Over the many years since I first started HairBoutique.com I have received a series of emails and phone calls from hair consumers who have received unfortunate hair cuts, color, chemical applications and hairstyles at the hands of a hair professional.
Although they are usually upset, some want to understand why the hairdressers made the mistake in the first place. Was it intentional? Was it due to lack of skill and/or knowledge? Or was there some other reason a visit to the hairdresser went so terribly wrong?
The answer to why do hairdressers make mistakes is that there is no one answer to the question. Some of the possible reasons include:
1. Your hairdresser is human.
All humans make mistakes. Even those that try the hardest not to fall prey to this human condition.
2. Hairdressers have bad days.
They get headaches, their arms, hands, feet hurt from the rigors of their professional. They have fights with their loved ones, their boss can be a pain. You name it. They experience life like all of us. Sometimes those bad days translate into less than perfect hairdressing skills.
3. Boredom has taken over.
People in every profession can succumb to boredom. It happens. When a hairdresser is bored they may not try as hard or rush through their styling tasks just to get it over with. Of course this attitude increases the danger of hair mistakes for the client.
4. Hairdressers stop learning and growing.
Some hairdressers only take the state mandated continuing education which might include sanitation classes. Once they graduate they don't continue to learn and grow in their skillset. As a result they might not be as well educated as they should about the latest hair chemicals or colors.
5. Time challenges can also lead to hairdresser mistakes.
That's how my own hairdresser destroyed my carefully created highlights. She was late to my appointment, had her next client already waiting and decided to take shortcuts with my hair which left my tresses bright orange and my scalp on fire from the wrong chemicals.
It's not always the hairdresser who causes time issues. Clients may not show up on time for their appointments which throws off the hairdresser's entire day. As they try to stay on schedule they may be rushed and rushing may cause mistakes or require shortcuts which can result in hair problems or disasters.
6. They're do hair procedures they don't really understand.
Although rare, some hairdressers will bill themselves as experts in hair procedures they have not had the proper training to offer. A good case is chemical straightening which often requires advanced classes. Many manufacturers require hairdressers to take classes and become certified in their systems, but not all manufacturers do so.
Some hairdresser who want to earn the money which more complicated styling procedures produce, will start to offer the service without being properly trained. Clients may experience bad results when this occurs.
7. Not all hairdressers are created equal.
Some hairdressers are more proficient at cutting while others are naturally talented at doing hair color. Hairdressers who don't understand hair color might not be able to properly perform color correction or other advanced hair color techniques.
8. Lack of proper tools and/or products.
Depending on the hairdresser and whether they are an independent booth renter or work for a chain of salons, they may or may not have the proper products and/or tools to create the ideal hairstyles or techniques.
What can the hair consumer do to prevent mistakes?
1. If your hairdresser appears to be tired, ill or rushed for time, offer to come back at a better time. It's better to leave and come back then spend the next several weeks growing out a bad haircut, hairstyle or hair color. Right?
Other things you can do is always call approximately 30 minutes before your appointment to see if your hairdresser is on schedule. If not, ask how far behind they are and if they have people after you. At that point you may want to just reschedule to avoid a harried hairdresser.
If your hairdresser seems super stressed, rushed or upset offer to abbreviate your appointment or come back later.
2. If your hairdresser seems unsure of the steps they need to take to create a style or service, cancel the procedure.
This is especially true with a new hairdresser you have never been to before. If you show up for a hair color appointment and they are out of foils, don't have the correct color or products, this is a warning sign.
This is what happened to me. My hairdresser was running late for my appointment and arrived at the salon to discover she was out of my normal Socolor product. Instead of telling me and rescheduling, she decided "on the fly" to just go ahead and apply Redken, without telling me. She figures "I wouldn't notice" which is what she told me later when my hair was orange and my scalp was burning.
3. Ask lots of questions, especially when working with a new hairdresser or hair colorist.
Highly experienced hairdressers and hair colorists usually maintain a "look book" of their work with photos of their clients who they have colored, cut, styled or chemically treated. One hairdresser I know has a series of books with just updos he has created for proms, weddings and hair parties. You can flip through his book to see what he has created and ask him to create a similar look for you.
4. Get recommendations from others who have worked with a hairdresser.
Just as experts say its important to research medical doctors and hospitals, the same is true with hair dressers, hair colorists and salons. Do your research especially if you are going to a new salon, hairdresser or hairstylist.
Hair Consumer Responsibility
Ultimately it is the hair consumers responsibility to access the expertise of their hairdresser or hair colorist before proceedings. Of course life happens to the very best hairdressers and hair colorists and when it does, the client should be prepared to be flexible and cut the hairdresser some slack.
All of us, the clients and the hair pros, are all human. I have been on both sides of the chair, in front of it and behind it. I understand better than many the importance of both sides taking responsibility for their hair experiences and doing their very best while keeping an eye on what can possibility cause a problem and avoiding it as much as possible.
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