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Salon Do-Overs: What To Do When You Aren’t Happy

By Amalah

Hi Amy!!
I know you get so many questions probably everyday and all day, but I am wishing, hoping, and praying that you will answer because I am in desperate need of H-E-L-P. AHHHHHHHHHH! So anyways lets get to the point shall we. Today I went to a brand new hair salon in hopes of finally getting some new highlights and a trim. I made this decision because the usual one I go to is wait listing all clients so it was impossible to get in there at a time that worked with my work schedule. Because of this I decided to go to a salon that just opened hoping that I would like it. Well things didn’t turn out so well. I asked for blonde highlights which is what I originally had (though really grown out) and what I ended up with were highlights ONE (if that) shade lighter then my original hair color. Now when I first saw the hair color it was really hard to see this because the lighting was weird in the salon and I figured everything would look different once I was outside.
Once I got home it was a completely different story and I HATE it. Now not only can you not even tell that I did anything to my hair, but the roots don’t match up and, I basically flushed $100 + dollars down the toilet and I am completely unsatisfied with the results. My question is what do I do? I have heard that people have called their salons afterwards and asked for adjustments, but is this appropriate seeing that I have never been there before. Also I feel awkward because I didn’t say anything while I was at the salon, but this is only because I couldn’t tell. I hate to think that I have wasted all this money for nothing, especially since I am kind of low on funds right now. PLEASE HELP!

You absolutely call up that salon and tell them what happened. It doesn’t matter if it was your first visit or your eleventyith. You call them, ask to speak with a manager, and tell them that while you weren’t ecstatic with the results at the salon, you figured you’d give it some time. But now that you’ve seen the highlights in different lights and washed your hair a few times, you are extremely unhappy — the colors clearly don’t match and need to be redone, full stop.
Any salon worth its salt will immediately offer that you come back in for a consultation and a touch-up or do-over, full stop. This new salon is trying to build up a customer base and a reputation — I cannot imagine they would refuse to make things right for you.
Of course, after a really bad experience with a hair salon, you probably aren’t super excited at the idea of going BACK to that hair salon and offering up your hair follicles again. I do believe you need to let the original salon attempt to fix things — I wouldn’t call them up and demand a straight-up refund so you can get your color done elsewhere. And oftentimes a manager or a more senior stylist might take over your case — you might actually find that you like the second stylist. Or you might not. The important thing is that this salon at least give you color you can live with for a few months while you recoup funds and wait for an appointment at your regular salon.
By the way, I’m also a frequent sufferer of the Booked Stylist Blues — I find someone I love, but naturally everybody else loves them too. But I still wait until I look in the mirror and realize that I! Need! A haircut! Rightthisminute! to call, and of course my stylist is booked for weeks. And, like you, I’ve gone to other salons and stylists simply because they’re convenient and have open appointments. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t.
The absolute best way to avoid the scheduling snafu is — duh, kind of — to make your next appointment right when you’re there for your current appointment. For ages I never did this — always afraid to commit to another haircut in six to eight weeks because I could probably go more like 10 weeks, we’ll see, I’ll remember to call in a month or so and make the appointment, I’M SURE OF IT. I’ve only recently had an epiphany about this habit, and pledged to stop making such a THING out of it and just make a stupid appointment ahead of time already.
app_3_6485958317_1166.gif(Hey, for the first time in my LIFE I’ve been super-awesome-good about seeing the dentist every six months, and that’s only because the office won’t let me leave without booking my next cleaning right then and there. I shove the appointment card in my wallet and amazingly, the date and time just becomes one of those things I manage to make work.)
But ANYWAY. Pick up the phone. Call. It’s 100% appropriate and you are completely justified here. Pretend you are one of those awesome ballsy people who are SO GREAT about confrontation and phone calls, even if you’re not. Obviously I’m not saying you should be rude and glove-slappy and “I DEMAND SATISFACTION,” but really, you aren’t asking for anything out of the ordinary here — just what you paid for. Professional results from professional people.

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • robin

    August 21, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    OMG, I had a nightmare experience at a new salon and they refused to finish the job/fix it. I talked to the owners (who were beligerent to me about it), the “stylist” was the laziest person on the planet, even Bank of America refused to allow my disputed charge. It was a nightmare. I hope yours is better.

  • Miss Britt

    August 21, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    This happened to me when I first moved here. And while I was DEVASTATED, the girl who ended up fixing it (at the original salon) became my Permanent Stylist. She is amazing!

  • Kim

    August 21, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Hey Amy,
    Thanks so much for answering my question. I actually did end up going back to the salon after much advice from my coworker who use to be a hairdresser herself. They ended up letting me come back free of charge and I had the same woman who attempted to fix my hair. She did a better job this time (much brighter highlights) but it is still AGH….alright. I did get some free products outof it though (MILK_SHAKE leave-in conditioner) which smells awesome, so I guess that softens the blow. Anyways I am definitely going back to my usual salon next time though. Thanks so much for ur help.

