[LONG] vent/need advice: My stylist of 20 years - leave her or stay?

I have been going to the same stylist since before I got married (20+ years ago). She did my hair on my wedding day. She knows my hair, knows the curl pattern, how much it shrinks from wet to dry. I think if I let her have free rein to cut my hair as she wants, she'd do a great job. But for years, I have been growing out length and/or color, so I've gone for "dustings" and minimal shaping. Styling my curly hair from wet to dry-- she doesn't do a good job. She sits me under a hood dryer, or uses a diffuser, handling my hair and making it poofy and stringy. It sort of frustrates me that she can cut my hair, but it looks like crud no matter what she does to style it. Many times I tell her that I prefer to walk out with my hair damp/wet. When I get home and do my my hair myself either the same day or the next day, I always like my hair; she cuts it well. Cost is $85, including tip, for about an hour of her time.

There is curly salon near my house. There is also a single stylist who specializes in curly hair near my house. I know the curly cuts will cost more than $85 if I were to go to these other stylists (probably about $150+ from what I've read). I have been tempted to try one "just once", yet I feel guilty about leaving my usual stylist, and I am nervous about spending that much money going to a curly specialist who has never done my hair before. I told myself that I would make an appointment with one of these new stylists that have been recommended here at NC.com for a year-end treat to myself. Yet, what did I do today when I went to see my old stylist? I booked my regular 10-week appointments with her through March of next year. :/

I can't seem to work through my anxiety about leaving my current stylist, so I stay there. I know her, she knows me, she will do anything to make me happy with my hair. In all fairness to her, I have not given her the chance to just use her talent and cut my curls in a slightly layered long curly style. Ever. At today's appointment, we talked about changing my style more at my next appointment. At the end of October, I should have another inch or so in length and then if there's some gradual layering on the sides and ends, she will have a bit more to work with.

Has anyone else been on the fence like this about leaving a long-time stylist? Any advice? I am tempted to stick with the one I know well, who knows me well, because as we change my style I think I will be comfortable telling her what I like and don't like. I may feel intimidated with a new stylist, especially a "curly pro". I've done this with my current stylist for so many years and she does listen to me (but then I feel like what do *i* know, since I don't know how to cut curly hair!?)

Thanks for reading all of this!
Location: Texas
Type: 3b/3c (i), below shoulder length.
CO wash: A-O GPB LYY, Salon Care Honey Almond, Devacurl OC, Acure Argan Stem Cell+Argan Oil, Mill Creek Botanicals Keratin Repair
Leave-ins: BWC, KCKT, cno overnight
Styling: BRHG, MGA Sculpting Gel, A-O Mandarin Magic Gel, LOTD AVG, LALSG
DT: Kiehl's Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Repairative Hair Pak, Curl Junkie Deep Fix, Briogeo Don't Despair Repair!

There is curly salon near my house. There is also a single stylist who specializes in curly hair near my house. I know the curly cuts will cost more than $85 if I were to go to these other stylists (probably about $150+ from what I've read). I have been tempted to try one "just once", yet I feel guilty about leaving my usual stylist, and I am nervous about spending that much money going to a curly specialist who has never done my hair before. I told myself that I would make an appointment with one of these new stylists that have been recommended here at NC.com for a year-end treat to myself. Yet, what did I do today when I went to see my old stylist? I booked my regular 10-week appointments with her through March of next year. :/
Originally Posted by curls2grow

I don't have any advice, but I do know that just because they specialize in curls or are Deva trained doesn't mean they are expensive. The Deva trained stylist I am going to for the first time on Wednesday only charges $47 for a dry cut, cleanse, style and dry.
Cleanser: Liquid Castile Soap diluted in a foaming soap dispenser
Rinse:
ACV rinse
Detangler/Conditioner:
Oyin Handmade Greg Juice or Juices and Berries
Stylers: Botticelli Botanicals Styling Mudd, KCCC, Honey Rinses and BRHG, Crack Leave-in Hair Cream when straightening

Tools: Silk pillowcase, Floursack towels, Jersey T-Shirts, Wide Tooth Comb, Velecta Paramount TGR-VQX Hair Dryer (for when I straighten) and BaByliss PRO Ionic Rollabout Hard Hat Dryer
I've gone to the same stylist for almost 30 years! He does incredible cut and color work. I used to let him "play" with it a little before I left, but usually walk out WET. I can't imagine anyone would give me a better cut, no matter what the price.

That being said, I can understand your thought process. BUT--have you seen cuts from the other salon?? If so, are they really fabulous?? If not, I'd wait until I'd seen some great cuts from the new place before even thinking about changing--even once. I'm the loyal type, too.
3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity
modified CG, since April '07
CG since 3/11/08

SE PA

HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic (now Hello Curly Curl Stimulater); Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Aloe Fix and CCCC
I don't think I've ever had a stylist who was able to style my hair curly to my satisfaction and without my hair ending up a ball of poof. With that said I think having a stylist that can give you a good cut and knows you and your hair so well is much more important than one that can style your hair but may or may not give you a good cut.

