Making the cut: How to break up with your hairstylist

Break-ups are always painful — even if it means with your hairdresser.

There could be a variety of reasons why people leave their current hairstylist or barber and find another one. It could be increasing costs, lack of available appointments, or maybe just distance. Sometimes, you might not like how the stylist cuts your hair.

It’s not an easy decision for many people, and it can be tough to tell your stylist that you’re moving your business elsewhere, said Adrian Carew, a Toronto-based stylist and owner of salon Hair91.

“You know, you create a bond. And separating from that bond is kind of tough,” he said. 

Those who work with hair are aiming to make you look and feel great, and that time in the chair can lead to in-depth, personal conversations. That can make it harder to walk away, Carew said.

Why you might want to leave your hairdresser

A study conducted by payment company Square in January found a third of Canadians surveyed said they’ve “cheated” on their hairstylists to try someone else.

Reasons for straying from their consistent stylist included difficulties getting an appointment, bad haircuts, a stylist moving away, a stylist not listening to them, or a stylist who was too chatty, according to the study. 

Even if some clients don’t want to talk, many do and create an emotional bond with their stylist, said Carew.

“It’s a relationship that’s acquired between hairstylists and clients…sometimes some of us might even be their therapists, confiding stories and situations,” he said.

That can create a level of intimacy that can be difficult to give up, even if you may want to try a different stylist, he explained.

“People are always a bit wary of hurting someone’s feelings, or offending them in a way, especially if you’ve been with the hairstylist for a really long time,” said Lisa Vella, a Toronto based makeup and hair artist. 

It’s not uncommon for people to want to test how their cut might go with another stylist, and then go back to their original hairdresser, she said. 

“Hairstylists have an understanding that people are going to want different things at different times,” she said. “And sometimes people want to explore a style that may be outside of their own hairstylist’s comfort zone.”

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