What's a nice to way to demand, "Please fix my hair so I don't look like I work at Hot Topic."
September 28, 2008 11:54 AM   Subscribe

I just spent way too much money at the salon for highlights, and after a few days I realized that I am not happy with the outcome. Is there any standard recourse or should I just fix this myself?

I came into my favorite salon last week to get a color correction where I initially decided to go from dark brown to medium red. The colorist advised me against a damaging correction and suggested red highlights. I was REALLY specific about not wanting anything fake-looking. The initial process worked well for everything but a few highlights, which didn't absorb the red dye. He asked that I give my hair some time to relax and he'd put apply more color in a few days, at no extra charge.

I came back after a week and the colorist put more color all over my hair and left it on for 15 minutes. When we dried my hair, I noticed it was darker than I wanted, but I didn't want to make a fuss over what seemed like a minor concern that a couple shampoos would take care of. Now that I'm home, I realize that the bright salon lights played tricks on my eyes--my hair is a lot darker than I wanted; the red is exactly the color I told the colorist to avoid. I'm not pleased at all.

The problem is, I put on a big smile for the colorist and said I was really happy with the outcome. He's a great guy, sometimes I just swing by the salon to say hi to him and the rest of the employees because they're all so great, and he was so pleased when I said I liked the color. I can't stand the idea of trotting back to the salon and whining about my hair if I'm SOL anyways.

So, how typical is it for a customer to come back after a few days and complain about a cut/color that they initially greenlit? Did I just forgo my rights to get this taken care of affordably and in good will because I walked out of the salon when I should have had the cajones to say something? Is there a home remedy I can use that tones down burgundy overtones?
posted by Viola to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
it happens ALL THE TIME. I highly recommend you go back, they're used to it, and they want to keep your business. They will work with you to make you happy.
posted by tristeza at 11:58 AM on September 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

Don't try to fix it yourself. You're has has been processed a lot lately and is likely to be unpredictable. Go back to that salon or another one and let a pro do it.

Have you gone red before? I ask because it's worth noting, red color fades a lot. I mean, massively. I've been a happy fake redhead for years, and the biggest issue with it is that in order to have anything other than muddy, vaguely auburn-ish color left after a few weeks, the initial color needs to be a bit shockingly burgandy or orangey (particularly when I see it in bright sunlght). They just load it up with pigment so when the standard mega fade happens there's something remaining. I've rather come to enjoy the process of having hair color that's a little different week to week, but it's definitely a known side effect of faux red hair that a lot of people aren't happy with.
posted by mostlymartha at 12:23 PM on September 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Your hair has been processed, obviously. Not "you're." That'll teach me to type while I'm watching baseball.
posted by mostlymartha at 12:25 PM on September 28, 2008

Just tell him what you told us here: it looked fine to you in the salon, but now that you've been seeing it under your home lights and office lights, you're not liking it. This is not unusual, and a good stylist will help fix it with no charge--in the long run, happy customers are worth more to them than one on-the-house appointment.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:28 PM on September 28, 2008

I have naturally auburn-red hair: like Julia Robert's hair color in Pretty Woman, so I'm surprised someone would think to dye my hair burgundy at all when I told him that my natural color has so much red in it that fading wouldn't be a concern.

I also hesitate to demand a third appointment! And should I tip afterward? How much? And mostlymartha, is there a special process he can do to bring my hair to a lighter shade of auburn, or would I basically be demanding the same darn process I initially requested that he steered me away from?

I've spent most of my years dying my hair out of the box, and while the colorist jokingly chastised me for doing this, at least I'm the only one culpable when the shade goes awry!
posted by Viola at 12:39 PM on September 28, 2008

Also, my qualm isn't just that the color is burgundy (though: ugh), but that my whole head of hair looks so much darker than it did when I walked in the salon. It wasn't so dark for the first round of highlights, but I think because he left the color on for so long the second, and on all my hair, it deepened everything too much. That's not what highlights are supposed to do.
posted by Viola at 12:42 PM on September 28, 2008

I've been going red for about a decade now, and I'll second mostlymartha. The color will fade tons in the first three or four washings.
I'd give it until tuesday or so, shampoo/repeat every day until then, before going back in. After all, this would be the third time your hair is processed in a week. That's a LOT of chemicals in a short time frame. There's no magic way to make peroxide not damaging. A pro may be able to mitigate some of it, but you're still going to be doing a lot of damage to your hair that will take a long time to grow out.
posted by Kellydamnit at 12:43 PM on September 28, 2008

As far as know, there's no way to lighten the color without essentially recoloring. To color hair, first the base color is lifted (via peroxide) and then the new color is deposited over the hair shaft. Color removers are just step 1 without step 2. They usually use them to try and totally strip disaster color (something processed wrong and ended up green or orange) where the damage is acceptable because you can't leave the house the way it is. So, not very good for your hair. Also, I think it's meant to get as much tone as possible out of the hair shaft, not to provide a controlled lightening.

If there's any feeling I hate it's the drop of my stomach when I realize that I hate my hair after I've left the salon when I told the stylist I was happy. I feel stupid and like a hypocrite.

