Breaking up with a beauty pro can seem tricky. Usually, it’s a beyond-business relationship that’s been good…until it wasn’t. But whether it’s akin to two dates, six months of love or a two-year commitment, there may come a time when the romance is over.

Now you have to think about the facts that you might run into your stylist socially, you’ve probably referred friends to him or her and you might want to quit a colorist but continue to see a hair cutter in the same salon. See? Breaking up really is like leaving a partner or a spouse.

When you think of it that way, the options sort themselves out fast:

  1. Ghosting is never a good idea. Just as with someone you have dated, it leaves the door open to calls from your stylist or colorist, as well as “We want you back” offers from the salon. And if you have referred friends, they could turn into estranged in-laws if you aren’t careful. No one wants to be ghosted — it’s just bad karma.
  2. Texting isn’t cool either. It’s impersonal, and it also invites a back-and- forth — something you want to avoid. If you stay with the same salon for other services, chances are good your stylist has shown your text to someone in the salon. Now, you’ve closed the door on the whole family and their friends.
  3. Voice Mail can lead to rambling and excuse making or, if you pre-planned, a message that sounds like you’re reading an impersonal script. Your tone and words can’t be erased once you start to talk, and your message can be shared, too.
  4. Going Old School is best because everyone wants to be let down gently. Write a note in a card and deliver it in person or talk with your stylist face-to- face, privately. Keeping your referrals in mind, take one for the team and say, “It’s me, not you.” Keep it simple and say you want to explore options. Then thank him or her for your time together. This avoids a “he said/she said,” and if your stylist shares your note card, it’s kind and assigns no blame. And unless your stylist totally trashed your hair (which like cheating, sets up an irreconcilable difference), it leaves the door open should you ever want to get back together.

David Stanko is a haircolorist at Licari Cutler NYC / Award-winning haircolor educator / optimistic resetter / bi-coastal.  Follow him @thedavidstanko