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Hair Talk

How to “Break Up” With Your Stylist

How to “Break Up” With Your Stylist

Sometimes you have to let your stylist know it’s just not working out. Thankfully, there are techniques to help a tough conversation like this one go smoothly.

Your hair is one of the cornerstones of your confidence and self-esteem.

And that means you can’t trust it to just anybody.

You need someone to whom you can really communicate your style desires and goals…

…and who has the creativity and expertise to pull off the exciting ideas you cook up together!

We’re sure you’ll agree that when it comes to your hair, few feelings compare to finding a stylist with whom you just click.

“It’s a blessing when you find a stylist that feels like a true and trusted friend.”

But that can make it even harder to admit when you’re no longer a good match.


Sad but true:

Whether it’s because you’re constantly forced to reschedule canceled appointments…

...or because no matter what the two of you discuss, your hair ends up looking the same...

...sometimes, like with a bad boyfriend, you have to let your stylist know it’s just not working out.

Thankfully, there are techniques to help a tough conversation like this one go smoothly.

So, to address this sticky subject, we asked a team of seasoned salon pros:

What’s your best advice for ‘breaking up’ with a stylist?”

These tips will make sure no one walks away with anger or hurt feelings… when you choose a new stylist, the only thing on your mind can be what’s best for your hair!


There’s no denying it:

Very few of us are at our best 24/7/365.

So it’s fair to expect your stylist is also going to have an occasional off day.

But New York-based celebrity stylist Tommy Buckett, whose clients include actresses Elisabeth Moss and Jackie Cruz, says you should take note if those off days become TOO occasional.1

Buckett says you should be concerned after two or three consecutive sessions where your stylist either won’t attempt what you ask them…

...or you find yourself leaving the salon looking and feeling no different than when you walked in.

“It’s important for you and your stylist to evolve together,” says Buckett.

“A quality consultation should always result in a fresh new direction for your style.”

He notes he’s lost clients after telling them he wanted to try something new, because he was bored giving them the same cut and style as always.

But Buckett is also aware stylists themselves can be unwilling to take a chance.

One clue you’ve got a risk-averse stylist, he says, is the stylist’s own hair.

“If the stylist has had the same haircut since you started seeing them, they’re probably scared of change.”

That means, if you’re not seeing anything fresh out of either your hair or your stylist’s, it might be time to have that difficult talk.2


So, you’ve decided it’s time to call it quits with your stylist.

And you’ve developed enough of a connection that just saying “we’re through” isn’t going to be enough.

But what if you’re worried your reasons for leaving will end the relationship on a sour note?

To be perfectly honest, this is another thing your relationship with your stylist has in common with some of your past romances:

Sometimes, if it means you can break things off cleanly, without anyone getting too stung…

...your best bet is a little white lie.

That’s according to David Babaii, a celebrity stylist who’s worked with Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Olivia Wilde.

Some acceptable let-them-down-easy stylist excuses include.

  • “The salon’s just too far’s hard for me to get here!”
  • “Someone gave me a gift certificate from another salon.”
  • “My mom / sister / girlfriend is treating me to a day at her favorite salon.”
  • “I’m not going to be using this color / treatment any more.”3

Babaii suggests that if you do tell your stylist a fib, make sure it’s small, simple, and believable.

In the past, he’s had a client tell him she was moving out of the country...and another say she was getting a surgery that would make her unable to drive herself to the salon!4

In short, breaking up with your stylist can be difficult enough. There’s no need to make it harder by having to spin some lie they’ll just see right through anyway.


Of course, you may decide to tell your stylist the absolute truth.

In that case, the tone of your conversation is every bit as important as what you say.

This tip comes from Ashley Trimnal of South Carolina’s Allure Salon and Day Spa, which Elle named one of the 100 best salons in America.

For Trimnal, it all comes down to two simple words: “Be nice.”

“You don’t have to say ‘I hate the way you do my hair!’,” she says. “It’s perfectly fine to tell me that you want to try that new salon across town.”

Trimnal also points out that keeping a pleasant tone makes things easier if you change your mind.

“When we end a relationship on a positive note, it’s easier to get back together in the future. Don’t burn bridges!”

“You never know if you’ll be coming make sure that if you do, you’ll be welcome!”

Finally, Trimnal offers an important reminder about professional stylists: They are indeed professionals.

“I don’t get upset when people leave,” she says. “I completely understand that sometimes the client and I are not a good fit.”5


Bringing a longstanding relationship to an end is never a cinch…

...especially when it’s as intimate and collaborative as the one with your stylist.

But sometimes, for a variety of different reasons, things just don’t pan out.

And nobody looks forward to telling their stylist they’re moving on...but when it’s unavoidable, it’s best to make the process as painless as possible.

If you’re facing a stylist breakup, we hope these tips from our accomplished hair professionals will make for a clean-and-easy split.

That way, you can move on with your good feelings about the salon experience intact…

...and ready to find that stylist that’s truly “the one” for you!



  1. Cooper, Leah Faye. “Celebrity Stylist Tommy Buckett Just Convinced Us to Paint Our Bedrooms Black.”, Coveteur, 4 Apr. 2018,
  1. Tunell, Alexandra. “Salon Etiquette Questions, Answered.” Harper's BAZAAR, Harper's BAZAAR, 8 Oct. 2017,
  1. Claudia, et al. “How to Break up with Your Hairdresser.” Hair Romance, 20 Oct. 2014,
  1. Oliver, Dana. “How To Break Up With Your Hairdresser Without Being A Jerk.” The Huffington Post,, 25 Jan. 2016,
  1. “How to Break Up With Your Hair Stylist.” An Alli Event, 1 May 2015,