I've also had some deep major burgundy color that I hated largely because there's no color that looks more fake if it's too even and without variation of tone all over. If it was me, here's what I'd do. Wash your hair a couple of times over a couple of days. Prell is the standard fade color fast shampoo of choice, some people use dish soap. Also, take long baths and soak your hair in the tub. Water does as much to fade hair color as soap. Condition the hell out of it. That burgundy color isn't sustainable. This should help get out as much pigment as possible.

Then I'd go back in (to him or somebody else) and say the all over color is just not suiting you. Some additional highlights, possibly in two different shades for depth, will probably do as much to make the color tolerable as anything else and won't be quite as damaging as processing all over again. You probably aren't going to love the results regardless, but it's really a question of finding something you can live with while your hair has a chance to recover. Just remember, it will continue to fade, probably not to something you love, but almost certainly to something less garish.

Finally, if your hair is very long, think about cutting off a couple of inches at the bottom. All that processing can leave the ends fragile and like split ends waiting to happen. If your hair is shorter and you cut it regularly, this isn't necessary.
posted by mostlymartha at 12:59 PM on September 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

> I also hesitate to demand a third appointment!

Just don't think of it as a DEMAND and don't act demanding. Ask if he can do anything for your hair. Ask firmly, but not aggressively or unpleasantly. Other people probably have better words as I don't deal with hairdressers ever and simply cut my own hair, but the point remains -- don't look at it as a demand. You care about your hair's appearance, which is why you paid the big bucks in the first place. Ask and you may receive.
posted by Listener at 1:04 PM on September 28, 2008

I also hesitate to demand a third appointment! And should I tip afterward? How much?

It's not a demand. You want your hair to look good. They want their customers' hair to look good. If they want to keep you as a customer, they will make this happen.

And you should always tip 15 to 20% of the hypothetical cost of something (depending on the tipping customs in your area) when you're getting it free.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:16 PM on September 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

I had a very similar situation happen and I came back in, my nice stylist fixed the color free of charge, and I tipped her 20% of what it would have cost. She agreed with me that there was too much pink in my hair, looked at what she used the last time and figured out what went wrong, and made a note on my card so she'd know the next time. Totally not a big deal.
posted by Addlepated at 2:42 PM on September 28, 2008

It's no problem to ask him to fix it, maybe try something like:

I hate to bother you again, but I've tried living with my new hair color for a few days and it's just not working for me. It's darker than I wanted, and the color doesn't seem to be fading with shampooing. What can you do to make it look more natural?

I would practice saying it out loud a few times in front of a mirror so you can sound a little calmer than you probably feel. Try to keep in mind that this is nothing personal, and you don't need to be foot-stompy and demanding or awkward and super apologetic. You want to be happy with your haircolor, he wants you to be happy with your haircolor - your interests align perfectly here, don't worry about it!

Oh, and maybe bring in a few photos of your desired hair color, too, just so nothing gets lost in description.

As a side note: I complained to my hairdresser last week that my hair was darker than I wanted and she looked at it, asked about my well water, and determined that there was some mineral buildup on the ends. She left a detoxifying shampoo on the ends while she colored the roots and it all came out the perfect color. My point being that you just never know until you ask.
posted by robinpME at 3:23 PM on September 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Go back and let him know that once you got home and saw that it wasn't washing out, it's clear the hair is now way darker than you'd wanted to go at this time. Ask if there's a safe way to take your hair closer to what you intended.

If he says no, then you'll either have to live with it until it does fade down (as it inevitably will) or you can find who the colour correction professional in your city is. They charge a bit more but they're a professional's professional and would be able to give a final opinion on whether or not it's fixable.

Finally, not all stylists make great colourists, and vice versa. He might be great for cuts, but you may want to find someone else for colour.
posted by batmonkey at 3:33 PM on September 28, 2008

I have naturally auburn-red hair: like Julia Robert's hair color in Pretty Woman, so I'm surprised someone would think to dye my hair burgundy at all when I told him that my natural color has so much red in it that fading wouldn't be a concern.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you had done, but it sounds like your hair was highlighted (stripped of color), then not red enough, then it had to be colored with dye. You're natural auburn hair is not under the red dye, because it's been highlighted. Therefore the red dye will fade. It has nothing to do with your natural haircolor, the color fades because red pigments (in ink, paints, dyes, anything) are notoriously unstable.

I would call the salon, tell them what's going on and see what their advice is. But having dyed my hair all sorts of different shades of red and purple for years, I completely agree with mostlymartha. Your haircolor will fade, more quickly if you wash your hair with hot water, because it opens up the cuticle. Definitely don't try fixing it it at home.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:14 PM on September 28, 2008

"Is there a home remedy I can use that tones down burgundy overtones? "

YMMV - Head and Shoulders specifically, but really any anti-dandruff shampoo will help in the short term. Strips the hair down faster, and has helped me through bad dye jobs many, many times before.
posted by saturnine at 10:54 AM on September 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

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