How Many Red Flags Does It Take? (The Very Bad Haircut)

I learned recently I have been blessed with good hair stylists for the majority of my 44 years on this earth.  Some may say that is completely debatable upon perusing through pictures of me at various points in my life.  However, I can’t recall having an experience at the salon where I have to hold back tears as the person is cutting my hair…until my last hair cut.  I’ve heard nightmare salon stories over the years, but I just think to myself, “hair grows.”

My many haircuts

FullSizeRender_3Here’s the deal…I have LOTS of hair.  When I say I have thick hair…it is THICK.  It is also coarse in nature, not thin.  This is not a complaint. This is merely a fact and is partly the reason why I like having a short hair cut.  The times in my life when I’ve had long hair…oh my goodness does it take a LONG time to shampoo, condition and DRY.  Not only that, if I want to pull it out of my face, say by using a pony tail, I will have a headache by the end of the day, due to the weight of the hair pulling on my scalp.  In addition, I would usually end up with a little sore on my scalp.  My hair grows super fast, again not complaining.  Since I have a pixie haircut now, I usually have to go to the salon every 4 weeks to have my hair cut and colored.  I’ve earned every one of my grey hairs, but I’m not ready to be entirely grey haired.  I’ll save the “I don’t like growing old” post for another time.

Now that you have a better understanding of how my hair is, let’s proceed to the story at hand.

When I moved to Oklahoma (remote small town) I went to 2 hair stylists in which I came to the conclusion I might need to travel (two hours) to Tulsa for a hair stylist.  It wasn’t uncommon, as many other women there also traveled the distance to have good salon experiences.  After making the two hour drive every 4 weeks, for about 6 months, I was ready to find someone local to do my hair.  Fortunately, I found someone!  I asked a friend of mine to share who cut her hair.  She referred me to the lady I ended up going to for about 5 years.  She was the one of the owners of the salon and extremely talented.  Oh how I miss her!  I did travel to Oklahoma to get my hair done after we moved back to Texas in July for a couple of months. The following is the before and after of when my stylist from Oklahoma cut my hair from a bob to a longer pixie cut.

from bob to long pixie3

I finally decided I would take the leap and find someone here in North Texas.  I figured, I’m in the big city now, it shouldn’t be so difficult to find someone to cut my hair.  Well, I figured wrong.

The following is a sample of photos I showed the hair stylist of how I liked my hair cut:

Instagram Hair Collage

bad cutIMG_5625My first salon experience back in Texas was an ok experience, but I didn’t like how she cut my hair.  The stylist came highly recommended by several people.  She was super sweet and I enjoyed our conversation.  At the beginning of our appointment I showed her pictures of my hair the way I liked it.  My hair was longer because I had gone 2 months without having it cut.  I also noticed the next day after her coloring it…there was grey still showing.  She was super nice and recolored it for me at no charge.  I just didn’t feel like it was a good fit.  The photo to the left was the one I texted to my husband after the appointment…way too short for my taste.  The black and white photo to the right shows how long it was before she cut it. :(

I promise I’m getting to the real story. I felt the need to share a bit of background first.  Okay, so we ended up spending some money at the Aveda store on products for my oldest daughter’s naturally curly hair.  When we checked out, the Aveda sales representative {because of our sale} gave us certificates for 2 free haircuts to a local Aveda salon.  Now let me tell you something…I used to go to an Aveda salon in my home town (Arlington, TX) when I was in high school.  I had an excellent hair stylist who cut my short hair back then.  I was so excited to think I could find someone at an Aveda salon again!


  1. When I called to schedule me & my daughter’s appointments they were able to book us for the very next day.
  2. The hair stylist called me the morning of our appointment to say they were out of electricity. (Not the salon’s fault. Workers for another business in their complex cut the wires.)
  3. The hair stylist did not look professional. She was wearing worn out jeans, a t-shirt and boots. Nor did she wear makeup or do her hair. Her hair was pulled up into a ponytail.
  4. She looked extremely young.
  5. She asks me, “Do you know what color your stylist used on your hair?”
  6. She asks me, “So how much length do you want taken off here and here and here?”  (after I show her pictures of how I like my hair)
  7. She didn’t set a timer after she put the color on my hair.
  8. It took her an hour to cut my hair.  We were in the salon for a total of FOUR hours! It usually only takes about an hour and a half to color and cut my hair.
  9. “What kind of styling product do you use in your hair?” she asks.
  10. It was free.

too good to be true
Red flag number one: I should have realized right off the bat, it’s not a good sign if you can get an appointment for the next day.  Usually, good hair stylists can not get you in right away because they are booked weeks in advance.  My daughter and I were in desperate mode so we thought we were lucky she could squeeze us in.  Can’t blame us for trying to be optimistic.