Being that you have such a long-term relationship with her have you ever brought your styling products with you to an appointment and demonstrated how you style? Maybe if you show her the products and techniques that work on your hair she would be able to learn the best way to style your hair. I know my biggest problem when I get my hair styled is the stylist not realizing how much product I actually need...which is LOTS...to contain my curls!

At my last hair appointment...my first since going CG...I brought along the Curly Girl book and noted the NC.com site as well as the LiveCurlyLiveFree.com site to give to my stylist. She was very interested in learning about the CG method and even though she normally cuts me wet she did as I asked and cut me dry curl by curl. I ended up with a great cut. I think being able to communicate your wants and having an open-minded stylist is the key to a good cut and style.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
3b. Normal porosity. Medium texture. Low elasticity.

CONDITIONERS: GVP The Detangler, Tresemme Naturals Nourishing, CJ Curl Rehab, CJ Hibiscus & Banana Honey Butta, Suave Pomegranate Splash, KC Knot Today

LEAVE-IN: Shea Moisture Shea Butter (LOVE!)

STYLERS: CJ Curl Queen (LOVE!), Biotera Gel, LA Looks Sports Gel, AOMM
Is your current stylist willing to learn what it takes to style your curly hair the way you want it?

That would be the deciding factor for me - that she's willing to learn the techniques that will serve you better.
co-wash - Suave Naturals Coconut
condish - Trader Joe's TTT and Refresh
styling - FOTE, shea butter, jojoba oil, LA Looks

Kryptonite: Stearalkonium Chloride, quats
A couple of thoughts. If you're happy with the cut, just not the styling, don't let her style it. I always walk out of the salon with wet hair. I leave my clips in the car, scrunch, and put them in for the drive home. Or something like that.

But, if you're itching to try a curly cut, ask your stylist - in a conversational, friendly way - if she knows anything about "that curly salon" down the road. Make it sound like a curiosity - maybe she'll be curious, too, and want to know more about curly cuts.
For myself - I'd stick with a good stylist that I can trust to cut my hair. I don't really mind if she can't style it - I can do that myself.

Getting a good hair cut to me is a huge thing since I can't really cut my hair myself. Take it from someone who has had a terrible hair cut time and time again, stick with someone you know and someone who will listen to you. A bad hair styling you can just go home and wash it and restyle it yourself to your liking. A bad haircut and you have to live with it for months or even a year depending on how much the stylist cuts off.
Currently:Alaffia Shea & Coconut Enriching Shampoo, Alaffia Virgin Coconut & Shea Enriching Hair Lotion, Qhemet Amla Olive Heavy Cream, Qhemet Honeybush Tea Gel.

Last Texturizer: March 12, 2008
BC: July 21, 2008
Hair: Coarse, low porosity, iii.

Certified Denirophile

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different outcome". ~ Albert Einstein
Honestly, I agree with the above poster. I think that if you're happy with the cuts, you should stick with the stylist. You know how to style your own hair yourself. You also don't know that the curly cut would work out for you for sure, but you know this does.

fia 2C/3A-F-iii, sensitive to some proteins
CGish since 10-16-08
Low-poo: Yes to Carrots Daily Pampering Shampoo (1-2x/week)
Rinse outs: Yes to Carrots Pampering Mud Conditioner
Styling: a little bit of leave in and a little bit of KCCC, diffusing
Olive oil DTs, honey rinses in the summer
Thank you for your posts. I guess booking my appointments out 6+ months was the right decision then (I know I can always cancel them with the receptionist there if I change my mind down the road)

I will just be more assertive when I go back in October, and tell her it's time to change my style more, but to make sure I can still pull it back in a bun, half-up, etc. I know she will factor all of my concerns in to whatever she does.
Location: Texas
Type: 3b/3c (i), below shoulder length.
CO wash: A-O GPB LYY, Salon Care Honey Almond, Devacurl OC, Acure Argan Stem Cell+Argan Oil, Mill Creek Botanicals Keratin Repair
Leave-ins: BWC, KCKT, cno overnight
Styling: BRHG, MGA Sculpting Gel, A-O Mandarin Magic Gel, LOTD AVG, LALSG
DT: Kiehl's Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Repairative Hair Pak, Curl Junkie Deep Fix, Briogeo Don't Despair Repair!
I've been going through the same debate with myself lately. I really like my current stylist even she though hasn't had any "curly" training. She gives me a good cut and is always willing to do whatever I want, including bringing in my own products if I want. She's also fantastic with color. Plus, she's less than 10 minutes from my house. I almost always leave with my hair wet because I don't like like how she styles it. I've been wanting to get a Deva cut just so I could see if it would be that much better. I've decided to stick with my stylist for now because I've found that it is really hard to find someone who gives a good haircut and color, but more importantly, one with a great attitude and is easy to work with. Plus, I've read more than one post here from people who have gone for cuts from someone who has been "curly" trained and ended up more than disappointed with the results. So, for now anyway, I think I'll stay where I'm the most comfortable.
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