What to Do If You Really, Truly Hate Your New Haircut

Photo: Getty Images/Westend61
After an excellent haircut, I walk out of the salon channeling my inner Jonathan Van Ness—strutting, lips pursed, flawless hair flip. But when a wayward snip from the hairdresser leaves me looking nothing like the photo I flashed on my way in, my lips tremble and a tear forms in the corner of my eye. A bad haircut is the worst.

In the past, I've licked my wounds and rocked an updo until my hair grows out, erasing any trace of a terrible haircut. But recently I was convinced that I should never settle for a few months of bad hair days. I asked three hairstylists to explain what to do if you get a bad haircut.

If you have a close relationship with your stylist, go back and ask for a redo.

"Be completely open and honest, but not in a harsh way," says Michael Dueñas, a celebrity hairstylist in Los Angeles. "Hairdressers get offended very easily when you attack their work."

Avoid non-specific criticisms (e.g, "Ugh, I look like a troll! What have you done to me?!") and instead try to be as specific as possible about what's not working for you (e.g, "The length here isn't quite as short as I wanted and I was hoping to go a bit darker with the color.") Just like you, your stylist does their best work when they're provided constructive feedback. If you're kind in your approach (i.e., don't spam them on Yelp), your stylist will likely do their best to make you happy without any added cost.

Another benefit of returning to the salon, says Dueñas, is that your hair guru can let you know if you're not styling your new 'do correctly. How you treating your new bangs/layers/bob can make or break the cut itself. "Sometimes I find a client might want something his or her hair just cannot do or won't flatter the person simply due to one's natural hair texture, color, etcetera," says Paul Labrecque, owner of Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa. Ideally, your hairdresser will let you know beforehand (duh) if a simple cut and color won't transform you hair into that of [enter celeb hair crush here], but if not, a second visit gives them the opportunity to run you through options that will work with your length and texture.

If it's your first appointment with the stylist or you're really dissatisfied with a bad haircut, go to a new salon for a fix.

If you've lost all trust in your hairdresser, Kiyah Wright, an Emmy Award-winning celebrity hairstylist and Founder of Muze Hair, says you have three options: "Find another stylist, get extensions, or go shorter," she tells me. If your stylist missed on the mark and you didn't get exactly what you wanted, what you really need is a hairstylist with a vision to turn a bad haircut into your second-best lewk.

"If your stylist only does his or her thing and ultimately pays little attention to your wants, I wouldn't go back to the person if you leave unhappy," says Labrecque. It won't be free, but at least you lessen your chances of walking out of the salon with an even worse hair case than the last time. Who knows? Maybe whoever fixed you up will be your stylist soul mate and you'll never (EVER) end up with a botched cut again (*fingers crossed*). 

Here's how often you should book a salon appointment, depending on the length of your stands. Plus, why you should always ask for a dry cut

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