Ok, I'll admit straight from the get go that I made a money mistake, actually TWO money mistakes, when I recently went to get my hair cut. After not having my hair cut about 5 months, I finally made an appointment at a nice salon I've been to a few times before.
This is my Before Do.
I spent about 2 months deliberating about where to get my hair cut. I repeatedly considered 3 choices:
#1) at the nice salon where I'd pay the most money, but it'd be in a nice atmosphere, with a massage chair while my hair was washed and a nice coffee and biscuit. Oh, and the scalp massage always feel so nice while the stylist washes my hair.
#2) at the small salon at the gym I go to. I went to her in September, nothing really wrong with my experience there, except it wasn't at the nicer salon, but at the gym I go to 4-5 times a week. I just wanted to walk in different doors and not be in the gym atmosphere! But still, I think I got a nice coffee. This salon is also sort of expensive.
#3) at the home salon of a friend from playgroup. Although this was the most affordable option I was considering, I simply wanted to feel pampered since I don't go to salons very often, nor do I go for massages, manicures, facials or anything like that.
When I called to make the appointment, I was given the option of two stylists, one for £30 and one for £38. I made it a point to explain that I wanted the stylist to make recommendations for my shorter hair style, because I wasn't entirely sure of the new hair style I wanted. The lady on the other end of the phone explained that everyone in the salon should be able to do this, but I still chose the more expensive stylist because I thought she'd have the most experience and, thus, give me a better-looking new hair style.
So, two weeks ago I walked through the doors of the nice salon. I got my hair washed but the massage chair wasn't turned on. Bummer. I should have asked for it to be turned on. I drank my nice coffee while my hair was cut. Although I thought I explained pretty well what I wanted, the stylist didn't cut my hair short enough nor graduated or angled. She was about to finish my off my hair, but I hesitantly said that my hair wasn't as short as I had expected it to be. She seemed frustrated, told me that she'd shorten my hair but she'd have to switch the next client to another stylist. "That's fine, do what you need to", I thought, "but I want my hair to be shorter."
My hair looked pretty nice when she finished putting some waves into my hair with a flat iron, but when I went to pay, I was slightly dismayed when I told it would be £45. "Didn't the lady on the phone say it'd be £38? Oh, well, never mind," I thought.
I walked out the salon pretty happy, but saw my reflection in the shop window I was walking past. My hair didn't look like I had explained at all! The next morning, after washing and blow drying my hair, I thought my hair looked... well... boring. Like just a straight bob. I am sure I asked for a graduated/angled bob with layers!
This is how my hair looked after my first appointment, but in the evening, so the waves had fallen out a bit.
After talking about my hair with a few friends - one even commented that my hair didn't look like it had been cut by a professional at all - they all encouraged me to ring the salon again to make another appointment. I've never done this before! I really lacked the confidence to do this, but finally got up enough courage to write an email on Monday. Wednesday came around and still no reply. So I rang the salon... 3 times... no answer! I rang back earlier today and explained the situation. I also questioned being charged £45 for my hair cut. "Your appointment took longer than an hour because your hair was long and wanted a complete restyle and your stylist's next client had to be moved, so we had to charge an extra £7." WHAT?!?! How is it my fault that the stylist didn't cut my hair short enough the first time around?! Isn't a hair cut, a hair cut?? "Ok, whatever," I thought. She still hadn't offered another appointment, so I didn't debate this extra charge with her.
The lady begrudingly offered me an appointment for Friday afternoon. The now more confident me had asked, "Just to clarify, I won't be charged again, will I?" I returned to the salon, could tell straight away that they weren't happy to see me again and started to explain to the same stylist I had before exactly what I wanted... again. I didn't think I'd have to show her a picture because she's a professional and should be able to make suggestions for my hair, but I did anyway. She said, "At least you brought a picture with you this time." Huh?! I just sat silent although I was seething inside. I couldn't wait for her to finish. We chit chatted a bit and she cut off more hair all around. Man, I didn't want it shorter, just taken up at an angle in the back! I thanked the stylist for her time and walked out.
Here's the "After" cut.
Needless to say, I will NEVER walk in that salon again. I know it took a lot of explaining to get to the "Lessons Learned", but here's a few big things I've learned:
#1: The amount spent on a hair cut may not reflect outcome. You may pay less on a hair cut and get a fantastic cut or, like me, you may pay more and not walk out with a less-than-fantastic hair cut. Although I know that I will likely go to my friend I've been to before next time, I should have asked around for recommendations for stylists.
#2: I should have contended the extra £7 charge for "my" going over time. The extra charge wasn't discussed with me nor was it my fault that the appointment went over my allotted time. When I arrived at my appointment, we discussed my shorter cut, so it wasn't a surprise to the stylist that I wanted a new cut and that it may take a while.
#3: If you're completely restyling your hair, take a photo or two of the style you like. I didn't think I'd need to do this with an expensive, experienced stylist, but I guess it's very helpful.
Please let me know if you have any other additional tips to finding a stylist, understanding pricing at a salon and translating an idea for a hair cut to a stylist.