Salon Etiquette: What to Do If You Don't Like Your Cut or Color

Salon Etiquette: What to Do If You Don't Like Your Cut or Color
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It happens to the best of us: You walk into a salon with ambitions of Gisele-like layers, only for the color to turn after one shampoo, or worse, you end up leaving with a much different cut than you expected. What's the protocol to follow if you aren't satisfied with your final result? We spoke to Matrix celebrity stylist George Papnikolas, who has worked with Kim Kardashian, to outline exactly what to do, and as it turns out, the phrase "Speak now or forever hold your peace" isn't one reserved solely for the wedding chapel.

If your haircut is too short, or the color ends up brassier than you desired, speak about the issue while you're in your stylist's chair to get it fixed right away. "Ideally, you would address it in the salon, and your stylist will tell you if they're too busy and you'd need to come back, but we can usually fix it right there," he says. "Most things are quick, easy fixes, and it's something I'd rather you tell me instead of you leaving miserable." For haircuts, determine just how much you're comfortable having chopped, and exactly what lopping off one inch will look like before your stylist picks up the scissors. "You want to set yourself up for success in the appointments by bringing lots of pictures, and take two minutes to have a real consultation," Papnikolas advises.

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Of course, there are situations, particularly in the color realm, where one shampoo will impart a completely different result than the one you had when walking out of the salon. "Our salon rule is that if you let us know within a week, we can fix the color free of charge," Papanikolas says. "The great thing about color is, unless your hair has been burned off, it can ususally be fixed if it needs to be adjusted or tweaked." Keep in mind that pastel tones washes out much more quickly than those in the natural-looking spectrum, though if your red, brunette, or blonde has completely faded after the first time you lather up post-salon, alert your stylist. "In that situation, it's acceptable to come back to the salon, but in general, toners will wash out after a few weeks," he says.

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One of the most-common situations where the client ends up unhappy with the final result is when the hair change was spurred by an emotional decision—such as, you just broke up with your long-term boyfriend and decide to go platinum blonde. We can't drive the point home hard enough: Do. Not. Do. This. "Those are tough because you probably won't be happy," Papanikolas tells us. "You get calls in those situations where it's like, 'I want to dye my hair dark,' then they hate it and want to go back. In those cases, we do charge. Be patient with your stylist and don't do those emotional hair changes!" Another cardinal rule? Unless you truly want your stylist to go all out with their creative streak, don't tell them they're allowed to do whatever they want. "Don't ever say that to a stylist!" he says, laughing. "We're really creative, so we'll get crazy."

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