A Bad Hair Day

Admit your errors before someone else exaggerates them. ~Andrew V. Mason, American surgeon and author

I imagine it’s happened to all of us at some point, but it never stops being annoying, aggravating, frustrating . . . you pick the adjective.

By ‘it’ I mean a bad haircut.

I’ve been going to the same stylist for the last 15 years or so.

She’s knowledgeable and accommodating, and her hours of operation and prices are in line with the average for my location.

About a year ago, I decided to grow out the layers I’d been so enamored of when I first got them.

I didn’t have a clear idea what style I wanted to move toward, but I trusted we’d figure it out together when my hair got long enough to do something with.

Now hair, on average, grows half-an-inch per month, so I prepared myself mentally for the long(!) haul.

Like running a marathon.

Eventually, I started to see results. The bottom layers were hanging below chin level, almost to my shoulders, and I thought I was ready for a proper style.

Armed with a dozen or so photos of ‘dos I liked, I went to my hair appointment, sat in the chair, discussed pros and cons of each, and finally decided on one.

I was a little leery, but she assured me my hair would cooperate and it would look cute.

Then she spun me away from my reflection and started cutting.

And cutting.

And texturizing, which is basically chopping with thinning shears into the straightness to add volume.

And before I knew it, all my hard work lay in a heap on the floor, and the Debbie in the mirror had short hair.

Disappointed that I didn’t look anything like the photo, I paid and left, telling myself I’d fix it when I got home and washed it.

Nope, didn’t help a bit.

All the advice online about how to deal with a “bad” cut says you’re supposed to let the stylist know, so I texted her my unhappiness.

I expected her to apologize.

She didn’t.

I expected her to urge me to return so she could tweak it.

She didn’t.

I expected her to offer a discount on my next cut.

She didn’t.

We all know that hair, once cut, can’t be glued back on.

Nor can I wear a bag over my head, and winter stocking cap weather is nearing an end.

So my question is, how should I handle this.

Change stylists? Invest in some baseball caps? Try extensions?

Or just offer up my angst for Lent and pray Easter bonnets come back in style?

23 thoughts on “A Bad Hair Day

  1. Ohhhh, Debbie – so sorry about your haircut! I’ve had bad ones before, too. Just before going off to uni, a stylist gave me the punkest ‘80s punk haircut with spiked hair & a long rats tail – it took months to grow out! The only time I cried over my hair – but I made good friends @ school anyway. Blessings & commiserating hugs! ✨💇‍♀️🤗💇‍♀️✨

    • *shuddering!* A rat’s tail and spikes?? Argh, what was your stylist thinking?? At least I can be grateful not to have that look, ha! Thanks for commiserating, Virginia.

  2. The last time I went to a stylist for a haircut, it was about…. oh….twenty-five years ago. I came out of that salon looking like Sinead O’Connor. My hair was so short I looked like one of today’s punk rockers, or someone who was about a month past chemo. I was so upset, I swore never again. I learned to cut my own hair, and just yesterday someone told me how good it looked. So there!

    • That good, huh?? Golly, no wonder you haven’t been back to a salon. I can’t fathom what your stylist was thinking. Sure, we all have different ideas of what ‘short’ and ‘just a trim’ mean, but wow, that takes the cake. I typically cut my own bangs, but I’m not brave enough to do the rest. Perhaps I ought to give it a try — couldn’t look much worse than what I paid good money for!

  3. This is a classic “forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” moment. Forgive and find a new stylist is yours doesn’t repent. Fifteen years ought to mean something.

  4. Debbie, having been a licensed cosmetologist for 15 years, I get angry when I hear stories like this because it’s up to the stylist to LISTEN to what a client wants and DO what the client wants. I can’t tell you how many times new clients would make an appointment with me because their last stylists messed up their hair after having waiting so long to grow it out. Yes, there were times when I may have made made a mistake with a perm or color, but I was always willing to correct my mistake because it was MY mistake. The job of a stylist is to give their clients what they requested. And if they feel as though they can’t, then they need to tell the client that perhaps they need to choose a different style.

    I can’t believe your stylist never contacted you to see if she could do something about her mistake. That is totally unacceptable to me, because it’s TOTALLY unprofessional. She sounds as though she’s burnt out on her career. And if that’s the case, she needs to retire and find another occupation.

    My suggestion to you would be to change stylists. And before you do, find someone whose hair you like and then ask them who their stylist is. And be sure to ask them if the stylists LISTENS to them when the ask for something.

    So sorry to hear about your experience, my friend. Just know that you’ll eventually find another stylist who WILL listen to you.

