This gift for my wife ... brilliant gesture or am I way out of my lane?
December 6, 2021 11:22 AM   Subscribe

Am I playing with fire by buying my wife a gift certificate to go to a high-end salon she's never been to, and not probably heard of?

Mrs. lpsguy is a modern active woman in her early 60s. She's still an in-demand consultant in her field. She also looks 15 years younger than her age, is way fit and is current with clothing styles. Thing is, a year or so back, her hair stylist moved away. She's since tried someone else randomly for a 'kicky' (I believe that's the term) new look and got a generic strip mall cut that was, to be honest, really bad. So over the past months I hear her say over and over, "i should just go to a really high-end person and have them help figure something out but, oh, I dunno ..." So I want to make that happen. I have an acquaintance who is uber-fashionable (she even appears on QVC from time to time) who recommended a top-notch place nearby; one she uses. (We're in a major metro area, if that matters.) So I have the logistics worked out. Question is ...... should I even be doing this? I know, for many, choosing a hair stylist is a way personal decision; one I'm not sure every woman would want their husband to make. And I'm assuming this is a several hundred dollar adventure. In summary, am I playing with fire here - maybe even gift-guilting her to going to someplace she doesn't want to go? Or am I the good husband who got her what she wanted but was too worried to flip for? What say you all?
posted by lpsguy to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: I would be really happy if I were in her position and you gave me this gift. I think you’re especially safe in doing this because she has explicitly (and repeatedly) said to you that she has thought about going to a really high end place and giving it a try.

You will be extra safe if you get a gift certificate for general services at this salon, and they actually have a range of services. That way if she chickens out about the haircut she can still use it for a nice massage, pedicure, hair products, etc.

Don’t overthink this! It will be a good and thoughtful gift.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:28 AM on December 6, 2021 [47 favorites]


Best answer: Firstly, I'm not sure I would qualify QVC as uber-fashionable, so I would maybe take your acquaintance's advice with a grain of salt.

More to the point, does this salon offer other services outside of hair? Do they have skin, nail or massage services? If so, I don't think this would be too risky bc if she doesn't find a stylist at that salon she likes, then she can use it for a different service. If it is only a hair salon, I would maybe not get the gift bc she needs to be able to do research on individual stylists at that salon to see if anyone is to her liking.
posted by greta simone at 11:29 AM on December 6, 2021 [19 favorites]


Best answer: The only way I could see this being bad is if you are hoping they "fix" something about your wife. If, hypothetically, you didn't like her hair/makeup/unibrow, and you "gifted" her a service to fix it, well... that's not really best.

If your goal is to pamper her, and your friend said that this was the pampering place, and your wife would, indeed, feel pampered by a salon, then, it should be great!
posted by bbqturtle at 11:31 AM on December 6, 2021 [2 favorites]


Best answer: I think this is a great idea! It would be one thing if *you* had decided she needed a new look and a stylist upgrade, but *she* has specifically expressed that this is something she wants, but hasn't decided on yet. hurdy gurdy girl is right on target about a general gift certificate--that way Mrs. lpsguy can choose a service she most wants.
posted by epj at 11:32 AM on December 6, 2021 [6 favorites]


Best answer: i think this is a great gift! she has verbalized a wish for a fancy hairdresser, it sounds like you got a trusted recommendation, and even if she doesn't love this person as her forever hairdresser it will probably be lovely experience? i would try to find some cool/hilarious hairstyles book at the library or on ebay to tuck the gift card into to add some levity to the mix.
posted by wowenthusiast at 11:34 AM on December 6, 2021 [2 favorites]


If she is the type to want to be pampered for the sake of it, sure. If her goal is a new permanent stylist, I would first consider whether her budget supports going back there regularly.
posted by headnsouth at 11:37 AM on December 6, 2021 [16 favorites]


Best answer: For a fun experience that might help her find that new style she is after then it sounds like a great present as she has repeatedly said that is something she wants to do. I'd say you're being a good husband getting her the thing she wants to do but is thinking oooh that's a lot of money so she never does it. I'd go a more general certificate so she can choose the service she wants, but you can always explain to her your thinking when you give it to her. I thought you could do x but if you'd rather do y I just want you to be happy kind of thing.