Red flag number two: The fact the electricity was out should have been another sign…warning!  It’s not their fault at all, but walking into a salon which is dark with extension cords running through out, hooked up to a generator does not make for the best salon experience.  Fortunately, the electricity was restored while she was applying my color.

Red flag number three: If someone is going to do my hair, which has to do with my outward appearance, I kind of would like to see they care about their own appearance.  She looked as though she just got out of bed, pulled up her hair in a messy pony tail, threw on the first thing she could find, and went to work.

Red flag number four: Looking young is not bad at all.  However, it told me she may not have very much experience with doing hair.  I found out she had been a hair stylist for 5 years…but for some reason I don’t know if that was the truth.

Red flag number five: If I am paying someone to color my hair (which I did actually pay for the coloring service,) I would expect them to know how to match my hair color.  It was lucky I did know what color my previous stylist had been using.

Red flag number six: Again, if I am paying someone to cut my hair (lucky enough I did not have to pay for this particular haircut,) then I expect them to know how much length they should take off.  She also asked me what kind of scissors they used…seriously?!  I have no idea!  If I knew how to cut my hair, I would do it myself.

Red flag number seven: While the stylist was coloring my hair, she cut my Daughter’s hair.  Fortunately, my Daughter liked her hair cut (she has long hair.)  However, she spent about an hour cutting her hair and I was beginning to wonder if I would have any hair after leaving the color on for so long.  I asked her about it and she said, “I’m watching it.”  Hmmmm…that doesn’t make me feel any better.

Red flag number eight: I know because of my thick hair, my unique cowlick at the base of my neck, and the pixie short style, it is a little difficult to cut my hair.  This is why I want someone with experience cutting short hair or cutting hair in general.  I’m not sure she has cut very many short hair cuts, but normally someone can cut my hair in about 30 minutes.  It was complete and utter agony watching this girl cut my hair for an hour.  I can’t tell you how many times I just wanted to yell, “STOP CUTTING!” and get up and run out the door.  I didn’t.  I didn’t want to hurt the poor girl.  She was doing the best she could, but inwardly I was crying and holding back the tears.  Four hours was way TOO LONG for the service we had done that day.

Red flag number nine: I expect my hair stylists to know what products they should use on my hair.  I’ve never had a stylist ask me what to use on my hair before, ever.

Last but not least, with red flag number ten, which technically should be number one, I should have known, if it’s free, she must need business…which means she is not very good.  Bless her heart, I feel bad for her.  And I can only write that now because it’s been 3 weeks since she cut my hair.  I was livid after my haircut.  I know everyone has to start somewhere.  Thing is, maybe this occupation is not best suited for her?  I’m grateful I did not have to pay for the haircut which made me go home and cry like a baby.

My Facebook status on November 25, 2014extremely bad hair day facebook status

FullSizeRender_1I would like to mention one other aspect I did not like about this salon in particular…the music.  Music is a very powerful medium.  I’ve been known to walk out of stores that are playing the music too loud.  I also don’t feel you should play only one genre of music in a store except for in the case of a spa.  It is completely acceptable and encouraged to play soft relaxing music in the background at a spa.  This particular salon (and no I will not be sharing names) played the same Christmas CD 3 times before I asked her if they could play something else.  Normally, it might not bug me, but this was the day before Thanksgiving and I don’t really like to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  They replaced the Christmas CD which included 4 songs.  Ok, I don’t care what kind of genre of music it is, even if it’s my favorite 4 songs in the whole wide world, I don’t want to hear them repeated over three hours.  The four songs on this CD were Gospel Worship songs, with one being a live concert version.  Here’s the deal…I’m a Christian.  I really like Christian Contemporary music.  Worship music is different.  I didn’t mind listening to the songs the first time I heard them, because I am a Christian.  However, I am not accustomed to listening to the Worship genre of music, as my church does not play those songs in our worship service.  Putting that aside, what about the clients in the salon who are not Christian?  Wouldn’t that be kind of a problem with them?  When I go to a salon, I feel like not only am I paying for the expertise of the stylist, but I’m also paying for the atmosphere in the salon.  When I go, I want it to be a pleasant and relaxing experience.  I want to feel confident my hair stylist knows what she’s doing and I will leave feeling good about how I look.

hair salon chair familybringsjoy.comI recommend salons and stores play a variety of music (with the exception of heavy metal where they are screaming the lyrics, one of the major reasons I don’t shop at Hot Topic.)  This way everyone will hear a song they might like and enjoy listening to the music.  Volume of the music is important as well.  This particular salon had their music volume up so high we had to raise our voice to speak.  Background music should set the mood and be in the background, not in the fore front.  Being the ADD person I am, if I’m shopping at a store where the music is so loud, I can’t think or focus on finding what I’m shopping for, I want to leave and I do.  The store lost a customer.  I also leave stores playing the same genre of music (especially the ones I don’t listen to as much or care for.)

