Why am I always too embarrassed to speak up when someone, claiming to be a hair stylist mutilates my hair?
I asked this question to my boyfriend after several trips to the bathroom turning on the light and screaming, “What the [delete] did she do to my hair!” each time I faced the mirror.
I was livid and he was sick of hearing me complain one day after a “haircut” at a high-end salon in Belmont.
He didn’t know why either. I thought about it. And concluded it must be because I view a stylist on the same lines of an artist, and no one likes to tell an artist that their work sucks, I say that as one associated with a partially-artistic field.
But you shouldn’t encourage someone by paying them to stay in the field. He argued that not everyone is gifted and those that are talentless should be clued in A-sap.
I blame myself putting myself before an inexperience twenty-something girl that cut my hair like an oversized, unbalanced floppy soccer ball.
I didn’t look young, I looked motherly, and I don’t have kids, nor am I married.
Yes readers, it may be hard to believe but writers, specifically beginners like me, don’t make that much. So I am forced to find low cost ways to upkeep my champagne taste in hair. While I was an intern for a newspaper in New York City, I visited the Aveda Institute in SoHo.
There I took the budding student (I wish I remembered her name because I would credit her here) three hours with a process of “comb, comb, comb, comb and cut” each snippet of hair to turn my thick Sicilian strands into a stylish shape.
I was utterly satisfied because she listened to what I asked and moreover there was a teacher on hand guiding and fixing her expected mistakes. Considering I paid $20 it was worth sitting there for three tedious hours. She did have talent and most importantly what I look for in a stylist: vision.
But at this Belmont salon, I paid $25 plus tip for an unsupervised junior stylist. The only time someone looked at my head was when I walked out of the chair and to pay. The seasoned stylists watched my head with horror.
I am used to people and the other stylists complementing me after a cut, but this time everyone was quiet. Even the next day after the I tried to convince myself that my dislike for the cut was only due to the way she styled it that made it look lopsided. So I’ll suffer another day until I can style it right. The next day, people were still staring at my head baffled.
My editor stared for a couple seconds trying to figure out what looked different.
“It just isn’t a 'Natalie' cut,” he grimaced.
I know my hair and I did my homework before choosing a place. I called several salons in the area to ensure that they will cut out the weight in my hair. That is the most important because my hair grows like a weed and I have a lot of it. I was growing it out lengthwise, and explained that to each salon before settling to make an appointment at this one.
Once I met the stylist, who had beautiful hair (note to self: Find out who cut her hair!) I explained that the main thing needed, besides a great style, was to have the weight cut out. I told her I was growing it out so to only cut enough to make it shiny, about an inch or less. My hair was about shoulder length. After the cut, I was barely able to put it in a pony tail.
What was more annoying is that I saw the mistakes and unsymmetrical heaviness and kept insisting for her to take out more weight and even it out.
“You cannot be afraid to cut out my hair,” I told her again after she went once around with the texturizing scissors making only two cuts to each bunch. I just gave up and smiled. What else do you do?
I should have asked for my money, I should have complained to a manger before paying. I didn’t because, ironically, I felt guilty.
On Saturday, after several episodes of name-calling my hair, I called the salon and told the young lady that answered what had happened.
She advised that I would have to go back to the stylist.
“I don’t want her touching my hair,” I said.
“Well the other stylists are more expensive so you would probably have to go to her,” she advised saying that she would check with management who was not there and took my number promising they would get back to me.
In the meantime, I called the other salons that I had previously researched but overlooked because this one had the cheapest junior stylist, but not they cheapest salon.
The styalist at Salon 455 said that if that happened, where it was clearly an unbalanced, uneven haircut, not just that she didn’t cut it the way I liked it, but that it was not concise, they would probably have the owner handle it.
She assured me that regardless of price, I would not have to go back to that stylist. She said that was industry practice, expecting to get my money back was a stretch, however she encouraged me to be firm with the salon.
I called Roberts Salon and underscored those policies. The stylist that answered said that it wouldn’t necessarily be the owner, but without question, they would not insist on the same person cutting my hair. If it was a coloring mishap, other measures to correct would apply.
“We would probably give you to someone else that was more experienced and you would not be charged for the price difference,” said the stylist that answered the phone.
So I waited and waited for my hair fix, with new armor of information. I prepared to fight when that call came in.
I am still waiting.