I can't look like Prince Valiant!
February 19, 2011 2:49 PM   Subscribe

What should I do about a bad haircut?

Ok there was a question kinda like this from 2007, but the advice was mostly how to disguise a bad haircut. I need this fixed with scissors, not scarves!

Last year I had a fabulous haircut. Chin length and shaped and cute. This afternoon I went to the same place and asked them to give me the same cut (showed them a picture and asked for "shorter with some layers".) The lady cut my hair. Then she asked me if i wanted it blown dry straight or curly. i always wear my hair straight so for kicks, i said curly.

When i got home and straightened it i realized.... its all one length! I look like Prince Valiant. Needless to say, I'm horrified.

Do I.... go back right now and ask them to fix it? Wait until tomorrow when I"m less hysterical? What do I say - "I asked for layers and didnt get them. Please put some layers in?" Would they do that, without charging me for a whole new haircut? I live in NYC - this disaster was expensive. It seriously looks like I just cut it myself. Absolutely no shaping or style at all.

Help! I'm so sad.
posted by silverstatue to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total)
If it's a half-decent salon, they should fix it for you. For free, almost definitely.
posted by MadamM at 2:52 PM on February 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Have you called them to determine what the policy is in a situation like this? That would be my first step.
posted by tomswift at 2:53 PM on February 19, 2011

Go back and get it re-cut, and thank your luck stars they didn't hack it too short already.
When my salon messed up a haircut they gave free cuts til it had regrown and was shaped the way I wanted it. Any reputable business should re-cut it with no problem
posted by SLC Mom at 3:15 PM on February 19, 2011

go back, they'll be happy to fix it. I've mentioned vague disastisfaction with cuts to two hairdressers (on which I blamed myself for asking for something I turned out not liking) and they both so emphatically said "you should have come back in!! I would have been happy to fix it for you!" hair dressers rely a lot on reputation and repeat biz. they'll be happy you came back.
posted by supermedusa at 3:32 PM on February 19, 2011

Do I.... go back right now and ask them to fix it? Wait until tomorrow when I"m less hysterical? What do I say - "I asked for layers and didnt get them. Please put some layers in?"

Any of these options would be fine. I have friends who've realised they're unhappy with their haircuts or colour after leaving the salon, and the hairdressers have always urged them to return as soon as possible so they can fix it. Call the salon asap, or go back today. Your problem is really easy for them to fix—it won't take long for them to layer it.
posted by hot soup girl at 3:33 PM on February 19, 2011

Response by poster: ok i called and said that it wasnt quite what i wanted. They scheduled me to go back in two days but with the same person who cut it today! Is that weird? Should I have asked for someone else?

i'm just not good with telling people I'm unhappy with them. This is gonna be so awkward.
posted by silverstatue at 3:36 PM on February 19, 2011

Best answer: You're not unhappy with them, you're unhappy with the haircut..

Say something like "I don't think I communicated what I wanted very well, here's where it doesn't work for me... " It's uncritical, you don't need to feel awkward...

This is a much bigger deal for you than it is for them, it happens all the time...
posted by tomswift at 3:48 PM on February 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

You're doing the best you can, getting a fairly quick re-do. You could take this as a chance to practice one of life's best skills: Not giving much of a shit what people think you look like. I'll bet you look fine.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 3:51 PM on February 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It can be less awkward if you present it as a no-fault situation when you meet with the stylist for the recut. If you present the situation to her as a "you didn't listen to what I asked for" type situation it's going to be super awkward, but if you present it instead as a situation where you weren't as clear as you thought you were it will take some of the pressure of her (even though you were as clear as day about it, it gives her a graceful out to avoid awkwardness). I'd say something like, "I loved it when I walked out, but once I tried styling it myself I realized I can't make it look like it does in my picture. Can you put a few more layers in so it looks like this picture?" The key to avoid awkwardness is to take the fault off the other person as much as possible, even if everyone knows they screwed up.

They probably scheduled you back with the same stylist so she has an opportunity to fix her mistake and make you happy. Unless you're absolutely convinced the stylist can't give you what you'd like, I would go with it. (Personally, I think it would be more awkward to go to a new stylist in the same salon to fix the error, while the other one stands on the other side of the room wondering what she did wrong.)
posted by lilac girl at 3:58 PM on February 19, 2011

No to hijack the question, but I'd be interested to hear opinions about whether you should tip in some amount when you go back to get it fixed.
posted by gabrielsamoza at 4:45 PM on February 19, 2011

Just ask to get it cut by the person who did it last year (which was a "fabulous cut"). I know it may feel awkward that you're not giving the other person a second chance, but every hairdresser has someone they're not thrilled with. No one is in the wrong here. If the salon isn't willing to do that, then they choose to lose your repeat business. We're talking about your hair. It doesn't grow back overnight.

If you feel that's too difficult to ask, then I would not go back to that salon for the recut. I would go elsewhere with someone who has cut it before to your liking and eat the cost financially.
posted by fantasticninety at 4:53 PM on February 19, 2011

Response by poster: Unfortunately I dont remember the name of the woman who cut it last time. Before the past year, I always had the same long, straight hair. Last year I decided to cut it all off (14 inches!) so it was the first time I'd ever had, like, a style cut into it. So this place is the only one I've had success at before. I guess I will just go back on Monday and hope she can fix it.
posted by silverstatue at 4:58 PM on February 19, 2011

Like you, I have a hard time telling others I'm unhappy with their work. But I got a cut not long ago in NYC that I didn't like, called back the next day, and got it recut by a different stylist. I loved the new cut, and even though it was free, I left a huge tip.

I don't think you should feel bad at all about calling again and requesting a different stylist. Just say, "Thanks so much for helping me get this right, but I didn't feel like the first stylist and I communicated very well, and I wondered if I could make an appointment with someone else for the recut." You can also ask if there's a difference in the charge if you do this. But I think the 24-hour grace period (or whatever it is) for a free recut should be pretty standard either way. Don't feel bad about asking; you're in no way acting like a prima donna.
posted by torticat at 5:34 PM on February 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would tip, especially if it is a different stylist, (not their fault). Also, if you are trying to approach this as a "no blame", I'd also tip. A little "good will" can go very far.
posted by 6:1 at 6:05 PM on February 19, 2011

You could ask the salon if they know who you saw before. If they have a decent computer system they may be able to look you up by phone# or something.

Regarding tipping, I've had haircuts fixed before (two different times, different salons) and both times the stylist wouldn't accept any money from me. But, I've never done it where I went to a different stylist for the fix. To me that's verging on new haircut territory since they never got paid the first time.
posted by cabingirl at 6:15 PM on February 19, 2011

You know what the difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is?

Two weeks.
posted by three blind mice at 8:54 PM on February 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

Personally, I wouldn't go back at all, and this is just me speaking from experience.
I find that once a stylist has misinterpreted (or screwed up) my requests once, I am hard pushed to imagine them letting loose on my hair again.
I would concentrate on locating a different salon, talking with a few stylists about what has happened, and sussing out which one of them seems to 'get' what you are looking for.

And if you find that person, stick with them!
Good luck.
posted by noella at 9:04 AM on February 20, 2011

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