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Last updated: February 26, 2018

What Would You Do: When Spouses Control Your Clients’ Hair

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If you think it’s a pain when people other than your clients weigh in on the looks you created for them, this stylist feels you. She recently posed this question to the BTC Community.


“I have a client whose husband tailors her looks to photos of celebrities he is fond of. This client just had a multidimensional red/copper/brown/golden blonde combo done a few days ago. She loved it walking out the door, then she texted me two hours later (after her husband was off work) and said, ‘My husband wants more blonde.’ Keep in mind that during our 30-minute consultation, I stressed either blonde OR red. I’m beginning to notice a pattern with her…HELP!”


Responses varied. To some stylists, this situation is nothing out of the ordinary—it’s just another part of being a hairdresser. Others were appalled. Many said it was time to let this client go, but some had more sympathy. Here are some of the best responses.


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Charge Her for Another Service
“Tough situation, but since she left satisfied, I would charge for another service. This isn’t a situation where she went home and discovered mistakes (bleeding, banding, etc.), in which case she should have it redone for free. When she comes in, have her explain what she doesn’t like, and let her know that is what she asked for and that to get her to where she wants to be it will take time. And because this service was agreed upon previously and you delivered, this new service will be a new price. Don’t be afraid to charge your normal service prices for this…which may now even be corrective color prices.” –@hannahjdoeshair


“I have this happen all the time. I make it known that if they want something different than what we originally agreed upon, they have to pay for a separate service. It’s unfortunate to see someone in a relationship like that and there’s not much we can do as stylists but give them good hair.” –@chadcreasey


“Be frank with her, let her know you are either doing what she wants or what her husband wants. Tell her there is a pattern and that you need to make some decisions to maintain the integrity of her hair. You don’t want to keep double processing it…and I hope you’re charging her for completely changing her mind.” –@nikilevengood


“Since it is a ‘pattern’ with her, tell her you would love to add more blonde but it will cost more money. Kindly explain that you cannot afford to do free services, and that’s why you made sure [her color] was what she wanted. It won’t continue to be a pattern if she has to pay.” –@meiernancy


“Charge her for every change. Be sure she understands you gave her exactly what she asked for last visit. Any new request is a new appointment, with a new price.” –@haircolorkilla



Fire the Client
“Personally, I would tell her I won’t be touching her head unless her husband is present for the consultation since she isn’t in control of her own hair. She likely will not invite her husband and probably won’t be in my chair again, but that’s fine with me because I can’t stand men dictating to a woman every detail of her existence.” –@whit_ness


“If a consultation takes that long, that would be a HUGE red flag to me to probably not take the client.” –@kathygond


“Firstly, when a client says something along these lines, I tell them flat out, ‘I don’t do your husband’s hair. What do YOU want?’ I have even gone so far as to kick a boyfriend out of my salon when he stepped in and started answering questions for his girlfriend. In this specific situation, I would explain that you spent 30 minutes discussing exactly what she wanted, and you delivered. If she wants it changed, she’ll have to pay for it because it is different than what you decided upon. I would also seriously consider firing her as a client. Sounds like she’s going to be a continual problem.” –@danielle_dotty_dots


“Break up with her. Her husband is not your client. That is a lose-lose relationship. Save your energy for your many other amazing clients who won’t feel the need to satisfy their husband with their look.” –@ktperkladet


Her Husband Needs to be Present for the Service 
“Tell her to bring him next time to do the consultation so she can’t come back wanting something else.” –@kimberley.rankincwp


“If you should choose to continue with her as a client, my one and only suggestion is that you not allow her to make any more appointments without her husband present. Let him sit in the salon for as many hours as it takes for her to get her hair done. Let him be there for the entire process so that if there’s anything that needs to be changed it could be changed at that precise moment. If this is not an option, then I would tell her that you cannot book the appointment with her since he is the one dictating the final results, not her.” –@chickirivera


And the Award for Best Response Goes to…
“It’s fun to say things like, ‘It’s her hair not her husband’s,’ but let’s be real—people have a deep emotional connection with their appearance and the person they fall in love with. The most effective thing to do would be for the husband to come to the salon and consult with the stylist. Unless he hears facts from a professional, he will never know that he is forcing his wife to try to achieve the impossible. Second—and here comes the hard part—the client needs to learn to set healthy boundaries with her spouse, and this will involve knowing what she is worth emotionally and what is unreasonable to please others…Supporting her and helping her see value in her ideas and opinions will be so much more effective than telling her to separate from her partner. But bringing them ALL up to speed on what is realistic is the first step.” –@hairbyrgrimes86