Your problem comes if she really likes the stylist and wants to go back regularly. :) To me it sounds like a sweet gift as it shows you've listened to her.
posted by wwax at 11:47 AM on December 6, 2021 [2 favorites]


If you wanted to play safe, you could make up your own "voucher" and make it for "A cut at [name of salon] or the fancy salon of your choice" and treat it as an IOU that says you'll pay for her to have the cut.

That way, if she just can't face researching where to go, you've put in the legwork for her, which is a gift in itself. Or if she actually has somewhere she'd secretly like to go and just hasn't mentioned, you can cover that too.

(I also chuckled at the idea that appearing on QVC was a signifier of high fashion - I'm afraid not. That's not to say you should reject her suggestion out of hand, but maybe having a get-out would be a good idea).
posted by penguin pie at 12:15 PM on December 6, 2021 [18 favorites]


I would suggest asking your wife :) this may be the kind of thing where a surprise is not as good as waiting until you're cuddled up and in a positive space and saying something like "I want to treat you, I thought [x], would you like something like that?"
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 12:32 PM on December 6, 2021 [4 favorites]


Many hair stylists have instagrams where they post their work. You could also check out some of their work to see if it lines up with your wife’s before jumping in whole hog.
posted by raccoon409 at 12:36 PM on December 6, 2021 [2 favorites]


This is a sweet gesture and since she's mentioned it wanting for herself , ots a thoughtful gesture. Many if not most salons will have a free consultation before any service are done. So, if she ends up not liking the stylist she gets, it's perfectly OK to ask for a different stylist filer consult before a haircut takes place.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 1:12 PM on December 6, 2021 [1 favorite]


Several hundred dollars? Is that for a cut or cut and color? You can find out from them the price range, but also maybe check with your friend about what she pays and for what services.

Are you getting a certificate to the salon or to a specific stylist? Some stylists are great at color; others at cuts. Some are great with curly hair, some straight. Some are great with the latest trends. If you're choosing a stylist, that's a bit tricky. If you're choosing a salon, and then she can pick the stylist there, then I think that's okay.

This sounds like a really great idea.
posted by bluedaisy at 1:30 PM on December 6, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: My husband did exactly this, the year I said I was really unhappy with my hair dresser, but by my inaction I showed that the mental task of choosing a new place was just too hard. He sought recommendations from people who had good-looking haircuts, and bought me a gift certificate for the one my niece goes to (she said he was amazing), and I went, and he is!! It was one of the most thoughtful gifts he's ever given me. Do it.
posted by evilmomlady at 1:50 PM on December 6, 2021 [9 favorites]


I think surprises are really over-rated. Get a brochure for the salon, or a link to their website and reviews, tell her you'd love to gift her a spa day/ makeover if she'd like that.
posted by theora55 at 2:10 PM on December 6, 2021 [2 favorites]


Many years ago - maybe for our 7th or 8th anniversary, I bought my wife a gift certificate for a high-end spa, on the advice from a female coworker. Turns out, my wife doesn't like the idea of massages or other things that happen at spas that involve strangers touching you. She wasn't mad or anything like that, just never used the gift certificate and eventually told me why.
posted by COD at 3:03 PM on December 6, 2021 [1 favorite]


I like the idea of the "voucher." Similar to a previous poster, my husband once bought me a gift certificate to a high-end nail salon not knowing that I don't care for getting my nails "done" by a professional. I did use it up (mostly by buying products and treating others) but he felt badly that I didn't really like it and I felt badly that he couldn't get the money back.

Additionally, she may actually have someone in mind but might be hesitating to pull the trigger herself.
posted by sm1tten at 4:10 PM on December 6, 2021 [2 favorites]


If your wife were doing this legwork herself, she would ask for recommendations from people _she_ likes the look of, and she would ask for not just a salon name, but the _name of the actual hair stylist_ -- that's important.

She might also track down her original stylist and ask for recommendations.

So, the real gift here is you doing that. Ask more than one person. Ask strangers. Ask Metafilter :)

It's a huge investment not just of money, but of _several weeks of productive time_ during which she'll either look awesome or so-so.
posted by amtho at 4:42 PM on December 6, 2021


I think it’s a fab gift and predict it will go over very well.
posted by kapers at 4:57 PM on December 6, 2021


Best answer: And you’re not out of your lane. You’re her husband and listened to a wish she’d expressed and even put some effort into researching. You and your friend know your wife better than we do, there’s no secretly offensive way to take this that only mefi knows about.

