How to Deal with a Bad Haircut

Hairstylists share exactly what to do if you hate your haircut

bad haircut
Stocksy | Design by Zackary Angeline .

As much as we all wish we could leave the hair salon every time feeling J.Lo-level fabulous, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, you’ll look in the mirror afterward and feel anything from shock to horror to deep, deep sadness (R.I.P hair). Sound familiar? When this happens, a series of things may occur: screaming and crying; throwing things; wailing that “no one will ever like you again;” and a strong urge to reach for the shears. Do not—we repeat, do not—do any of these things. Instead, take a deep breath and keep reading because we're here to help. We spoke with the experts, who shared their best bad haircut-recovery steps.

Meet the Expert

  • Ammon Carver is a celebrity hairstylist and the Artistic Director of Cali-Curl, Inc.
  • Ted Gibson is a celebrity stylist and salon owner whose clients include Anne Hathaway, Renée Zellweger, and Ashley Greene.

Keep reading to learn what to do if you hate your haircut, and how to prevent it from happening again.

How to Get Your Hair Fixed

If you find yourself on the unfortunate side of the shears, Carver recommends following these tips—and avoiding these ideas that may pop into your head—immediately after you see yourself in the mirror.

  1. Don't panic: Yes, it may be easier said than done, but if you get a bad haircut, don't fret too much.
  2. Don’t try to fix the problem yourself: You may think that a little snip and cut will elevate your look but if you are not a professional, you will likely only make matters worse, and more difficult to fix later on.
  3. Don’t be too hard on your stylist: “Understand that, chances are, your stylist misunderstood your goal,” Carver says. “It doesn’t mean they are terrible at their job.”
  4. Don’t abandon a trusted stylist: Carter recommends giving your stylist an opportunity to make it right. The sooner you bring up your feelings, the better. “Don’t wait! Expressing your concern at the time of the appointment is ideal so that the stylist can do their best to make things better right then,” he advises.
  5. Allow them to fix their mistake: Now, there are times when going home and playing around with your cut can be helpful before deciding whether or not you want it cut or adjusted more. In those cases, he still recommends voicing your concerns to your stylist while in the chair and allowing them the option of fixing the cut immediately. “If their attempt to fix the problem still leaves you unsure, then agree to go home and play with the cut with the intention of potentially coming back based on the results of your playtime,” he says.
  6. Change the cut: "Sometimes, there is no such thing as fixing a bad haircut except changing it completely," says Gibson, who notes that it might mean bringing the length up more or changing the angle.

How to Conceal a Bad Haircut

  1. First, go through your usual routine: “If you get home and are still unhappy, wake up the next morning and go through your normal styling routine to pinpoint exactly what challenges you’re having with the cut so that you can provide useful feedback to your stylist," says Carter. Not sure what he means by specific feedback? Think along the lines of something like, “I like to sweep my bangs to the side and they fall a little too choppy with this cut.”
  2. Try hair extensions: If your bad haircut is a little shorter than you would have liked, Gibson says to consider extensions. You can go the less expensive route with tape-in or clip-in extensions, or spend some serious cash for a worthy investment that you can always have as a fail safe.
  3. Wear your hair in a ponytail: Switching up your hairstyle may help to mend your haircut. A ponytail is a hairstyle that can be mixed up enough (think high, low, messy, slicked back), to wear often if letting your hair down isn't an option. If your hair is too short, or there are too many layers, try a headband or tame the pieces with bobby pins and barrettes.
  4. Camouflage with hair color: Gibson says that switching up your hair color is another way to distract from a bad haircut, even if it's only temporary.

How to Prevent Future Bad Haircuts

"Everyone has had a haircut they didn’t like at one point or another. It's important to have clear communication with your hairdresser on what exactly you want," says Gibson. "Have realistic expectations and talk a lot about it during your consultation—which is the most important part of the haircut—so that both of you are on the same page. It may take longer sometimes but you will not regret it in the long run."

The Final Takeaway

While never ideal, bad haircuts do happen. Sometimes, it might take you a while to admit that you aren’t happy with your cut. No worries—Carver says two weeks is the maximum amount of acceptable time to have passed to call your stylist and express dissatisfaction. But no matter what, communication is key; from the minute you sit in the chair to the second before you walk out, always share what you're thinking, even if it is to convey disappointment. It could save you from a lot of upset and stress.

Related Stories