Dear Uncommon Courtesy,
I have a question about hairdresser etiquette!
I recently switched hairdressers (silently, shamefully, and in fact that is probably its own etiquette question, but not what I’m curious about today). I went to a new hipster barbershop/salon in my neighbourhood. I brought a photo to the stylist, let her know about some of my hair’s particularities and issues I’ve had with cuts in the past, and made it clear that while I had a cut and style in mind, she should feel free to make it work the way she thought was best for my hair. It was a nice experience, but two weeks later I have a decided cowlick situation messing with the back of my severe side part, and my curls are not sitting as full as she promised. What are your thoughts on asking a hairdresser to fix a cut that’s off? I’ve done it once before and found it VERY awkward–my then stylist and her colleague were pleasant but definitely made me feel like I didn’t know what was right for my own hair. I don’t know how long to wait (more than a week seems too long, but a few days feels like not giving the cut enough chance). and asking a new hairdresser after a first visit seems like setting a bad tone for the “relationship.” Is asking for a hairdresser to fix a cut ever okay, and is there a way to do it without harming your relationship with them?
Yes, of course you should ask your hairdresser to fix it. Politely.
Jaya: I do think that in our everlasting desire to get rid of all vestiges of servitude, sometimes we go too far and forget that when someone has a service job, their job is to do what you pay them for. And like, not in a mean way.
Victoria: Hahah yeah! that’s a great way of putting it
Jaya: But if it’s a haircut, you want a nice haircut!
Victoria: Totally. And to be honest, haircuts are really expensive.
Jaya: Especially for women. And you can be all like “well that’s your fault, go to a barber for $10” but c’mon, your hair is a huge part of how you look, and I don’t think there’s any shame in caring about that
Victoria: Nope! I really need to not be such a baby and ask about bang trims more often.
Jaya: Haha yeah, it’s hard to do on your own. Also, I do think most hairdressers offer this kind of week-later check up. even if they don’t flat out say it.
Victoria: Yeah, i think hair stylists expect to have to fix things sometimes and honestly, lots of them get cried at and yelled at, so i’m sure they appreciate a polite “could you please fix this weird thing my hair is doing.”
Jaya: Yeah! that’s so much nicer than just freaking out.
Victoria: Or not coming back.
Jaya: Also, they’re professionals. They know what hair is like, and if it’s your first time, duh there are gonna be cowlicks and weird head shapes they’re not going to immediately know, so it helps both of you.
Victoria: Yep, I think they’d rather fix it and get a loyal customer.Plus then you will have a person who knows about your hair.
Jaya: Absolutely. I made the mistake for too long of not alerting hairdressers to the weird things my hair does and once I got over that I started getting much better haircuts.
Victoria: Hahah yeah, it’s scary to try to speak up since they are supposed to know what they are doing.
Jaya: I think that’s the thing though. They know what they’re doing, but they’re not psychics. They don’t know your head.
Victoria: Haha yeah, what’s inside it or what’s on it.
Jaya: If they’re not willing to have a conversation then ok, they’re assholes and find someone else.
Jaya: But there should be a back and forth. They trust you to speak up about anything weird, you trust them to know what looks good from there.
Victoria: And I think dye jobs too, are especially something you should ask to have fixed if they don’t come out quite right because that’s really normal.
Jaya: Oh yeah. I’ve never really done that, but that makes sense.
Victoria: Yeah me either, but it crops up a lot in articles about hair dressers.
Jaya: how many articles about hair dressers are you reading?
Victoria: I meaaaaan…
Victoria: Anyway, in sum, hairdressers are professionals and if you aren’t happy with their service, tell them and try to work something out.
Or complain on the internet and tell us your worst hairdresser stories.