What not to say to a hair stylist

This is what I thought I described. In blonde!

Hope is a beautiful thing. It’s what makes you believe that you will get a different outcome. Every time I go for a haircut I am hopeful.

First the background — I’m a terrible client. Since I’m retired, I don’t get haircuts regularly. I let my hair grow, then I cut it off. I try different things but what I want, not what the stylist wants. I also have hard-to-style hair. It’s fine and soft and wavy, but not uniformly wavy.

My mother cut hair and I know enough to cut my own…sort of. I get a haircut when the back section gets unruly because even though I am a magician, I’m not a contortionist. I can’t cut my back hair properly (that doesn’t mean I don’t try!).

Over the years I have had some great stylists. Often they get locked into a style and I can’t get them out of it. Then I move on. Or maybe they move on. There are stylists I’d go back to if I wanted that style. They do a great short haircut or a great bob but I can’t seem to get them to switch gears on my head. I’ve also had great success with a razor cut especially for layers in the back but many stylists don’t like to do them.

That brings you to now — After many, many months, I got a professional haircut. Every time I go I learn something new. I am sharing some phrases that didn’t work for me this time.

“I’m letting my hair grow.” That means nothing. Wop, wop, wop and there is at least four months of painstaking growth lying on the floor. That one section that is hard to grow out? Cut off. On the floor. *tears well up in eyes*

“A layered bob with soft layers so the hair doesn’t get too weighed down on top.” Also means nothing. There is no bob. I have a traditional older woman haircut with close cut layers near the neck. It has a little bit of a mullet look to it too.

This is similar to what I got.

“I don’t wear it straight. I like waves and movement.” I love that word movement but obviously it means nothing to anyone else. My hair always gets blown perfectly straight. After a spritz of spray (that I don’t want), I have helmet head. Womp, womp.

For this disappointment I pay big bucks. Haircuts have gotten expensive. I can disappoint myself for free. Without an appointment! (Maybe I’ll try a blue streak on top. That’s sure to disappoint!)

Stylists are like food servers. You never want to get them angry when they have a scissors in their hands. If you tick them off, you will pay! Just for the record (and so you don’t think I’m completely nuts) the first three haircuts she gave me were awesome. Maybe I’m more annoying than I think.

Thirty or forty years ago, this would have been the end of the world. Now it’s like a bug bite. After a week I will figure out how to style it and vow to regrow it. All will be right with the world. There are other things to be annoyed about!

BTW I deleted that stylist from my phone book.

 

 

100 thoughts on “What not to say to a hair stylist

  1. I’ve been fortunate to have a good relationship with my stylist (I like that word and it implies I, too, have style), and I have such trust that I often tell him to do what he wants, with the only caveat that it be a style that takes a few years off! After that, I’m usually, not too concerned. But it would be easier if we aged like my grandmother did. At my age she wore a short, tightly permed grey-blue look that most of her friends also sported! Trying to remain “age-less” is a lot of work and very expensive. LOL!

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    • Your guy sounds wonderful. I have to calculate the cost of flying out there for a haircut! 🙂 My mom didn’t do the tight perm grey look. She was much too vain, coloring her hair until the last few months before her death. I’m starting to spout wiry gray hairs in my eyebrows! Yikes! Can’t pull them or it’ll be bare. This part of aging stinks. I like the “getting smarter” part best.

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  2. I’ve been whacking at my hair for a while, because son John $ moved further away. I’ve been assured it looks awful. How much worse could it get? Is terrible worse than awful? After reading about your haircut, I’m thinking my ragged hair isn’t so bad, after all. I hadn’t used a dryer for years, so I tried blowing out my hair the other day. It looked like someone cared about it for 15 minutes. I hope your hair grows out quickly. If it doesn’t, I’ll look forward to more amusing rants.

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  3. Having paid anywhere from $50 to $80 (plus tip) for hair styles I really didn’t like I am now back at Supercuts… I go on the days this one hair stylist works… I’m afraid because she is pretty good she won’t be there much longer. Your description of your hair: “fine and soft and wavy, but not uniformly wavy” is also the description of my hair.

