Hairdressers of Reddit were asked: “What’s the worst you have ever messed up someone’s hair?” These are some of the best answers.
A woman with dark hair came in, she colored it by box often. She came in desperately wanting to be blond. I gave her two choices: we repeatedly highlight it over time, or I strip her hair and lighten it over a couple of appointments. The salon was closing soon and I told her I’d only have time for the stripping process and that her hair would likely be orange when she went home. She said that was fine. I assured her tomorrow’s appointment we’d take care of it. Well she left the chair looking like an oompa loompa and I never saw her again.
I once had a guard pop off while I was cleaning around the sides of my customer’s head and I ended up shaving a bald spot about 2″x4″ on the back of his head. Luckily the customer was only a child, and his mother was very understanding. I gave her whole family of 5 free haircuts and they let me play around and do some chemical straightening and dye jobs. After they tipped me $200 and wouldn’t let me refuse it, even after telling them all the work I did would have only cost them around 170.
I turned a girls head bright sea foam green. She was a teenager. It was supposed to be platinum blonde. I was alone. Tears were shed.
When I was in hair school, though, a lady came in who wanted a trim. She had her hair flat ironed when she came in, so I gave it a shampoo and started the cut. I didn’t realize how curly her hair had gotten while it was slowly drying and I was doing the trim. I was just keeping track of the last layer of hair I cut, and it wound up being about 4 inches shorter than I started. After she realized how short it was, she was a little upset but told me to fix it in some cute short cut. Turned out she loved it and kept it that way.
I’m a hairstylist. When I was in school, they just let me on the floor and I got my first haircut ever. It was this old man in his 70s. I was so nervous.
I start to cut around his ear and my hands were shaking so bad I let go of his ear on accident and it flipped up into my shears blade. I cut the top part of his ear off. I mean not like a significant portion but I got it good.
Blood starts pouring and I freak. He says, “Hey whats wrong?” I say,”Uhhh sorry but I cut your ear really bad.” He says, “Oh… I didn’t feel it, don’t worry dude just finish the haircut, its looking good.”
I was traumatized. But its been seven years since that, I’m actually kinda successful now.
I am a hairstylist. Whenever I was in cosmetology school, my mom (who works from home, and doesn’t get out much) let me practice cutting her hair. Her hair was a little bit past her shoulders, and I was attempting to take about 3 inches off. As I am cutting, I completely messed up a guideline somewhere, and accidentally cut the front way shorter than the back. When I realized what was happening, I said “It’s looking kind of mullet-ish, Mom”
Her response….”NEVER say that to a paying client, just figure out how to make it work and pretend like you meant to do it”. Needless to say, my mom had a sweet mullet for a little while.
I was working at a children’s salon for about a year during my cosmetology career. Most of the experiences were miserable due to unrealistic expectations of parents combined with children who were afraid of the clippers or shears. I’ll always remember when I accidentally cut off a little boys 4″ rat tail. The mother scooped him out of the chair right after, with only maybe 1/3 of his head shaved, and stormed out. My reaction: it’s 2008, and your son had a rat tail. You’re welcome.
I had a client who had “natural” black hair… She wanted to lighten it a few levels. So, of course, I mix my lightener and apply it. During the consultation I specifically asked if there was any previous colour that I should know about… due to the fact it would be harder to lighten if there were.
Anyways we get the foils all in and a few minutes later we see SMOKE coming from her “natural” hair. I open the foils to see smurf blue hair! She thought that by telling me it was “natural” she could get around me figuring out that there was colour… Don’t lie to your stylist. It never works. She ended up putting a lot more time and money into fixing that mess than if she had just told me the truth.
I spent years quizzing women about their home color to confirm they didn’t use metallic dyes, I spent years spot testing women who said they have sensitivity or wernt sure what they used…none of it ever amounted to anything and was a big time suck. I got progressively lazy about it.
Until one woman came in and I asked her what brand of home color she used, she said she doesn’t remember. Well my years of experience had me 99% sure whatever it was was fine and I should have spot tested and didn’t. Her hair melted off her head. She used a metallic dye she bought at some organic nature store not CVS like I assumed. It was horrific. Always spot test the color, especially if you couldn’t confirm their hair history.
