What to Do When Your Hair Color Isn’t What You Expected – Hair Color, Highlights, and Lowlights

It’s happened to almost everyone at one time or another. You go in to the hair salon with a fabulous photo of a hair color that you’ve been dreaming of, only to come home with regrets. Even though your stylist and everyone in the salon said you look great, somehow you’re doubting that this “copper” tone they’re raving about is your color at all (in fact, you think it might be orange).So, what do you do when you get home and you hate your hair color? Who pays to correct the color?

1. You Got What you Asked for, but you Just Hate It

Bad Hair Color
How to Handle a Bad Hair Color. Peopleimages/Getty

First things first, are you sure you hate it? Make sure you really give the color a chance to grow on you. If you got what you asked for, but you just aren’t a fan of the look now that it’s on your head, you may just need time to adjust to the new look. A new color, especially if it’s drastic, can take a week or two to feel at home (and remember, it’ll probably fade a little). Don’t go changing the color drastically on one day and then again on the next. You could really compromise the integrity of your hair’s health.

If you’ve adjusted and you still hate it, you’ll have to go back and have it corrected. Just know that as long as your stylist did what you asked her to do, the correction is on your dime, this time.

Definitely go back to the stylist that performed your color when this situation occurs. While she may be disappointed that you didn’t like the result, she knows what she did to your hair and can best assess how to reverse the look to something you’ll like more.

2. Your Hair Looks Nothing Like The Photo

Your Hair Looks

When you take a photo in to your stylist and you come out with something completely different, and you absolutely hate it, this is a different story all together.

If you feel like your stylist did a good job, but the color didn’t come out right, give her a call to discuss the reasons. Sometimes a quick toner or a few extra highlights are in order to perfect the color.

Sometimes your color may not have come out correct because your expectations were too high or it may take multiple appointments to get your color the exact way you want it. Either way, if your stylist promised you an approximate result and you didn’t get that, give her a chance to correct her mistake.

In this case, typically your stylist will pick up the cost of correcting your color.

3. Your Hairstylist was Negligent with your Color Service

Hairstylist Negligent Color Service

There are times when your color didn’t come out right but you just know your colorist was negligent in her process. Maybe she over processed your hair, or chose the wrong tone completely with your base color. Perhaps she missed an entire section, or your “natural” highlights came out chunky and dis-proportioned.

If this is the case, you’ll want to discuss your service with your stylist or her manager/salon owner. Most of the time, the salon will help correct your color service and pick up the cost to correct your color.

4. Your Hair is Damaged and Color is All Wrong

Damaged hair
Damaged hair. Keith Berson/Getty

Now I’m talking about disaster color experiences. One of those times that you went in with a healthy head of hair and came out with green highlights or damaged hair.

While the salon and the stylist should be responsible for correcting your color, a lot of times when this happens you don’t want to relive the experience, and often times your hair is too far gone to repair without a drastic haircut.

You can talk to the salon about a refund in these cases, but be aware that salon policies are most often to correct the mistake, not to refund the price.

5. How to Protect Yourself from a Bad Hair Color Experience

Protect Yourself from a Bad Hair Color Experience
How to Handle a Bad Hair Color. Izabela Habur

At the end of the day, it comes down to doing your homework to prevent bad hair color experiences to happen.

  • Make sure your hair is healthy enough for a hair color appointment, and prep your hair ahead of time.
  • Do your homework on your stylist, be sure she’s comfortable performing the service requested.
  • Listen to your stylist’s advice.
  • Take good care of your hair color investment.
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