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How To Fix A Bad Haircut, According To A Pro

how to fix bad haircut

As someone who's admittedly afraid of getting haircuts (and never takes more than two inches off at a time), I would typically never think for a second about cutting my own hair. During the time of complete salon closures, however, even I was tempted to nix my own split ends. If you’re someone who attempted DIY bangs or took your quarterly trim into your own hands during quarantine, you might be dealing with a bad haircut.

Lucky for you, salons are opening back up—which means your stylist can help fix any at-home hair mistakes you’ve made. So, how exactly do you fix a bad haircut, and how do you hide it until it’s time to see your stylist again? We tapped Rodney Cutler, Redken brand ambassador, who breaks down common DIY hair cutting mistakes, how to correct them, and ways to hide your mistakes while you’re still waiting for a salon appointment.

Photo Credit: @styledbyquoizel.

Hair Trimming Mistake: Trying To Cut Straight Bangs

The expert fix: When it comes to cuts that were clearly done in the privacy of your own bathroom, Cutler says the easiest way to identify them is by the presence of slightly crooked bangs. You see, it’s tempting to create that straight-across fringe by placing scissors parallel to your eyebrows, saying a prayer, and snipping—but we’re willing to bet you know what kind of results that will get you. Not great, says Cutler.

“If you try to cut a straight line and it’s not straight, it will be obvious. What I recommend, if you’re cutting your bangs, you want to come in with what we call point cutting,” the stylist explains. “You come vertically into the hair rather than horizontally, so the imperfection becomes a part of the strategy.”

Absolutely can’t resist the urge to trim? Cutler recommends angling your shears to about one O’clock before you slice into your would-be bangs. That way, the imperfection becomes a part of the cut, and you don’t spend the next half hour trying to straighten out your fringe.

“It will create a soft and disheveled line, but it will still remove the length you’ve been looking to remove,” Cutler adds.

Photo Credit: @leysahairandmakeup.

Hair Trimming Mistake: Layers Of Different Lengths

The expert fix: Layers look beautiful on most people—we can all agree on that. What looks slightly less appealing are huge chunks of hair or layers that are longer on one side than the other. Cutler says that’s due to the elevation of the hair when you’re trimming it at home.

“You could theoretically comb [your hair] down and just cut it, but haircutting’s so much more than that,” the stylist says. “It’s the elevation—which we call layering—that makes it very complicated. So if you pull out one side to 90 degrees and you pull out the other side to 70 degrees, you’re going to get a variation on both sides.”

There isn’t really a home fix for mismatched layers, which is why it’s so important to take trims seriously. It’s far more time-consuming to grow back two inches you accidentally cut off than it is to schedule a professional haircut.

Photo Credit: @neeenaboo.

Hair Trimming Mistake: Wet Cuts

The expert fix: Hair shrinks. It’s not only curly girls that deal with shrinkage, either; most of us have hair that slightly shortens as it dries. If you’re just out of the shower, eyeing your damp strands in the mirror and debating a significant life change, hit pause for a second.

The one-inch trim you thought you cut might look a bit different once your hair is totally dry, Cutler says.

“Ultimately, you’re going to walk around in your daily life with dry hair, so you want to see how the hair looks, how did it grow out from the previous haircut. Is the humidity in New York in the summer shrinking the hair and making it swell? You want to get a read on how they manage it.”

To avoid too-short hair, entrust your inches to a professional stylist who does this full-time!

Photo Credit: @_claudiacruz_.

Hair Trimming Mistake: Not Seeing The Pros

The expert fix: Trims may have a bad reputation, but haven’t all of us gotten some lousy P.R. at one point or another? Over the years, stylists have gotten savvier than ever about ways to make their clients’ hair dreams come true.

“People pay for what’s left on their head, not what’s cut off,” Cutler says.

When he approaches a trim, it’s all about three things: empowerment, suitability, and trends.

“I want open-ended questions about what makes them feel sexy, comfortable, confident,” he explains. “Suitability, can they manage it at home? Suitability, are they willing to invest money to keep it up?”

Finally, Cutler considers trends. While most of his clients want to stay on the cutting (sorry) edge of the hair world, he never wants to give them a cut that makes them feel uncomfortable. And yes, he’s thinking through these elements every single time a client sits down in front of him. That’s the difference between a home trim and a salon experience.

With all our questions wrapped up, we couldn’t resist asking: Can you immediately tell if someone’s trimmed their own hair? The answer is, of course, a resounding yes.

“It’s funny because I’ve had times where I’ll be like...did I cut your hair last time? And you’re like horrified, right? There’ll be a bit that just doesn’t make sense.”

How To Grow Your Hair Out After A Bad Haircut

So, you accidentally snipped a few more inches then planned—now what? Unfortunately, there’s no real way to make your hair grow faster (your hair grows about six inches per year on average, according to the Academy of Dermatology). There are, however, ways to keep your mane strong and healthy to make the growing out process easier.

When you want to grow your hair out, it all starts with creating an at-home hair care routine that focuses on protecting your strands from breakage and split ends. We recommend starting with a shampoo and conditioner system like Redken Extreme Length Shampoo With Biotin and Conditioner With Biotin. This biotin-formulated system strengthens damaged hair and helps it to grow longer and stronger while preventing breakage.

If you truly want longer, stronger hair, shampoo and conditioner alone won’t be enough. You should also add a leave-in hair treatment like Redken Extreme Length Leave-In Treatment With Biotin to your routine. When used as a full system with Redken Extreme Length Shampoo and Extreme Length Conditioner, breakage is reduced by 71 percent.

How To Hide A Bad Haircut Before Your Salon Appointment

If you made a mistake cutting your hair at home, don’t panic! While you’re waiting to see your stylist again, Cutler shares a few styling hacks to conceal any errors in the interim.

“Slicking your hair back and pushing it off your face with some Redken Water Wax 03 or Shine Flash 02 Glistening Mist Hairspray to give it some softness and shine. Also, simple, chic-looks like ponytails and buns, Cutler says. “You don’t even need a lot of length. That’s what we do on the runway...You see these fun little looks that are very simple, yet very striking in the silhouette and the shape.”

Armed with Cutler's best tips, you're ready to make some big decisions about the way you maintain your cut. Happy trimming!

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