My Hair Nightmare

I am not blessed with good hair genes; it’s baby-fine, unmanageable and I hate it, so thanks, ancestors! Along with doling out shitty genes to the first born, I inherited a general disinterest in all things cosmetic, which turned to fear when I got a spiked round brush tangled in my hair when I was little. After the yelling, crying and yanking was over, it was ponytails and barrettes from then on and I didn’t pick up another round brush until I was 28.

I happened upon a great stylist three years ago and she was really able to give me a cut and style that suited my hair type, nothing anyone had been able to do before and I seriously love her. So why I decided to deviate on Valentine’s Day 2013 and go somewhere else is beyond me.

I desperately needed my hair cut that day although I can’t recall why I had such a bug up my ass about it — I didn’t have any Valentine’s Day plans, my dance card was empty. I called my regular salon and was told my stylist wasn’t available for any last-minute appointments, but they could reschedule me for two days later.

I sat there contemplating what I could do. I decided to call the place where I get my eyebrows done, a High End Salon and Spa that felt very luxurious and relaxing as soon as you entered. I figured they could handle a simple request to trim my long layers and hopefully my favorite stylist would be none the wiser.

I called and yes, they could see me in an hour, and sure, they could handle a trim. Fine hair? No big deal! In the pit of my stomach was a strange feeling of dread, but I brushed it off as guilt that I was cheating on my usual girl. I should’ve recognized it as intuition and I should’ve heeded it.

I arrived at the spa and was greeted by a smiling woman at the front desk. She guided me back to a private room containing a stylist chair and hair washing station. Soft music wafted from the hallway as the stylist walked in and shook my hand warmly. I smiled and nodded, but my thoughts were pointing out all the things wrong with the picture in front of me. The girl’s hair was matted and greasy-looking and, along with having one inch roots at the top, her chin-length hair stayed frozen in place when she moved.

Her appearance did not convey “capable professional,” but at the same time I felt judgmental for thinking it. That was the second sign revealing this to be a bad idea, but here I was, I had already booked someone’s time, I couldn’t just leave. What would they think? How would I look? I get my eyebrows done here and they do a fantastic job, so I should trust them with my hair, right? RIGHT?

My nerves settled a bit when we started to discuss my hair in detail. I told her exactly what I wanted, a trim, layers cut to a healthy length. I added that my hair was very fine and the most styling I could handle was a round brush and blow-dryer. I didn’t bring a picture since I wasn’t changing anything and I stupidly assumed that my overuse of the word trim in my speech must have resonated.

The girl nodded and agreed with everything I said, and brought me to the washing station. She lathered my hair with lovely smelling, bubbly products and also massaged my scalp. It felt fantastic so I regained some faith in her abilities. Returning to the stylist chair, she explained all the products she was using. I appreciated the walkthrough, but it felt like I was getting a sales pitch so I feigned interest hoping she’d move along.

She asked me to remove my glasses, something I’m accustomed to doing, but it leaves me completely blind, unable to see anything other than blurs. I obliged and made a joke about my poor eyesight. She began to gently snip at my wet hair and was communicating everything she was doing, leading me to believe she had really listened to me. But then she said that she wanted to give my hair more lift at the roots, and wanted to take a little more off the layers that fell below my chin. I agreed to it, but added I didn’t want a lot more taken off than what a trim would be.

I heard the scissors cut the hair at my ear and my entire body froze.

Roughly 3 inches span below my chin up to the middle of my ear where I heard the clip of the scissors. I knew right then that yes, Alexis, you made a fatal mistake coming here. I should’ve ordered her to stop, I should’ve said something but I didn’t. I sat quietly and agreeably because my fear of confrontation kicked in and I knew the hair was gone and nothing I said was going to bring it back. It was too late.

I stewed and berated myself silently for making such an error and not listening to that feeling in my stomach. I stopped being responsive to the girl and kept my eyes focused on whatever I could actually see without my glasses, which was basically my blurry feet or the black cape draped around me. She continued to cut my hair, added more product, then started the blow dry and style.

She finished and and told me to put my glasses back on so I could see the cut. I slowly slid them back on my face, looked in the mirror and mustered, “That’s great.” But in my mind, I was repeating hair grows. hair grows. hair grows to keep me from crying. I conjured up that episode of Friends when Phoebe cuts Monica’s hair and it’s a disaster (remembering Friends episodes always helps me in extreme cases of duress). My hair didn’t look anything like a trim; in fact, it looked like Joan Jett from the 80’s except not cool at all.

joan_jett

I got home and beelined to my mirror to examine my nightmare more closely and yep, confirmed. It was a nightmare. Everything was wrong and the cut didn’t suit my hair type at all. It was flat against my scalp and cheeks with no volume, and it emphasized the oval shape of my face instead of complimenting it. I tried putting it up into a ponytail but the short layers by my ears fell out making me look like George Washington.

george

I teared up and instantly became depressed and angry about what I had done and regretted not speaking up for myself. I considered calling my favorite salon to see about correcting it but everything was so short, I couldn’t see how it could be fixed.

About a month and a half later it was time for a trim and I dreaded seeing my stylist. I dragged my feet into the shop with my hair in a ponytail to hide it so I could give it the proper introduction. I slowly pulled the elastic out and said, “You’re going to kill me. I went somewhere else and they ruined my hair.”

My stylist blinked and ran her fingers through what was left of her work.

