We’ve all been there, even those of us who usually stand behind the chair. And trust me, I know that it’s the worst when you planned on rocking a cute pixie all summer and come out of the salon looking more hot mess than hot mama. Though some of us have the more laid back approach of “It’s just hair, it grows,” it’s still a bummer to wait and wait for grow out or try to find someone, anyone who can tone that orange out of our highlights. Inconvenient at best and totally humiliating at worst, it’s no joke when a stylist effs up your hair.
Let’s go through some ways that a stylist might mess with your mane and, of course, I’ll give you my very best advice on how to move forward in the best, most glamorous way possible.
Problem: You asked for a trim and your stylist thought that meant 7 inches.
Why It Happened: Your stylist either didn’t care about what you wanted and did what she felt was best or she just has terrible listening skills. Either way, obviously don’t make another appointment with her.
Solution: To add that extra length back immediately, get to the nearest Ulta or Sally Beauty and purchase clip in extensions. You can apply them just through the bottom half of your head in about ten minutes and immediately get back to where you were. And hopefully your natural hair doesn’t take too long to grow back!
Problem: You wanted mega-blonde platinum locks and, well, does orange count as blonde?
Why It Happened: Everyone who has darker hair and wants to go blonde has to go through various undertones to get to their desired shade. From red to orange to yellow to palest yellow or white and only when you get to the whitest shade can you tone and get platinum. Sometimes going through the shades takes several processes and to keep the hair healthy, you have to stop at a shade and let the hair rest. Sometimes that color is orange.
Solution: At any undertone and shade, a demi-permanent toner can be applied to cancel out the unwanted, brassy tone. To fix this problem in the salon, just make it clear that you’d like your hair toned at the current shade it is now to get to a more neutral, flattering base. To find out what colors you need to tone with, refer to my 10 Commandments of Hair Color.
Problem: You notice breakage around your hairline or your crown after styling your hair on your own.
Why It Happened: Over-processing with color, over-bleaching and definitely over-use of heat tools.
Solution: This is one of those times you must call the salon and let them know. If their color job or heat styling caused your breakage, they need to help your hair get reparation. They can do this through deep-conditioning treatments, blending in the broken hair with texturizing shears and through adding extensions to the section that’s broken to make it less obvious. If you are weary of going back to a salon after this, then invest in your own deep-conditioning treatment (like Angel.Masque from Kevin Murphy) and use it at home once a week for restoration. In the meantime, ponytails and half-up styles are going to be your jam.
Problem: You brought in a photo of a gorgeous ombre and left the salon with an obvious, noticeable line of demarcation.
Why It Happened: This means your hairdresser didn’t understand how to properly blend the two colors together to create that seamless transition.
Solution: You can go back to the salon and ask for someone else to fix it, but I wouldn’t let the same person re-do it. Find a “balayage” or “ombre” specialist who knows the technique and book in with them if you can. What they need to do is use a balayage technique to feather out that line, so be aware that they’ll have to go up about two inches or so, to really fix it. If this all seems like too much work, you can just put a demi-permanent gloss over the lighter ends and rock a more natural look.
Problem: Your scalp is seriously burning, but your hairdresser says it’s fine. The pain doesn’t go away and a few days later, you have itchiness or even flaking.
Why It Happened: Most commonly, this is from an on-scalp bleach lightener that’s burned the scalp. If your stylist has used a high developer with bleach under heat, you’re at risk for this kind of a burn. It could also be an allergic reaction to the chemical PPD in hair color.
Solution: In any case, you must seek treatment from a doctor if you have this kind of a reaction to anything. Follow their recommendations and when you’ve been properly treated, stay away from any on-scalp color for about two months. If you can, transition to highlights and give your scalp a break. If you still need to be super blonde after treating your scalp, consider a high lift color rather than bleach. If you’ve been diagnosed with an allergy to PPD, you’ll need to stay away from all on-scalp colors or find a natural hair color.
Problem: Your curls need re-shaping, but your stylist insists on styling them straight before curling, even though you wear it curly most days. When you wear them curly the next time, the whole haircut is uneven.
Why It Happened: The way curl lays, the weight and balance that’s needed and the techniques in which you use to cut curl are all so different from how you treat straight hair, so it must be cut by someone who knows how to do it well and clearly, your stylist here didn’t.
Solution: Find yourself a curl specialist, stat. If your hair is too short to fix and you’re not willing to lose length, then let it grow for a couple of months. If you can go to fix it immediately, then book an appointment with a curl specialist (Yelp is a great way to find one), and ask them to fix the layers on your natural curl while it’s dry. I know it’s a bummer to pay for two haircuts (if you ended up paying for the first one), but without evening out those layers, your curl will lay so awkwardly and you’ll hate fighting it everyday. Plus, you’re 90% sure to find a great hairdresser by searching for someone who’s curl-specific in her specialty and who can even out a messy haircut.
Problem: You wanted to try a straightening treatment and now have random, messy waves that look half-styled and dry.
Why It Happened: Some treatments are more smoothing than straightening and they can leave very curly hair looking messy and undone after a treatment. This was probably a miscommunication in what the results should be and obviously, a bummer!
Solution: The good news is that this treatment was already resistant to your hair (based on the fact that it didn’t take) and probably won’t last long. The best way to handle this is to let it fade out and negotiate a couple of complimentary blowouts with treatments for the dryness in the following few weeks. The whole point is to have less styling and if you’ve paid for that treatment, you haven’t received what you paid for. Let the salon style your hair for free a couple of times and call it even.
Problem: You wanted luscious, thick hair from extensions, but after an hour of having them placed, your hair is looking suspiciously like a mullet.
Why It Happened: Either your stylist cut your extensions too much to try and blend them in or they didn’t add enough pieces.
Solution: Very simple! Just have them add more pieces to make your length appear much thicker and fuller, making sure they also add some pieces around the sections above the ear. If it still looks too thin, have them take off an inch or two from the bottom and leave the length more blunt.
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