Banishing Bad Hair Days since 1997!™

Hair At Risk: Running With The Scissors


I often receive emails from distraught hair consumers who suffered a random or unexpected hair chopping at the hands of a well-meaning stylist. In the past when I received emails like that I would be skeptical that the consumers couldn't have prevented the dreaded attack of the scissors. (Image courtesy of Clairol - all rights reserved).

Life always has a way of proving me wrong just when I think that I have all the answers. Such was the case recently when I went to see a new hairstylist. My trusted stylist of over ten years, moved out of town several months ago and I have been trying on a variety of new stylists ever since.

Since I have been growing my hair long for the past twenty years I am extremely paranoid about subjecting my locks to just any stylist. I found a new stylist that claimed to have a "no cut" policy for Rapunzels like me. Lulled into a sense of false security I eagerly turned my locks over for my regular highlights with no discussion of any type of trimming or cutting.

The highlight went well until the final rinse out stage. At that point the stylist used a product that was very inferior to the products that I regularly use to pamper my aged locks with. Not a bottle of Phyto, Aveda, Rene Furterer or ARTec could be found anywhere in the salon. After the stylist subjected my strands to a vigorous shampoo session followed by minimal conditioning, she discovered that my soaking wet hair was extremely tangled. Well duh.

I was horrified by the tangled blob of hair that was revealed after the towel was removed. I was more freaked when she came at me with a comb with thick hair ripping knobs on the ends. Eeekkk I cried. She then retreated and returned with a wire brush with even bigger knobs. She offered to let me brush out the tangles if I preferred. (Image courtesy of Clairol - all rights reserved).

She seemed confused when I explained that you should never brush wet hair because it will cause it to rip.

Shaking her frustrated head she said that horrified phrase "why don't you let me take a run at you with the scissors and remove a lot of that hair that is tangled". Running at me with scissors is not acceptable under any circumstances. But certainly it was not in my realm of consideration since I had spent so much love, time and attention on my prized long locks.

My mind went into temporary shock as I quickly contemplated my options. As she stood there with the dreaded killer brush in one hand and the gleaming steel scissors in the other, I did what I thought I would never do. I ran.

Grabbing my checkbook I told her that I would "detangle and deal with my own locks" back at the office. Then I hastily paid my bill and mumbled something as I ran towards the front door, leaving a trail of gloppy drip marks on the salon's carpet. (Image courtesy of Clairol - all rights reserved).

As I left, she called out to me "you need to come back and have your ends trimmed. Or you should trim your ends at home". I nodded as she promised that "she would take a run at my ends if I preferred to come back sometime for a full trim.

Yeah right. Like you could ever get me back into that chair or anywhere near her weapons of mass hair destruction.

After I made it back to work and carefully applied blobs of Phyto 9 to my frazzled hair, it recovered beautifully. The tangles literally fell right out as I carefully detangled with my Mason Pearson detangling comb. I towel blotted my hair until it was almost dry and then finished with a quick blast of my Conair Ionic dryer. When I was finished, my hair was a gorgeous sheet of shiny, silky blonde strands that curled several inches below my waist. Unless you had been at the salon with me, you would never have known the potential tress destruction I had barely missed.

I examined my ends and discovered that they were neither split nor damaged. Of course the stylist figured that because my hair was tangled, it was because the ends were in bad shape. Not so.

So what should you do if you find yourself in a similar situation where a stylist is driving towards you with flying scissors?

Hair Emergency Options

Consider these hair emergency options:

1. Yell "STOP" as loud as you can. Inform the stylist you have a bathroom emergency. Run for the restroom where you will have a few minutes to consider your options. Should you stay or should you go? Only you know if you can handle the stylist, The important thing is to allow yourself some time to make an informed choice. (Image courtesy of Clairol - all rights reserved).

2. If you decide to stay at the salon, talk the stylist down from her weapon by promising you will come back for a full trim in a few days. This will normally pacify the most trim-happy stylist.

3. Tell the stylist that your religion requires that you can not trim your hair for any reason. Most stylists will not risk a major religious breach for a few inches.

4. Inform the stylist that you prefer to trim your own ends but would love to purchase a good scissors from them. Some stylists will actually sell you a pair of trimming scissors to guarantee that you do follow up with a good end clipping.

5. If the stylist seems hell bent on cutting your hair or trimming your ends, get up from the chair and physically leave the salon. Grab your checkbook and pay quickly. Then leave. Don't be enticed back to the chair for "just a quick little trim". Those famous last words have announced the beginning of major hair altering cuts and chops.

Don't get me wrong. I don't have a beef against a well planned trim or haircut. My problem is with random, unexpected, spur of the moment cuts or trims. These are the most dangerous types of trims and cuts that are designed to bail the stylist out of a bad situation. (Image courtesy of Clairol - all rights reserved).

Maybe the stylist is frustrated by a tangled mess of hair, like in my case, and figures a good trim will instantly remove the problem. Or maybe the stylist is having a slow day and needs to deliver more services.

Yes, it is also fair to say that many professional stylists sincerely want your hair to look its best and know that it is important to remove your split ends. The majority of stylists will never trim more than you request and will honor your wishes to not cut, if that is what you want.


Yes, split ends needs to be kept at bay and a good trim can help to shape up the messiest style. However, there is a good time and good place for a trim. As the customer you should have the final say about what is done to your hair.

I know one thing. I have learned a valuable lesson. The next time someone tells me that they were ambushed at the salon by a stylist running at them with the shears, I will understand exactly what they have experienced.

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