Working with Style: Traumatic haircut experience

My beautiful hair before my haircut from hell. I found myself wishing like anything I'd just kept the long hair.

I had never cried over my hair, ever. Until last Saturday.

I was really, really looking forward to my first real haircut since before I had Noah. I’ve had it trimmed once since I had him, but I was actually ready to take some length off. You other mamas know how it is once your hair gets to a certain length … far too tempting for little baby fingers.

I should have known when the woman didn’t know how to work the cash register. But she was middle-aged, and I assumed that she must have been cutting hair elsewhere for a while and was just new to the salon where I usually go. I don’t have a regular stylist and just usually take whoever is available.

Then while she was shampooing my hair, she asked if I put color on it. I was sort of baffled by this, but I simply said no. I would have thought it would be fairly obvious that it wasn’t colored (I haven’t colored my hair since I was in college), but I figured she must have some reason for asking.

She was in the middle of cutting my hair and had already taken off a good four inches when she turned to another stylist walking by and literally, I kid you not, said, “Hey, can you show me how to do this?”

OK, no matter what you are asking for help with, this is not the thing to say when you have someone sitting in your chair with the wellbeing of their hair in your hands. And she was definitely asking for help with the cut, given that she handed the scissors over while the other woman cut a few snips from my hair.

Have you ever seen V for Vendetta? You know the scene where Natalie Portman has her head shaved (you can watch here for a refresher)? That’s about how I felt by that point.

She finally turned me around for the “big reveal,” and I couldn’t mask my emotions any more. I started crying.

The poor stylist didn’t really know what to do with that. I cried while I told her it just wasn’t what I wanted. All I’d ask for was to take some length off, shorten the layers and trim my bangs, and she somehow managed to really make it look pretty awful.

She called over another stylist who clipped and snipped for several minutes to try to salvage it. I had a little more hope once she was finished. But then the first stylist piped up, “OK, thanks, now I’ll just style it for her!”

Surely, surely this woman’s forte had to be styling. They had to have some reason for having hired her. That’s what I told myself. Until she turned me around to show me the disgustingly old-looking style she’d whipped my hair into. I’m not kidding, it was an old lady hairstyle, flat on the top and curled around my ears.

I tried really hard to just tell myself that it would be OK, that I could style it differently later and maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, but the waterworks started again. The stylist offered to let me talk to the manager, and I just nodded. It wasn’t until I was sitting in Judy-the-manager’s office that the flood gates opened.

I literally sobbed. I’d been waiting and waiting to get my hair cut, sacrificing for the sake of the budget, mostly, and now that we finally had the little bit of extra money for me to do it, after all those months, I wanted it to be something special. It was supposed to be a treat for me, a reward for my hard work in the office, for being a good mama, for waiting until we could really afford that little bit of extra.

And it turned out terrible.

So I sat there feeling like maybe I just shouldn’t reward myself. Maybe I was fooling myself about being a good mom, and this was a lesson.

After several minutes talking with Judy-the-manager, I finally calmed down. She offered to personally fix it as best she could and told me I could come back once it had grown out some and have her cut it the way I wanted for free. Judy-the-manager made a much better impression than anyone else that day.

It was so bad that Judy-the-manager struggled to be optimistic. She didn’t bother telling me it would look great, just that she would make it look as good as she could. And she did a pretty good job with what she had to work with.

Looks good, huh? Too bad it took four stylists to get there... but thank God for Judy-the-manager!

I still wasn’t thrilled with the cut when I left the salon, but once I got to wash and style it myself, I was happier. It’s a little bit of a pain, because the way the layers are cut and with the way my hair is, I have to either pull it back or blowdry and straighten it every single day. I’ve pretty much always been able to get away with just blowing it dry, but now I have to take that extra step. It’s not terrible, but it does add a little extra time to my morning routine.

Sadly, I will not be returning to the salon where I got the bad haircut. They didn’t charge me, thankfully. I had a friend who worked there a while back, and I always loved the way she did my hair, but now that she’s gone, I haven’t really been as happy with anyone else. So I’ll be on the lookout for a good hair stylist.

Have you ever had a bad haircut experience? How did you cope?

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I’m linking up with Brandee over at Liberating Working Moms for Working with Style. Be sure to check out what other working moms are wearing!

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19 responses to “Working with Style: Traumatic haircut experience

  1. I feel bad since Bobby put me on the spot trying to get me to say I liked it and I still couldn’t say that. I didn’t know that you didn’t want it that way–that’s why I said I liked it better in a different style–no need to lie about it. I just thought it was one of the newest styles that I didn’t care for. Don’t cry about it; it will grow out, and one day you might even be able to laugh about it. I’m sorry this happened to you.

    • No need to feel bad. I think he just figured you would say you liked it, and he was trying to make me feel better about it. Thankfully I like it better now that I’ve had a chance to style it myself.

  2. I’m so sorry this happened! But it really looks cute in the pic! If you want to go to an awesome girl you should check Courtney out! She is all the way in Vestavia in Bham, but oh man, she is worth it! http://www.mydlsalon.com/courtney.html

    • Thanks! As bad as I am about making time to get my hair cut, I doubt I’ll ever make time to go to Birmingham to do it, but I’ll keep her in mind!