This thread is cracking me up. I think you need to think LESS about this and mefi is the place to come to overthink.
posted by kapers at 5:00 PM on December 6, 2021 [6 favorites]


I think it's a fine gift. Make an appointment for her (if it's really a popular salon, there will be a long lead time to get in with the top stylists there and she can always cancel or reschedule) and then give her a credit card-type gift card (like a VISA gift card) with a significant amount of money pre-loaded. That way, if she doesn't like the idea of the salon or had another salon already in her sights, she can use the gift card wherever she'd like. Buying a gift card that can only be used at one salon is the only weak point in your plan.

Also make sure that there's no possible way that she'd interpret this as a dig at her appearance.
posted by quince at 5:24 PM on December 6, 2021 [3 favorites]


I’m voting against the voucher idea (unless you normally give each other cash) because it turns something thoughtful into something generic.
posted by kapers at 6:13 PM on December 6, 2021 [1 favorite]


This is so kind and cute! I hope I have a partner this thoughtful. Get her the gift certificate...the thought counts too
posted by pando11 at 6:59 PM on December 6, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Mid-40s, needs to do something about her hair professional female here. If my partner gave me this as a gift I would be so happy, and really thankful that he is so thoughtful. It also shows that you have been listening, rather than just 'picking something nice'. And getting her a gift certificate for a 'fancy' place rather than a generic voucher is the way to go.
posted by Megami at 11:42 PM on December 6, 2021 [3 favorites]


This is great, and presumably the salon has several stylists to choose from, if you want to go a step further when you go to buy the gift certificate just ask the reception which stylist is known for being great with X hair, that will help your wife decide who to book with (agreed checking out instagram can be helpful for ideas too) and it's how I found my current hairstylist who I've been happy with (I just called a high-end place near me and said I want a hairstylist who does great short styles).
posted by lafemma at 8:36 AM on December 7, 2021


Best answer: by my inaction I showed that the mental task of choosing a new place was just too hard.

I too am guessing this is the major factor at play, as I've been doing the same thing in putting off finding somewhere to go for the massage services I pretty desperately need. If someone knew of a well-reputed place and gave me a gift certificate and all I had to do was show up, that would be AMAZING. It is really hard to summon both the energy and courage to find a new stylist (or any other kind of intimate care provider) when someone you trust and have been with for a long time moves away.

I hate the homemade voucher idea, sorry. To me it would feel like my husband giving me his permission to spend money on a haircut for myself, which I absolutely don't need. Obviously I'm allowed to get my hair cut whenever and wherever I choose, and you haven't actually gifted me anything because the burden is still on me to find a new place to go. If she already had a place in mind but was dithering on the basis of how much it cost and not wanting to spend so much on herself, that might be a different story (but one in which you should still get a physical gift card and not make a voucher).
posted by anderjen at 11:09 AM on December 7, 2021 [2 favorites]


Best answer: I'd skim reviews for the place before going for it - people leave really detailed passionate reviews for salons and stylists they love! In particular, watch for reviewers' descriptions of themselves and their style, and see if it lines up with your wife.
posted by february at 12:02 PM on December 7, 2021 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: Thank you all so much. I learned something from almost every reply. And you indeed confirmed that, as I suspected, this is a very personal thing for many women. I'm happy I asked. I'll be going ahead with it and buying the gift tomorrow - especially since the salon's reviews were over-the-top glowing (over 200 5-star Google reviews; heck I had to look hard to find a review under 4 stars anywhere.) I'll let you know later this month if she uses it, or if I'm going to end up heading in for a color and a pixie cut.
posted by lpsguy at 2:42 PM on December 7, 2021 [4 favorites]


Response by poster: Hey, here's the final update. It went fabulously. She loved the gift. The salon was tremendous. Her hair looks awesome. It was a win win win win ... in many ways due to the help I got here. Thanks.
posted by lpsguy at 9:19 AM on January 27 [7 favorites]


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