Have You Been Beauty Bullied?

June 17, 2014 | By | Comments (1)

blond-haircut_300This morning I had the pleasure of meeting with the lovely and super-talented Deborah Lippmann (creator of the self-titled line of nail products). While introducing me to her new summer hues, she casually mentioned that she had been to a salon to get a manicure (yes, she brings her own colors) last weekend—and that she had been made to feel pretty awful by her nail technician (for accidentally smudging a freshly painted tip). I figured that, being Deborah Lippmann, she would’ve given the technician a piece of her mind. But no. Like me and I suspect many of you, she sat there silently as an experience that was supposed to be nice and relaxing left her more stressed than she had been when it began.

Which brings me to my point: How do you politely stand up to a hair stylist, facialist, manicurist, massage therapist, etc., who is not providing the service you expected—or worse yet, who is actively making you feel bad about yourself?

Specifically, I’m talking about situations like the following:

• When a manicurist chastises you for having short nails (hey, some of us are getting manicures to help us stop biting)?

• When a facialist gets on you for not drinking enough water causing your skin to be so badly dehydrated that she can barely fix it?

• When a massage therapist tells you that his or her extremely hard pressure is the only way to work through a kink?

Now, there’s a fine line between professional opinion and bullying. And it’s often crossed if not in content, then in tone. Which brings me to a good line one can use when feeling bullied (at the salon or elsewhere): “No thanks, I’m just not comfortable with that.”

Deborah advised that when trying to resolve a disagreement with any aesthetician, it’s best to do so one-on-one if possible (i.e. not in front of the entire salon). “You’re not helping the aesthetician if you sit there silently while she makes you feel bad; but you don’t need to make a scene of it.” (In the end, Deborah did speak up to her salon nail nemesis in private. The nail tech said that she had been ‘joking,’ which she may or may not have been, but she immediately stopped the behavior.)

How to know if your feelings merit voicing? Deborah says that if you’re being treated in a way that you wouldn’t stand for one of your friends being treated, it’s time to speak up (again, ‘No thank you’ is a good way to start).

Of course, most problems are better off addressed preemptively, which is why Deborah says clear communication before your service—and paying attention during it (as in, not texting the entire time)—can help you avoid getting into a beauty bullying situation altogether.

Is your doctor the one providing a disappointing service? Here’s what to do (besides just finding a new provider!).


  1. Jane

    It’s been 5 years since I had my teeth cleaned…but I floss and brush several times a day. My teeth are the best they’ve ever been with no gum problems. And they’re whiter, too. The last time I went to the dentist( after 3 years of not going) he said he saw no problems at all. So I figured I could do as well without the bullying from the hygienist. But I knew I also had to be diligent to keep them in good condition, as I am 73. I never had many cavities, and had my amalgam fillings replaced with porcelain years ago. Knock wood they are still strong. But my mani-pedi’s?……..just change to a new person.

    July 2, 2014 at 12:43 pm

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