Being a hairdresser is probably one of the hardest jobs out there. I mean, it’s a lot of pressure to take someones most precious asset in your hands and create a masterpiece. And sometimes you just…fail.
Check out these 16 AskReddit stylists who shared their biggest hair mistakes. Some turned out great, some…not so much.
1. Oompa loompa
A woman with dark hair came in, she colored it by box often. She came in desperately wanting to be blond. I gave her two choices: we repeatedly highlight it over time, or I strip her hair and lighten it over a couple of appointments. The salon was closing soon and I told her I’d only have time for the stripping process and that her hair would likely be orange when she went home. She said that was fine. I assured her tomorrow’s appointment we’d take care of it. Well she left the chair looking like an oompa loompa and I never saw her again.
2. Lucky tip
I once had a guard pop off while I was cleaning around the sides of my customer’s head and I ended up shaving a bald spot about 2″x4″ on the back of his head. Luckily the customer was only a child, and his mother was very understanding. I gave her whole family of 5 free haircuts and they let me play around and do some chemical straightening and dye jobs. After they tipped me $200 and wouldn’t let me refuse it, even after telling them all the work I did would have only cost them around 170.
3. Tears were shed
I turned a girls head bright sea foam green. She was a teenager. It was supposed to be platinum blonde. I was alone. Tears were shed.
4. Unsuspecting chop
When I was in hair school, though, a lady came in who wanted a trim. She had her hair flat ironed when she came in, so I gave it a shampoo and started the cut. I didn’t realize how curly her hair had gotten while it was slowly drying and I was doing the trim. I was just keeping track of the last layer of hair I cut, and it wound up being about 4 inches shorter than I started. After she realized how short it was, she was a little upset but told me to fix it in some cute short cut. Turned out she loved it and kept it that way.
5. Chop chop
I’m a hairstylist. When I was in school, they just let me on the floor and I got my first haircut ever. It was this old man in his 70s. I was so nervous.
I start to cut around his ear and my hands were shaking so bad I let go of his ear on accident and it flipped up into my shears blade. I cut the top part of his ear off. I mean not like a significant portion but I got it good.
Blood starts pouring and I freak. He says, “Hey whats wrong?” I say,”Uhhh sorry but I cut your ear really bad.” He says, “Oh… I didn’t feel it, don’t worry dude just finish the haircut, its looking good.”
I was traumatized. But its been seven years since that, I’m actually kinda successful now.
6. “Pretend like you meant to do it”
I am a hairstylist. Whenever I was in cosmetology school, my mom (who works from home, and doesn’t get out much) let me practice cutting her hair. Her hair was a little bit past her shoulders, and I was attempting to take about 3 inches off. As I am cutting, I completely messed up a guideline somewhere, and accidentally cut the front way shorter than the back. When I realized what was happening, I said “It’s looking kind of mullet-ish, Mom”
Her response….”NEVER say that to a paying client, just figure out how to make it work and pretend like you meant to do it”. Needless to say, my mom had a sweet mullet for a little while.
7. Precious tail
I was working at a children’s salon for about a year during my cosmetology career. Most of the experiences were miserable due to unrealistic expectations of parents combined with children who were afraid of the clippers or shears. I’ll always remember when I accidentally cut off a little boys 4″ rat tail. The mother scooped him out of the chair right after, with only maybe 1/3 of his head shaved, and stormed out.
8. Expensive lie
I had a client who had “natural” black hair… She wanted to lighten it a few levels. So, of course, I mix my lightener and apply it. During the consultation I specifically asked if there was any previous colour that I should know about… due to the fact it would be harder to lighten if there were.
Anyways we get the foils all in and a few minutes later we see SMOKE coming from her “natural” hair. I open the foils to see smurf blue hair! She thought that by telling me it was “natural” she could get around me figuring out that there was colour… Don’t lie to your stylist. It never works. She ended up putting a lot more time and money into fixing that mess than if she had just told me the truth.
9. “Melted off her head”
I spent years quizzing women about their home color to confirm they didn’t use metallic dyes, I spent years spot testing women who said they have sensitivity or weren’t sure what they used…none of it ever amounted to anything and was a big time suck. I got progressively lazy about it.
Until one woman came in and I asked her what brand of home color she used, she said she doesn’t remember. Well my years of experience had me 99% sure whatever it was was fine and I should have spot tested and didn’t. Her hair melted off her head. She used a metallic dye she bought at some organic nature store not CVS like I assumed. It was horrific. Always spot test the color, especially if you couldn’t confirm their hair history.
10. Got off easy
I was in school, and a couple weeks into doing real haircuts on people and not those cursed mannequins. My best friend came in for a cut, which turned out to be more complicated than I anticipated. It was a very piecey, edgy bob that school just had not prepared me for. I accidentally took off too much around her ear and, boom, there’s her ear clear as day with no hair laying over it. I just looked at her, told her I [messed] up, and asked if she trusted me. I ended up turning it into an amazing punky pixie cut which she has kept up in varied styles since then. Wasn’t so bad. But I got off easy since it was such a close friend.
