If you’re a hair dresser one thing’s for sure, you gotta love hair cuts. Right? Well, seems like there are times when barbers are faced with situations where they can’t help but hate what they do.
I had a young man come in with his mother. He was about 8 years old and had tight curly hair. His mother ask me to shave down to a 00000, that is the shortest you can go with clippers. I said sure. It was my last cut of the day and I was eager to go home.
I start the service and notice barely 1/3rd in that he had a lice infestation under the tight curly hair. And these guys were huge. Probably why his mother needed me to shave it off. So I discontinued the service and spent the next 3 hours disinfecting everything in sight.
The boys mother called the barbershop later to complain because I wouldn’t finish shaving her son’s hair. We tried to explain that it was illegal for us to continue the service as it might spread lice to others and recommended a specialty shop that could take care of this for them but she demanded that it was because we were racist!
That was fun.
My stylist once had a woman with hair past her butt who wanted to donate everything to Locks of Love.
This woman with hair down nearly to her thighs says she wants a pixie cut, and is donating everything else. After checking multiple times to see that she was positive she wanted a pixie, and not a short bob or anything, the stylist starts cutting.
The woman sobbed the entire time. Like, shoulder shuddering sobs in the dressing chair with her sad little haircut cape on.
Stylist kept asking if it was ok, but the woman was determined to help people with cancer and told her to keep going and to ignore her tears.
My stylist said it was the most awkward experience of her life. Other customers kept coming in and probably assumed she was maiming this poor woman.
I used to work as a receptionist at a high end salon. One day, a lady called and asked if we had anyone who specialized in cutting curly hair. I matched her up with someone, asked the standard questions, and made the appointment – It was for her grand daughter.
When the family showed up, the mother and grandmother were white, and the granddaughter was African American. They obviously didn’t know (and didn’t bother to learn) how to take care of the girl’s hair, because it was in a giant, waist-length ponytail that was completely matted. She also had a bit of a developmental disability, and they claimed she would not wash her hair herself.
I could smell her as soon as she walked in, but when the stylist got her hair wet at the shampoo bowl, the smell quickly permeated the entire salon.
It was like a punch to the gut. The hair stylist had to keep coming up front for fresh air. She said giant flakes/sheets of dandruff and buildup were basically crusted to the girl’s scalp and throughout her hair. The matted ponytail was the worst of it. What should have been a simple 45 minute service ended up taking over four hours.
The girl looked great when she was done. I felt terrible for her because it was pretty obvious that her mom and grandma had no intention of keeping her hair maintained. I got the impression that they basically only took her for a haircut when things got completely out of control. I was horrified that they apparently weren’t even bothering to wash her hair at home. They bought a bunch of products that the stylist recommended, but ended up returning everything a day or two later.
My sister worked as a receptionist at a high end salon. A regular client came in and idly said something about how her scalp had been itching a lot.
She had head lice and didn’t even know. The stylist pulled aside my sister and said, “Get twenty out of the register, run to the drug store, get some Rid. Throw away the box and bring the bottles to me.”
The stylist then told the client that she’d be getting an additional shampooing to help with the scalp, treated the ladies hair, combed out the nits, then washed, styled and blew-out as normal.
Long time ago but I had to wash and cut a teenager who hadn’t washed his hair in what looked like months. The smell was awful.
Our salon policy was to wash the hair after a men’s cut. So after his cut, I tried to wet his hair in the shampoo bowl but the water just ran off his hair because of all the oil buildup. I had seen a lot during my years as a stylist but that was the worst experience.
This was while I was still in school. A dirty looking woman came in needing her hair washed and probably cut too. She had open sores all over her face and neck, which meant she probably had them on her head too.
Her hair was completely dreaded into one huge dread from how dirty and tangled it was. I was in the middle of putting conditioner on her when she informed me she was HIV positive for over 15 years.
One of the first shops I worked in there were two individuals who would regularly come in for cuts. Both of them were physically so dirty it changed their skin tone, and they absolutely REEKED of cat piss. Being close to them made my eyes water and it was extremely difficult to breathe as the smell of ammonia was just plain overwhelming.
We never turned them away, and we were always as polite as we could be. But those haircuts always felt like they lasted for at least three hours.
My dad was a hairdresser before he passed. When I was young, I had really bad psoriasis on my scalp. My dad has been the only one to ever cut my hair. He passed 3 months ago, and I can’t bring myself to get my hair cut, even though it’s desperately needed.
