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December 27, 2012
The Real Issue
Breaking Up with My Stylist
by Cyndie Swindlehurst


I have been going to the same hairdresser for fifteen years. She is a very nice person. Even though I never see her around town or socially, she gives me a Christmas gift every year. And I know from how she talks that she really needs the money.

But I don’t like the way she cuts my hair. At every appointment for the past seven years, I have explained that I want her to leave the top longer. I show her pictures of how long I want it. And every time, she cuts it too short. I think maybe she only knows how to do this one haircut.

I really, really want to go to someone else, but I don’t know how to do it. How do I break up with my hairdresser?


If you want your hair cut in a different way, by a different person, you will have to go to a new stylist. There is no other solution.

Because your current stylist either cannot or will not cut your hair the way you want it cut. You’ve explained and showed pictures, and she has not provided what you want. Seven years of bad haircuts is six years and ten months too long.

Here is what you should do: Don’t make another appointment with your current stylist.

Instead, start looking around at your acquaintances’ hair. Whose hair do you admire? Whose hair has a flattering cut and color? Ask that person for the name and number of her stylist. Then call the stylist and ask how much he charges. If it fits your budget, make an appointment. If not, keep asking around.

At your first appointment, explain how you want your hair to look, show some pictures of what you like, and explain what you don’t like about your current style. Then see how you like the new haircut.

Repeat this cycle until you find a stylist you like.

As you can see, the mechanics of breaking up with your stylist are simple: Don’t go back. Go to someone else.

But you have other concerns—can you leave the clientele of a nice but marginally-skilled hairdresser who has plied you with an annual gift as well as tales of financial woe?

Yes, you can.

One, you do not have to patronize the business of every nice person you know. This includes nice people with whom you have done business, even extensive business, in the past. There is no rule that says you can’t change vendors, restaurants, stylists, carpet-cleaners, doctors, etc., no matter how long you have done business with them.

Two, you can change service providers for any reason you wish, or for no reason at all. But changing a service provider because he is providing a poor service is actually a good reason to try someone new.

Three, every stylist needs paying clients. Instead of paying someone who does a poor job cutting your hair, you could support someone who does a good job.

Four, the point of having your hair cut is to have your hair cut. It is not to provide charity. I’m sure you have plenty of other opportunities to provide charity. And if you feel moved to provide charity to your current stylist, you can send her an anonymous donation.

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