|Victory Over A Bad Hair Perm
|Karen Marie Shelton - Copyright - All
| Revised Publication Date: 01/02/13
Introduction - Victory Over A Bad Hair Perm
A True Story Of A Woman Who Took On Her
Hairstylist And Won
Hair by Barbara Lhotan
All Rights Reserved
The true story I'm about to tell will give hope to the many people who go
to a hair salon requesting a specific service and leave with unfortunate
This is a story about how one hair consumer received justice over a "bad perm" started on May 29,
1998 when I
received an email to AskKaren from Belinda Rodgers
of Ireland. Belinda who gave permission to share this story wrote:
I had a corkscrew or spiral perm put in my hair around a week ago. When
I left the salon, I was not particularly happy with the perm as it
seemed on the limp side - indeed one of the junior staff who was given
the job of drying my hair offered to put it in rollers!!!
I've had perms in the past which have taken very well, and have lasted at least 6
months. Yesterday I washed my new hairdo, and the perm is now virtually non-existent, more
of a loose wave than a spiral curl. I have complained to the hairdresser in question, and am due to go
back in tomorrow to see 'what they can do'.
This salon is one of the most expensive in Dublin, where I live - so it isn't a
case of cheap haircuts or services.
I need to be armed with some facts before I go back in. Can I have another perm
done so soon after a failed perm? I am concerned about the condition my hair may be left
in, should they offer to do this.
Hoping for a quick reply,
Hair by Andrew
All Rights Reserved
I was not surprised by Belinda's email. I receive a lot of
email from people who have had unhappy experiences with spiral perm
I wanted to help Belinda the best that I could. My primary concern
for her was whether having another spiral perm applied to her hair so soon
after the first was a good idea.
When a perm is reapplied there is always a risk of hair damage
from the chemicals.
On May 30th, I wrote Belinda the following response:
I just received your email as soon as I got home...so I hope this is enough time
for a response.
First of all, I would personally ask the salon to give me a refund for
the perm service. I wouldn't recommend letting them give you another perm on
your hair within just days of doing the
first perm. There is definitely a risk of damage to your hair from having
the perm reapplied so soon to your hair after the first treatment.
There is, in my opinion, the real possibility of them "burning" your hair
because your stylist may decide to apply a stronger solution to make sure the second
perm takes. Or your stylist may leave the perm solution in your hair for a
longer period of time. Either option is could cause concern for damage.
If the salon doesn't want to give you a refund for the original spiral
perm service and wants to immediately redo the perm, request an extended
for a new perm in a few weeks. Try to wait a reasonable amount of
time before you go back for the second perm. Explain to the salon you
wish to give your hair a rest between perm applications.
Any type of chemical application to the hair can definitely harm the hair. I strongly recommend no one ever do two
chemical treatments to their hair in a short span of time.
There are some stylists who will do color and perm at the same time.
They avoid potential damage by
wrapping hair in different colored foils and keeping the chemical
treatments separate. They perm parts of the hair while they
others, but not the same sections of hair. This prevents tresses from having more than one chemical applied
at the same time.
While it's possible you may be able to have a second perm application
without damage, you might also experience fried tresses which
might manifest as extreme dryness and/or breakage. A lot depends on the
current condition of your hair after the first spiral perm treatment.
It's always best to allow your hair time to recover from any chemical
processing. Apply a few deep conditioning treatments before having
the next spiral perm treatment.
Unfortunately, even the most high end salons will not necessarily protect you from what
you experienced. In some cases celebrities like Cameron Diaz, Kate
Hudson and similar, have publicly shared their experiences with unhappy
Some stylists who are very talented at cutting hair may
not be as talented with color or perms. Stylists who are great with color and perms,
may not be as skilled with cutting. Which is why sometimes it's best to find a
stylist who specializes in the type of hair treatment you desire
The best protection you have when having your hair chemically treated
is to do your homework and be firm about how you want your hair treated.
If you're not comfortable with an instant redo of the spiral perm ask
for other options. A redo is not always the best solution for your
Of course if you are really unhappy you always have the option to
firmly request a full money back and find another salon.
Thanks for writing and good luck. Let me know how it goes.
Hair by Nicky Clarke
All Rights Reserved
Belinda immediately responded with the following email on 5/30/98:
Thanks so much for your quick and detailed response. You have confirmed what I had
suspected, namely the risk of fried hair!
I am due over in Los Angeles in about 4 weeks time for a music conference, and also
have meetings with music industry types, which is why I went off to get my hair 'done' in
the first place.
