Tuesday, June 20, 2006

How to Divorce Your Hairdresser 101

I have to admit something. A good portion of my life, I have been "hair-obsessed." That's not to say I have HAD great hair, but I have thought about it and strived for great hair for entirely too many minutes of my life.

I think it all started as a child, when I'd accompany my grandmother to her "beautician." Yes, in our rural Texas town, your hair stylist was called a "beautician" back then. Claudia had been my grandmother's stylist for as long as I can remember. My grandmother would drive about 20 minutes out to Claudia's farm to have her hair done in her makeshift beauty salon in her detached garage.

Claudia was a master at what I like to call "old lady hair," which was all the rage among my grandmother's bridge club and church friends. There was the perm, the color (always either jet black or a blue-ish gray), and the setting into big bristly rollers. Then, came my favorite part--the styling. You see, after those over-processed coifs came out of the hair dryer, they were in for more abuse by way of the teasing comb. Claudia was fearless when it came to ratting up a woman's hair so her curls made the perfectly round dome on her head. No holes were allowed and she'd make sure she got every spot before she applied a toxic dose of Aquanet that always made me gag aloud. I can't tell you how many mornings I spent with coloring book in hand intently watching Claudia work. She gossiped and yapped as she ratted away, and it fascinated me completely.

But, worse than watching her tease away at some poor old woman's hair, was the dreaded "bang day" for me. Claudia was probably in her mid-sixties, but she still wore bangs herself. I don't know if she thought they made her look more youthful, but there was a definite silliness to seeing a woman of her age with the straight across bang cut, I have to tell you. And, so, she'd perch perfectly still atop old phonebooks and Sears catalogs in her chair, as she combed the bangs down straight. I'd say a little prayer that she wouldn't cut them too short, but she always did. I good percentage of the time, I'd leave her salon with a good imitation of the "Dumb and Dumber" bang cut. You could draw a perfectly straight mark across your forehead where my hideous hair lined up.

As a teen, I found a much more trendy hair dresser in a nearby city and insisted my Mom drive me there. I even dabbled myself in hair trimming when my mother could not make it to her hairdresser or my sister needed a bang trim. And, I wasn't half-bad at the job either! Although, my Ballerina Barbie might argue with this--her layered style did NOT turn out as I'd planned!

Over the years, I have had a number of good and bad hair stylists. The relationships have varied. With some, I have sat in silence, others have not let me get a word in edge-wise, and still others let me talk my own head off. I'm pretty low-maintenance as a client, in my opinion. But, there are times when a separation of stylist and client becomes necessary. Handling this split can be quiet tricky, as I have found. Here is some advice for the hair-lorned, should you need to look elsewhere for styling:

1. Never, and I do mean NEVER share a hairdresser with your spouse. This is equivalent to dealing with child custody issues in a nasty divorce. I was trapped into staying with a horrid hairdresser in Austin, who flirted shamelessly with my husband and made it known she didn't care for me, because of this situation. My husband later tolerated a sub-par stylist in Dallas because she did my hair great. (It was only fair after the hair hoar in Austin, if you asked me!) Separate stylists are a MUST for any couple!

2. Make sure you are ready to leave, before you go dabbling on the side with another stylist. Hair stylists may not always be able to tell if you've had a cut by someone else, especially if you let it grow out. But, they CAN definitely tell if you've cheated by looking at your highlights and curls. Don't "diss" your dresser like this until you're sure you're not coming back. Hair-infedelity can result in a hair revenge cut, something none of us wants to experience!

3. It is not kosher to find another stylist in the same salon. Most recently, I found myself with a small hair-crush on the stylist who cuts hair immediately in back of my hair dresser. I had friends who went to the other stylist, and I knew she was great with kids. I gazed at her mirrored reflection styling head after beautiful head while I stayed with the same boring in-between 'do. My hairdresser had no ideas for my hair except that she wanted it short, and flipping up in back. I did not want this style anymore and so she had nothing else she was willing to offer up.

4. Changing hair stylists is like pulling off a bandaid. Do it quickly. Rip and don't look back! And, then just hope you never bump into them at the mall later on and have to explain yourself.

When I could not get into my hairdresser for the millionth time and I was overdue for highlights, I bit the bullet. I found a neighbor who consistently has awesome hair who I knew wouldn't pay an arm and a leg for a cut. I got the name and number and I booked. And, my friends, it was the loveliest few hours for my hair that I have ever experienced. The care that this stylist took with my locks was magical. The scent of Paul Mitchell products took me to places never traveled. And, the finished look was gorgeous! She passed my test too by having suggestions for my hair and training tips. She was not too pushy, but definitely had ideas for change and improvement.

I came home super-conditioned to complements from my husband. Proudly, I proclaimed, "Mitzi is toast." Another stylist bites the dust. Sure, the new girl is a little more expensive, but honestly, DAHLINGS, isn't your hair too important to leave with someone who does not meet your standards?


Anonymous Angela said...