In my 25 years on this planet I can remember a few times sitting in his chair where he was literally combing and cutting out large chunks of dead, flakey skin. It was the most embarrassed I have ever been in front of him, because no matter how many topical remedies I tried, I couldn’t get it to go away.
Eventually I grew out of the psoriasis, but I still hold onto this moment as one of my favorite moments, where the love my dad had for me really shone through.
This story is the biggest reason why I chose Cosmetology.
My mom has really bad psoriasis and she was scared away by a stylist who kept insisting LOUDLY my mom had fungus on her head even after my mom told her what it was.
She hasn’t been able to get her hair done after that. So I decided I would do it myself.
I had really really thick hair as a kid. I remember going to the hairdresser and as the lady washed my hair I told her that she was doing it wrong, that it wouldn’t brush easily unless she washed it right.
She was balling it all up and massaging my scalp vigorously. What needed to be done (and what I still do today) was to keep the hair straight, NEVER ball it, wash the scalp, and rinse so that the water carries the suds down the length of the hair and cleans it. If it’s so dirty that suds won’t do the trick, you can do more, but still NEVER ball it up.
I remember sitting there bored out of my gourd with the most miffed “I told you so” thoughts going through my head for the longest time as three hairdressers and my mom all tried to brush out the rat nest that hairdresser caused.
My sister is a hairstylist and got scabies once from a kid.
Apparently the mom knew the kid had scabies, but just didn’t tell my sister until they were leaving. Yuck.
My husband is a barber, one day he had a guy come in with dreads, wanting them all shaved off. He parted his dreads, looked at his scalp and noticed it was green! He touched it and saw it ripple.
When he asked the guy when he’d last washed his hair, he replied ‘about 3 years ago!!’ My husband realized the guys whole scalp was covered in a layer of pus!! He sent him straight to A&E to have everything drained and treated with antibiotics first.
I might have been the nasty client here.
I desperately needed a haircut, but I also had a cyst on my head that was fairly large. My hairdresser was very quiet for once, and that’s never a good sign with a hairdresser. In my defense, I’d tried to get a doctor to fix the cyst, but she wasn’t able to dig all of it out of my scalp, and it grew back.
Maybe a week or two after the haircut, I popped the cyst like the nastiest pimple ever known to creation. Seriously, the amount of stuff that came out put me into a bit of shock, and my hands looked like I’d been messing with a gunshot wound. On the bright side, popping the cyst managed to blow the whole thing out. It never regrew, and my hairdresser was happy with me again.
In cosmetology school we used to do a program where homeless and shelter people could come in for free services. I thought the program was fantastic. Unfortunately a lot of these people would take advantage of it and get unnecessary services because they were free.
One of my worst nightmares was a teenage boy whose mom made him come in one afternoon to get ‘whatever he wanted’ – so he got a haircut (ok), then he wanted a shave (also ok), then a manicure (meh kind of unnecessary), then a pedicure. His feet were DISGUSTING, I don’t think his socks were washed in a month, and then he insisted we do french polish on them. It was awful.
THEN he decided he wanted a facial and a back facial. OMG I am going to DIE at this point. And I can’t turn him down because that’s policy at the school.
So this kid had the WORST acne in the world; and here I am just massaging his face (and then back) and it felt like crater town. And while giving the facial he kept his eyes open and was smiling the whole time while staring at me. They were the worst 4 hours of my entire life.
Then when his mom comes to pick him up – she actually said to me, oh you gave him a facial – you should have popped some of those pimples he had (uh no thank you!!).
I do groom dogs and I have seen some things that make me want to never give these dogs back to their owners!
My worst experience was when I had someone bring in their 2 year old shih tzu. She was down as a mini groom (that’s where we only trim the face,feet, and private areas) so I’m thinking this will be an easy groom, wrong. This women walked in with her dog wrapped in a towel because she doesn’t even want to touch him!
The dog’s hair is one solid mat including his face and there is a deep giant hole in his coat where the poop has exploded through his hair meaning he has been pooping into his own hair for so long the build up finally busted a hole through his hair!
I have to shave him before he can get any kind of bath so I find a spot I can break through and start shaving (this is very bad on my tools by the way). Once I finally release this dog from his mat prison, which came off almost in one solid piece, he ends up having so many sores on his skin. He was shaking his head so much it starting to cause hematomas on his ears. His butthole was infected and his body was infested with fleas!
I’m so upset at this point. I feel so terrible for this poor dog but all I can do is bathe him, get rid of the fleas and inform the owner that she needs to take him to the vet.