I was in school, and a couple weeks into doing real haircuts on people and not those cursed mannequins. My best friend came in for a cut, which turned out to be more complicated than I anticipated. It was a very piecey, edgy bob that school just had not prepared me for. I accidentally took off too much around her ear and, boom, there’s her ear clear as day with no hair laying over it. I just looked at her, told her I [messed] up, and asked if she trusted me. I ended up turning it into an amazing punky pixie cut which she has kept up in varied styles since then. Wasn’t so bad. But I got off easy since it was such a close friend.
The only hair cut I have ever “screwed up” was a men’s cut a few years ago. I was free hand clippering without guards ( because I think guards are for cheaters lol ) and he coughed and jerked his head back, causing me to clipped right down to the skin in the back. I didn’t say much, just mentioned for him to keep his head still. I managed to blend it in pretty good and when I showed him the back of his head, I mentioned the one spot.
He was fine with it, laughed about it and apologized for it being his fault. He’s a loyal customer to this day.
I was shaving an old man’s hair a couple of months ago and the vibration from the clippers made a funny sensation in my hand and my immediate reaction was to take my clippers away from the mans hair so I didn’t ruin it. I didn’t ruin it. But I sure as hell [messed] up his eyebrow, he had about 1/3 of it left but he didn’t notice. He gave me $20 and I gave the poor guy $50 change out of my own pocket. He hasn’t come back.
Hairdresser here. 8 years. I had been working in an upscale salon for about 3 months. My first job out of beauty school. I had a men’s haircut scheduled under the name “Namjimmy”. His name was just Jimmy but his Korean accent was so thick that’s what our receptionist heard when she asked his name. He was here on business. Standard short tapered men’s cut. Clippers on the sides scissors on top. I’m feeling pretty cocky at this point in my career. So this is easy peasy.
I start with the clippers on the sides. I am using the clipper over comb technique where you use a comb to determine the length and taper of the hair. So I am gliding a clipper with no guard over a comb. I’m trying my best to converse with my client and just doin my thing when all of a sudden I just slipped and ran the clipper right against his head. 3 inch long BALD vanilla ice stripe on side of head! I instantly felt as though my insides were in my shoes and my brain was coming out my mouth. He was turned away from the mirror so he had no idea yet of the horrible mistake. A million thoughts went through my mind. I really wanted to just put my clippers down and walk out the front door and leave him to discover on his own and for my boss to deal with aftermath. But I had nailed a sweet job and thought I better try to pick up the pieces.
Before turning Jimmy towards the mirror I did my best in simple English to explain what happened. Now this part is where I lied a little. I blamed it on my clippers. I have classic 76’s which have a removal blade mechanism. I said that it wasn’t attached properly and flipped out of alignment while still cutting. I am ashamed but I just couldn’t admit that I wasn’t paying enough attention. So there’s me saying “broken” while pointing to clippers and “I’m sorry” and “no charge” over and over. Then I turn him to the mirror and he was SHOCKED. He just kept saying “I never expect this” over and over. I swear to you he was so frustrated he started to tear up.
And that’s when I obviously lost [it]. I made this poor Korean businessman cry! He probably had some important meeting to go to and now he looks like a break dancer or something. I went to the back and was just shaking and had a coworker go pick up the pieces. She just explained to him that if she took it shorter it would even out sooner. There was no hiding it! She even got him to laugh in the end joking about putting a matching one on the other side. I went home for the day I was so shaken. It became a term in the salon for any [screw] up to be referred to as a Namjimmy. Like you really namjimmied that ladies bangs.
When I was in beauty school, my brother-in-law and husband came in to get haircuts. While I was cutting my BIL’s hair, he didn’t know what he wanted and kept wanting to go shorter, shorter, shorter. I started out with a 5 guard and ended up down at a 2 by the time he was happy. So, I’m finally about 3 minutes away from being done with the haircut, and I flick the guard off so I can clean up around his ears and hairline. He says “Hey, I think it’s longer on this side. Can you even it out?”