This experience was sort of traumatic for me…enough for me to write about it.  It has me feeling somewhat hopeless about my hair, which tends to have me feeling a little self conscious.  I want to explain something about me.  I’m the type of person who does her hair & makeup in the morning and then doesn’t look at it in the mirror throughout the day.  I’m not a vain person.  This horrible haircut has me looking at myself in the mirror throughout the day to check and make sure the shorter patches are not sticking up.  I was hoping after it grew out some those pieces would lay down more…nope.

Here are the pieces after 3 weeks of growth without styling product on them to flatten them down. (don’t look at my roots!)

one side with more grey edited

yuck haircut

back of my head

Sometimes even the styling product doesn’t keep them from sticking out.  I guess I’m going to have to say goodbye to my pixie haircut because I can’t keep reliving this horror story over and over.  That makes me sad.  I like my pixie haircut.  Just last night I dreamt I had several wigs I wore. :(

I didn’t realize this post was going to be so long.  I’ll stop ranting now.  I hope this finds everyone enjoying the Christmas season and doing well.



  1. Cheryl Beaty says:

    Shannon, I’m sorry this happened to you. I can understand, as I remember one haircut in particular that I had in Branson while we were camping. I really liked the girl but she took a long time to cut it and I figured it was because we were both enjoying the conversation. But when I left, I was appalled and it took a while to grow it out in order to get it shaped by someone who knew what they were doing. May I suggest that you not give up on your pixie haircut since it does flatter you so much. Try someone else first. Keep asking friends for referrals. That is the best way to find someone good. If you like the way one of them wears their hair, that is who you want to get a recommendation from. I suggest that one bad haircut should not do you in. Love you. You do such a good job of styling your own hair, I know you can deal with it until it grows a little more and you can find someone else. Just my 2 cents. Take it or leave it. Just remember, even if you grow it out, eventually you will have to get it trimmed or cut and it will be the same issue then, finding the right hair stylist. How our hair looks is very important to both of us. I have always felt strongly about my hair. My Dad used to fuss at me when I would say, “Don’t mess up my hair.” I will never forget that. I agree with your red flags. It is always easier to see them after the fact. It is a good learning experience for the next shop you go into and start assessing. Love, Mom

  2. My hair is really, really difficult and I’ve had so many horrible haircuts I can’t even count. Once I did say, “STOP- and walked out.” It only takes one swipe to get a disaster! Unlike you, my hair does NOT grow quickly and so it takes time to undo the bad cuts. I’ve had stylists cuss at my hair and at least 3 have refused to cut it at all. I had a wonderful stylist in TX who once said, “If my instructor saw me cut your hair I would have flunked” because you can’t cut mine using ‘normal’ techniques. Like you, moving caused anxiety — who will cut it next? Even hairdressers that are highly recommended can’t cut my hair. I almost always have to redo it if someone else does it so finally I learned to cut my own hair. I don’t have a lot of option with the style — just if it’s longer or shorter. If it looks bad it’s my fault — I can live that easier than when I pay big bucks and get a mess. Your hair is so versatile and looks good long, short and in between. Your hair looked really nice in the picture taken with your cousin when she was here for the roller derby. But from the pictures you posted now I can see why you are frustrated. That’s the challenge of a short cut— keeping it trimmed and shaped. Longer hair is a little more forgiving. P.S. I still smile when I see you as a blonde!

  3. I finally found a stylist that doesn’t charge $100 per cut and I really like her. She works from home but the last cut she gave me I did NOT like, she layered my hair which is growing out for a wedding next year without asking me. I didn’t want these silly layers and am tempted just to go back to my pixie I dislike this cut so much :( it feels clunky and awkward.

    My favourite stylist moved away when we lived south a few years ago and I was devastated! It was like a break up! After her I had a string of disappointing haircuts. Ugh!

    Hoping you can find someone local that makes you feel comfortable very, VERY soon.