I’m a hairstylist, pretty new still. In school you can’t really turn anyone away. I had a petite women sit in my chair, tweaked out of her mind, with her pimp telling us to dye her stringy, fried hair blonde and cut them to her chin.
She didn’t speak for herself at all, she wouldn’t even look in the mirror. He gave all the instructions, he definitely had a specific look for her in mind. He was a huge douchebag to everyone. After the cut she left the chair to go cry in the bathroom. A classmate went to go check on her and saw she had already walked out of our shop. Her pimp left quickly after that.
I think about her sometimes and I hope she’s okay. I wish I had gotten the chance to make her feel beautiful.
I was new to doing hair in a community that was mostly old people. Well, a lady comes in looking for a haircut and I swear, she had a giant crust mountain on her head! I wanna say like 3 inches in diameter. It was disgusting.
Now I know due to laws in my state you can refuse service if there is a medical condition like that. Well being brand new, I did not know this. She brought in a medicated shampoo from her Dr., so I used it on her and it smelled like cat food. During the cut, she had lumps of crust falling out and it was disgusting. I will never do that again.
A guy comes in for a haircut and all seems well. He gets a shampoo and then I go to cut. I notice this weird flappy thing on the top of his scalp so I take a look at it thinking it’s a scab or something.
Well, it has legs. So I take the fine teeth of my comb and pick this little critter out. Come to find out, this dude had a tick on his head and he probably wouldn’t have noticed for a long time had I not picked it off.
My mother was a hair dresser in the 1960s, during the time of the beehive.
Customers wouldn’t wash their hair for weeks, they’d just keep spraying it to keep it in place as the style was so complicated do. This meant a LOT of fleas, lice, and, on one occasion, cockroaches that had to be washed out.
For some reason this never bothered my mother all that much, but hearing about it made sure I never, ever wanted any kind of hands on customer service job.
I once had to turn a lady away after she booked in for hair extension removal. The micro bonded type, your stylist should tell you, last three months max. Apparently nobody told this lady. They had been in for seven months!
My boss booked her in with me (the extensions weren’t done in my salon). I took one look at it and told her I couldn’t help. There was a chunk of hair about six inches wide that was matted with bits of hair glue (not what we use) poking out. To me her options were shave it or cut it almost to the scalp. Some “hairdressers” shouldn’t be allowed,
A small-town barber here.
By “small-town” I mean a tiny speck in a vast Louisiana parish that has a human population of less than 700, most of the people are related in one way or another.
I’m the sole owner and employee of this town’s only barbershop, which means everyone comes to it at some point.
Most of them are the stereotypical friendly southern folk who make their living off of the farmland that has been passed down through their family for generations. But then there’s this one group of people who I refuse to serve every time they attempt to receive my services.
The Nopads are a family of about 20 who all share a log cabin outside of town (in the parish). These people are the most filthy, degenerate human beings I have ever laid eyes on.
Because of their cabin’s apparent lack of running water, this family has attempted to traipse into my shop time and time again for a good cleaning. And every time I refuse. At least a dozen of them are infested with ticks/fleas/chiggers/whatever, and every one of them can be smelled before they even open the door to my business.
My horror story?
Probably when I first moved down here and wasn’t aware
of who this family was. When all twenty of them (yes, they all come into town together) entered my store, I was very pleased because I wasn’t sure if my barbershop would become popular.
I plop the first kid down in the chair (being polite and pretending not to notice the rank stench of B.O.) and attempted to get to work on his collective mat of hair. Yes, you read that right; his entire head of hair was one giant mat, as was the rest of his family’s.
I broke out the big clippers and attempted to buzz from his neck up, but when I did a nest of spider eggs fell out. The momma spider had made a little burrow in part of his mat and laid eggs.
I kicked the whole family out and still refuse to see them every four months when they try to come back. And before you all say I’m mean for not cleaning them, there’s literally a stream right outside their cabin. which could be used for at least washing those hair.
My sister has a bucket of various mental illnesses. She goes MONTHS between proper showers/baths. She has lost jobs due to infestations of lice leaving her head and getting in peoples food. The smell of her is aggressive.
She “surfaced” last year because a family member was getting married. Dad is well off, so he took her to a nice salon to get ready. They told him to leave, immediately. Insulted, he went down the road to the next one. Same story. After 4 shops, he finally tried a vets office. They shaved her. That was fun.
My best friend went to cosmetology school and said the majority of pedicure practice came from old men who would come in to get their toenails cut, because they were too old to do it or couldn’t reach them, or whatever.
She told me once she saw a girl cut some old man’s toenails and one went flying right into her mouth.
Note: Content has been modified for clarity.