Hair Gone Wrong. How to recover from a bad salon appointment.

screen-shot-2013-06-18-at-9.59.13-amWhen I was about 10 (1983) my mom took my sister and I to the salon and told us we could have any style we wanted. After carefully going through magazines I found a picture of a women who was a vision of the 80’s. Bi-level haircut with a perm. I imagined how great I would look and was sure my friends would think I’d gone high fashion with my new hair. Fast forward to leaving the salon. One haircut and perm later my sister and I were both crying as we walked out with Q-Tip fuzz hair that looked nothing like the picture and took a year to get back to it’s former self.

Most of us have a salon horror story from some time in our life. Bad haircut, horrible color, or missed expectations that left us disappointed or devastated about the outcome. As a salon owner and hairstylist I have been on all ends of this process. I have had the bad hair, I have fixed the bad hair, and yes, I will admit I may have created the bad hair at some point. In this post I want to share how to handle this experience from talking to the stylist who performed the service, knowing when it is time to give another stylist the opportunity to repair your hair and when to ask to be reimbursed for your bad hair service.

Hair Gone Wrong. What to do next:

1. At a commission salon…

If your salon service took place at a commission salon the stylists are employees of the business. This means the owner or a manager is ultimately responsible for offering a course of action.

Call the salon, ask for the owner or manager and explain what happened. Share your experience, what your desired outcome was and what was your actual end result. Typically they will ask that you come back in so there is an opportunity to resolve the situation. They should give you the option of seeing the same stylist or meeting a new stylist for this appointment. You can decide who you would like to see based on your comfort level.

2. At a lease salon.

At a lease salon stylists rent and run their own business from the salon owner. The owner typically wants to maintain a respected reputation for the salon, but ultimately is not responsible for the services provided by the stylists.

First contact the stylist who performed the service. Explain what went wrong. The stylist should give you an opportunity to return for them to correct the color or haircut. If you aren’t satisfied with their response reach out to the salon owner by phone or email. While they aren’t responsible for the services performed by the leasing stylists, many times they want to maintain a positive reputation for the salon. The salon owner may offer other options for you.

3. When to ask for your money back

Was your hair damaged to the point that you had to visit another salon or stylist to have it repaired? You can ask the original salon or stylist for your money back for the service. As a stylist I consider how successful the consultation was at the original appointment. If I felt confident that I understood my clients requests and gave accurate feedback on how short the hair would be or what colors I would be using and fulfilled that by the end of the appointment I am less likely to return money to a client. If I was unable to fulfill the expectations I promised at the beginning of the appointment I will ask that they return for an opportunity to better meet their desired end result. After that appointment if I still have not achieved the promised goal I will then consider returning the cost of the service. For example; if a client came in with a desire to cover their gray and have no sign of red in their hair and I promised it would happen then at the end of their service the grey was not fully covered and the hair had some red tones I did not fulfill my promise. Alternatively, if a client came in with the same expectations and I felt I could not cover their gray to their specifications and shared that in the initial consultation I am less likely to return funds after the service if a client is disappointed.

A few tips to save you from a bad salon service.

Your consultation is kind of a big deal. Make sure your are prepared with pictures to share your vision. If you want to learn more about how to find the perfect hairstylist and get the hair you want go back to this post. Every stylist should take the time for an in depth conversation with you. If you don’t feel that they share your vision do not continue your appointment. There are thousands of amazing stylists out there so it’s worth it to take the time to find the one that “gets” you. It can make the difference between hair your love and hair that’s not so great.

You get what you pay for. This doesn’t mean you have to spend tons of money on a cut or color, but the cost usually represents the experience of the stylist. Do you have naturally curly, thick hair and want to reduce the weight and have it look great when it’s air dried? I would be hesitant to recommend a junior stylist. You would need someone who has more experience and even specializes in curly hair. It may cost more initially, but an experienced senior stylist will cut your curls to your vision in a way that causes less upkeep and extend future hair cut appointments. Now if you have long hair and want and inch taken off the length and your bangs trimmed this is a perfect job for a stylist early in their career and a time to save some money. Don’t forget to always ask how frequently a stylist attends continuing education. A stylists who charges less but attends frequent classes may have more to offer than a senior stylist who rarely takes a class to keep up on trends, techniques and technology.

Bad hair sucks. Dealing with it and getting it repaired takes time and energy from other things in your life. With that being said stylists can’t improve what they do without honest feedback from our clients. Take the time to follow up when you are disappointed with a salon service and when possible give the stylist the opportunity to correct the work. Hopefully your bad hair days are behind you and nothing but happy hair ahead!