So, I immediately move to that area and slide my clippers up the side of his head. With no guard on. Just take a huge slice of his hair clear off the side of his head.
I am not ashamed to say I cried, because I did. I ended up fixing it pretty well and when it grew out a bit, it was his favorite haircut ever. PHEW. Or at least he told me so.
Whenever a bleach blonde wants to change their hair to a brunette, you must add a filler of red first. This allows the hair to turn to an orange stage before it can return to brown and I know this! But one this particular day, it slips my mind and I just go straight into the coloring process and apply the brown color all over and allow thirty minutes for it to do its magic.
Well, after she’s done processing, I take her to the shampoo bowl, and start rinsing the color out and the horror ensues. I immediately notice her hair is a dark khaki green color. Im tracing my steps to see where I [messed] up and realize my rookie mistake. I didn’t fill it first! She has no clue and is looking at me for conformation that we have done good (they always do), and I play it cool and tell her we need to tone it a bit. I run to the back, grab some red filler and pray that it works! After applying it and leaving in for about 15 mins, I notice that it has worked and has toned down the green to an dark ashy brown. I still wasn’t happy, but at least she wasn’t green right?
Beauty school. Had a middle aged woman want to cut her shoulder-length hair into a short pixie cut. Having seen my superiors put hair in a ponytail and cut it off, I decided that was what I was gonna do. So I tied it up and chopped it off…
Well the hair right behind the ponytail was only about a half inch long. I’m freaking out. I asked “So you wanted to go pretty short right?” Continued to cut all the hair in the back about a half inch all over all while sweating profusely and hoping she would not reach up to feel what I have done. Luckily once I was done she loved it! And returned a few times after that.
Hairstylist here. I had a teenage client come in for highlights. When consulting for color services, one of the most important things to find out is what previous color is on the hair (there can be weird reactions if certain products were used). She said she used a brand I knew would be fine and not cause any problems. We were going from a warm honey color to as close to platinum that I was willing to go without over processing her hair.
After foiling the highlights, I had another client come in, so I had my assistant ready to shampoo while I was applying another color. He came up to me with a worried look on his face and I could tell something was wrong. I walked over to the shampoo bowl, to find that the last 4 inches of her hair were a bright sea-foam green. I let the client know there was some kind of chemical reaction with the lightener and asked if there were any other products or colors she had previously used. Instead of being mad, she said “Oh, I guess I forgot I had henna hair color on my hair about 3 years ago, I thought it just faded out!” Needless to say, I spent the next hour applying soap caps and color balancing. We ended up cutting off about an inch longer than originally planned, but the end result ended up looking beautiful.
I was in beauty school and a woman came in for a cut before a trip to Chicago. I had maybe been out on the floor cutting hair for 3 weeks. Still a total noob.
Well, this woman gives me a picture of her hair cut and styled years ago and wants the same thing. I have no idea how to do it and tell her so. Teachers give no advice. So I tell her the style is a bit dated and not really popular anymore. Offer some alternatives, she’s not interested.
Give it my best shot. Hairstyle we end up with is cuter than picture, but shorter than expected. She walks out to front waiting area and her son tells her she looks like a boy. Cue tears. Get [reamed] out by teachers for not caring or apologizing.
Respond by telling them she went to a SCHOOL for a cut and signed a WAIVER acknowledging there was a good chance her hair would be [messed] up that day.
When I first started doing hair, we had a lady call in wanting just a haircut so I took it. When she came in she asked if I knew how to cut curly hair. Now, there is a difference between wavy hair, curly hair, and kinky curly hair. She had the latter, but wanting to make money I said “Sure, I know how to cut curly hair.” She told me she wanted her to hair to sit just below her shoulders so I shampooed her and then proceeded to cut.
When all was said and done, her kinky curly hair coiled up so much, it was to her chin! It was NOT flattering on her AT ALLLL!!! It was absolutely awful. So to kind of “disguise” it, I flat ironed her hair and sent her on her way. Of course I never heard from her again.