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    • I don’t know how haircuts got so expensive. Prices are similar here. I considered a walk-in place like Supercuts but was fearful. In retrospect that sounds silly, doesn’t it?

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  4. OMG – I am so sorry to hear that! A bad haircut is really upsetting! I’m sure you look much better than you feel like you do now, though it’s not what you wanted. What always makes me feel better is knowing at least it will grow out. I had a tragic one a couple of years ago now (that I am still mad about), where the stylist thinned my hair -without asking me if I wanted her to! And we had just been having a conversation about how thick my hair is and how happy I am that I have thick hair, and she thinned it out so I basically had a thin little hair shell around my head. It was terrible. It took a year, but it’s better now.

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  5. So many times here, stylists rush to cut us “terrible clients” that golfing woman’s short hair bob – with bangs of with side part and swept to side. I hate that. I have what mom called a graceful swan neck…which means short hair makes me look and feel like a pencil with an eraser omg top
    I’m worried right now as my almost does a good haircut most of the time girl moved out of state. (I like hair no shorter than chin length and no longer than shoulders…longer than that and it wraps around my neck at night when I turn over.HAHA.)
    Debating whether to drive a couple of hours to go to my previous hair cut guy who was fabulous and he knew hair and how I don’t like to fool with it and it always looked wonderful for 3-4 months. (The cut, he said is all that matters) We started with him when he started at Super Cuts, then followed him multiple times until he became a star with his own shop (including waterfall). He never charged us more than he did at the beginning. Sigh. It was probably because he and my husband talked car geek stuff rabidly.
    It will grow, but gads. All that effort growing it back where you can try to trim it up into something workable.
    Terms seems to be critical these days. “Layered” (that used to work). Oh, say “long layers” (worked for a while. But it’s changed again. Last time it was “stacked” which gave me what layered used to do and kept the style from having too much weight so hair actually moved instead of hung like a wet mop. I always tell them I’m allergic to something in hairspray, gels, and finishing products. Those things all hide a poorly done haircut – like when they sort of frown when you aren’t looking, then tuck your hair back behind an ear, then step back and smile with a cheery “there!”
    A good cut is everything. (but is will grow…eventually)

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    • You hit so many good point with this comment. She kept talking about stacked, a term she never used before. I wasn’t sure what that was but she cut my hair before and it turned out mostly ok. She did tuck my hair behind my ear (I assumed to hide how short she cut the sides). All those finishing products only last a few hours on my hair. Within 2 hours of our current humid weather the bottom part kicked off the gel and stuck out like a duck’s butt (not an attractive look). My neck is shorter than your’s. Can you send me an inch or two? 🙂

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        • I usually get laid back about haircuts that aren’t exactly what I wanted. Because she cut off hair I painstakingly grew since the holidays of 2017, I was pretty irate. I didn’t sleep for a few days (I know stupid, it didn’t help.) I had to recut the back bottom myself to match the taper and get rid of the duck’s ass that was sticking out. It will be a long time before I get a haircut and I will think long and hard about it. Send me the address of the support group. I’ll bring margaritas.

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  6. Customers can get their own back, though, as demonstrated by this conversation overheard by my friend in a salon:

    Client: “Are you on a diet for your wedding?”
    Stylist: “What? No!”
    Client: “Ah, that’s nice. He likes you as you are.” 😯

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  7. Other phrases that doesn’t work: “Just trim it a little bit.” “Something like the picture in this magazine.”

    My stylist is so sweet. I don’t know if I can leave her. It would be like breaking up with a friend–and her family. (She has a son the same age as my little grandson, and he’s a character.) She does an adequate job, I guess. I’m never really satisfied with any stylist. (I’m always hoping for something better.) My hair usually looks good the first day. So why can’t it continue to look good without any efforts on my part?

