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Stylists Say: What Do I Do If I’m Unhappy With My Cut?

photo of stylist cutting hair what to do if unhappy with haircut
Introducing Stylists Say, where the top hairstylists in the industry answer your most pressing salon etiquette questions. Whether you’re concerned about answering your phone mid-hair appointment or you never know how much to tip the person who shampoos your mane, our hair experts break down all the do’s and don’ts.

Picture this: You’re on your way to the salon with inspiration photos on your photo album, about to get the androgynous haircut you’ve been dreaming up for weeks. You sit in the stylist’s chair, chat a bit, and at the end of the appointment, you look in the mirror to see something totally different than what you imagined. Now, you’re debating with yourself: Do I pretend to love it, be brutally honest, bawl my eyes out, or say nothing at all?

First of all, don’t panic! You’re not the first person to deal with a chop that hasn’t gone exactly as planned. Luckily, there’s no hair faux pas that can’t be fixed! If you’re unsure what to do when you’re unhappy with a haircut, don’t worry. We tapped Selina McManus, Matrix artistic educator, to find out.

After a cut gone wrong, it might seem natural to play it cool and not share your feelings with your stylist. However, McManus, suggests the exact opposite. She advises always being totally honest when you’re unhappy with a salon service.

A stylist needs to know what you’re looking for and we most definitely want to make you happy...Communication is key.

As the client, there are a few things you can do to ensure your post-appointment ‘do turns out the way you hope. Good communication begins with finding a stylist that you connect with—and that means not booking an appointment solely off of their cute Instagram aesthetic. Instead, do some research and spend time reading peer reviews to make sure they’re right for you before you commit to them snipping your locks.

Pictures are worth a thousand words to a stylist. While you’re scrolling through social media in search of ideas, bookmark some inspiration photos. We recommend having two or three photos on deck so the stylist can best understand your vision.

It’s important to note that the look of a new cut can be a big transition at first. Your new ‘do might take a few days to get used to. Go home, wash and style it, and give it a chance before going DIY with your scissors.

Though salon professionals are cut and styling wizards, they don’t have the power to know everything about your hair at a glance. That’s why a detailed consultation is essential for ensuring the best end result for your cut.

“Unhappiness with a cut is usually due to an improper consultation,” McManus says. “Discussing your hair routine, needs, and wants with your stylist is vital. We’re unfortunately not mind readers, so don’t leave anything out.”

Thinking of looking for a new stylist right away? Don’t jump ship just yet! McManus suggests working with your stylist to remedy or make any doable changes to your cut.

“Ask to come back in for a consultation about your cut and see if there’s any troubleshooting that can be done with styling before a full fix,” McManus suggests.

All in all, getting a haircut you didn’t 100 percent expect isn’t the end of the world. Give your stylist a call, keep these tips in mind, and remain calm. You’ll be feeling your best again in no time!

Looking for more advice straight from the experts? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.

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