7 Things To Do When a Hairdresser Ruins Your Hair

It’s always disappointing when you expect to walk out of a salon with a great new hairdo, but are left feeling underwhelmed, or even upset with the results. Or what if a hairdresser has ruined your hair by damaging or burning it through chemical processes? What should you do in this situation?

What to Do When a Hairdresser Ruins Your Hair

If you’re not happy with your cut or color, the best thing to do is speak up and your stylist will be able to fix it for you. At the end of the day, your stylist will want you to be happy with the outcome and won’t want to lose a customer. On the other hand, if your hairdresser has genuinely ruined your hair by damaging or burning it, you do have grounds for a lawsuit.

What Can You Do When a Hairdresser Ruins Your Hair?

1. Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Finding a stylist you connect with and feel comfortable with is an important preventative measure. So do your research. Ask around.

If you feel comfortable with the stylist, you’ll be much more confident speaking up should things not go as expected.

Cutting or coloring your hair is actually a team effort where your input is required.

Try a stylist for a couple of appointments and if you still don’t feel comfortable with them, it’s best to move on.

2. Be Realistic In Your Expectations

Be aware that the stylist does what you requested.

So, if you asked your stylist to cut your hair to your ears and you hate it, that’s not entirely their fault.

The same applies if you insist on a cool shade of blonde when the stylist warned you it may not work so well on your natural hair color.

At the end of the day, they did what you requested, so are they really to blame?

3. Speak Up

Remember that your hairdresser isn’t a mind reader.

The key to a good haircut is communication. So if you want your stylist to take off a bit more length, or you’re not happy with your color result, speak up.

Your hairdresser wants you to be happy with your new hairdo. Just take a deep breath, speak your thoughts, and be nice.

There’s no sense in getting angry or upset when all it could take is a simple tweak.

Just be specific about what it is you’re not happy with. Is your color too dark? Are the highlights too chunky? Be specific and always remember to be polite.

4. Give It Time

Often when we get our hair cut or colored, it’s a little shorter, darker or lighter than we originally imagined. Just give it time to settle.

See how the color looks after a couple of washes. A new haircut often falls into place after a week has passed. Play with styling.

The shock of something new is often the problem, rather than the haircut or color itself.

5. Call Back Within Two Weeks

If you’ve given it some time and the look still isn’t working for you, give your hairdresser a call back.

Most salons have a two-week grace period where they can fix your hair without additional cost.

This is especially if you’ve been going to this salon for years, and have only one upsetting experience.

Your stylist or colorist will want you to be happy with the final result.

6. Or Go Elsewhere

That being said, if it was your first time with a particular stylist or colorist and you’re really not happy with the outcome, it’s probably best to do some research and find someone new.

Or you can switch stylists within the same salon. It’s your hair and your money, so don’t feel bad about making that decision.

Just be aware that if you go to a new salon they will treat it as a new haircut or color rather than a fix, so you will be charged the full amount.

However, it’s worth it if you get the issue sorted properly, rather than having to live with hair you hate.

7. D.I.Y. Options

If you don’t fancy spending another afternoon at the salon, there’s always the option of fixing it yourself.

But rather than going full-on and dying your hair black to cover those highlights you hate, just try a few tweaks.

Go home and wash your hair a few times and see how it looks and feels. Style it yourself. 

Maybe you didn’t like how your new color looked in the sleek, blown out style your stylist gave you, but when styled in your usual waves, you feel different.

Dark colors can be faded with a few washes. A highlight which is too intense can be disguised by switching your parting.

If you want to tweak the color, as in you want your brunette richer or your blonde a little cooler, try a toner. If it’s just a minor tweak you’re after, a wash-out toner may be all you need.

Should You Pay For A Bad Haircut?

Should You Pay For A Bad Haircut

If your hairdresser has ruined your hair, what are your legal rights? Should you pay for a bad haircut from a moral point of view?

From A Moral Point Of View

From a moral point of view, you should pay for a haircut you’re not happy with as you’ve taken up the salon’s time.

The time the hairdresser spent on your hair could have been spent on someone else. If your hair was washed or styled with styling products then you also used salon products.

