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Hair Horror Stories

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on February 11, 2012

When I started the Bad Hair Day mysteries, I asked readers to share their bad hair day stories and then I put these on a page at my Website. Several years later when I revamped my site, I took these down, but I’d saved some in a file. I thought I would share these true bad hair day stories with you.

I’ll bet you have your own. I remember going to one stylist for a cut who had short, layered hair. After she trimmed mine, I looked in the mirror and my jaw dropped. She’d given me a similar style, except with my fine hair, the ends stuck out and my hair hung flat. That was the one and only time I’ll ever get a short haircut. Chin-length is the shortest that looks good on me. A cute pixie style to bring out my eyes? It would sit there like limp noodles with no body. So here are the woes other customers have shared, but first a few tips I’ve learned from these experiences:woman elegant

· Bring a picture of the style you’d like your hairstylist to try on your own head. She’s not a mind-reader.

· Be aware that your hair has its own unique texture. What looks great on someone else might not work on you.

· Go to the salon for a professional coloring and avoid home dye jobs. Otherwise, you might rush in for a costly color correction.

· If something goes wrong, speak to your stylist before taking it further. See if she can correct the mistake.    badhaircut2

· If you’ve agreed to certain services, you owe for them. Don’t try to walk out just because your hair didn’t turn out exactly as you’d expected.

· Tell your stylist if you have a new medical condition or are taking medications that might affect the hair.

Anonymous: I tried a little self-beautification and decided to highlight my hair to look like a singer on a CD I’d bought. My hair is black and had previously been relaxed for about a week. The highlights were to be a light brown color and of course I could not use the cap to get the effects that the singer on the CD had. So I did a little free-styling with the color that was called Sahara Shimmer. My hair was supposed to turn out with beautiful golden blond highlights. On the bobadhairx it read, “What you see is what you get.” Boy, they weren’t lying.

As I applied color to the front section of my hair, I thought this would look good. It was already turning brown. So I started applying it to the other sections of my hair. Well, the box did mention that it would be best to have a friend to help and looking at my hair turning blond right before my eyes at the roots in the front section and in that section only, I panicked.

I started applying all the highlight coloring to my whole head hoping it would turn out one color at least. Fifteen minutes later, I washed it out and prayed I didn’t look too bad. As I flipped my hair from under the running water and looked in the mirror, all I could see was a sunburst. I never knew that I could get the color of the sun in my hair. My hair was the color of the rising phoenix. Around the edges and at the roots of my hair, it was blond fading into a copper color with a blond strand here or there. Throughout the middle of my hair at the roots, you could see the remnants of my black hair that used to be healthy and strong after the relaxer straightened it. Now it’s fried, dyed and lay to the side. Pray that I will have success at the beautician. Hopefully she can give me back my original color without my hair falling out, as it is already breaking off now.

Anna says: About a year ago I went to a hair salon that I had been to once before. I brought along a picture of a girl with slightly layered hair that was just brushing her shoulders. I told the stylist that I wanted it an inch or two longer than the picture and very slightly layered. Most days, I pulled my hair back so it had to be able to be pulled back at least into a ponytail.      badhaircut

Well, she cut it about a half an inch below my chin and it was very layered. It looked horrible on me and the worst part was I couldn’t pull it back. I tried washing and blow-drying it differently and curling it but nothing made it look better. I was sobbing about it in my room when a good friend, Abby, called. When she heard me crying, she asked what was wrong. When I told her how I had gotten a horrible haircut, she burst out laughing. Neither of my parents understood either how much what my hair looked like mattered to me. I spent the next two weeks sobbing in my room and refusing to leave the house. Word from the wise: SPEAK UP IF YOU THINK THE HAIRSTYLIST IS CUTTING TOO SHORT, TOO LAYERED, TOO LONG, Etc. OR AT LEAST TELL THEM YOU DON’T LIKE IT BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE SALON. THERE IS USUALLY SOMETHING THEY CAN DO.