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    • I have the hope that I will look different after a cut but I never do (perhaps I need a surgeon rather than a stylist). I rarely like the way they style it after the cut because they make it stick straight and it’s full of goo. Last year I tried a new stylist and she dried my hair FLAT against my head. Seriously! I looked like a 6 year old with wrinkles.

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  8. I have such fine, straight hair that I actually wish I had more gray as I hear it can be thicker and coarser… dare I hope? I’ve been with my stylist for a while and I know she’d like to do something “different” but I’m too nervous it won’t look good and my husband hates short hair (what is it with guys and short hair?). So sorry you got a bad cut. I know you know that it will grow out but anyone who still does “traditional older women cuts” unless specifically asked for (and who would do that?) should have their scissors taken away.

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    • I’m starting a scissor police force! My hair was shoulder length my whole life until about 15 years ago. I was put on a cancer drug that dried it out. I’ve been off the drug for 10 years now but the aging process has made it more fragile. If I can get it slightly below chin length I’m happy. Gives me a lot of options and not near as much work as when it’s short. Most women over 65 in my area wear their hair in the close to the head layered look. Many look great in it. I tried it once. Nope. Too many cowlicks. I looked a lot like a blonde Alfalfa!

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  9. We have all been there at one time or another and are gritting our teeth at your stylist and saying “me too” as we read this.

    I have long hair and I have it layered now just because long hair does not look as good when you get older – drags down your features (for me anyway), but I’ve never been good with bangs or handy with a blow dryer. I wash and dry it and use those pink foam sleeper curlers … they never disappoint!

    I like my stylist but I only get it cut three or four times a year when I get it highlighted – otherwise I’d be in the poorhouse. 99% of the time it is in a bun or high ponytail and off my face.

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    • I know what you mean about being older and longer hair. I can’t wear my hair too long because it drags down my features too. I do my own color and my stylist would prefer to get that business. It gets too expensive and I can do it just as well. Those pink foam rollers! I had them when I was in high school and after but I haven’t seen them in a long time.

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      • Stylists charge an arm and a leg anymore for something simple. I have gone to Meijer for a layered cut for my long hair and there is one girl there who does a good job, and styles it nicely. They don’t do color or highlights though, so after I started getting a lot of gray wiry strands in my mousey brown hair, I went and had highlights and lowlights put in. It lasts three months – four months would make me happier because I get gray wiry sprouts by then. She wants to style it absolutely straight which I don’t like (too old for straight hair) and I go right home (so no one sees how it looks) and I put in the pink foam rollers so the next morning it looks “right” again. 🙂

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  10. I wear my hair pulled back into a bun literally 99% of the time. Yet I still go to an expensive stylist when I do get it cut. No idea why! I might just do good ol’ supercuts next time. With straight, long hair, there isn’t much they can do to mess it up!

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  11. I’ve seen the same hairdresser for over 20 years and we’ve been through a lot of hair changes together. I’m very adventurous with my hair and she reins me in when I get too extreme. I haven’t always been happy with the end result, but we share the blame.

    The ongoing problem is that I don’t have the hair I need for any of the styles I really want. Out of 5 children, how could I be the only one without curls? … and I REALLY want curls. It’s about the only thing my hairdresser won’t do – perm my hair. I probably should thank her … but I won’t 😉

    I think what your hairdresser did was incompetent. There is no excuse for that kind of cut when someone says they are growing out their hair.

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    • That second picture was not an exaggeration. I already cut off the long tail at the bottom. It just flipped out. I have some curl but in the back and it’s not as strong as I’d like it. I really like curly hair too and lecture people with curly hair who ironed their hair straight! She did some great haircuts on my shoulder length hair before. I don’t know what happened.