11. Loyal customer
The only hair cut I have ever “screwed up” was a men’s cut a few years ago. I was free hand clippering without guards ( because I think guards are for cheaters lol ) and he coughed and jerked his head back, causing me to clip right down to the skin in the back. I didn’t say much, just mentioned for him to keep his head still. I managed to blend it in pretty good and when I showed him the back of his head, I mentioned the one spot.
He was fine with it, laughed about it and apologized for it being his fault. He’s a loyal customer to this day.
I was shaving an old man’s hair a couple of months ago and the vibration from the clippers made a funny sensation in my hand and my immediate reaction was to take my clippers away from the man’s hair so I didn’t ruin it. I didn’t ruin it. But I sure as hell [messed] up his eyebrow, he had about 1/3 of it left but he didn’t notice. He gave me $20 and I gave the poor guy $50 change out of my own pocket. He hasn’t come back.
13. Easy peasy
Hairdresser here. 8 years. I had been working in an upscale salon for about 3 months. My first job out of beauty school. I had a men’s haircut scheduled under the name “Namjimmy”. His name was just Jimmy but his Korean accent was so thick that’s what our receptionist heard when she asked his name. He was here on business. Standard short tapered men’s cut. Clippers on the sides scissors on top. I’m feeling pretty cocky at this point in my career. So this is easy peasy.
I start with the clippers on the sides. I am using the clipper over comb technique where you use a comb to determine the length and taper of the hair. So I am gliding a clipper with no guard over a comb. I’m trying my best to converse with my client and just doin my thing when all of a sudden I just slipped and ran the clipper right against his head. 3 inch long BALD vanilla ice stripe on side of head! I instantly felt as though my insides were in my shoes and my brain was coming out my mouth. He was turned away from the mirror so he had no idea yet of the horrible mistake. A million thoughts went through my mind. I really wanted to just put my clippers down and walk out the front door and leave him to discover on his own and for my boss to deal with aftermath. But I had nailed a sweet job and thought I better try to pick up the pieces.
Before turning Jimmy towards the mirror I did my best in simple English to explain what happened. Now this part is where I lied a little. I blamed it on my clippers. I have classic 76’s which have a removal blade mechanism. I said that it wasn’t attached properly and flipped out of alignment while still cutting. I am ashamed but I just couldn’t admit that I wasn’t paying enough attention. So there’s me saying “broken” while pointing to clippers and “I’m sorry” and “no charge” over and over. Then I turn him to the mirror and he was SHOCKED. He just kept saying “I never expect this” over and over. I swear to you he was so frustrated he started to tear up.
And that’s when I obviously lost [it]. I made this poor Korean businessman cry! He probably had some important meeting to go to and now he looks like a break dancer or something. I went to the back and was just shaking and had a coworker go pick up the pieces. She just explained to him that if she took it shorter it would even out sooner. There was no hiding it! She even got him to laugh in the end joking about putting a matching one on the other side. I went home for the day I was so shaken. It became a term in the salon for any [screw] up to be referred to as a Namjimmy. Like you really namjimmied that ladies bangs.
When I was in beauty school, my brother-in-law and husband came in to get haircuts. While I was cutting my BIL’s hair, he didn’t know what he wanted and kept wanting to go shorter, shorter, shorter. I started out with a 5 guard and ended up down at a 2 by the time he was happy. So, I’m finally about 3 minutes away from being done with the haircut, and I flick the guard off so I can clean up around his ears and hairline. He says “Hey, I think it’s longer on this side. Can you even it out?”
So, I immediately move to that area and slide my clippers up the side of his head. With no guard on. Just take a huge slice of his hair clear off the side of his head.
I am not ashamed to say I cried, because I did. I ended up fixing it pretty well and when it grew out a bit, it was his favorite haircut ever. PHEW. Or at least he told me so.
15. Green, its green
Whenever a bleach blonde wants to change their hair to a brunette, you must add a filler of red first. This allows the hair to turn to an orange stage before it can return to brown and I know this! But one this particular day, it slips my mind and I just go straight into the coloring process and apply the brown color all over and allow thirty minutes for it to do its magic.
Well, after she’s done processing, I take her to the shampoo bowl, and start rinsing the color out and the horror ensues. I immediately notice her hair is a dark khaki green color. I’m tracing my steps to see where I [messed] up and realize my rookie mistake. I didn’t fill it first! She has no clue and is looking at me for conformation that we have done good (they always do), and I play it cool and tell her we need to tone it a bit. I run to the back, grab some red filler and pray that it works! After applying it and leaving in for about 15 mins, I notice that it has worked and has toned down the green to an dark ashy brown. I still wasn’t happy, but at least she wasn’t green right?
16. You wanted it short, right?
Beauty school. Had a middle aged woman want to cut her shoulder-length hair into a short pixie cut. Having seen my superiors put hair in a ponytail and cut it off, I decided that was what I was gonna do. So I tied it up and chopped it off…
Well the hair right behind the ponytail was only about a half inch long. I’m freaking out. I asked “So you wanted to go pretty short right?” Continued to cut all the hair in the back about a half inch all over all while sweating profusely and hoping she would not reach up to feel what I have done. Luckily once I was done she loved it! And returned a few times after that.
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