Ask Kate: What Do I Do if I Hate My Hair After Leaving the Salon?

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This is a tough one because it leaves two people in an uncomfortable situation: you and the stylist when you tell him/her.

I’m a pretty pragmatic person, so keep that in mind as I share how to handle this problem.

The first thing you should do is sleep on it. Sometimes if you are not feeling totally great about a new cut or color, it may just require a bit of time to get used to it. After you’ve slept on it, and maybe given yourself a chance to style it yourself, and you still are not happy with your hair, it’s time to let the stylist know.

The sooner you let them know, the better. Not only does it send the message that you are aware and pay attention to your hair, but it also gives you (the client) leverage in saying, “Listen, I’m just not happy with my hair. I’ve given it a day to see if I just needed to get used to it but I can’t. Can you take a look at it if I come back into the salon?” This is likely to be better received than waiting a few weeks and then asking for it to be reshaped.

I realize it can be extremely uncomfortable to have this conversation, but if you are seeing a stylist who truly cares about their work, THEY WILL WANT TO KNOW if something isn’t working. Ego and arrogance can get in the way, but in general, the hope would be that they are grateful that you gave them a chance to fix it. If your stylist is combative with you about it, that would be a red flag in my opinion.

Conversely, a stylist may be in a position of having given you the cut or color you desired, and ultimately you just may not like it even though it’s a well-executed style. If you ask for balayage, and your stylist gives you a beautiful balayage, but you decide that you feel like it looks like you have outgrowth already, that is not an execution problem.

This issue circles back to an ineffective consultation, or a slight veering off from the originally discussed plan, and hopefully more discussion with the stylist will lead to better clarification on what your hair goals are, and the stylists’ ability to deliver as closely as possible to that goal!

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Comments (23)

  1. caroline mamo says
    Posted August 3, 2020

    thanks for this!!

  2. Amy says
    Posted August 3, 2020

    This just happened to me! I did not get the cut like the picture I showed her. She put layers in my hair and I hate layers. I thought I should just deal with it- is there even a way for her to fix this if I say something?

    • Kate says
      Posted August 3, 2020

      The only thing that may help is if she were to remove more length off the bottom of your hair to lessen the distance between your base length and the length of the layers. . .

  3. Rachel says
    Posted August 3, 2020

    In the same vein.. what if they totally damage your hair beyond repair? Like let the bleach sit too long and now your hair is gummy/ falling out?

    • Kate says
      Posted August 3, 2020

      oh man I am SORRY! That is so frusterating. If that were me, I would call the salon and ask to speak to the stylist as well as the owner. The stylist needs to see what happened to your hair so they are aware, and you should probably ask for a refund.

  4. Mimi says
    Posted August 3, 2020

    Great advice! I’ve always liked how I style my hair better than my stylist and believe it or not, I feel like my cut and color look a lot different the following day after I style it. So whenever I am unsure about a cut or color, I wait until after I style it and I almost always love it because the it looks more like how I envisioned it.

    • Michele says
      Posted August 3, 2020

      This is me, too! I find after washing it with my own shampoo (my salons shampoo makes me so nauseous and makes my dog pester me nonstop) and not using all of the extra products the stylist uses, my hair looks a lot more like I wanted it to.

  5. JCusá says
    Posted August 3, 2020

    I love this article!! I had a situation like this several years back where I was just so unhappy with the results of my hair appt and then feeling even WORSE because of the very large amount of money I had to drop to get the services done in the first place. I don’t have a lot of budget room for pampering so for me it was a really big deal. I was TERRIFIED to approach my stylist, even though she is nothing but a LOVELY woman. What you said would happen is exactly what happened! She wanted me back in ASAP and then went SO far out of her way to make sure I left MORE than pleased! (so much so that I started to feel uncomfortable at how much time/energy/resources she was giving to correct the problem without my paying any more money! 😂) The problem was resolved SO well and she was really happy that I spoke up! It made our stylist/client relationship stronger and I would even go as far as to say that if you ever get a stylist that resists the chance to make you happy after (reasonable 😉) disappointment, that would maybe be a que to start looking for a new one because there are SO many fabulous ones out there that are amazing and do whatever it takes to make that so! 😍 And humans are humans, right?! They mess up from time to time – and that’s ok! Just don’t be afraid to have the dialog. 🥰

  6. Posted August 3, 2020

    I wish I’d seen this sooner! There are many times when I’ve cried right after a haircut… so embarrassing!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  7. Amanda says
    Posted August 3, 2020

    Having previously had a haircut that just didn’t lay right, which I persevered with for a week, I contacted the stylist and she invited me back after the salon shut and was happy to help. As long as you are courteous and approach the situation in the correct manner, they should be happy to put things right.

