Split ends: Is it time to break up with your hairdresser?

How do you know when it's time to move on from your trusted hairdresser?

Jul 05, 2011
Jane Boyd
Split ends

I started seeing “Eric” after a string of unsuccessful relationships with men who didn’t listen to me and didn’t seem to care about what I wanted. Eric understood me. He knew what I needed and gave me exactly what I asked for.

“Not too gold but not too ashy either,” I told him the first time we met. “I like some natural colour showing through.”

Eric knew his way around blond highlights, and he became my guy. We were together for years; we had an understanding. And then, not long ago, I had to leave town on business and found myself in dire need of highlights. It was Monday, and Eric’s salon was closed. I was flying out Tuesday afternoon.

“Try Luis; I hear he’s great!” said my friend Grace, who had set me up with Eric in the first place. “Where’s your loyalty?” I asked, searching for Luis’ number online.

Now, Luis isn’t just any colourist; he’s something of a celebrity. I’d been hearing about him lately—was it fate that we meet? The salon was open and I dropped some names, clients of his whom I knew, to get an appointment the next morning. I felt that heady mix of anticipation and dread that a woman who is about to cheat on her partner must feel. Dread because I was sure I’d be found out: My hair would give me away.

As soon as I saw Luis, I knew I was in trouble. I felt something for him right away, and his salon felt like home. (It is, actually, in a house.) Also, I’d been squeezed in between two celebrity clients—a TV personality and a recording artist—could I afford the bill? I wasn’t sure how to tell Luis what I wanted; I only knew that I didn’t want to be one more woman demanding “Give me Jennifer Aniston’s colour” (apparently the most requested). I told him how I liked it (“not too yellowy gold”), and then I gave in to him completely. I tried not to think about how Eric would feel about another man touching me in places once reserved for him alone.

Some colourists are good enough and, tired of playing the field, you settle with them. Then there are colourists like Luis: His incredibly natural technique and intuitive pairing of hair colour to skin tone leave you looking prettier and more attractive than you’ve ever been. You want to scream “You’re so good! I love you—er, I mean, it!”

At first I wondered how to explain my indiscretion to Eric; now I wondered how to break up with him. I never meant for it to happen. It was just one of those things. To make matters worse, Eric works at the same salon as Mark, who cuts my hair, and I wouldn’t think of leaving Mark.

When it's time to call it quits ... hair dressers speak out on the next page ...

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