From shaving a bald spot on the back of the clients head, to turning a bleached blonde hair to khaki green color, hairdressers share their most terrifying salon stories.
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
A friend of mine used to go out, get drunk, meet guys, bring them back to her place and convince them she knew how to cut hair and she wanted to give them a free haircut. They were always drunk too and generally said okay. Sad thing is, she does NOT know how to cut hair and they would wake up at home the next morning looking someone tried to cut their hair with a lawn mower. And no, she did not sleep with them either. Just a bad haircut and adios.
When I was in beauty school, my brother-in-law and husband came in to get haircuts. While I was cutting my brother-in-law’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.
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.
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.
My sister in law finished her hairdressing qualification and convinced me to trust her when she said she could turn my dark hair back to blonde/mousey. She made it orange, then cut it, then bleached it and literally like 7 inches of my hair dropped out the next few weeks. She killed my hair. It became short – I was distraught. That was 4 years ago and it’s still really weak and falls out but it’s grown back and I just use moisturising shampoos to maintain the condition.
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Cutting the hair of a curly client, I did not correctly account for how much the curl was going to tighten up after I took off the length and I cut her hair an inch too short. After it dried it was almost 4 inches shorter than she asked for. She was really kind to me about it though she was obviously very disappointed and I comped her cut.
What really made me cringe though was later, when I realized it was going to take her 2 years to get that length back.
When I first started I had to cut this little girl’s hair. It was really uneven. I just have no idea where I went wrong because I had done the cut dozens of times. I felt so bad. I’ve never been one of the hairdressers who cuts 4 inches when you say one inch. But we had to go very short to save my lopsided cut. That’s really the only time though.
I have a lot of people make me do two haircuts because “oh I told you I wanted a lot less off because everyone always takes too much off but you actually did what I asked you to do” sigh. I guess it is easier to take more off than glue it back on.
Also once I was trying to get golden blonde when clients hair was already pretty bronzey and ended up with bright yellow. The place I worked at had cheap unpredictable color and I knew what needed to be done but being new and naive, I let my client tell me which color to use instead of my own judgement.
Once upon a time the first haircut I gave was to my brother. I was using clippers and thought I kind of 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.
When I was in school, we had a lot of people come in right after they got their Social Security Checks. Every month the same lady came in to get her hair washed and cut, and we would place bets on who would be stuck with her. I never paid much attention and just went along with the jokes. Well the week I was graduated, she shows up and go figure, I was stuck with her. This is the worst haircut I have done, simply because it’s not what she wanted.
Well once she sits down, I see what everyone has been talking about. I This lady had one big matted dreadlock right at the back of her head. I get to work but after about 40 minutes of trying to comb this monster out, my teacher proceeds to come over, take my shears, and cut it all off. I take this lady to the sink and I did 4 shampoos on her, all of which came back green from mold. Needless to say, after I cut it this woman was pissed that it was so short. I was just relieved to be done with her.
I talked to my teacher later about why she cut it all out and she said, “I saw how long it was taking and knew she was going to be there all night to save her hair. When I saw the mold, I had to check it for bugs.” I swear I never washed my hands so many times in one day. The smell of mold does not want to leave.
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I am male, 28 years old, I’ve been doing hair for 10 years. After being behind the chair for about 2 years I was pretty comfortable doing men’s cuts. I was on my last client of the day and was ready to be out of the salon. He was 30 something and particularly fidgety. He wanted a shaggy cut, while point cutting around the top of his ear. He suddenly moved toward me and I snipped his ear and he knew right away. I held his ear with a towel and when I pulled it away I realized that I CUT CLEAN ThROUGH TOP OF HIS EAR! Cartilage and all, at the top point of his ear where it curls over a bit I cut a 1/4 inch vertically through his ear. I had him hold it with gauze finished the cut and to contact me if he encounters any problems. He never did. I’m very carful and precise with men’s cuts now.