  8. Mandy says
    Posted August 3, 2020

    I have platinum blonde hair and went in to get my roots done last week and my roots are yellow compared to the rest. It didn’t lift like it usually does. Should I contact my stylist and let her know? Is that fixable?

    • Sarah says
      Posted August 4, 2020

      I’m in the same boat! But it’s with a different stylist since mine is on leave for a bit.

  9. Andrea Ellis says
    Posted August 3, 2020

    Yes! I just changed stylists (mine retired) and what do I do…I completely change my whole style. And I truly like it. The new stylist was super nervous and kept making sure I was comfortable with the changes. I had sent her a few pictures and we had discussed my worries of being being able to see my new found gray hair. Open dialogue is the best. Who knew yellow blonde wasn’t my style anymore. I felt extremely lucky to have this experience.

  10. Nichole says
    Posted August 3, 2020

    This literally just happened to me last month. However, it was NOT my stylists fault. I recently had to find someone new – darn Covid-19, and I was very unhappy with my cut and the layers being so blunt and noticeable. Needless to say I’m praying I can get back in with my regular stylist soon!

  11. Lori says
    Posted August 3, 2020

    I’m loyal to my stylist until she leaves the area or retires. However, on my first visit with any new stylist I let them know that I will be styling my hair after they cut it in the salon…..not when I get home. I even bring my own brushes, products, dryer and curling iron – not even kidding a little bit…..I’ve never really gotten any pushback when I explain to them that it will give me a chance to have any adjustments needed to be made there at that time. NO ONE has ever styled my hair in a way that I like…..ever. I’m 54 for reference….Maybe I’m picky, but out of the 6 stylists I’ve had in my adult (post 21 life), I have only had to have 2 re-trim/cut my hair after I’ve styled it, but haven’t had to return to them after that for a correction since we know how it works when I leave the appointment….

    • Micheke says
      Posted August 4, 2020

      You know what? I kinda think that’s an amazing idea. That way, a stylist can watch you and see what your personal styling skill level/strategies are, if/why you get frustrated, and how much time you spend doing your hair so they can either make suggestions to help the cut look it’s best or suggest cuts in the future that will work for your skill level, if any of that makes sense. I typically explain that my skill level is low and my frustration level is high (seriously, Kate, why can’t I do a messy bun as easily as you? Why am I so stupid?! ) and that I need a cut that will accommodate that personality.

      All this to say that styling your now hair at the salon is a great idea!

  12. Ramona says
    Posted August 3, 2020

    Yes I believe an ineffective consultation is the most probable cause, but also, sometimes a haircut (photo of a style) just won’t work with the client’s hair texture or amount of hair they have. An honest stylist should tell the client that though. And the client has to then decide if they want to try another stylist and see if they tell them the same thing. Perhaps more experienced stylists (yes, sometimes more expensive) can make it work. But unfortunately it may just be a trial and error thing. Hair products, styling tools, length of appointment and the weather could all make a difference also. If it’s a really bad, bad experience (if your hair is truly “ruined” there should be a reimbusement?) it is just hair and it will grow out. There are many, many other stylists and you just have to find the right fit for you.

  13. Sara says
    Posted August 3, 2020

    I am a stylist and I appreciate when a client calls back so we can figure out the best solution! Especially if I haven’t done their hair very often. I want the chance to make it right and for them to happy !

  14. JenG says
    Posted August 3, 2020

    So I went in with a non-balayage pic and showed the depth in the back if the models hair. I left with a very expensive balayage and way more noticeable roots than I went in with. It was beautiful for those who like that type of color but I know my grays need lighter roots to blend better. So I called and had to pay for the correction…yet another color. So disappointing 😞 that is what I got after being out of the salon for 5 months due to quarantine.

  15. Bethany says
    Posted August 3, 2020

    Yes! Yes! And Yes! As a stylist I ALWAYS want to know if you’re dissatisfied and given the opportunity to make it right! I’m also the first to say “I don’t feel like I get your hair how you’re wanting it so feel free to try someone else” if my client continues to be let down! I love your honest, direct and respectful approaches! I’m not perfect and I’m certainly not an expert in every area of my trade! I prefer an honest client everyday of the week! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Sarah says
    Posted August 4, 2020

    I had to do this once! We put some blonde in and didn’t tone it and when I got home I knew it was just too intense and looked like stripes! I dreaded telling her but in the end she was thankful I said I wasn’t happy and she had me come in the next day to fix it free of charge! I was glad I said something.

  17. Kel says
    Posted August 4, 2020

    This is good advice. No one ever wants to be in this situation but it’s bound to happen once in a while.

    My question is, after the stylist sees you and fixes it, do you offer a tip for the time she just spent on you today or is it understood that had the problem hair not occurred in the first place, I would not have required more of your time and the tip I left a few days ago certainly honored that time?

    • cara says
      Posted August 10, 2020

      I need this answered too!