Salon Etiquette: What to Do When You Don't Get Along with Your Hairstylist

Salon Etiquette: What to Do When You Don't Get Along with Your Hairstylist
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Let the experience with your freshman year R.A. in college serve as proof—in spite of your best intentions, sometimes you just don't get along with a person. When this person happens to be your hairstylist and your strands are at their mercy, things can get a lot more awkward. "If you sit down in the chair and don't feel comfortable with the stylist, it's perfectly okay to back out of the appointment, especially if you get stuck with them because your regular stylist is sick or canceled at the last minute," says George Papanikolas, Matrix Style Link Celebrity Stylist. Of course, this doesn't mean you should walk out of the salon altogether. Whether you don't agree with something your stylist previously said, or are just not feeling their vibe, Papanikolas suggests not going through with your a cut or color, and opting for a non-committal treatment like a blowout or clear gloss instead. "These are both temporary, and allows you to find a new stylist you do vibe with instead of worrying about a possible future correction, which can be costly," he explains. "At the end of the day, a woman's relationship with her hairstylist can be like her relationship with her significant other: When things are going well, she's wildly, happily, blissfully in love, and feels beautiful; but when things go wrong, life is a disaster and she doesn't know what to do." Ain't that the truth...

RELATED: Salon Etiquette: The Rules of Conversation with Your Stylist

Of course, we're all human—it's possible that your stylist could just be having an off-day, especially if you've been going to them for some time and your personalities usually mesh well. Maybe something that happened with a previous client or in their personal life put them into a temporary mood, so attempting to diffuse the tension could be a good move. "The best way to do this is to start asking open-ended questions," advises Papanikolas. "Travel, restaurants, and kids are safe topics everyone has an opinion on and loves to talk about. Hopefully it can give you some common ground and lighten the mood, but if it seems like it's not a match, it's okay to move on. Your relationship is voluntary and like dating."

Though they're (hopefully) few and far between, sometimes a particularly heinous experience with your stylist happens. At the risk of being labeled a tattletale, should you speak to the salon manager? Papanikolas responds with a resounding yes. "Most salons try to create a positive environment for their clients, and if the managers don't know, they can't address it," he says. "It's perfectly okay to go to a salon manager and discreetly talk about your experience." Thankfully in terms of your salon experience, snitches won't get stitches.

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