Why I cheated on my hairdresser who was my best friend and counsellor

CROSSING the road, I suddenly spotted him. He slowly looked me up and down and his smile slipped – he could see that I’d changed since I’d left him.

“I haven’t seen you for ages,” he said, his voice partly hurt, partly gently accusing. I tucked a newly dyed blonde strand behind my ear, trying to hold his gaze. But this wasn’t an ex-lover – it was someone I had a far more intimate relationship with for over four years: my ex-hairdresser.

 

Everything had started off so well with Olly in 2010. He was recommended by a friend and our chemistry was instant. Just 45 minutes into our first appointment at a salon in Hertfordshire, I’d shared my hopes and dreams with him.

He knew secrets I wouldn’t tell my closest friend, and in addition to unburdening myself, I left the salon looking like Jennifer Aniston in a hair advert.

Fast-forward four years to our chance encounter, and as we awkwardly parted ways he asked if I wanted to book an appointment. I said I’d let him know. But what had happened between us?

Like all relationships, we started taking each other for granted. It started with little niggles, like when he stopped checking if my layers were level with my cheekbones. Yet I knew it was over when he started snipping away without even asking me what I wanted.

Although I knew it was best for me and my hair, it was so hard to leave him. But it begs the question: why is it so easy for us to get attached to someone just because they’ve styled your hair? I wouldn’t think twice about changing my dentist or doctor, yet finding a new hairdresser felt like cheating.

More people commit to a “relationship” with their favourite hairdresser than to another person. According to one survey, while just 69% of adults have a romantic partner, nearly 75% of us enjoy a (purely monogamous) relationship with our hairdresser.

“It’s a positive relationship based on trust that your hairdresser will not only make you look, but feel incredible, too,” says counselling psychologist and TV presenter Anjula Mutanda.

“It can become a bit like a confessional. That closeness helps you open up more freely and that can arouse feelings of cheating and guilt if you go elsewhere.”

Besides your partner, no one gets more personal with you than the person treating your tresses. When I first met Olly, he felt like my bestie, counsellor and personal Gok Wan in one.

But as with all relationships, you and your hairdresser can begin to want different things. If you cheat, you run the risk of getting caught, as TV presenter Mehreen Baig, 29, from London, learned.

“At one appointment, my usual stylist asked what I wanted. I made the dire mistake of jokingly saying: ‘Do what you like,’” Mehreen admits. “It was two days after Victoria Beckham had her famous ‘pob’ cut done and minutes later, my waist-length hair was lying in a pile on the floor.

"My hairdresser asked if I liked it and I nodded silently, then cried buckets before going to another salon to have hair extensions. He saw me in the street a few days later and I don’t know who looked more horrified.”

Kate Richards, 41, a marketing consultant from Watford, also strayed, but returned to her stylist. “I thought a side fringe would make me look younger, but my stylist said it wouldn’t suit me.

"The new hairdresser cut in a fringe that looked as though I’d done it myself. I went back to my old stylist and apologised – luckily he was nice about it.”

If you stray, it’s usually best to fess up, according to stylist to the stars Louis Byrne, whose celeb clients include Emma Willis.

“A hairdresser can tell if someone else has done your hair,” he says. “If there is a reason why you went elsewhere, apologise, tell them why and give them a chance to try and sort it out.”

As for me, I realised my new salon wasn’t actually very good. But going back to Olly – which I did a couple of months after our awkward street encounter – was harder than cheating on him in the first place.

It was only when I told him I was moving house and would have to leave him for good that a peace treaty was truly brokered between us. He even told my new stylist in London what tints he used to get my shade.

And in case you’re wondering, I’ve now been faithful to my current hairdresser, Tee, for four years.

  • Source: *Direct Line For Business

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