June 17, 2013
“The hair is the richest ornament of women.” Martin Luther
There was an episode of The Brady Bunch titled “The Hair-Brained Scheme” in which Bobby starts selling hair tonic in an attempt to get rich quick, but Bobby has to run for his life after selling a bottle to Greg… and accidentally turning his hair orange just days before graduation – the horror.
Well last week I was Greg. I was also Annie, Hayley Williams, Cyndi Lauper, Ronald McDonald and Ginger Spice. I was offered countless ginger biscuits and gingerbread lattes, and people kept touching my hair and then wincing in faux pain because my fiery orange hair was burning their fingers. Yep, for three days I was the butt of endless jokes, and all because a hairdresser fucked up my hair.
The first of many morals to this story is that when you find a hairdresser that you love, absolutely stick with him/her and don’t trust anyone else with your hair. It can be tempting to go elsewhere if you need your hair doing in a hurry for a particular event, or if you can get it done somewhere closer to home or if a new place tempts you with special offers… whatever the reason, we all stray sometimes.
Well I didn’t ring the 118 guys and say “give me the number of some random with a pair of scissors and some chemicals please” nor did I open the Yellow Pages and dial the first number that my finger landed on. Nope, what I did was call up a salon I have been to many times before – a place where they have a file with my name on, where they know exactly how I have had my hair for the past eight years.
Here’s my horror story…
I booked an appointment for blonde highlights and when I arrived I told the girl allocated to me that I wanted blonde highlights – the point I’m trying to make is that I wanted blonde highlights. The girl told me that I didn’t want highlights if I wanted my hair blonde (like I have had for the past eight years) oh no, I needed an all-over colour. I told her that for some reason (and at this particular salon too) hairdressers had always said an all-over colour was not appropriate for what I wanted – they never told me why – well, why would they? You tell the hairdresser what you want, they make it happen. Still the girl insisted that she could make my hair the Barbie shade of blonde (the shade I already had from the roots down) that I was asking for, and she even called another girl over for a second opinion and she said the same. I maintained that I would probably rather stick with my usual highlights but the two of them assured me this way was much better… “you’re the experts,’ I said, “as long as my hair is as blonde as possible.”
After two hours of worrying exchanges being batted around between the two (like “We’ve run out of the colour I’m using”/”Use a different one, it won’t matter underneath” and “Does this need something else on it?”/”It’s probably fine”) I was plonked back in front of the mirror and the girl that stared back at me looked just like me… only her hair was orange.
“Will it be this orange when it’s dry?” I asked the second I caught sight of my reflection, but I was told it wouldn’t. Despite the dimly lit salon, it still looked orange when it was dry so I mentioned it again but was told that it was actually the particular type of lighting they used that was making my hair look orange, and that outside it would look fine.
If you don’t count letting these chicks loose on my hair in the first place, then my first mistake was paying them for fucking up my hair, but in the dark salon it only looked a bit orangey so I just trusted her.
Once outside I grabbed my mirror from my bag and I looked like effing Ghost Rider. My hair was a ridiculous shade of orange, but not all over, where my roots had been previously was the most luminous. I thought it best to go straight back in and tell them that in natural light it actually looked worse, but I did so in a polite manner – I actually apologised for not being happy with orange hair when I asked for blonde. Despite being polite I was greeted by the two girls with a “computer says no” attitude, and the bottom line was that they couldn’t really do anything. One suggested putting a toner on it, but they’d already put one on when they washed my hair, which I’d guess is about the time they realised I looked like Mick Hucknall circa 2010.
All I could do was leave. I felt embarrassed walking around the town with my ridiculous coloured hair, and the fact I knew I had a big, important work thing the following day that would involve lots of people seeing my hair was enough to send me into a panic. I tried to contact the manager via their website which didn’t work, but eventually I got in touch with him via Facebook. He invited me in for a chat the next day, but he told me not to do anything to fix my hair in the meantime, which meant cancelling work as well as turning down a chance to do a good deed for a charity close to my heart… well, would you go on TV with stupid looking hair?
Here’s the second moral of the story: always record every conversation you have with anyone, ever. I can safely say that I was specific in the shade of blonde and the end result I wanted, but the girl who did my hair had assured the manager that she warned me my hair might go “golden” – if I’d known she was gambling with my hair, I wouldn’t have let her brush it, let alone attempt to colour it. He also spent half an hour basically arguing with me, disputing that my hair was orange, seemingly disputing that Barbie was blonde and at one point telling me that my hair was darker than I claimed because he “could see” my eyebrows, which I had made darker with a pencil in accordance with fashion. My favourite part is when he told me I shouldn’t have taken the advice of his two hairdressers when they told me what was best because the “customer is always right” – FYI, this customer was wrong when she asked for a refund.
He told me he couldn’t put it right that day, but he could get rid of most of the orange with four sessions of highlighting and that he would do two of them for free, leaving me to cough up over £100 for the remaining two. Of course this all takes time and repeatedly putting peroxide on my hair, and there was no way I wanted to spend hours and hours in the hostile environment I had created by complaining. Most of all, there was no way I trusted these people with my hair… they were all maintaining that it was blonde and what I asked for.
After half an hour of arguing in the tiny basement office, upset and offended, we reached a “compromise” of a 50% refund and a bottle of purple shampoo… which I asked for, so I could go home and “cry in the shower.”
Three days later I went to see my favourite hair dresser and she put my hair right and it only took her one go. What she did was highlight my hair blonde like I asked for, and then dye the in-between hair my natural colour… which she could recall without an argument about eyebrow pencils. In the presence of professionals, I actually had a hard time convincing them I hadn’t fucked up my own hair… no one could believe actual hairdressers had done this to me.
It seems crazy to record a conversation, but if a new hairdresser fucks up your hair it’s going to be your word against his/hers. If you’re not happy with your hair say something straight away because as soon as you pay, if they really couldn’t give a shit, then they have your money so they don’t need to worry about how stupid you look.
If they are willing to try and put it right then it’s up to you if you want to give them a chance, but for me there was no way I was willing to let those clowns have a second crack at my ‘do.
The important thing is to keep calm. Obviously cutting is a different story, if they’d tampered with the “long” part of my long blonde hair I don’t imagine I’d be sitting here singing Stars (by Simply Red) without a care in the world. But if all they’ve done is mess up your colour then know that a decent hairdresser can fix you.
One of the best ways to avoid this is to read reviews and ask around. I thought I was fine because I’d been to the salon before, but chatting to my friends about my orange locks, many of them told me about their awful encounters with the Keighley based salon, and what a mess they had made of their hair.
My hair is back to looking blonde and lovely, and it’s all thanks to the lovely staff at Mario’s in Bradford. Not only did they fix my hair in one go (instantly putting an end to my more cruel friends who were singing songs from Annie on a loop at me) but they always do an amazing job, and it’s such a nice environment to spend time in.
My hair Misery Business is over for now, but I know where I’ll be telling people to go (and where to avoid) in the future.
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