  4. Oh I really understand a bad haircut. I am dealing with bad haircut #2 in the last 10 weeks, no lie. Haircut # 1 was at an upscale salon. Got one of the “experienced” stylists specializing in French haircuts ( whatever that is). The haircut wasn’t terrible, just not quite right. I gave it 4 weeks, but not leaving well enough alone, I decide it needed tweaking. So I decide to go to the place who does my co-workers hair. The owner ( who I know) isn’t there but another stylist can fit me in the next day (RED FLAG). So, I tell her exactly what needs the tweaking. My sides were shoulder length but choppy where I like soft layers and the back is a longer Lisa Rinna shag/chop. Sounds pretty simple right? Let me tell you what I have now….my sides are now chin length with one side choppy like Lisa Rinna’s and the other side slightly longer and thicker.My back is now at collarbone length and still shaggy/ choppy, just shorter. Kinda like a paint brush squeezed together. And there was something not quite right about my bangs. 5 weeks later I figure out what it is. She cut a chunk of hair in my longer layer. Guess she thought it was supposed to be a bang part. Now I’m a 50 year old woman who has resorted to clip barrettes to look somewhat normal. Guess now is a good time to try to grow out my bangs. And my layers? They’re not soft and movable. Now they are thick & flat at the ends. So…I really sympathize with you. I ended up calling a salon my bosses wife goes to. In 3 weeks, I have the owner try to do something with this vile mess. I used to go to this salon a long time ago and to get an appointment with him was weeks out. I guess all the begging I did, they felt sorry for me. If all goes well I’ll give an update. If not, I’ll be living in a cave for the next 6 months.

  5. Shan! I love your blog! WHY did I not see this before! I have to weigh in here because this is close to my heart. Since moving to Prosper in 2010, I have been through NO LESS then 12 hair stylists. I went to high dollar, small & cozy, big chain, you-name-it salons, and never could find the right fit. I would show them pictures and the cut never looked like the picture, or I would give instruction (please don’t use the razor thing on me, my hair is thick and I want a cut that shows off and flatter the thickness, do not try to thin it out, it doesn’t work just makes it harder to lay down. I know this because I’ve had this hair for 45 years!!…and then they would try to do it anyway. ugh!) Then I started to wonder if it was me because I was the common denominator in all these bad, boring, un-flattering haircuts. You would think in North Dallas/Frisco you could find a great hairstylist!
    I finally broke down and decided I was going to get a good cut no matter the price. I was tired of spending money and being disappointed. I paid a LOT of money for the owner and top stylist at a certain salon in Frisco named “D Magazine Best of” for a cut/color and this was quite possibly the worst of all my experiences. I literally got in my car and cried. I will share the actual details with you later, but I guess my point is, a lot of money and a magazines stamp of approval means nothing.
    I just went to a new guy (in Nov) in Plano off the toll way named Gabriel. YES! Four years later I STILL have not found a hairdresser. He looks promising, and I liked the cut/color ok but I usually have to go to someone at least twice, sometimes 3 times, before I know for sure.
    I will keep you posted. A girl I work with also just mentioned she found a guy in Dallas trained by Jose Eber personally and she really likes him. But…Dallas from Prosper….every four to six weeks….hmmm.