A reader shares: My sister and I decided to lighten our naturally very dark hair, so we used those at-home kits. Well, halfway through the hour-long process, our hair was very orange and we were scared. So stupidly, we tried about 3 different at-home kits. Now, I have unnaturally jet‑black, purple hair, and my sister has unnaturally light orange hair. Never again, I’ll tell ya.     purplehair

Melissa’s story: I’m a teenager who loves to cut her hair every so often. I like to keep it short because it goes well with my face. I try to get different looks every time I go to my stylist. I have never done my hair at home, and I trust her to the fullest. I never complain and always say “Do what you think is best.” I have nice wavy hair, and she’s always taken good care of it.                              mushroomhead

Well, when I went for a cut this time, she cut too much from the top. Now I look like a mushroom. I can’t let my hair loose and it’s too short to pick it up completely. I look horrible; I can’t even look at myself in the mirror. I’m going on vacation in three weeks and have no clue what to do with my hair. So, a word of advice to anyone, always put your two cents in as to what you want done with your hair. At the end of your appointment, you’re the one walking out on the street with your hair.


Check out hairstylist Marla Shore’s customers in Shear Murder:

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What hair horror story would you like to share?


11 Responses to “Hair Horror Stories”

  1. Maureen said

    When I was starting high school I had the long Farrah Fawcett hair that was in back then. I went to my usual hairdresser for a cut just before entering high school. He started in the back so I couldn’t see what he was doing and when he was done I had a “DA” (duck’s a**) for those of you too young to know what this is, think Fonzie on Happy Days or John Travolta in Grease! Not a pretty look on a young girl starting high school! I cried for weeks and didn’t want to go to school. I never went back to that hairdresser and I never understood why he did that.

  2. That result must have been traumatic at your young age. I don’t understand why stylists would change what they’re doing when a regular customer has been happy with a certain look.

  3. The day before a trip to Ireland years ago I went for a color touchup, but my regular stylist was away. Her fill-in was someone I’d heard good things about, so I didn’t worry. Well, she found an old info card on me from when I used to do a reddish color. The result was very red roots on otherwise brown hair. Awful!! We spent the next hour trying to undo the damage, and by the time we were done my scalp was on fire from all the chemicals. But my hair at least looked ok, if not quite how it should have.

    But my worst hair experience of all was when I was 8 or so. I’d had wavy, shoulder length auburn hair for years, until one day my darling mother decided we should cut it short so “the curls I had as a baby would come back.” Oh, ugh!!! I ended up with a pixie that would not curl at all, and I looked like a boy, a gawky one at that. It took forever to grow it out, but my response was to avoid all but the slightest trims and eventually grew my hair to waist length.

  4. Lisa, a short haircut that leaves your hair looking awful can make you avoid them your entire life. And your first experience lends the cautionary tale to make an appt ahead of time with your stylist for a touchup at a time when you know she’ll be there.

  5. It’s all true, Nancy. All the horror stories and more. i personally think layering is one of the worst things to do to straight hair. I know because I used to work in the marketing department of a large hair salon chain on the east coast. But I was able to learn about a few things during the stylist classes, which were taught by experts from the leading hair product companies. That’s why I color my own hair and I have my husband cut it. He does it straight and that’s all I ask for. Can’t wait to pick up the latest book about Marla! I just haven’t been out because I’m on deadline.

  6. I like the way my hairstylist does my hair. The color is just right and I have light layers. When I wash my hair, I can scrunch it and let it air dry and it looks decent. I need Marla for the blow dry and curling iron. 🙂 Are you going to Malice? I’ll be there this year!

  7. I will be at Malice this year. It will be great to see you again! And your hair always looks splendid.

  8. Yay! I will look forward to seeing you and catching up!

  9. The worst thing that happened to me was an aunt gave me a permanent. Well until it grew out I had frizzy goofy looking hair!
    I have never had anything like that again. And the smell Ugh! Why do relatives think they are helping to make a 12 year old into a true geek!

  10. Jeanne Meeks - said

    A bad experience the day of my high school prom caused me to distrust beauticians ever since. My sister and I went to my mother’s beautician who knew only one style — bouffant– at a time when girls loved long flowing hair. We cried. It took us hours to comb out the ratted, sprayed messes.

    Now I’m afraid to have my hair cut drastically. I wear it long though I am past the age when we’re told it must be short. When I catch more flack than compliments, I’ll give in. In the meantime, it’s my unique, artistic signature.

  11. Mary, I used to get perms and it is frizzy at first until the hair loosens in a week or two. And yes, the solution smells. I’m glad the process went out of favor.

    Jeanne, why do you have to get a drastic cut? Start with a few inches just off the bottom. It’s healthy for your hair to have the ends trimmed. Make sure to tell the stylist exactly what you want. And no one says older women must have short hair!

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