I thought I'd be clever and give it time to 'sink in' before I went - At
least the cut is quite good if nothing else. I really don't think I'll risk another perm -
the possible consequences are too horrible to contemplate.
I have a phobia about hairdressers anyway - They never listen to what you ask
for...they always want to cut it in a big way...and it's always your hairs fault when it
doesn't come out right ! - so I only go about every 3 years when I pluck up enough courage
to accept the outcome (my mum trims it meanwhile).
I'm not a nervous hair person having said that - but I just think a lot of these
people are rather dim with a bad sense of style - (have you noticed most hairdressers hair
isn't great!!). My guess is the top stylists around the world probably are intelligent,
and have a sense of style which is what puts them a cut above the rest !.
Ah well, at least my hair will survive, with a lot of scrunching and hair wax,
it'll be o.k.
Best wishes - I'll send you a short note and let you know what wriggling the
P.S. I already phoned them, and the receptionist told me 'well, we use very weak
lotions you know, and perms always relax a fair bit within the first 3 weeks' !!!!!.
After Belinda went into to talk to the hair salon about her unhappiness with the perm
she immediately emailed me the results. Belinda also sent me a photo (which
she gave me permission to display) of what her hair was
supposed to look like with the spiral perm and what it turned out to be.
The difference in what she had asked
for and what she received was very different as you can see for yourself.
Model's Perm and Belinda's Perm (Right)
Belinda gave me the details of her visit to the salon in her very next email:
Yes, I've been in, had no joy and come out again ! raging !. I was passed from the
original stylist, to a senior stylist, and finally the owner himself Mr. David Marshall (a
rather overweight fifty-something living off past glories... I suspect).
The original stylist was o.k. and said that she thought the lotion may have been
too weak. The senior stylist wanted to wash my hair and put sticky substances in to see if
it curled (I refused, as I know that normally, if you spray these types of perms with
water and scrunch, the hair should curl, which it wasn't doing).
I told her I wasn't prepared to let her attempt to force a curl into it when it was
quite apparent there was only a wave.
As usual, they were trying to make me feel like an
idiot. Mr. Marshall then came to see my hair. Whilst teasing it said rather
condescendingly that he couldn't see a problem.
I told him that there was no curl only a wave. He disputed this, and so I raised my
voice and said that there was no curl, but a wave and I wanted my money back.
claimed that he was 'not prepared to be abused like this, and I could leave the salon'. I
replied that I was not prepared to be bullied into accepting a wave was a curl and I would
complain to the appropriate authorities.
So now I guess I'll be writing to the newspapers. I have tried to find out if
there is any authority I can complain to and can only find the Irish Hairdressers
I suspect they just help hairdressers along. I'm going to get a picture taken of my
hair in its current state as proof. I have also spoken to a hairdressing friend of mine
who used to be a top stylist in Dublin (now retired to look after her children).
agrees that the perm I've had in no way constitutes a spiral perm, so at least I have an
independent professional view on it.
The salon owner really has annoyed me, as he offered
no recompense whatsoever, he's obviously relying on the fact that most women walk away
meekly putting the experience down as just one of those things.
If you have any suggestions (I realize the U.S. is different from
Ireland), I will gratefully
Once again, Thanks for your help
Curly Hair by
All Rights Reserved
On June 1, 1998 Karen Shelton wrote:
I am so sorry you had such a difficult time when you went to the salon
to resolve your spiral perm issues.
It's unfortunate you didn't feel the situation was resolved to your
full satisfaction and felt the owner was completely unsympathetic to
your hair plight.
If the salon is not willing to work with you at this point you have
It's very important that you be able to provide as much documentation
as possible including any photos of your hair with the failed perm,
cancelled checks, receipts and a journal of the sequence of events which
1. If you paid by credit card you may be able to fill a
chargeback and/or complaint with your credit card company. They
will usually open an investigation into the dispute and will often be
able to negotiate a satisfactory outcome.
2. If you paid by check the best option is to visit your bank
and ask them what options they provide for disputing a payment.
They can advise you of how to proceed.
3. If you paid with cash you can still file a complaint with a
small claims court. You may also wish to discuss your situation
with an attorney to get their advice on the matter.
4. Allure Magazine has a monthly column - No Problem
360 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017.
If you send them a complete description of the problem, when it happened and your
name and phone number, they investigate your hair and/or beauty service problems
and may contact the shop. They then print what the shop did to resolve the
Talk about major consumer pressures. Allure really knows how to do this because the
shop knows that to have their name published in Allure Magazine with an unsatisfactory
resolution would be the death to a shop. I don't know if writing to Allure would help
you...but what the heck...it can't hurt.