    Have a great Sunday!

    • Ron, thanks so very much for your expert advice! Always means so much when you’ve actually been in the trenches. I guess I didn’t remember your having been a stylist as well as a makeup artist.

      You know, all my life, I’ve had the BEST hairstyles from men. It seems women always want to cut too much, change the texture, tweak the color, etc., while the men are content to work *with* the hair to enhance the person. I don’t want to look at a stranger in the mirror every day, nor do I want to touch my hair and feel like I’m touching somebody else’s head!

      She very well might be tired of her profession. I imagine burnout is common in most industries. I think her problem that day was that she’d just returned from vacation and her mind wasn’t on work. I had the misfortune of being in the chair because I needed a cut before our last band concert. (Thank heaven I wasn’t seated on the end, where everyone could point and laugh, ha!)

      Great advice, my friend — thank you, and enjoy the coming week! xx

  5. I’m sorry. Bad haircuts are the worst. I guess that I would be sure she received your text message. After 15 years it seems very strange that she would not be back in touch with you. I assume you have a relationship? Gosh, you’ve been going to her since your kid was barely a teen at home. Maybe drop by and see her in person and explain what you don’t like about the cut and ask if she received the text and go from there. Honestly, I can’t image a scarier job than to fool with someone’s hair—I’d rather be an air traffic controller. Anyway, she should have some suggestions about how to fix it—but I am not sure that is cutting it more. If she is defensive then it is time to look for someone new—after 15 years it might be refreshing. And the good thing about hair–it will always grow back! Sorry, that’s what mama used to tell me after a bad cut—and I’ve had a few. It didn’t really help but it’s true!!

    • Yes, I’ve been going to her forever! That’s why I was surprised at her seeming lack of interest or concern over this. And yes, she definitely received my text as she responded. Basically, she intimated I needed to use a lot of gel and hairspray, which isn’t what I was going for at all.

      I’m with you — I wouldn’t want to deal with people’s hair either. Any time you’re in a field where you’re treading on people’s self-perception, you’re in a scary place. It requires a great deal of tact and finesse. I guess the most practical thing is the knowledge that it will — eventually — grow back, but grrrr, that in-between time is frustrating!!

      • Sorry I missed the part about the response. Well, my Mom also insists I kneel on rice and pray when she goes for a hair cut…Time for a change in a stylist. Change is hard but you need someone new!

        • I think you’re right! Hair changes over time; so do our needs. Not looking forward to trying out new stylists though — wish me luck I’ll find the right one on my first go round! Rice and prayer?? Never heard of that, but hey, whatever works!

  6. Ugh! I bet to other people it probably looks great, but that never gets rid of the feeling of disappointment. Back in the days of perms, the hairdresser managed to burn the hair on one side of my head on the morning of a wedding – not my own, fortunately. Boy, was I glad I’d bought a big hat for the event! Hope you find a new hairdresser who pays attention to what you ask for…

    • Thanks for trying to console me. I haven’t had any warm compliments, but in all fairness, neither have I had any tsk tsks, so I’m hanging onto the notion that “it’s just hair and will grow back.” I’m sorry about your perm, but once again, it’s a hat to the rescue. Why does it feel that hairdressers know when we’re counting on them to make us look great for a special occasion, yet do their utmost to do the opposite?!?

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Kim. Photo? No way, it looks awful!! But I’m trying to eat healthy and taking skin, hair, and nail vitamins, so maybe it will grow out soon.

  7. Oh dear so frustrating. I gave up on trying to style my hair and just keep it short. Every time I tell my stylist, “Cut it but not too short,” and everytime she hacks away until it is shorter than my husbands.

    • Hair styling terms puzzle me, Pat. What’s ‘short’ to one person isn’t to another; same for ‘thin it out a little.’ Hard to find someone who can get it just right!

  8. I like Ron’s advice. He doesn’t live anywhere near you does he? Cause I’d go to him. I also agree it’s time for a new person, and you should keep your eyes peeled for someone who’s hair you like and go where they go! That’s how I found my stylist, looking for someone to do color. I tried to go shorter once, I felt like I looked like a q-tip. Is it at least all one length so you don’t have to do the grow out the layers thing again? Did you keep the pictures of what you liked to show someone new?

    • I’d go to Ron in a heartbeat if I didn’t have to go clear out to the East Coast, ha! My sister always says I look like a horse with really short hair, so no way do I want that. Sadly, yes, it’s in layers so not only do I have to grow out the length but I have all those wispy ends to contend with. Sigh.

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