"When I was assisting, I used a code phrase with my boss to have her come check something without freaking the client out.
It was, 'Do you think we should tone this?'
It's a really common saying in the salon so the clients don't think anything of it, but her and I both knew that if I was asking, it basically was my way of saying, 'Oh, shit.'
One day, I take a client to the bowl to shampoo her and start pulling out her foils.
Her hair was coming out with the foils. Like every piece that was in a foil was disconnecting from her head. I was panicking. So I said it. 'Do you think this needs a tone?' And of course, this would be the one time where it didn't click with her and she casually says, 'No, it's good.'
I'm literally sweating. I don't know shit about hair, but I know it's supposed to stay attached to the head. So I say it again, but more direct. 'Hey (boss), are you sure? Do you want to check this? I think it needs a tone.' And again she brushed it off. Finally, I was like, 'I REALLY THINK SHE NEEDS A TONE.' Then the boss took over.
It's been a few years since I assisted, but my old boss still gives that chick free extensions."
"Oh man. Right outta cosmetology school, I got a job at a crappy chain salon. We'll call it Spectacular Cam's...
My state only required the bare minimum in clipper cuts because, if you wanted more than just the basics, you needed barber school. I think we were only required one actual clipper cut to graduate? As a result I saw some messed up stuff! Needless to say I was not crazy about clippers. I was told I'd get plenty of practice once I was out of school. Huh.
So, I start my first job. A week or two go by and no clipper cuts yet. It's my birthday. I am about to get out of work. But, it's busy because, it's the weekend. I need to do one last haircut. In walks this really tall dude with really long, thick blonde hair. He asks me to cut it with clippers super short. It's summer and he does landscaping and he gets too hot, so I run to the back of the salon in a panic to see if my manager can bail me out. She's busy. Everybody is busy. She laughs and says her station is next to mine, so she'll lead me through it. So, I start this cut and the customer and I start flirting hard. He knows the guy I'm seeing, knows some girls I went to school with. He tells me I'm dating an a-hole. I say I know, he's never been real boyfriend material, more of a casual fling. He says I should let him take me out, and I'm stoked! I really like him. We like the same things. He's funny. He is so nerdy and cute. This is when I realized his hair is super jacked up. I look over and my manager is just wide eyed and horrified. I was so busy flirting, I went up way too far. The clipper guard keeps slipping. His hair is sticking up all over the swirl at his crown. Lines everywhere, It's blended terribly. I edged him up crooked... A janky mess. Manager comes over and tries to fix what she can and the whole time he's being a good sport and cracking jokes. I keep saying I can give this cut to him on the house. I will let him come back every week or two, and I will blend it, clean it up for free . Whatever it takes, until it doesn't look like he cut his hair with a chainsaw.
We get to the register. He is a total gentleman. Insists on paying. Gives me a huge tip. Tells me we should hang out , smoke up, and watch a movie next weekend. He is house sitting for his sister and will cook dinner. I tell him my kid sister will be in town. Cool. No problem. He tells me to bring her along if she's down. Well, I give him my number (which is against company policy but I do what I want!) My sister and I watched Donnie Darko over at his sister's place. I clean up his awful haircut in the bathroom, and now it looks way better. Almost 15 years and two kids later that man is my husband.He is the love of my life. Greatest birthday ever! Oh! By the way, I'm really good at clipper cuts now....The best mistake I ever made was that shitty haircut. :)"
"One time I royally effed up a girl from my high school's hair. Where I live, hairdressing is only a 10 month course, you get a 2 week " work experience", and if you're hired by a high end salon, you usually do at least a 6 month practicum. In England, I think it's 3 years before you can actually work with clients one on one.
So, I started working at this hole in the wall salon, and was just thrown in the deep end. This was the kind of place that had mismatched, avocado and sparkly gold hood dryers, hadn't been painted in 20 years, and the owner chain-smoked. He was also diverting product out of the back of the shop, and had like, 80 different product lines, most of them horribly out of date. He never threw anything out, he had a 2 dollar bin with products from the 80's in there, all discolored and breaking down/ turning to pucks in the bottom of the bottle.
So this girl from school comes in. She wanted thin, blonde highlights. I asked my boss what I should do, and he said, " do whatever you want!" OK. It took me like, 4 hours to do these foils. Every single one slipped and bled, leaving weird tiger stripes on her scalp. None of the highlights were uniform: some were spaghetti thin, others, thick like lasagna noodles. It had that shitty burnt scrambled egg color, that no amount of toning would fix. She paid and left, and the next day asked for her money back."
"On my first week on the floor I had a young Indian boy (India) and as many stylists and barbers know their hair can be tricky especially the hairline. I had to basically create a brand new one. I gave him the basic kind of slanted L7 and his mom didn't like it.
She asked me to round it instead. Being new to barbering I was a little apprehensive. I went to grab an instructor for help. All were busy but hey there's the owner of the school. A man in his mid 40s who's parents founded the school in the 50s. I know he's a licensed barber and cosmetologist so I go ask for help.
He comes over and proceeds to push my clients hairline so that the corner goes basically behind his ear on one side. He looks at it. Knows he messed it up and proceeds to hand me the trimmers and walk away. Leaving me with nothing to say to the 12 year old kind and his mother. 'Oh sh*t!'"
