If you take one look in the mirror in your stylist’s chair and immediately want to cry, speak up. Don’t leave the salon only to curse in the car and accept misery. No disaster that happens in the hair salon is unfixable. When you hate your haircut, there are ways you can help your stylist help you. Here’s what you can do.
Speak up! In most cases, your stylist will be able to fix what’s wrong right then and there. Lighter layers, shorter bangs or a slightly different shape can be doable in a few minutes — you just have to tell them how you feel. Different salons have different policies on “tweaking” a client’s hair, and if you don’t say something before you leave the salon, you’ll most likely have to pay for another appointment. Give your stylist a chance to make it right — they don’t want you to leave unhappy either.
… but also know that your hair will change in a few days. If it’s shock that outweighs your initial discontentment, or if you’re unsure if you like the cut or not, wait a few days before calling your stylist to make a change. Big changes (especially ones that change the appearance of your face) are a huge shock to the system. When you give newly-cut hair some time, a wash, sleep on it, and style it at home, etc. it will look different than it does in the salon on day one. So if you’re just feeling uneasy, wait it out a few days. Just know that if you do end up calling back, you’ll likely be charged for a follow-up appointment.
If you do go the route of asking your stylist for a fix, whether it’s right after your appointment or calling back within a few days, be descriptive and straightforward about what you want changed — and break it down into basic concepts. So, rather than using words like, “flowy” or “thick” get super specific about the way you want the strands of hair to look. Use specific examples. Hairdressers think in inches, and they’re seeing the bigger-picture (the overall shape of your cut), so adopt a collaborative attitude.
Don’t let a bad cut happen again. Here’s how to ensure success at the salon:
- Bring in at least three different pictures of cuts you like, also styled in different ways.
- Tell your stylist what you hate. Be articulate about your absolute deal breakers.
- Be willing to collaborate. If you have a long, thin face and you want Selena Gomez’s look, you might need to readjust your vision according to your stylist’s judgement. Trust the experts — it’s in their best interest to make your vision work, if they can. If they can’t, you’ll have to come to an agreeable solution together.
- Get referrals from friends who have had good experiences or have go-to stylists they trust. Ideally, your stylist is someone who knows your hair and what you like — building that relationship is important.
It’s your responsibility to be clear and realistic about what you want. Your stylist is responsible for asking the right questions and leading a collaborative dialogue and letting you know what is and what’s not possible. Bad cuts happen. When they do, don’t keep your mouth shut — you can both make it right. And if worse comes to worse, you can always wear a hat.