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!