  3. I’m so sorry you had a bad time. I so know how things like haircuts once you have a kid is such valuable me time. Do I’ll tell you a story about a bad haircut for me….It was like 1989. I was swimming with my long hair braided. Said braided hair knotted up and could only be cut. The lady asked what I wanted and I said shoulder length, as I pictured a cute bob. And well, I got a mullet! I was only in 3rd grade but I was mortified and hid under a desk when I returned to scholl with this haircut. Does that story make you feel better 😉

    • The first cut was totally mullet-esque. It was awful. I would have been so traumatized if that had happened to me as a kid!

  4. Sounds like a nightmare…thankfully, hair will grow out. I actually think it’s cute. In my early 30’s, I asked for a body wave that turned into a fro…oh, I cried like a baby.

    • Yeah, I’m definitely comforted by the idea that it will grow out. The manager said she could tell I had a lot of hair coming in from having shed so much after having Noah, so that’s a positive. It’s the worst when you ask for something (like your body wave) and end up with something totally, unexpectedly BAD.

  5. Next time, go to my girl…. Her name is Rissie Martin and she works oh-so-close to your house at Salon Visions in the shopping center where Michael’s is now (in a separate building across from the pet store). She will fix you up – I haven’t had a bad hair cut in years (and I have had MORE than my fair share!). She charges about $25-30 for a cut, and it’s worth every penny, I promise. The worst cut I ever got was in 8th grade – I wanted Meg Ryan’s short locks from You’ve Got Mail and I ended up with a total pixie cut (and this was before I knew how to work a flat iron or any products, so it was poofy 100% of the time). It was horrible!

    • I will definitely try and remember her next time. I think I’ve decided that if I’m only going to get my hair cut once or twice a year, then I’m just going to have to get over feeling bad about spending the money to get a good cut.

  6. Oh hon, you look gorgeous. I seriously wouldn’t have known that you went through all that hell.
    It took me years to find a hairstylist that I loved. Which means I went through many horrific cuts. One of which happened after I had back surgery. I was so excited to get a haircut that would make me feel pretty despite the fact that I walked like a zombie and had to wear a back brace in the middle of 110 degree weather.
    Anyways, she hacked it.
    Then kept hacking.
    It was so short that I couldn’t even hide it in a ponytail.
    So I wore hats all summer.
    Sigh.
    Never went back.
    But you dear, do look absolutely adorable.

    • Thank you! I really am a lot happier with it now that I’ve styled it myself, but with the way the layers are done and the natural fineness of my hair, it’s just a little thin for my taste. I’ve totally hacked off all my hair before without batting an eye, so I think it was as much that I’d built up the experience so much in my mind before it happened as anything.

  7. OH MY GOODNESS! First of all, I think that picture you posted, it looks good, but I’ve been in a very similar situation. When I was 19 I had SUPER long hair and wanted to donate it to “Locks for Love”…I went to a high scale salon with really high hopes. I came out hating my mushroom-head-looking-bob and I’ve NEVER cut my hair above my shoulders since. Good luck finding a new salon!

    • I’m just really glad I said something, even though I was embarrassed about it. I can’t imagine having left with the first haircut/style. You have really pretty long hair, so I think you get a pass on not wanting to cut it short!

  8. Noooo…that would be horrific for me. Like you, I wait forever to get a professional cut out of respect for my screaming bank account. So when I go, I have HUGE expectations. I’m so glad to hear that you said something…even cried. A few times I’ve come out of the salon feeling so deflated. Like it was a waste of time & money but I didn’t want to insult the hairdresser. But really- IT’S YOUR HAIR!

    (it does look mega cute the way you did it. proof that you know what’s best for your locks:)

    • Thanks! I’m really glad I said something, too, although by the time she got done, I know it was written clearly all over my face. I kept catching the eye of the stylist beside me, praying she would see how pitiful I was and step in. Thank goodness it turned out much better than I believed it would.

  9. OMG the awful!

    I mean, I think it looks cute but I SO SO SO know what you mean. One time I went for “peek-a-boo” highlights, which I thought meant a trendy, funky way to do something with my hair. I ended up with almost jet black hair, and 3 clumps of goldy/orange hair in random spots – one being a majority of the bangs. Shit was NASTY. I was so so mad. I still see that guy (works in my area) and give him nasty stares.

    I’ve cried over my hair many other times. And I have to blow and straighten and it does suck, but I’m used to it. Get a good ceramic round brush, messy blow dry the water out, then smooth dry with the brush. This limits the straightening time to just fixing up the odd area, as opposed to doing the entire head 😀

    And you deserved the reward. You really did.

    • It looks cute the way I did it. I towel-dried this morning and let it air dry for a bit, and OH. MY. GOD. THE. MULLET. I wish I was kidding.

      I’ve had some crazy stuff done to my hair (chopped it all off before going to India, dyed it at home multiple times, had a perm, etc.), but I have NEVER gotten upset over it. I still can’t believe how bad it was.

      Thanks for the suggestion about blowdrying with a round brush. I’ve never been very good at that, but perhaps it’s time to give it another shot.

  10. Awww, I’m glad you finally got something you kinda liked out of the whole ordeal. I’ve never cried about my hair, but I have had a horrible hairstyle once. It was sophomore year of college and I went for my usual bob cut, but the stupid lady went too short (cause it’s apparently it’s that difficult to judge how short you are cutting hair) and it went to right below my ears. Looked stupid for weeks, but it grew out and I never went back to that place.

    I think your hair looks super cute the way you styled it and you did deserve the haircut. Maybe down the road you’ll be able to help someone else through a traumatic haircut by sharing your experience. (Trying to look at the positive side of things)

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