This is always a really tough question to answer because client/hairstylist relationships can range from very surface level to a personal connection. Without knowing where you may stand with your stylist, I want to offer as many suggestions as I can to help you navigate this tough conversation. First, if you aren’t planning on returning to the salon ever again, and you don’t have a particularly close relationship with your stylist, I think it’s okay just to avoid rescheduling after your last appointment and then move on. It is not required to give a notice that you are leaving, and in some cases, that may come off as hurtful.
If you are hoping to see a different stylist at that same salon, that is a much more sensitive issue that involves more people and more feelings. In that case, it’s best to explain to your stylist what you would like to do, with the full awareness that you may hurt his or her feelings. Imagine yourself in their shoes and try to think of a sensitive way to explain what you’d like to do. When you book an appointment with the new stylist, know that it’s going to be uncomfortable to see your former stylist in the salon, and it may also be uncomfortable for your new stylist. The hope would be that everyone can look at this stylist change from a professional place, but that isn’t always the case.
More than anything, when you want to change stylists, try to explain why in a way that is clear and respectful. One direction you could go is to say that you are wanting a little bit of a change from an artistic perspective. Hairstylists are artists and everyone has a different style. Emphasizing that you are looking for a different look and are interested in seeing what someone else would do with your hair is a route that could be understood from your stylist, though still runs a risk to hurt feelings. A similar situation that you may be in is liking your stylist but not being pleased with the results on your hair. In those cases, your best shot for improvement is to talk to him or her about how you are looking for a different result. Hairstylists are not mind-readers, so the more you can communicate, the better. Trust your stylist to know what is best for your hair-styling routine, texture, product usage, etc. so they are able to set you up for hair success!
In general, I always lean towards being honest and clear when having a tough conversation, even if it’s harder than ghosting a person. I know if I were in a position with a client that wanted a change I would so much rather be told from the client herself instead of wondering if I did something to personally offend her.