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How do you tell your stylist you are unhappy with your hair?

When I think back to the years I spent behind the chair doing hair in my private studio, it feels like a different life. And in a lot of ways it was! While I miss the connections with my clients and seeing so many of them on a regular basis, I cannot see a time that I will return to doing hair in the future. I’m not saying never, but for now I think that chapter of my life is closed.

Regardless of that fact, I still have about 10 years of experience to draw from when I’m asked questions from readers about how to handle tough situations in the salon.

I got an email recently from a reader asking the following question:

I just spent a few hours at a salon getting my hair cut and colored. The total was close to $350 and I’m really dissatisfied with the color. You can barely tell a difference and I’m not sure what to do! I never want to go back there because I’m not confident that the stylist knows what she’s doing, but I feel totally screwed. Is there anything I can do in this situation?”

I felt for her because I’ve been there. I’ve gotten beauty services done (from pedicures to massages) that are less than enjoyable and I feel like I completely wasted my money afterwards. Plus, it feels weird not to tip so it’s even more frustrating that there is an expectation to tip on top of a service that you didn’t enjoy. I haven’t had personal experience with having my hair not turn out the way I wanted, but I can certainly understand the frustration!

If it were me, I would recommend calling the salon and talking to the manager or owner. Take a bit of time to calm down if you are emotional, so you can speak calmly and rationally to the manager and owner. Explain how you feel and ask what they can do about the situation. If they ask you to come back in (and I hope they would!) take them up on that and ask the person you spoke with on the phone to be present when you show up. I wouldn’t be surprised if the manager asks for the stylist who did the work to take another look at your hair and explain her process so they can try to understand what happened.

Sometimes a miscommunication in the consultation can lead to poor results, and other times the stylist may have made a mistake or not known how to achieve the look you wanted. The more thorough the consultation, the better. My hope would be that your displeasure with the results was simply from a miscommunication with the stylist, as that would signal an innocent mistake that is easily fixable.

In an ideal situation, you would be offered a free service to try to make adjustments to get closer to what you were expecting. But it all depends on the salon’s policies and each individual situation.

The easiest way to avoid this happening again in the future is to go to a stylist who you were referred to by someone you know. Bring photos in for your consultation so he or she can SEE what you are talking about, instead of you simply trying to describe it!

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