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What to Do if a Salon Ruins your Hair

If the color was something totally different than you wanted or your bangs are totally wrong, rip off the band-aid and let your stylist know then and there.
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If you’ve ever left the salon looking and feeling less than satisfied, this article is for you. Whether you’re seeking a redo or a refund, telling your styling that you’re unhappy or that you feel your hair is ruined can be stressful and uncomfortable.

The most important things to remember are to stay calm and to be polite. Hair grows back, sometimes a fresh haircut doesn’t look it’s best right away, and as for hair colour goes, stylists are knowledgeable when it comes to colour corrections. Stylists can fix your hair if you give them the chance.

Hair professionals are incredibly hard-working, passionate artists who try their hardest every day to make their clients happy – sometimes appointments don’t go exactly as planned. Miscommunication or a poor consultation are just a few factors that can affect the end result.

Keep reading as we share advice and tips straight from Beautster hair pros.

Tips when you’re Not Happy with your Hair 

If you’re not happy with your hair, one of the worst things you can do is rush to another stylist to fix it. Especially if you’re a repeat client and you plan on returning to the salon, this is a hasty move. If you make a scene or react impulsively, none of the other stylists at the salon will go near your hair for fear of an overreaction. 

Instead, calmly explain how you feel about your hair and give your stylist a chance to make it right. Many stylists will fix your fair for free if you tell them right away when you’re still in their chair. Experienced hairdressers we spoke with explained that they are more than willing to fix your hair for free if you speak-up in the right way. 

While you might feel that the haircut is the issue, it might not be – it might be the way your stylist styled it. Maybe your hair was styled in a way that you’re not used to, making you dislike it in the moment. Take a breath and look at the overall picture before you react.

The customer’s always right…

Speak up While you’re Still in the Chair

We’ve all probably had a bad haircut, perm or colour mishap. One in five women surveyed say that they’ve left the salon feeling upset or crying after their hair appointment. The most common complaints? That their hair was cut too short, dyed the wrong colour or over-processed.

Before any cutting, Stylists will often ask their clients to physically show them how much they’d like to be cut. More often than not, what clients want and what they show is different. That’s why it’s so important to speak up rather than hope your stylist knows what you mean. These can be two completely different things.

You’ve heard the popular saying: the customer is always right, but have you ever stopped to consider a hardworking hairdresser‘s feelings? Even though customers spend a lot of time and money on their hair every year, there is no need to cause a fuss if you don’t get exactly what you want. 

While you’re still in the salon chair is the perfect time to speak up and voice any concerns. Most hairdressers and barbers are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure you leave the salon happy and looking your absolute freshest. But, if you’re rude and abrasive, don’t expect your stylist to be cheery. As mentioned, a proper consultation will make a huge difference in how successful your appointment is.

In case you don’t think you can explain your hair vision accurately, it’s always a great idea to bring in pictures. Pro Tip: avoid showing your stylist pictures you’ve found online or Celebrity photos. These images are often unrealistic. They’re also commonly photoshopped. 

Plus, who knows which of the photos are actually expensive wigs or hair extensions. Instead, search for photos actually done by your stylist or by salons near you. This way, you can be sure that your stylist is able to do the type of work you’re asking for. Seems logical, right? 

During your consultation, be open-minded and willing to listen to feedback. For instance, your stylist will help you determine which hair colours are best suited and flattering to your unique skin tone and lifestyle. You might be dreaming of going platinum blonde, but it might not suit you. 

Simply put, what if the exact opposite of what you wanted is exactly what you get? Do you set fire to the salon? Please don’t. Do you smile tightly in the chair and wait till you can bawl your eyes out in your car?

How to Speak Up Politely 

Try to refer back to the consultation you had with your stylist before voicing your concerns. Rather than saying something abrasive like: “you ruined my hair”, or “I hate the colour”, focus on softening your feedback.

Think about your consultation, and say something like this: “during our consultation we talked about leaving my hair shoulder-length, but it looks a little shorter”. You could also try: “this style is nice, but could you show me another way to style my hair based on the pictures I brought in?” This way, you’re giving your stylist constructive, helpful and detailed feedback rather than criticism. 

To further soften a critique, follow the golden rule and lead with a compliment, followed by a specific concern. Here’s an example: “I love the way you cut and shaped my hair, but I’m not sure about the way it’s styled”. If you’re not a fan of the colour, say something like: “it’s a great colour, but it’s not working for me because I’d like it to be a bit darker/lighter”. By leading with a compliment and following with a specific critique, you’re helping your stylist understand what you’re trying to achieve, and you’re not putting them on the defensive.

Don’t Promptly go to Another Stylist to Fix It

Rather than thinking about going to another stylist to fix your hair while you’re still in the chair, give your stylist a chance to make things right. Talk about your consultation again, including the cut, shape, styling and colour. Most stylists are willing to fix your hair for free right then and there – especially if they’re not completely booked the rest of the day. In some cases, you might need to come back in about 2 weeks if your hair needs a rest between colour appointments. If it’s something easy like bangs, your stylist can teach you how to style them various ways and let you know how often to come in for a bang trim. 

If after a couple of appointments pass and you still feel like you can’t be chummy, it’s best to move on and find someone you can be pals with. That’s the only way you’ll feel comfortable speaking up.

Save Demanding a Refund or Asking to Speak with the Manager 

Work with your stylist to resolve any issues before leaving the salon. If you feel that your personality isn’t a great fit with your stylist’s, that’s ok – you’re probably just not a great match.

If you feel that you aren’t able to agree on a solution and you’d like a refund, be careful. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever be returning to a salon after demanding a refund or asking to speak with the manager. Leave these as a last resort. 

When you ask a hairdresser, “How do you feel?” , “Do you like it?” Or “Is it different from what you expected?” , Gives you the opportunity to say something and express your dissatisfaction.

Should you Tip if your Stylist is Fixing your Hair? 

A touch-up appointment is usually free, especially if your stylist expects that you’ll only need a short appointment. In this case, a tip isn’t necessary or expected. However, if the appointment is 1 hour or longer and your styling is re-dyeing your hair, plus educating you on how to take care of and style your hair, you should leave the same tip you would have left the first time. Even if it’s a fix-up appointment, you’re taking up an appointment slot. Time is money. 

On the other hand, if you’ve had to wait 1 month or longer for a fix-up appointment, that’s a long time to wait. Tipping in this case is up to your discretion and based on the appointment timeline you and your stylist agreed on. 

What to Do when you don’t like your Highlights 

If you’re not 100% satisfied with your highlights during your appointment, take a step back. Ask your stylist about how the highlights will change over time and with each shampoo. Oftentimes, highlights or a balayage can be quite a drastic change, so it’s important to wait about 1 week before deciding if you’re a fan.

Note that when the client is satisfied with the view of all salon staff and then calls to complain, the complaint immediately loses its legitimacy.

Final Thoughts 

It’s always a good idea to think about what you say before you blurt it out. Stylists aren’t mind-readers and every appointment doesn’t always go perfectly. As the customer, it’s your job to do some research, ask questions and show your stylist pictures if you think they’ll be helpful. Avoid phrases like “I hate my haircut”, and focus on softening your feedback. Easily find salons near you by visiting Search, click and book all your hair needs. 

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