Don’t Suffer in Silence: How to Leave Your Hairdresser

This week’s post is a guest post. I hesitated letting my husband write about this topic because…well…my own clients read this blog. Why tell them how to leave me? Then, I realized I only want my clients to be happy and I work hard to make them happy. So, here it is: how to leave your hairdresser.


–by Robert Austin

When my husband, Kevin Borfitz, and I were first dating, I was incredibly embarrassed when he gave his business card to random women he’d just met. We hadn’t been dating long, so I hadn’t yet grasped the full extent of his amazing ability to talk to strangers. I also hadn’t yet realized just how much he loves being a stylist and being creative. To me, handing the card over said, “Your hair is awful and you should come see me right away.” I often wondered if these women felt as horrified as I did by the bold gesture.

It didn’t take long to find out. His card was a license for women to confess: they hated their hair. “Really?” they’d exclaim, “I’m so unhappy with my hair!” Time after time, women said it on planes, in restaurants, at the bar in the theater or simply standing next to us in some line. Then, invariably, they’d ask, “What do you think I should do with it?” I’d go to the restroom in a restaurant only to return to Kevin running his fingers through a woman’s hair at the next table, giving an impromptu consultation.

The number of women who were suffering silently was astounding. I’d sit there mesmerized as they opened up to him about their rocky relationships.

image“I just can’t find anyone I like.”

“He doesn’t listen.”

“She always cuts it too short.”

“It always comes out so brassy/dark/light/orange/striped.”

“What I really wanted was (fill in the blank).”

“I’ve gone to him for so long that leaving feels like betrayal.”

Like in so many soured relationships, poor communication was most often the root of the problem. Kevin would suggest words to help them describe for their hairdresser what they really wanted. He helped them make a plan, whether or not they intended to come to him to carry it out. He’d encourage them to be honest with their hairdresser. He would scoot in close and educate them about their hair type while their poor husbands looked on as bored as if they’d been dragged shopping for bras.

I get it. It’s not just a business relationship. A woman’s hairdresser is often her armchair shrink, gossip buddy, friend, confidant and style guru. Stuck in a stale relationship: they loved their hairdressers but not their hair. Breaking away meant dating again: a series of trial and error appointments with strangers. Moreover, what if it doesn’t work out with a new hairdresser? How can one face going back after such a betrayal? These worries were real.

After witnessing this scenario play out repeatedly through the years, I can tell you it doesn’t have to be this way. If you’re one of these women, I have a few ideas to help you make the break.

1. Don’t continue to suffer in silence. Be honest about your complaints and give your hairdresser the chance to fix what you don’t like. Book a consultation appointment to talk it over. If you’ve already decided that it’s not a good fit anymore or you’re just in a hair rut, then say so and move on. Life is too long to hate your hair.

2. If a face-to-face is too difficult or guilt-ridden, consider sending a card thanking her for her work. If it makes it easier for you, tell a harmless, feelings-sparing lie that you’ve moved to a salon closer to home or work. You don’t have to explain all the sordid details.

3. Realize that you needn’t say anything at all. At the end of the day, you are a customer and you don’t owe anything other than your bill. You aren’t the first client to mysteriously disappear and a professional stylist won’t take it personally. If she does, then you truly are better off leaving. Just don’t pre-book your next appointment and move on.

4. Go shopping. Get a second, third or fourth opinion by making consultation appointments with a few stylists. Ask friends or family for recommendations or just book one with Kevin. Pay no money for this. A consultation should be free. Take photos of hairstyles, cuts, and color you like with you.

The hundreds of impromptu consultations I’ve witnessed over the years in restaurants around the world have taught me a few things. Kevin always talks about the hair’s health first, so that should be a topic in addition to talk about the color, cut and style. What do you like and not like about your hair? Which products and tools do you use and how do you style it? If you’re after something new, then your face shape, skin tone and eye color may be talked about too.

I’ve learned the consultation should also be about more than your hair. It should take into account what work you do, whether you travel a lot, how much time you have for your hair in order to get the kids ready for school, etc. It should focus on how your hair fits you.

And remember when I said many issues are rooted in miscommunication? Think about how well communication flowed during the consultation, keeping in mind that communication is a two-way thing. How clearly did the new stylist communicate her ideas. Was there concern about making sure you can re-create the look at home on your own? Did she explain why she thinks it will work with your hair? Did she explain why it wouldn’t work? Did she offer alternatives? Was the consultation a collaboration? It should be. Are you on the same page? Then you should leave with a plan. Much can be discerned from the communication style and what you learn about how a stylist sees your hair.

5. As an absolute last resort, you can always hope to sit next to us in a restaurant, at the theater, or just stand next to us in line somewhere. Surely, Kevin will be more than happy to talk you through your unhealthy relationship with your hairdresser to solve your hair problems and stress. Meanwhile, I’ll be more than happy to chat with your bored companion while that happens.
Click here to book online with Kevin Borfitz. 

2 thoughts on “Don’t Suffer in Silence: How to Leave Your Hairdresser

  1. Great post Kevin.‘Don’t Suffer in Silence: How to Leave Your Hairdresser’ is excellent advice. Being married to a hairdresser is a gift especially one that understands his craft so well. Looks like you’re now an expert in hair consultation and relationship building. Next step is the technical skills ;-), Love it!


  2. Thank you! for your honest helpful article. I am losing sleep over leaving this lovely person I have come to know over the years. It is more than a business loss that I face, it wasn’t until I went to another hairdresser several times while wintering in a warmer climate that I realized I can get a haircut without battleing every morning to make my hair cooperate. Now all I have to do is put this advice into practice.


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