"At a mall salon and in charge while the boss was on lunch, a guy came in who was tall and exotic. The other stylist thought he was cute and he asked for a blonde Mohawk. Off they go; he pays and leaves happy. Everything is awesome.
Half an hour later his mother rolls in like a shrieking Panzer. There is obviously a cultural difference because she screeches that I have defiled him like myself (I'm moderately tattooed and at the time had a few facial piercings - and wasn't the stylist who touched her son's head) and that he's 15, and school pictures are next week.
No amount of offers of rinses and buzz cuts was going to calm this woman down. She started knocking the product everywhere and basically howling.
I hit the speed dial for mall cops and left the receiver up on the counter while she had her back turned. The ruckus was loud enough, they got there shortly.
Everything was not awesome."
"So, a few years ago, a friend of mine did a color correction for this woman. She had gone to a salon to get the bottom layer of her hair red. Well, it didn't turn out well (I think it was like kinda red and splotchy) so she lightened it to apply a vibrant red. When she went to rinse the color, the hair was destroyed. During consultation, we fill out a consultation form that asks about previous services, medications, perms, etc. And make them sign about what could happen if they don't disclose information, etc. I was a senior director master stylist and required to handle matters. When I went over, the hair was completely breaking off about 2" from the scalp. I explained the situation expecting her to lose it and she just started laughing. She went with it and shaved it off. Came back a week later and shaved a side, too. I'm still convinced she had permed it because of the curl pattern, it was straight when she came in."
"So I'm a professional licensed hairstylist. And my biggest OH SH*T moment was actually on my fiancé. We were watching the LOTR trilogy and smoking weed, when he asks for a haircut. I'm like, sure great idea. I'm stoned out of my head and he's moving around to get a better look at the TV while I'm cutting. I nicked a little piece out of the side of his head and immediately freak out (I'm a bit of a meticulous nut when it comes to cutting and it had been my first real mistake). I go to the bathroom to collect myself and splash some water on my face to clear my head, so I can fix my mess up. I come out and he's got the clippers in his hands. He fucking goes right down the centre of his head (literally like Marshall on his wedding day on HIMYM) WITHOUT THE GUARD ON. HE'S LITERALLY SHAVED BALD DOWN THE CENTRE. I lost it and bawled while I shaved the rest of his head. He looked like Edward Norton from American History X.
Worst haircut I've ever given."
Not me, but my mom. Decades ago, my mom decided to become a hairstylist, something she had wanted to do for a while. Went through school, did great, and then started working at a salon.
One day, she had a black lady come in for a haircut and some other stuff. For those that don't know, black hair is quite different and requires a bunch of chemicals to untangle and straighten. Many of those chemicals do NOT play well with each other. My mom asked her what she had used before, got the info, then got to work with the right chemicals. 5 minutes later, that hair was falling out in her hands!
She freaked out, but the lady was nice enough and realized she had used some other stuff which reacted to the new chemicals, ouch. Got a buzz cut if I remember correctly and left it at that.
"When I was in beauty school, I got a client who wanted a caramel blonde ombre. She had dark hair, and I could see some red at the ends. I asked her if she had colored it herself, and she said it was just manic panic, which usually lifts right out. I should have done a test strand, but this was before I knew better. She had lied to me. It was Kool-aid. It turned pink. Kool-aid is the devil's stain. Once you put it in your hair, there is no getting it out completely. I spent hours trying to correct it, but the color just wouldn't budge. we were able to do a really subtle mahogany colored ombre, but she was upset. I learned a lot from that experience though."
"When I was in beauty school we had a whole bunch of high school seniors come in to have their hair done for prom. I was in beauty school to stuff nails - hair wasn't really my thing. I was decent at cuts and okay with color but formal updos and styling was definitely not my strong suit. The girl wanted something with a lot of very beautiful braids - she showed my a magazine picture of ScarJo and I knew there was no way I could replicate that, but in my class you had to at least try, be humiliated, and have to have someone fix it for you so that's what happened. It wasn't THAT bad, since it's not like I cut or colored her, but what was supposed to be a romantic, curled, flouncy updo up lovely billowing braids and twists looked more like prison cornrows... The girl was very nice and patient about it and my instructor fixed it, but I felt like a complete loser."
"Long ago, when I dyed by friend's hair turquoise and thought it would be cool to put lighting bolts on the side of his head. (he is white) Since I was in beauty school at the time I did a lot of friends hair for nothing but experience. It looked so cool and I was so naive that I decided 2 lightning bolts on each side would look awesome. I let him and everyone else see when I got done. It looked cool till someone said "Oh shit, got some SS Nazi symbols on your head, dude! Someone is gonna get mad and beat the fuck outta you." Made me go "oh shit." Then I said, "Don't worry if anyone asks just let them know that a minority did it. They'll understand." He still wore it. I don't really know what happened but we saw each other many many many years later and laughed about it."
"Hairstylist of 11 years. I have a regular client who has a fine part shaved into the side of his head. The top is about 5 in long, sides are a 0 to 1 taper. Client had a rough night of drinking and came in for his appointment the next morning. While I was shaving his part line in, he gagged and I took a 2 in square patch out of the top of his head. Oops."
"In beauty school, I watched as a fellow student buzz cut the back of a little girl's hair and the mom shrieking in response. There was an obvious language barrier, the mother kept saying she wanted it razor cut, so the fellow student thought she meant clipper cut. It's beyond me why the mother didn't stop her when she picked up the clippers and turned them on."