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CONTEMPORARY COURTESIES

Etiquette column: Stylist just isn’t making the cut

Be honest but courteous about why you want to switch hairdressers.

Friday, January 11, 2013 - 12:01 am

Times may have changed, but courtesy never goes out of style. In today's world sometimes it's complicated to figure out how to do the right thing. Local etiquette expert Karen Hickman answers your questions or helps solve your dilemmas on Fridays in The News-Sentinel and at www.news-sentinel.com.

Q. Karen, how do you tell your hairdresser you don't like the way she's cutting your hair? You like the style, you just don't think she always does a great job with the cut. You've gone to her for many years. This would also go for the person who does your nails or gives you your facials. The hairdresser question is a tough one for me.

A. Many people, especially women, have longstanding relationships with their hairdressers and other people who provide personal services for them. Some of those lengthy relationships turn into great friendships.

However, if you become dissatisfied with the outcome of your service, it may be time to express yourself or even move on.

Here are some things to consider:

•How long have you been going to this stylist? If it is a short time (and by that I mean three times or less) just don't make another appointment and move on. If you happen to bump into the person and he or she asks why you left, just say you felt it was time for a change.

•If you have a long relationship with this person, be honest and tell him or her your frustrations. If your needs are still not met, let your hairdresser know you'd like to try another stylist. A real professional should understand and will appreciate your honesty.

•Don't burn your bridges. Leave the door open to come back if your stylist is willing to take you back, if another person doesn't meet your needs.

•Don't criticize your former stylist to your new one.

•If you are the person who doesn't stay long with anyone because you feel the need for change on a regular basis, state that up front and reassure your stylist it is more about you than him or her.

•If you are unhappy due to other reasons, such as the atmosphere, noise, uncomfortable chairs, etc., let your stylist know and give him or her a chance to fix the problem. Having your hair and nails done is supposed to be a relaxing experience, but sometimes the loud music or blaring television can get in the way of that.

Also, keep in mind that as the client, you have a responsibility, too. Here are some tips that are important for you to follow:

•Be on time for your appointments. Being late throws off everyone's schedule, and being chronically late may be grounds for your service provider to fire you.

•Show your appreciation by tipping. And consider a gift during the holidays.

•Silence your phone and avoid taking calls while in the chair. Your stylists deserves your attention, too.

•Be kind and appreciative, especially if your stylist makes a special effort to accommodate your schedule.

•Don't cancel appointments at the last minute unless it is absolutely necessary.

•Don't gossip while in the chair.

•Be aware of who is around you and possibly hearing your conversations — always be discreet about what you share.

•Always say thank you.

Happy styling!

Karen Hickman is a certified etiquette/protocol consultant and owner of Professional Courtesy LLC. Do you have a question for her? Email clarson@news-sentinel.com, and we’ll forward it to her.