Also, as stated earlier, a good haircut is a team effort between you and your stylist. It requires input from you.

If you go into the salon without a clear idea of what you want, it’s not entirely the stylist’s fault if you’re not happy with the result.

Take in photos and describe what you want. Watch the stylist as they work and ask questions if there’s something you’re not happy about.

It can be compared to ordering food at a restaurant. If there is something you’re not happy about with the meal, you should make a complaint.

By eating it you show that there is no issue, so you can’t then complain about paying for the meal.

From A Legal Point of View

From a legal point of view, walking out of a salon without paying for a haircut constitutes a theft of services in most jurisdictions. 

However, the court does allow for “reasonable rejection”, where services received may not be as advertised or did not meet standards of reasonable quality.

Of course, “reasonable standards of quality” is a subjective matter. Unless a hairdresser has burnt off all your hair, or accidentally shaved a stripe down the middle of your head (in which case you have a valid objection).

Usually, the best way to rectify a bad haircut or color situation is to respectfully tell your stylist and they can fix the problem.

Or you can ask for a different stylist if you don’t trust the first one.

If after the second go you’re still dissatisfied, now is the time to respectfully ask for a refund.

Just know that if you do, no stylist in that salon is going to want to touch your hair again.

If you’re truly dissatisfied with the service you received at a salon, it’s best to go elsewhere next time. Ask around and do your research to find the right salon.

What Usually Causes Hairdresser Lawsuits?

What Usually Causes Hairdresser Lawsuit

So what usually causes hairdresser lawsuits? Is it enough just to get a bad haircut? The most common causes of lawsuits against hair salons are listed below:

Scalp or Eye Injuries

These may be caused by chemicals used when bleaching or perming the hair, especially if these chemicals are left on too long or the customer has an allergy.

This is why it’s so important for salons to perform a patch test and a strand test before coloring a customer’s hair.


Sometimes hairdressers may accidentally nick a customer’s neck or ear with hairdressing scissors during a haircut. Even if the injury is small, a customer may decide to file a lawsuit in such a situation.

Slip and Fall

A customer may be injured if they slip on cut hair or liquids on the floor. In this case, a customer may decide to file a lawsuit against the salon.

Burned or Damaged Hair

If a hairdresser ruins your hair via burns or damage by not using chemicals or tools properly, you have good grounds to file a lawsuit.

Injuries From Other Services

Some salons offer extra services like ear piercing, tanning, and manicures. Injuries sustained from any of these other services can lead to a lawsuit.

The above are the most common reasons for lawsuits against hairdressers. Sometimes, a client may choose to sue a salon for another reason, that is:

Emotional Damage

In the worst of cases, a client may decide that a bad haircut or color is more than just an inconvenience, but is actually a cause of emotional damage.

In which case they may decide to sue the salon for compensation.

This is a situation that no salon or customer will want to be in.

That’s why it’s so important to do your research before choosing a salon and walking in with a description and some reference pictures of what you want.

It’s also important to be engaged throughout the hair cutting or coloring process.

You should be upfront about the condition and chemical history of your hair when it comes to getting chemical processes done, such as bleaching or a perm.

As stated earlier, getting a great hairstyle in a salon is a team effort between you and the stylist.

Should You Tip Your Stylist for Fixing Your Hair?

As mentioned earlier, if you feel your hairdresser has ruined your hair you should speak up sooner than later.

After all, a good stylist wants you to be happy with your hair and will be happy to fix it.

Whether you tip the second time around is entirely up to your discretion.

It will certainly be appreciated, but not expected.

That being said, it depends on the situation.

If it’s a quick fix that takes ten or fifteen minutes, there’s no need to tip.

But, if you take up another appointment at the salon, that’s an appointment that could have been spent on another customer. If you leave the salon satisfied with the results, then it would be a nice gesture to tip.

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Nicola Sloan

Nicola is a freelance writer and researcher whose specialisms lie in health and wellness, beauty, and psychology. She has fine, wavy hair and is a big fan of co-washing every alternate day between shampoos (as dry shampoo makes her sneeze!)