  6. I too now know what it feels like to cry and cry after a bad haircut. The worst part of the whole experience, which I still can’t seem to get over even after almost 3 months, is that this is the same hair stylist that I have been going to for almost 13 years. I have never been one, especially after 2 kids and bills etc. to pamper myself a lot, especially when it costs over a $130 per visit . In fact, because I have always worn my hair mostly long and it is so thick that I used to only get it cut about 3 to 4 times a year. This stylist has always been nice and I almost go to sleep when I am in her chair. I am not very much of a complainer of my hair and have never ever called a stylist back and complained after a hair cut. I just deal with it if it’s a little to short or the color of my is a little off, it will grow and I will adjust. Back in May of this year I decided to do cut my long hair to shoulder length and put more blonde than brown in it. I haven’t had blond hair in 20yrs because my husband liked brown on me and plus blonde is more expensive to keep up. My husband ended up loving the blonde and he said I needed to start pampering myself more so I went back every 6 weeks and it got blonder and blonder. I was getting compliment after compliment on how much better I looked with blonde hair. I had not felt this good about my hair since before I had children. I even sent a few referrals her way. So from May to October I had seen her 4 times. I always try to get my apt at 8 am on Sat morning with her, because it usually takes her 2 to 3 hours to do my hair, because she works in other people in between other clients and I got tired of using up vacation time from work during the week. Yes, she is slow but I keep going back because I have never been really been disappointed in her work, until 3 months ago. #1. She works in another client at 8 (my time slot), thisperson was going for pictures at lunch that day and was in desperate need of a haircut and color….which put me 45 mins late getting in the chair. I sat quietly on the couch for my turn. She asked me like always was it just going to be a trim and color and I said yes. I told her that I loved the color my hair was now and I had had so many compliments on it and I hadn’t felt this good about my appearance in a while. She always writes down my color in her apt book so she got the colors together and started foiling my hair. By the time she is finished I have 75-100 foils in my hair and find out that her long distance boyfriend of several years is moving in with her the next day. She seems very pre-occupied with everything she has to do over the next few days. I didn’t think anything about it though, that is just her personality. She rinses foils out and says, “oh yes this color looks great”. No worries, right? Then comes the cut. She has always cut my hair the John Freida way, by flipping it over and cutting it upside down, because my hair is so thick. No worries, right? While she is cutting my hair I can hear her talking to someone, so when she finally flips my hair over I can see an older woman sitting in the chair next to her. This is her next client….that came 30 minutes early for her apt….So instead of respecting me and my time that I am paying for and sitting on the couch in the reception area, she feels the need to invade my time. Not happy with older lady but all should still be good with my hair, right? She proceeds to dry it and I reminded her I don’t like hairspray again and to just blow dry it wavy. I am almost asleep by the time she is finished drying it and I smell hairspray…I said “Remember I don’t like hairspray….” She soon finished and turned me around. Let me just say that it was all I could to not bust out crying right then and there, must less speak. I think it was several long seconds before I could speak, but I am sure my expression and my eyes said it all. I finally mumbled out “It’s…It’s BROWN AGAIN and I have BANGS!…..I guess I caught her by surprise with my reaction because like I said I never complain about my hair. NEVER… This was totally not even close by a long shot to what we discussed in the beginning, nor what she had been doing for the last 6 MONTHS with my hair! I told her it was a combination of an 80/90’s haircut and was so high with hairspray. Then she after knowing she screwed up I am sure, said Isn’t this what you asked for? I said I told you when I came in here how much I LIKED MY BLONDE HAIR NOW. Then she finally admitted that she must have done 2 brown foils to 1 blonde foil. I guess the girl that got worked in that morning, helped with that, because she was sitting in the next chair chirping in on our conversation the whole time she was foiling my hair. Then the old lady was chirping while my hair was getting cut. My hairstylist started saying we will get this fixed before you leave…I have already been there 3 hours! At this point I ready to get up and walk out. She insisted on making the color right but had no explanation for the awful cut.(I still cannot get my bangs behind my ears and it’s been almost 3 months.) She said she would get another stylist there that she really trusted to put blonde on all the brown pieces. I reluctantly said ok and sat there for another 3 hours for him to try to fix the color and for him to restyle it and hope that the little curling iron he had to use was not going to burn my forehead because, yes my bangs were that short. I was there for 6 hours and I, by the grace of God, didn’t bust out crying until I got in my car. My hair has gone from thick, fast growing and tamable to THIN, SLOW GROWING and A FRIZZY MESS. I finally got calm enough to call her around Thanksgiving and show her what my hair looked like. I told her in all the years she’s been cutting my hair that I have never been so disappointed and I don’t know what happened that day but my hair has went from wonderful to nothing but stressful. I now have to curl my bangs every to get them to lay even halfway decent because I too have a cowlick in the front and that’s why BANGS don’t work on me… I guess I just want her to come out and say “Yes, I had too many things going on that day and Yes, I screwed up your hair. I know everyone makes mistakes, but she’s been in this business for over 25 years and knows how I wear my hair and how I DON”T. I have cried many tears over this and when people ask me why I cut my hair so short it gets me worked up about it again. I do apologize for such a long comment but when I checked on your blog and read about what happened to you, I had the urge to vent. Again I am sorry for such a long comment and I really like the pixie hair cut on you and your pics are always so nice. I know its hard to find just the right fit with a hair dresser but maybe you will find it soon. God Bless!

  7. Wow, this is unfortunate. It is so disappointing when you don’t get something you want when you know someone else seems to do it perfectly. I thought I had found the perfect stylist to do my hair and went back a second time and found that I was so unconvinced with my hair that I ended up switching stylists. Thanks for sharing your story, its good to feel like we have all gone through similar horrible hair experiences.

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