It has happened to all of us. At one point or another, we have gotten a service done that we were not happy with. For me, it was my "swoopy bangs" in high school. And for Ellen DeGeneres, it was this:
As a hair professional, this breaks my heart. Not only can you tell that Ellen is extremely unhappy with her hair, the integrity of her hair has been so compromised there is little left to do other than use Olaplex as often as possible and hope for the best. She is now obligated to salon visits at least every two weeks, and if she wants to keep coloring her hair, she'll need to do so in stages and avoid any chemicals touching her now severely damaged hair.
So how does this happen?
In my ten years behind the chair, I've had my share of corrections. Most of the time, I'm fixing (or adjusting) another stylist's (or a friend's or husband's or mom's) work. Every now and again, I'm fixing or adjusting my own. In my decade of hair artistry, I can count two times where I have felt terrible about how my service went. Both times were services I was not comfortable performing due to the compromised integrity of the hair. Both times I ignored my gut feeling and decided to give it a whirl. Both times give me nightmares to this day. (If you're wondering, I made them right. One with free Olaplex treatments for six months, one with a gift certificate for Olaplex treatments with a salon in her home town.)
Whenever a hair service goes sideways like this, it comes down to communication. You as the client need to communicate as best as possible your desired outcome. You also must not lie about any hair history questions we may have. As Artists, it is our job to interpret your needs and wants into a haircut, color, and style that not only achieves what you are looking for, but also preserves the integrity of your hair fiber and takes into account your unique bone structure, skin tone, styling regimen and routine, lifestyle, hair texture, density, and current color and cut.
As Artists, it is our responsibility to communicate to you what will and will not work for your hair, what we are doing and why, how this will help you achieve your desired outcome, and what the maintenance will look like. As the client you are free (and I encourage this) to advocate for yourself and speak up if you have a question about what we are doing or why.
Preventing a disaster.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Bring pictures, Research your hair artist before reserving your service appointment. Make sure they vibe with your vibe. Stalk their Instagram feed and watch their Stories. Find examples of their work that you like. Most Artists will provide a complimentary color consultation to discuss your goal, service timing, service pricing, maintenance, and general getting-to-know-you stuff.
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Don't be afraid to ask questions or take time to think about booking your appointment. If you don't vibe with a particular artist, find one you do vibe with. Take your time and find someone your trust. And COMMUNICATE openly, honestly, and without fear.
My hair got fucked up, now what?
Step One: do whatever you need to do to calm down and think reasonably. If that's drink, take a shot. If you need to smoke a bowl, do it. Take 10 minutes to meditate. Do something productive and try to grieve and be upset for a minute before screaming at your artist or cutting your hair yourself.
It's super hard, I know. I've been there. We have a very emotional, sometimes every spiritual attachment to our hair. Changes, especially ones we weren't prepared for, shift how we perceive ourselves and how we are perceived. It shifts our very identities sometimes.
Step Two: you need to speak to your artist or salon about what exactly you are unhappy with. The calmer and more collected you are, the easier this will be. I promise you, your artist wants you to like your hair. I know confrontation can be difficult, but this is for your benefit. Many artists (like myself) have a re-do policy and will not re-do your hair or give you any money back if you go somewhere else or mess with it yourself.
Ask yourself if you are upset with the level of the hair (the lightness or darkness), the tone of the hair (too warm or too cool), the hue of the hair (too brown, too red, too blonde), the length of the hair (too short or too long), or the style of your hair (curling where it shouldn't, flipping out, straight where it shouldn't be, etc.). The more specific you can be, the easier the conversation and possible correction will be.
Not every hair "disaster" is a complete, irreversible, and hair-destroying catastrophe. Many times it is a simple adjustment of tone or hue. Highlights are a little too warm? Throw a glaze on it and cool it down (20 minutes). Highlights are too cool? Throw a glaze on it and warm it up! Hair is feeling bulky or heavy? Texturize it or add layers. Layers are not blending the way you like? Texturize to blend! Too short? Well...that's tougher, but still somewhat adjustable.
A word of warning: do not leave the artist or salon without discussing and without paying. This can be considered theft of service and is a crime. If the artist or salon wanted to, they could call the police and start a whole legal battle. Many artists and salons will work with you if you are open, honest, and not mean. Mistakes can happen, and I promise you, the artist and salon feel bad and want to make it right. If you are not comfortable receiving another service with the original artist, ask if the manager or owner will do your correction. Again, the most important aspect of this is communication.
Be prepared to use a professional cleansing and conditioning system, and invest in Olaplex No3. Olaplex will help reform broken bonds in the hair and start repairing your hair so you can color in the future. You will need to re-aquaint yourself with your hair. It's a little different now, and you'll need to learn how to handle it in it's new form. Baby your hair, and treat her super gently and nicely over the next couple weeks.
Olaplex stand-alone treatments will treat overly processed and damaged hair.
Malibu C Crystal Gel will help remove mineral and metallic build up and prep your hair for chemical services.
Deep Conditioning services will help elasticity and porosity of your hair and help it feel soft again.
Glazes will help adjust the tone of the hair, while balancing the pH level of the hair.
Combine all four treatments and your hair will seriously thank you.
When we are unhappy with our hair, it can really damage our self-esteem overall. We don't feel like ourselves, we have a hard time feeling confident speaking with people, it's harder to get laid, etc.. I didn't even realize how much I hated my own hair until I decided to take the plunge into wearing Natural Beaded Rows. Once I saw how my hair looked, my confidence sky-rocketed. I got roles I was auditioning for. I got a new job in a beautiful salon. My client retention rate and rebook rate soared. Men started paying more attention to me. I started working out and losing weight.
Our hair is a huge part of our personalities and our self-view. You don't have to suffer through a bad color or haircut experience. You don't have to suffer through hair loss or hair you don't love anymore. And you certainly don't have to do it alone.