Yes, you make mistakes and you feel really bad, you question whether or not this is something you should be doing, but just like anything else, you learn from your mistakes. The unfortunate thing is, you’re learning at someone else’s expense. But, if you’re smart, you don’t make the same mistake twice.
When I had just learned men’s cut in hair school I started to do my stepdads hair it was easy just a #2 all over and clean around his ears and neck line, it went great every time.
So when you first start hair school you desperately want to cut some hair so while babysitting I decide to do my little brothers hair (he was only 2 at the time and usually got the same treatment but my stepdad always did it) so I’m thinking father like son I grab the #2 and go up the side of his head.
Well his hair was so light and fine that it looked like he had a bald strip! So trying not to freak out so he doesn’t get scared I slip on a #3 and do the sides and back, then since I was doing to great I thought I would try my hand at using the scissor to trim the top and blend it into the sides thinking it will all work out in the end. Well somehow he ended up with a skullet.
When my parents came home they were a weird mixture between pissed and pissing themselves laughing because he looked so ridiculous. Luckily it was the winter and he kept a hat on if someone took the hat off they would gasp ask what happened to him and promptly put the hat back on.
A lady came in for the first time with extremely over-processed blonde hair, and she wanted to be red. I told her that it wasn’t a great idea and that she should get a pretty significant haircut and do some serious conditioning before she tried to put anything else in her hair. I told her that damaged hair rejects warmth and won’t hold red color. She didn’t like that answer. I’m a total pushover, so I agreed to try, but I couldn’t guarantee that it would turn out good. I treated and filled it, but the red still turned out hot at the roots and vaguely pink on the last 6 inches. She flipped out and sobbed and demanded a refund and so on. I learned a valuable lesson about saying no to people.
So they have these combs, they look like normal combs, but they have a razor in them. I grabbed one (when I was first working as a stylist) and went in to comb out her knots, and what do ya know, her hair comes off pretty much right at the root. It was the very top of her head…she saw it, I saw it. We both spent about 4 minutes just looking at the chunk of short hairs on the very top of her head.
I started crying instantly. She on the other hand started LAUGHING! I thought she maybe snapped and was going to murder us all, but she then tells me ‘it’s ok it’s just hair, they shouldn’t make razors that look like combs”….anyway I finish the cut and it actually looks fine, she was able to hide it by parting it the other way. I told her I wasn’t gonna charge her but she insisted. She was my client for a long time after that. It was a nice change because you usually deal with a lot of rude entitled people in this industry.
It was my first job at a shop fresh out of barber school. I went to a school that catered to mostly coarse hair (black) and I learned about caesars – same all around with a shape up. My first job was in queens working at a Spanish shop catering to mostly to Spanish and coarse hair. A father and son came in- the son visibly upset, and the father visibly infuriated. The son sits in my chair and the father looks at me and says “just a Caesar haircut please.” I then ask the consultation questions I learned “Would you want a one or two?” “Ones fine” “Same length all around right ?” “Yes”. The father then turns to the kid and says “This is what happens when you act out”…
So I begin the haircut, halfway through I look and the kid is crying – he’s about 9 or 10. The father says “whoa whoa that’s so short what’s going on?!” I realized by caesar he meant short scissor cut all around with bangs mid fore head. I stop in my tracks, the kids crying, I’m trying to explain what happened with the miscommunication. I continue to cut the kids hair and I said I’m sorry I know I messed up, but I’m going to make you look as cool as I can.
I was embarrassed but I asked the questions I needed to ask but I was thinking from what I solely learned at school and the demographics. I didn’t charge them but he gave me the money anyways… I’ll always remember that day.
Once upon a time the first haircut I gave was to my brother. I was using clippers and thought I kinda knew what I was doing, but really I didn’t. I proceed to give him a haircut
It’s actually going relatively well at this point , so my confidence is a little boosted. Saw the sides of his hair touching his ear, decided it needed to be trimmed. Instead of using scissors, or just going around the edge of the ear without a guard, I used the taper guard. By the time I realized it was a bad idea, he was missing a patch of hair on the side of his head right above his ear. I swear he looked like Skrillex. He was SO PISSED.