We've all been there before: after a long and tedious few hours in the chair, the stylist spins it around only to have their mirror show off a horror that you just were not prepared for. 

You hate your new look. Now what?

First thing's first, understand that you are not alone--that is the beauty of being able to leave reviews and post your before and after photos online to a community that feels your joy (or pain). However, no one regimen, style, cut, or color fits all, so no matter how much expertise or training a stylist claims to have, they are liable to either have a mishap. Similarly, a stylist may misunderstand the message you were trying to convey during the initial consultation. Remember that sometimes, no amount of research done on your behalf is completely foolproof, either. So, you hate your new look. Now what? 

  • Have realistic expectations about your results.
  • Be open-minded.
  • Be willing to work with your stylist, not against them.
  • Have open communication.
  • Don't be afraid to speak up.

Before the appointment

Tomorrow I have an appointment with my colorist, and to show her a clear understanding of what color I want, I have utilized the bookmark option on Instagram to save photos of people I follow who showcase it so well. I also sent a few of them weeks ago so that she could be prepared as possible. But while it is good to have plenty of photo inspiration to refer to, keep in mind that your hair has a completely unique story, means that a stylist will have to customize their own process according to your hair's specific characteristics like the texture, density, length, and even lifestyle.

Make sure your hair is freshly washed and prepped for greatness the day before your appointment in order to ensure that you don't end up wasting the stylist's time, and ultimately, your own time and money. One time I decided to skip cleansing and detangling my hair after a trip to the lake that happened to be just hours before my haircut appointment. Needless to say, my stylist and her assistant had to spend an extra hour detangling my matted hair before getting to the cut and it was nothing short of painful. My after-appointment plans got pushed back because of it, and I had to walk around the rest of the day with a horrible headache.

During the appointment

If you can sense that the stylist whose chair you are in may actually have no clue what they are doing, don't be afraid to speak up about it before the reach for the shears. Ask them something like, "do you work with curly hair often?" to break the ice. Notice their reaction in the mirror. If they give you an extensive overview of the services they will be providing during the appointment, those are good indicators of honesty and open communication. However, if the stylist seems timid or even offended by your question, ask the salon manager if another stylist is available. After overhearing a conversation of uncertainty of my hair type between two professionals, I politely got up out of my chair, after getting shampooed, and asked the front desk coordinator to rebook me with a stylist who had more experience coloring natural hair.

Don't smile and fake the funk while you are still in the salon, only to go home and leave a dreadful review online.

As easy as it is to upload a photo of your botched cut to social media, your stylist can lose potential clientele and earn a bad reputation if you are not happy with the outcome of your appointment. Don't smile and fake the funk while you are still in the salon, only to go home and leave a dreadful review online. Before you leave their chair, take a couple of minutes to process how you really feel while looking in the mirror. Respond honestly when asked, "How do you like it?" and give your stylist a chance to correct the problem first.

After the appointment

If something about your stylist and their promised expertise seems off, don't be afraid to say so, as long as it is an accurate account intended to be helpful and not just mean-spirited gossip or slander. Keep your review effective by pointing out the exact problem you faced during the experience or in your end result. Who knows, you might get a direct message from the salon owner offering a second-chance coupon to resolve any hair issue that was made during your horrible appointment.

To sum it up

When it is all said and done, you should feel good about spending your time and money at a salon. And for those of us with natural and curly hair, it can already be a scary thought releasing our trust to a perfect stranger who could potentially harm the health of hair that we have worked so hard to achieve. Do thorough research well ahead of booking your appointment. If the cut, style, color, or overall experience is not turning out the way you like it, do not be afraid to ask more questions and speak your mind.

How have you dealt with a stylist mishap?

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Read Why I Don't Like Washing My Curly Hair At Night