the things I wish they had known. 1) Your hair has different growth patterns. I am not going to know what these patterns are until I get to know your hair. 2) Your hair has a personality. Yes, that is what I said, a personality and will behave as you and I both train it to do. But, this will not happen overnight. Your hair may not cooperate. If it does not, we will step back and reevaluate a course of action. It may take two or three times of me servicing your hair before the desired look is accomplished. But I assure you, I will make sure your hair looks good while WE transition your look. 3) I am a trained artist. When I perform color on your hair, I am evaluating levels of color. I am considering what is already on your hair (because if this is your first time to see me, I have NO idea what product(s)/chemical(s) the previous stylist used on your hair.) And 4) if you bring in a picture of Jennifer Anniston’s hair style and tell me you want her hair style, you probably are not going to look like Jennifer Anniston when you leave my chair. You see, when someone brings in a picture, they do not consider that their hair may not have the same texture, growth pattern, etc as the picture.
Having experienced both sides, there is no wrong or right! This is a relationship. The two parties need to communicate and establish a communication style that works for both. Often, clearing up a small piece of communication will get things back on track.
So what happens when you want to change stylists? More often than not, you feel guilty about leaving. Maybe you have been with this stylist for a long time. Maybe you have become friends. Besides, weren’t there times when you would sit in the chair and tell your stylist EVERYTHING? I mean spilling it all. So if you leave, will they tell anyone your secrets? The reality is, if you want to stay, you need to communicate. But why is it so hard to break that tie? The relationship between the client and stylist is a business relationship. Oh, I know, you feel like they are your best friend, but they are trying to make a living. If a client feels like, after being honest with the current stylist that a change is needed, IT IS OKAY to change!!! The stylist would much rather you leave than stay and be unhappy. The stylist realizes it is their signature that is on your head and it is not worth it to try and talk someone in staying. However, most of the time, the client leaves without saying a word, except to other people. This is where the issues really begin. Because, if you should ever return, there is the unknown between the two and that is like a break-up that gets back together that has no resolution to the previous issues. Sometimes leaving is what is needed to get a fresh look for yourself. But keep in mind, this is business and in any successful business there has to be trust and open communication.
So, have some grace on your stylist. But do remember at the end of the day, the service is being provided FOR you, the paying client.