My aunt’s not the best hair dresser. My cousin told me this story: I guess a brunette woman asked for a bright red “peek-a-boo” dye job and highlights. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s where a slim chunk of hair is dyed (sometimes it’s hidden behind other hair, hence the name). Well, somehow, my aunt was dying her hair, and mixed up the red dye and the dye she was using to highlight. So, when the hair was finished, the customer was obviously mortified. She stood up and yelled “What did you do to my head?!” But my aunt made her pay anyways. Then, ironically, her salon went out of business a month later.
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.
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.
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I straight razor shaved off a new customers skin-tag once. He apparently didnt feel it, and I didn’t know exactly how to approach it, so I casually mentioned “So you know that skintag on your neck that you used to have?…” He heard the tone of my voice and saw my face growing pale and thought it was hilarious. Was surprised he still tipped me, now he’s one of my regulars-
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.
An Indian woman with long beautiful hair came into my salon. She barely spoke any English but I tried my best to communicate with her and understand what she wanted. She motioned several times with her hand that she wanted quite a few inches off… close to about 8 inches if I remember right.
So I cut. and cut. and cut. It looked great! I spun her around in the chair to face the mirror, a proud smile on my face, excited to see what she thought of her new look.
Her mouth dropped open. “no… no… 2…” was all she could say, holding her fingers up 2 inches apart. Her eyes dilated as she stroked the air where her hair used to be. She didn’t cry, and wasn’t mad, because she knew that the language barrier was what caused the mix up. But she was just in complete shock.
I felt awful. I tried to explain what I thought she had meant, and apologized. I didn’t charge her and walked her to the front of the salon. I left and went in back and started bawling. 5 minutes later, a coworker came in the break room looking for me and said that the woman wanted her hair off the floor. I had to go back out there, tear marks on my face, sweep this lady’s hair into a bag and give it to her, apologizing over and over again.
I had a long-time customer who was a Naval Officer. She came to me every 3-4 weeks for a trim to stay within the military hair regulations. One evening a bit more than an hour before closing she came in and wanted to add some auburn-red highlights to her hair. No problem! I’ve done this a million times before! I went through the whole Q&A prior to any chemical service… all’s good! Mixed the color, applied accordingly, checked the color changing stages as required, alls great. Gave the color one final minute, rinsed it off and her hair had turned a flourescent pink! Glow-in-the-dark pink! All she and I could do was laugh hysterically. (whew!)
After I regrouped, I corrected the color and she went on her way. She remained a customer, and even started bringing her two sisters to me. Thats been 20 years ago and I still cannot figure out what went wrong. Oh well.
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I’m a fairly young barber/cosmetologist 7 years in the making. Started out in the women’s field and migrated to men’s hair only. I’ll share a few most memorable moments. One was first starting out I worked at a chain and got my hourly pay and screwed up ALOT, I felt it was the excellent place to learn and get all my screw ups out. One client, I had done a short Bob cut. And for the life of me couldn’t get it sharp and even. She complained I tried to straighten it out. But it was still uneven.. I was like I’m sorry I can’t see the unevenness you’re stating. I wasn’t that bad honestly, compared to other cuts. I realize now it was likely my beginner shears that contributed to the rigid uneven cut.
I once had a client who just said trim it up. I begin my definition of a trim he feels the sides says “too short.” I screwed up moment sets in. The incision on the hair is made I gotta blend In from that spot no turning back. I replied ok. But had to finish the cut I intended. He said too short two more times during the cut. At the end flipped out said I told you too short three times didn’t I. I apologized and said there wasn’t much I could do other than to finish the cut that was started. He was pist still offered to pay. I accepted.
I had another interesting moment where a client had a very short forehead so the eyebrows had minimal separation from the front hairline. I managed to accidentally nick the eyebrow vanilla ice style. I pproceeded to offer to trim the eyebrow. Had to make them slightly thinner. I managed to thin the brow enough that the brow nick was minimal. spun around to mirror and voila. Not surre he ever knew.