By this point, I had come to terms with my hair and while I was dejected about it I had to have a sense of humor. So when she semi-joked that I had been given a mullet, I was able to light-heartedly whine and I say “I know! Please fix it!” BECAUSE IT WAS A MULLET!

My stylist also told me that the offending hairdresser cut a chunk out on my left side so it was like I had a hole in my hair. I apologized profusely and said I didn’t expect miracles, but if she could do anything to help me I would be eternally grateful. I may as well have been on my knees begging. She was able to normalize my hair to a point, but there was far too much gone and not enough growth to really fix it.

At my next appointment, sitting in her chair, we discovered that my hair wasn’t really growing all that much. That trend continues today, resulting in small trims and a lingering hatred for my appearance. It has now been over a year since that awful stylist cut my hair and her butchery is still painfully obvious.

I’ve become somewhat desperate to find hair salvation; I’ve tried Biotin but got debilitating headaches — apparently that stuff isn’t that great for women who get migraines. I switched to an imitation silk pillow case and saw less breakage. I bought a scalp massager to try and stimulate the blood flow up there and wake the follicle gnomes up but I haven’t seen much change.

After some routine blood work determined I was deficient in iron and Vitamin D, I started to research an alternative vitamin regimen because I have problems taking regular vitamins easily found in the drugstore. Some of the women who reviewed the brand I was considering said they saw healthier hair and nails after taking it. I bought the $40 jar immediately.

I’ve also thought about giving up my hair dryer for a while to see if that sparks any change, but having fine hair, short layers and natural waves makes me look like I handled a plasma globe for breakfast causing me to be cripplingly dependent on my hair dryer.

I’ve mulled taking a drastic approach and doing a pixie-cut, but don’t think my oval face or thin hair would be suited to that style, not to mention the fear that it wouldn’t grow out. Ever. I hate that I have become so self-conscious about my hair. Most days I try not to think about it, but when my bad decision is staring at me every time I look in the mirror, it’s not easy to ignore.

Since starting at The Flounce and needing to provide pictures for my profile and articles, I’ve discovered how few pictures have been taken of me since I got my hair chopped off and I am genuinely sad that it has affected me that much. I had no idea. So I am going to take this opportunity to get the fuck over it and stop worrying about my goddamn hair. And I’ll never go to any other stylist ever again.

Alexis Oliver
Alexis has been writing on and off since she was a kid. Her first submission was to Highlights Magazine, and though they passed on her in-depth analysis of falling leaves in winter, she continued to be a loyal reader. She is most passionate about animals, conservation, and trying to convince her county to allow backyard chickens. Alexis currently works full time in Hospitality and lives outside of Pittsburgh with her boyfriend and three cats.
  • Lex_Discipulus

    Ok this sounds insane, but just give it a try ok?

    I was ONE INCH away from chopping my hair off to donate it and the hair cut date was 2 months away.

    The first week of each month I spend 5 minutes with my head upside down. Seriously. Like laying on my bed with my head hanging over.

    And it helped. I got over the one inch I needed by the time my hair cut came. Just dont do it all the time. One week a month. THAT IS IT

    • http://www.theflounce.com AlexisO

      No shit!! I am totally doing it!

      That’s nice that you donated your hair!

  • Blahblee

    I was given a mullet by a stylist once. I asked for Frank Zappa, specifically, and she gave me Eddie Van Halen. It was awful, I wore hats in the summer, but mullets tend to grow out really nice on people with thick curly hair, so I ended up okay.

    • http://www.theflounce.com AlexisO

      Oh no, did it take long to grow out?

      • Blahblee

        Yeah. It’s hard to find hairdressers who really know the difference between layers and mullets. I think bringing up rock musicians as an inspiration ends badly. Rock = mullet for some stylists who are used to giving everyone the Kardashian.

        I think stylists in my area have gotten too glamorous and polished? I can’t get any good recs. Last guy someone recommended said in an interview that he doesn’t like fat chicks. No.

        So after reading Patti Smith’s book (which I really recommend for a lot of reasons) I’ve never let anyone near my hair. She recommends studying photographs from several angles before cutting your own, which I do. I view it as a lifelong mission to master it — each trim is like a training session.

        • http://www.theflounce.com AlexisO

          That’s pretty cool! I’ll have to check out that book.

  • http://theflounce.com Jen Pink

    I’m 36 years old and I still haven’t learned how to stop fucking up my hair.

    • http://www.theflounce.com AlexisO

      I never learned how to style my hair! I told myself I was going to go to cosmetic school so I could learn that shit.

  • C_Mads_Go

    So, probably not the popular opinion here. I was a former wavy-haired girl. I went no ‘poo, and friend, I don’t think I’ll ever go back. Let me be painfully honest though – that transition period SUCKS. Like horribly. But now my annoying waves have turned into nice curls, with good definition. My hair isn’t frizzy. Where my hair was previously flat against my scalp, I have good body and motion now. But the biggest thing for me was giving up my hair brush and changing my drying routine (no more towels! Use an old t-shirt, and google youtube vids on “plopping” your hair).

    I’m so sorry you’re still feeling traumatized by a bad hair cut. So much of our confidence comes from how we see ourselves, and something that is as hard to hide as a bad cut can seriously damage our self-perception. Hopefully your hair starts to grow again and you can regain your self-image. I just turned 30 in May and only learned how to handle my hair, truly, in the last couple of weeks (I started no ‘poo last November)…