  • dawn

    August 22, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    I’m glad things improved for you, Kim, but I hate when they had the same person “fix” it (awkward!) — unless you had a prior relationship that was good, I’d think the salon should have given you someone new.
    I’m going through something similar. My fabulous hairdresser is out on maternity leave and the person filling in for her did a very mediocre job. Things just look a little “off” (even my husband noted, so you know it’s pretty bad) and while not exactly horrible, definitely not great. And to top it off, I was charged $15 more than I’m normally charged. Like the chicken shit I am, I didn’t say a word about the cost OR the meh job, but instead will stew until my six weeks are up and I go back again. There, that feels better!

  • Laura

    May 5, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    I just got highlights and I hate them. I’ve been doing highlights about twice a year– have medium to darkish brown hair, and I’ve been so pleased each time with the natural looking hint of blonde that even grew out looking pretty natural. This time, new person, and I’m a zebra. Too light. the sections aren’t even neat or even– my roots are still darkish in spots. It was done yesterday, and I HATE confrontation, but I think I might hate my hair more. I don’t want to talk to the original stylist or confront her, I want someone else to fix me. 🙁 Can’t afford to go somewhere else. This is my big treat to myself twice a year.

  • Angir

    May 17, 2013 at 10:23 am

    I just called my stylist and offered her your words “tried different lighting, washed a couple times..” and the salon is happy to re-do the do gratis – thanks a million!

  • Megan

    August 28, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Hello all– I am in a similar predicament and need some advice.

    I never, shall I say ever, had a permanent stylist, let alone a salon; often times just stopping in a quick walk-in salon for a cut or color. Recently however, I have tried to find a salon and stylist to call my own. 

    In June, after months of not having colored my hair, I had the lady whom I have been having cut my hair for a few months, dye my hair to match my roots and add some highlights. Then August 4th, I went back and had her add some more highlights bringing in a pintrest picture for inspiration. While at the salon, I had liked the hair, and told her so, it looked similar to what I had brought in and I felt confident with the new look. Days later, I hated it. The highlights where already starting to look as though I had been long over due for a touch up, and the lack of highlights in my bangs and the back of my head were atrocious. 

    Que, the second salon. This time, to correct the original mess, I forked over the dough to go to a pricey Aveda salon. I LOVED THE CUT, but she left my original brunette tresses a horrible shade of blonde (perhaps over highlighting).

    So to go from one bad salon experience, to two, I was petrified. Awhile back I had saw some work from a girl on Facebook, so I had given her a call.

    She was super understanding, and loved the picture I had shown her. I was there for four hours.

    BUT now….I’m not loving the look either. All it looks as though she had slightly darkened the previously too light highlights. Nothing like the pretty ombred hair I had brought in. 

    This stylist says she has a two week guarantee and to contact her with any concerns or complaints. Should I? Or should I hunt down yet another stylist? After all she was fixing another person(s) mistake. I don’t want her to feel as though I am never happy with anything.

    Thoughts??? Thanks in advance! 

  • preet

    October 25, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    I got my hair permanently straightened at a salon but the result was very disappointing , my hair went frizzy and wavy just after one wash, i contacted the salon and they agreed for re do. I relocated to another province two days after I re do and when I washed my hair after 3 days it was the same story like before frizzy and wavy hair. What should I do now, please suggest something.

  • Grace

    November 18, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    I also just tried a new hair salon because I’m still struggling to find the right one. I needed to get my roots done because it had been at least 6 months since I last dyed my hair. My hair is naturally dark brown and the highlights were a dark blonde colour.
    This time I went a little lighter with a full head of highlights but you can still see a lot of my dark brown hair. If I tie my hair up, it’s streaky and contrasts a lot which isn’t what I wanted. Also, the highlights haven’t been done up to the roots, I have around a cm gap between so it doesn’t look right. This has happened before at a different salon and I was really unhappy but never said anything. However, it’s happened again, I’ve spent £70 and I don’t have the money to go and get it fixed.
    I’m just wondering if I the right to a do-over? Any advice would be really helpful!

  • susan

    December 2, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Hi, I went to my usual hair stylist. I have been going to her for years. Unfortunately I will admit that half the time I have to go back for her to fix the color but she is affordable a I love the way she cuts my hair. Well today I am in tears as I don’t know what to do. She highlighted my hair a couple weeks ago and I looked like a light bulb. Very white barely any contrast. I do like my hair on the lighter side but this was not what I wanted. I go back for some low lights and now my hair is a dreary brownish color. More so on one side than the other. I look like a lighter version of cruella deville! What should I do? I told the stylist before I left I thought it was now too brown. She said it’ll look better in a couple weeks! Brown is brown, not blonde

  • cynthia miller

    March 12, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    It sucks paying over 100 dollars and having your look worse …. Why cant hairdressers get highlights correct. Im done. Im going all natural than spending hundreds of dollars to look worse.