I’ve been a licensed cosmetologist since 2012. My first job behind the chair was at a franchised chain salon, they did cuts, colors, perms, styles, and facial waxing. I’d say I had been working there for about a month when a gentleman came in and wanted to color his hair. Chemical services, especially colors, can easily be high ticket items and if you really want to make your commission they’re the easiest way to do so. Anyways, my manager decided to give this client to me as she wasn’t staying late enough to finish him and wanted to help me reach my commission.
So I call this guy back so we can do the consult. He had some old bleach on his ends and then his natural was like a dark brown /almost black. He wants to be a dark ash blonde. I say no problem and mix up some powder lightener with 30 volume and 2 packets of sweet and low (standard bad habits in this salon), apply it all over and stick him under the dryer. When I come to check on him his hair lifted past where it should have, into a bright yellow. So I know it’s time to get the bleach off his hair and tone it to where he wanted it. So I shampoo and go back to mix my toner. Came back and applied it, watched it for 10 minutes, no change. So I head back and add a little bit of a darker ash color to the toner and reapply. This time it’s instant green… Like a pea green. I tried to clarify it out, still green. Maybe he won’t notice? I take him back up to my station and his ends are just shredding apart, like bubblegum. I recommend some protein treatments to take home and he politely declines, pays, and tips me well. Looked pea green, wasn’t the color we chose, but he didn’t seem upset. Weirdest thing.
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My girlfriend is a hairdresser & this is my favourite story she’s told me:
When she was in hairdresser school her year was the last year to do the cut throat razor shave. It’s used in a lot of men’s haircuts, but they also learnt to shave the guy’s face swell, because you’re already there so why not?
So all the students had to bring in someone & shave them, she bought in her dad, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him with facial hair so it would’ve been pretty easy to do. This other girl in the class, however, chose someone with around a week old growth. So the girl goes in with the razor & starts on the sideburns, working her way down and it’s all going well. Then she gets to the neck and hidden under this small beard is the adam’s apple from hell. The girl has no idea how to deal with it so she just goes straight in. The skin from around the guys adams apple flaps off like a bit of pepperoni & the cut goes white before pissing out blood. Had to call the ambulance and everything. Freaks me out.
Whenever a bleach blonde wants to change their hair to a Burnette, you must add a filer of red first. This allows the hair to turn to an orange stage before it can return to brown (color wheel shit) 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 a dark ashy brown. I still wasn’t happy, but at least she wasn’t green right?
I have been a stylist for 14 years and there are two occasions that stick out in my mind.
1.) Teenage girl comes in with pictures of Christina Aguilera, circa 2000. Platinum with sporadic black lowlights. I explain to her that no matter how talented/ careful I am, this will not work, she, Christina, has black extensions. Clients hair was a medium brown. I explained the hair needed to be lifted off the charts to platinum, leaving the hair porous, which in turn will soak up the black color, leaving the hair grey. She says she doesn’t care and I said, “Okay, we shall see!” Go through hours of lightening, take her to the bowl to rinse, use cool water to prevent the blonde absorbing the black, even trying to keep the hair separate. I can already see that the situation I had warned her about has happened. I smile, towel on her head and take her to the chair for the reveal. She freaked out and said, “I thought you were kidding!” I reply, “no, I wasn’t kidding but seeing as you thought you knew better, I figured I would give it a shot.” Luckily, I had time to fill it and put her to the brown she was born with. She paid. Days later, the mother comes in and complains about asking for a service and not getting the results. Told the mother she had undesired results, which she was warned about, and why would you send your teenager to a salon, alone, with that kind of request? Jerk!
2.) Went to UK for 2 weeks to visit family. During our stay, the salon I worked at switched color brands and had a class about the differences and how to use. A regular client came in for low lights, so I used a similar formula that I had used in the previous color line. They turned black instead of a light brown. As I panic in the back room, furiously mixing color to fix it, a coworker says, “oh, you need to use a shade or 2 lighter than desired and the other developer. Didn’t you know?” Let me be clear and tell you all that I asked what the differences were between the two color lines and told there weren’t any. Client was cool. Fixed it but I wouldn’t let her pay. I felt horrible but still I was pissed at my coworkers!