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  12. I have super fine and very thin hair. I had kept it long but then was just putting it up on top of my head in a clip so I figured what’s the point. Went to get a haircut and I said “cut it short with layers.” The stylist wanted a picture (don’t they automatically know what would look good on me? Isn’t that what they are trained for?) I used my phone and found a short cut that I can live with for now. Some days it looks good, some days I either don’t go out or wear a hat 🙂

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  13. I totally get it. Every time I ask for a layered blunt cut, they use a razor to shave the layers and it ends up almost like Mrs. Brady’s hair (Brady Brunch reference). I gave up. I tell them “just give me a blunt cut with a tiny bit a layer at the bottom tips, and don’t use the razor.”

    I just finished growing mine out. I always tell myself, it WILL grow back.

    I love that hairstyle you picked though.

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  14. Not feeling particularly confident at calling the new stylist that did such a great job on the gal I asked who cut her hair. The woman I asked told me it would be fine, she said you are almost there. But we all know that our ability to style our hair and the difference in our hair texture, thin or thickness, etc., makes all the difference. Your second to last paragraph says it all 🙂 If only I could have inherited my Dad’s hair!

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    • I’m grateful that my hair isn’t thinning. I have many friends with that problem. Now to just grow it out. Last week I was complimenting myself on how nice it’s grown. I only needed some layers so it wouldn’t bush out. Sigh.

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  15. I have seen the female biped come in from the hairdressers and wash her hair straightaway because they’ve put what she calls “gunk” all over it and she can’t stand it! 😀

    She’s growing her hair at present so she’s trimming it herself.

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  16. I have learned to say that I want an eighth cut off if I really want a quarter or half inch. I have learned to say no spray or sticky stuff on my hair at all if I want just a quick spritz of it. I have learned to say I like all of my curls please if I want to come out looking partly straight. It’s all in the semantics I guess. 🤨🤣

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    • I told her not to cut the bottom. She didn’t. She layered the middle so much that there was a tail hanging out under it which was my original length. Totally out of proportion. I must have annoyed her. (Who me? Delightful me?)

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  17. I used to have my hair done regularly years ago, now I can’t afford it. Hubby treated me for my birthday last year and for £26, I got a shampoo and cut, no blow dry. My hair’s long, and in years gone by I was a stylist’s dream because I’d fancy a change and let them decide. Now, I keep it long as I can scrape it back, pile it up, or have it loose…. it still wisps where I don’t want it to. However, to have it short (and I have been tempted in this heat) means faffing about with tongs, driers and brushes as to wash and go on short hair is a disaster, unless it’s been permed, then Hubby doesn’t come near me for weeks as I stink of twink!.

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  18. Our hair is so intrinsically tied to our appearance. And our appearance is so deeply ingrained as part of our self image that every bad hair cut is like having a daily dose of someone calling you ugly. People want to poo-poo it and say “it will grow out”. And while that is true, it doesn’t remove weeks of feeling crappy every time you see your reflection.

    I’m a chicken. I often consider radical cuts and colors, then chicken out. The older I get the more of a chicken I am.

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    • So funny. I often take in pictures then I hear why they won’t work. Sometimes I get it — wrong texture, etc. Many times I am right. I know my hair better than anyone. This time I forgot my picture but I don’t have any confidence that the outcome would have been different.

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    • Yes. I had a really great one in the 90s. He died young and I still miss him. He never let me cut my hair no matter what I said and he was always right. He said my hair was just like his wife’s hair so he knew how to work it.

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  19. I liked how your hair looked in the post on Anne’s blog.
    I’m guessing that was pre-haircut?

    Haircuts are like a box of chocolate . . . you never know what you’re going to get. 😀

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  20. I like that style and, as I am currently trying to make sense out of my growing grey hair, might suggest it next time I am in the chair. Of course I might have an esthetic dilemma as I have no hair on top … but a creative stylist can surely work something out! Tamzin … if you happen to read this … be prepared! 🙂

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  21. I wish I could get into wigs! I have a friend whose hair always looks spectacular, and it is because she is wearing wigs. One would never know they are wigs..but perhaps a good wig is like a good cut, you feel good AND you look good. I do love the gal doing my hair now. Sometimes I don’t get exactly what I wanted, but if I tell her, she is very accommodating to make it right.

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