Note: Allure Magazine no longer offers the No Problem
5. Post your experiences with the salon and Mr. David Marshall
on Yelp or a similar consumer review forum. Be sure to post only
the facts which you can confirm to avoid any type of defamation issues
from the salon or Mr. Marshall.
Most salons understand the importance of making their customer happy
and how damaging bad publicity may be for their long term business
While many salons may want you to just go away and not make any waves,
they understand the power or bad press. The worst
thing which can happen is for someone to take to Social Media to share
their unfortunate experiences.
Sharing a bad experience applies a lot of pressure on the service
provider, plus it saves some other poor unsuspecting person
from the same horrible fate.
6. In the United States you can also write to the Attorney General of the
state the salon is located in. Often if the service was for a significant
amount they will investigate. Not all will, but some will.
7. You can write to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
While this may make you feel better, the BBB has not actual power to
force a company to work with you over a dispute. You will have
better luck with your credit card company or bank. However, it
does help is some cases.
Please let me know what else I can do to help. I an always happy to investigate further
on your behalf.
Please keep in touch.
The last I heard from Belinda was at the beginning of June 1998. I knew she traveled
quite a bit and had plans to spend some time in California. I
wondered about her bad spiral perm and hoped everything had turned out well for her.
I always request AskKaren
visitors, when they're willing, let me know the
outcome of their experiences. I was delighted to receive an email from Belinda on
September 7, 1998 with victorious news about her victory over her bad perm
It's been a long time since I was in contact with you - but the wheels of law turn
very slowly - I was very fortunate in that I managed to get a hairdressing friend of mine
to vouch that my hair was not permed in the style I had asked the rogue hairdresser for,
and I had a letter drawn up to that effect, which she signed.
I submitted this with an application to the Small Claims Court enclosing a picture
of my hair with a picture of a corkscrew as shown on one of the net sites for comparison.
I itemized my experience at the hairdressers and I also wrote to our main local
newspaper - this got printed.
The hairdresser did not reply to the Small Claims Court when they asked him to
respond to the allegations, so by default I have won - and he is ordered to pay the full
amount of my claim (110 pounds which was the cost of my visit to them).
The only problem is how they are going to get the money out of him, if he doesn't
cough up he will be asked to attend a crown court hearing and so on.... we will wait and
see, but at least I have the satisfaction of knowing he did not get away with it.
the bottom line is, if you're in the right - persevere. Thanks again for your interest and
Model's Perm and Belinda's Perm (Belinda On Right)
On September 8, 1998 Karen Shelton wrote:
Thanks for sharing your photos along with the news of your victory over
your bad perm. I'm
so glad your friend stood up for you as a witness regarding your failed
Would you be willing to let me share your experiences
with HairBoutique.com visitors? It's totally up to you. However, I think it would be great inspiration for other
people all over the world who have lived through similar disappointing
If you don't want me to post this for any reason, I will totally understand. If you
want to post it, but change any names because of legal reasons, I would be glad to do that
Congratulations on your victory. Thank you for sharing your experiences
I was very happy when I received Belinda's written permission to post the entire saga of her
bad perm. Her victory over her bad perm was inspiration. I'm sure
it'll help hair consumers realize they have options when they are unhappy
with the services they receive from their salons and/or stylists.
On September 9, 1998 Belinda Wrote:
No problem ! Go ahead and display away.... the only thing I would say is... if
you're going to just use a direct copy of my mail - check the spelling!
I often type these things out in a hurry and don't put the spell check on, (I have
a 2.5 year old who causes major havoc in all departments when I'm not looking, so my brain
is on two jobs at once!).
If you need any other info let me know.. I look forward to seeing the article. By
the way, in the item that got printed in the paper, I basically complained about the fact
that there were no independent bodies in Ireland that someone with a hair complaint could
go to for a professional opinion - The Irish Hairdresser federation only looks after
hairdressers, and as I said before - I approached around 10 hairdressers in my area and
none of them would officially assess my hairdo (it's like some unwritten law, where they
are terrified of commenting on someone else's work...although they're quick enough to
comment when you're going in to get a new hairdo !).
I'm sure this must be a problem everywhere, so I was lucky I had at least one
professional hairdresser as a friend, though I would have been happier with two separate
opinions...still it worked out in the end.
And it only cost me 6.00 to use the small claims procedure !
Thank you to Belinda for sharing all of her bad hair perm trials and tribulations with all of us.
It's always great to publish a happy bad hair experience ending.
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Original Publication Date: 1998 - Revised
Publication Date: 01/03/13