Q: Caught in a scheduling pinch, I used a different stylist than usual at my salon, and now I like the new stylist better. How can I make the switch permanent without the former stylist taking it as an insult?


A: Clients switch stylists for lots of reasons. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the stylist did anything wrong, it’s just that the new stylist is a better fit for the client’s requirements and desires. And because those style preferences change over time, there’s nothing wrong with changing stylists to find one who fits your needs better. Most stylists understand this and feel nothing negative toward the client. Plus, clients are entitled to spend their money with whomever they choose.

When a client does move, it opens up space for new clientele to come in. Sit in whatever chair makes you happy, to feed your hair-care needs and your soul.

JAMIE WHITSON, hairstylist in Oak Forest, Ill.


A: When a stylist is booked and a client needs to get in quickly, it’s not unusual for the client to be referred to someone else. And when that happens, there’s always the chance that the client might like the work or the personality of the new stylist better. So, don’t worry that your situation is unique.

Nonetheless, to make sure there are no awkward situations the next time you walk into the shop, it’s a good idea to speak with the old stylist about making the change. If possible, tell him or her ahead of time. As the owner of a salon, the last thing I want is for a client to feel uncomfortable, because then you’ll stop coming in altogether.

LALITHA ARNOLD, salon owner in Chicago