We've all been there. You spend a pretty penny on what you think will be the haircut of your dreams, only to walk out of the salon unhappy and feeling like you got a chop job. But truth be told, there are a few reasons for a bad haircut, be it that the style doesn't fit your facial features or reflect your personality.
Meet Our Expert
Kacey Welch is a celebrity extensionist and hairstylist based in Beverly Hills.
No matter the cause for a less-than-ideal chop, you can fix it, although it will take time and patience. Here's everything you'll need to know and do if correcting a bad haircut is a pressing matter.
Why Some Haircuts End Up Bad
While some haircuts immediately look terrible, others take time to turn south. A bad haircut doesn't mean it's time to break up with your stylist, but it does mean that the cut you requested (or they suggested) isn't complementary to your hair type and facial features. Cavalcante says that some reasons for a bad haircut include over-layering the hair, thinning it out too much, or just general unevenness throughout. "A haircut may not work if it's mismatched and uncomplimentary to your face shape and features unless you aim for a dramatic change. For example, trendy bangs draw attention to the center of the face, which may be an issue for those who are self-conscious about certain features."
A bad cut can be about more than just how it looks. Welch adds that a bad haircut can even damage the hair by introducing uneven layers, excessive thinning, or other structural issues. Cavalcante adds that the hair can become weak and lead to breakage and split ends if razors and thinning scissors are misused or the hair is excessively thinned. "To prevent this, select a stylist who prioritizes hair health during the styling process," she advises.
At-Home Tips for Fixing a Bad Haircut
After cutting the hair, it usually takes a few days before it adjusts and sits nicely. But it may be time to get proactive if that doesn't happen. While it may be tempting to take matters (and scissors) into your own hands to fix a bad haircut, don't. Cavalcante says to refrain from immersing yourself in YouTube and DIY tips and attempting to cut your hair. Instead, use the right hair accessories, like hats, which can hide even the worst haircuts, headbands, claw clips, and pins, like the ones from Day Rate Beauty, which are perfect for pulling back shorter pieces.
Styling tools and products can help tremendously. Hot tools like curling irons and hot rollers create waves and curls, while flat irons straighten hair that's too bouncy to help disguise any unevenness. "Also, products like hair pomades, gels, and leave-in hair conditioners are helpful to use at home to add texture, especially if the existing thin hair was overly thinned out," Cavalcante says. Volume and texture-enhancing products can be a lifesaver for a bad haircut. "They work their magic by adding fullness and texture to thin, lifeless hair, helping you achieve a more appealing look despite the haircut mishap," he shares.
Changing your hairstyle can also camouflage and improve the appearance of a bad haircut. Sometimes, something as simple as changing your part is enough to make a bad haircut look decent. Or, wearing the hair up in a half-up style, bun, or ponytail is an easy fix to divert attention away from an imperfect haircut. And then there are extensions, which Welch says are a great solution if you're unhappy with the length or density of the hair.
Sometimes, patience is key, and the hair just needs to grow to allow for the cut to morph into a more desirable shape. When that's the case, hair vitamins and supplements that nourish the scalp and help promote healthy hair growth.
"Extensions can be a valuable solution for temporarily concealing a bad haircut because they disguise awkward growth stages," says Welch. "For a natural look, choose high-quality, luxury extensions that seamlessly blend with your existing hair, providing volume and length as needed." For more of a long-term solution, consider wefts or tape-in extensions.
When It's Time to Visit the Salon
Before you return to the salon, give your fresh-from-a-cut hair a little time to see how it settles. "Hair has memory, and it can take time to adjust to a new hairstyle," says Cavalcante. "For example, if you've been parting your hair down the middle for years and suddenly switch to bangs that fall forward onto the face, the hair might initially resist the change. But, as you adapt to your new hair length or style, you'll learn how to work with it to achieve a finish that suits you. Over time, this adjustment can make it feel like your haircut has improved as you become more skilled at managing and styling your hair in its new configuration."
Cavalcante also recommends washing the hair at least twice or waiting a week before doing anything significant or drastic. Then, he says, if you are still unhappy, book an appointment to see what your stylist, or a new one, can do to rectify the situation. Most stylists will accommodate the request and do their best to try and fix a bad haircut, usually at no charge. Sometimes, letting the hair grow a little and trimming and shaping it is enough to transition a bad haircut into a more flattering one.
If the only way to fix a bad haircut is by reshaping the current one with more cutting, it's essential to be extremely clear and communicative with your stylist about what you like and don't like about the current cut.
Cavalcante says to communicate your preferences and concerns with your stylist to ensure a natural haircut that complements your face shape and features. "It's also important to tell your hairstylist about your hair-care habits and routine, including how often you wash your hair, your ability to style your hair, what tools you use, and which hair products you use if you let it air dry," he says. "If there's a particular facial feature you want to emphasize or hide, that's also important to talk about," he adds. "It is best to be open and work with your styling because it will ultimately impact the results."
But if a bad haircut leaves you a little weary of returning to the stylist who hacked it in the first place, it may be time to find a new one (or at least a second opinion). But not just anyone who has access to a pair of scissors will do. Changing to a new hairstylist, especially if you've been with yours for a while, takes some leg work to find the right fit. If you need help figuring out where to start, ask for recommendations, look on Instagram, or do a deep dive Google search. There are salon finders, too. "We have over 400 KWM-certified artists in our salon finder, who are personally certified by me, who can help you achieve the look you desire," Welch says. "Just be open and communicate honestly with your stylist. Discuss your preferences, concerns, and experiences with haircuts and extensions to ensure that you and your stylist are on the same page, ultimately leading to your desired look."
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