14 March 2008, 22:12
A bad haircut: unfortunately, it happens more often than it should.
So, what can you do when your hair ends up shorter on one side than on the other? Or if your fringe is about 3 centimetres too high? Or if your hairdresser, who refused to listen to you, snipped off all the volume & bounce you’d been growing out for months?
Trot back to the hairdresser
This is the first & most obvious solution, though it is one a lot of people never try. Sometimes because they fear the wrath of the hairdresser (very sharp scissors strike terror into the hearts of many!), but usually just because we feel uncomfortable or awkward telling someone that what they’ve done isn’t up to scratch. I understand, I’ve been there — but it’s really important that we learn to say “This isn’t good enough” without worrying about hurting someone’s feelings or having someone dislike us. You don’t have to stomp in there & make a scene; it’s about being assertive. Most hairdressers are good sorts & they want to do their best, so if you go in & have a quiet word, chances are extremely good that they’ll make every effort to fix up your hair & please you.
Think about it this way: you’ve paid the money, so you should get what you want. If you bought a vacuum cleaner & it stopped working, you’d take it back, right? You wouldn’t sit around at home feeling bad about it & chewing your nails into oblivion while deepening your worry-lines!
It’s a simple business transaction, & it’s a good way to practise letting someone else know what you want. (If you can’t tell a hairdresser, how are you going to tell your spouse or employer?) If you want to have a good relationship with the person who cuts your hair, you need to be honest & let them know if something isn’t working. They want your business, so it’s in their best interests to help you.
On the other hand, if the haircut is so bad that you daren’t go back for fear you end up bald, perhaps the next step is for you!
Go somewhere else
It depends on the haircut, but sometimes the only thing to do is rush somewhere else & beg them to fix your mane. If it’s really, really bad, you might want to do it straight away, but if it’s bad-but-tolerable, give it a couple of weeks to grow out before you sit back down in the coiffeur’s chair.
Now, this is one time you really don’t want to skimp on a haircut. You’ve just had your tresses butchered, so don’t take any chances. Go somewhere with a great reputation — your mileage may vary, but it’s hard to go wrong with the likes of Toni & Guy, Frédéric Fekkai or Vidal Sassoon. In fact, if you go somewhere really great, you may start to regard your bad haircut as one of the best things that has ever happened to you!
When you go in, tell them what happened. Give them some guidance — let them know what you actually wanted from your haircut initially. Then cross your fingers.
Buy some product & spend some time in front of the mirror
Sometimes you can fix a terrible do just by styling it differently. For example, if your fringe has been chopped so high that you look like an alien, maybe if you sweep it back off your forehead, you can make it look acceptable. You may find that you need to wear your hair differently in order to look sane, which is undoubtedly annoying & an inconvenience, but hey. Maybe it’s time for a change, anyway?
Try not to freak out about it too much, & don’t be afraid of looking different. Surely if you’ve had your hair the same way for 5 years, it’s time to do something new!
If you’re having trouble coming up with a new style, call a friend & tell them to come over with their GHD & all the hair product they can muster!
Go hat shopping
My friend Ana is very keen on giving herself haircuts whenever the fancy strikes her. Generally she manages to restrain herself from doing too much damage, but once, she went too far. She hacked her hair so short that she looked like she’d just escaped from a lab experiment. It was a bad look. Ana is a stylish girl but even she didn’t know how to style or fix something so appalling.
Luckily, Ana is a fashion designer — & very handy with a sewing machine. She found some crazy faux fur fabric which was black & white with long strands of fur rather than the short stuff, & sewed it into a hat-shape. It looked great & because the pieces of fur were so long, she could kind of style them — pulling them up & out, twirling them around, etc. She called it her “wig” & she wore it for three months straight.
While you don’t necessarily have to make your own hat, going on a bit of a search for some cute hats that will save your dignity is a very good idea. You might like to buy a few different ones — a slouchy beanie, a fluffy beret, a fedora, a couple of turbans… There are no rules on what you can or cannot wear (& these days, thankfully, it’s socially acceptable for women to wear hats indoors), so have a hunt around & see what you can find!
Invest in a bunch of different scarves
“Hand me my scarf!” This is usually my default response to a bad hair day. I actually have a huge drawer full of them, overflowing with different colours, patterns & fabrics. You can never have enough scarves, & they are fantastically versatile.
Just lay it over the front of your hair & tie it behind your head, or you can fold it into more of a bandanna style if you like. There’s more information here!
Buy lovely accessories
It’s always fun to buy new things to put in your hair, & having a bad haircut is as good an excuse as any to go hunting for something fabulous! Investigate headbands with big bows on the side, huge diamanté slides, miniature tiaras, clips with cupcakes on & sparkly hair-ties. Splash out, go nuts — often, distracting onlookers with a huge glinting gee-gaw will mean they don’t even notice your botched haircut!