It definitely took me over a year in Little Rock to find someone I trust with my highlights, and I've yet to let anyone here CUT my hair. I had a disastrous hair cutting experience over a year ago and it's only recently recovered. Every time I go in for highlights I tell my stylist that NEXT time maybe I'll let her trim me up, but she always smiles a little disbelievign smile ;) But really, NEXT time, I think I'll let her cut! I'm glad you found your hair soulmate!

1:21 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Oh, this post is SO timely for me! I've absolutely had enough of my hair stylist. She hasn't given me a good cut in several months and I'm due for one more before I leave town in August. I'm probably going to get the last cut, then I get to leave and I don't actually have to divorce her. And yes, there's a woman who cuts hair in the same salon whom I'd love to go to, but I know I could never do that!

6:30 PM, June 20, 2006  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

I see the error of my ways now. I've never had a cut from the same stylist twice in a row. I just go in, and take whoever is available at the precise moment I'm desperate for a clip.

No wonder I dream of shaving my head bald on a near nightly basis.

8:26 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger kenju said...

AMEN! I agree with all of that, CMC, and I know all about the bubble heads of teased hair on grandmothers/mothers and even teens, back in the 50's. ICK! I am so glad that is not done anymore (except by Dolly Parton). Michele sent me.

10:45 PM, June 20, 2006  
Anonymous Alison C said...

Ooh I know what you mean. My old stylist was a family friend but he was a bit old fashioned. I switched to my friends stylist a few years ago and she is brilliant. But if I have just had a cut I find myself sneaking past the old salon in case he sees me!

I mean its been years but I still feel as if I am two timing him!!

3:27 AM, June 21, 2006  
Blogger Masked Mom said...

I've mentioned this elsewhere, but I have a stylist phobia & haven't had my hair "done" since 2001. It's getting to the point now where my hair is so long and driving me so crazy that I'm tempted to just SHAVE it off.

7:40 AM, June 21, 2006  
Blogger Grandma K said...

Oh you brought back memories of the highly teased hair, asnd in Texas we had big, teased hair! I can relate to breakinjg up with the hair dresser also. I just ended a 15 year relationship with mine. My husband still goes to her, and she constantly asks about me. She just got too expensive for women's hair! It was tough however.

10:33 AM, June 21, 2006  
Blogger Lisa said...

Yep, my grandmother still goes every Thursday to get her hair done! She'll sleep with a wrap around her hair and not move an inch all night just to keep her hair "fixed". I've always wondered if she's ever had a good night's sleep!

My friend is known as a "Chair Hopper" amongst our hairdresser friends! She's always going to someone new.

11:58 AM, June 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW!!! What you all do not relize is that your hairdresser considers you a FRIEND! You have built a relationship and friendship over the years. Do you really think it's just all about YOU?? Doing someones hair is very personal, there are times when a hairdressers really doesn't like the clients personality and beliefs, she or he will do something that client does not like, just to get them out of their CHAIR! You don't tell an artist how to paint a picture, why would you tell a hairdresser how to make your face more appealing? If you really need a new look, be honest with your hairdresser, tell your "so called" Friend, "I'm sorry but I really need a different look and I feel the only way for me to achieve this is to go with a different hairdresser, nothing personal, I still really like you as a person, I just would like to try something new. My God, we are human!! We are artists!! The only reason we even do your hair is because we think you are a friend. pitty that you think we are all factory workers just doing the same thing over and over again, no emotion. Hairdressers fire clients too you know.

It doen't matter how old a hairdresser is they can be just as good as a young one if not better! Like attracts Like. If you really like a hair style of a client that is in another hairdressers chair, TELL YOUR HAIRDRESSER, she will do it, if she can't do it, I'm sure she will recommend the other hairdresser in the shop to do it. Why play games, BE HONEST, is that soooo hard to do?? We are not your lovers, we are your personal artist, BE HONEST. peace out

10:05 PM, September 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Hairdresser, I agree with the comments of "anonymous" above. What is so difficult in telling us what you want, why do you feel that this relationship is so ONE-sided. We also have the right to fire clients. For one thing, I just don't get the fact that you all come in for years/months and then without ever one single word vanish without a trace only to dodge us in public like complete fools. Its amazing to me how childish some folks are in dealing with their hairdresser, I wonder if these same folks carry out other relationships so one-sided if so, no wonder they're never content nor satisfied.
Word of advice, find someone you respect and knows their skills and stick with them being honest and open in your communication. You can't expect to get great service when you skip from one stylist to another, be honest with yourself and ask is it the hair you don't like or your overall looks, because we can't change that. Chances are if you're never satisfied, its more your issue than ours.
I don't consider the check the reward of this job but a loyal returning client is what I look for that returns to me the same respect I give to them. If that's too much to ask then I refuse that client another appointment after they've had a hair blunder tampering around elsewhere.

9:58 PM, April 20, 2008  
Anonymous hairdresser london said...

If you want to maintain your hair in its normal health, it is necessary to understand the effects different hair dressing and hair styling procedures

8:18 PM, January 28, 2011  

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