“Hair is hair. It grows out,” everyone will tell you after you’ve just received a terrible haircut. You should just get over it, right? (Wrong.)
In reality, hair is so much more. It’s part of one’s identity and often a safety net. Cutting hair is an art form and has been used to define cultures and fashion for decades. Yet the importance of hair in connection to one’s identity is often overlooked and thought of as something shallow ― something people shouldn’t give a second thought to.
HuffPost spoke with eight people about the worst haircuts they ever got and how they coped.
Think you’ve had a haircut that’s worse? Share your story and photo with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I had been to that salon two times prior. It was all right the other times when the same stylist had cut my hair. I saw this TikTok recommending hairstyles for men and I got inspired to go get my hair cut. I showed it to her and she said it was doable. I don’t know what happened, but not only did it look nothing like the picture, it was uneven and badly cut.
I was in shock. When she took out the mirror to let me see the back of my head I thought she wasn’t done yet. I couldn’t think of what to say. Maybe it needed to be washed and styled? Part of me wanted to say something but the other part just wanted her to stop touching my hair and just leave. I paid and left as quickly as I could.
When I got home, I immediately washed my hair, hoping that it would look better, but it didn’t. I saw that the front was a little uneven, so I tried to trim it a little myself but I don’t think it helped at all. I made a couple of TikTok videos about my experience and some salons and barbers reached out to me offering to fix my hair. In the end, I went to a barber to get my hair cut again. It was definitely much shorter than I would have liked, but there was not much choice. At least I could leave the house without a cap on! My hair’s still pretty short now and I plan to just let it grow out before doing anything with it again.”
“During my salon experience, I was passed between three different stylists because they were overbooked. They didn’t get the hair color tone right (it was supposed to be bleach blonde) and I left unknowingly with a harsh, uneven cut.
I’d been going to this hair salon for almost two years. I wanted to switch hairstylists because their rates varied on experience level. I was currently paying the highest rate because I was with the stylist with the most experience. They decided to switch me to someone newer so that I could pay a lower rate.
I’d been trying to get my hair increasingly lighter, and the new stylist I was switched to was supposedly excellent at this. For my appointment, I asked for a balayage color in bleach blonde and a V cut. Instead, I received a shade of blonde that, unfortunately, looked quite brassy, as well as an uneven cut with the bottom layer peeking out below the rest of my hair.
Apparently, my session was taking longer than expected, so multiple people began working on my hair. One stylist trimmed my hair for a bit, and then had to go help another patron. Then, a third stylist came over and I didn’t realize the trimming wasn’t done because she blow-dried my hair and styled it. I couldn’t see the back, so I had no idea it wasn’t even, and they curled it, which made it even harder to tell.
The next day at work, one of my coworkers asked me about it. I had no idea up until that moment. When I got home, I had my husband take a photo and emailed the salon immediately. They offered to get me in next week to do another round of color and cut for free.”
Sierra Deisha Lemke
“At the salon, I asked for some chunky bangs that hit my eyebrows, as I am a fan of the messy layered hair look. I told the stylist that I wanted a thicker type of bang that came down to my eyebrows so I could curl them shorter or leave them longer if I wanted to, and she nodded. But then she sprayed my hair and cut my bangs while wet, and that’s when I should have known.
I even asked her, ‘Are you sure they won’t get cut too short?’ and she reassured me. She then straightened my hair, even the bangs. At first, I was just shocked because of how I looked with my straightened hair and didn’t think much of the cut. It wasn’t until I went out to my car and looked at it again that I saw how short and choppy my bangs were. Then I cried. I cried the entire way home and I filmed a Tik Tok video in my driveway as soon as I got home.
I didn’t tell the hairdresser, as I didn’t realize how horrible the bangs were until I was in my car. If I could go back, I still don’t know if I would have told her. I have been worried lately that she has seen my video, as it has over 200,000 views, and my town is small. I fear I may already be a topic of discussion there. So there I was, with a mutilated bang and one of my best friends’ weddings to go to as a bridesmaid.
It’s been a month and the bangs are still pretty short, but it’s a funny story to tell ― albeit traumatic ― and now I have no idea where to go get my hair cut in town.”
“I asked for a fluffy ’90s layered haircut, basically ‘The Rachel’ but at collarbone length. Instead, I got a super choppy and chunky layered cut that’s cheekbone length. Honestly, there’s no name for the haircut, it’s just a mess. I didn’t say anything to the hairdresser because I was in shock. I couldn’t speak.
I went back to the salon to get my haircut fixed the best they could but with a different stylist and I never spoke to the original stylist again. Since the haircut, which hasn’t fully grown out yet, I have been using rosemary oil every time I wash my hair [to help with growth]. I don’t wash my hair as often and I’ve been giving myself scalp massages. I’ve started taking hair vitamins as well, but it’s going to take some time for it to grow out.”
“Originally, I asked for curtain bangs and layers in the back. Instead, I got... I don’t know what to call it. Fringed bangs that go from one ear to the other. I had given the hairdresser three photos of how I wanted my hair to look. When she cut half of my hair short, that’s when I started to break down. I asked her to back away from me. A supervisor came to me. In the end, I told her to cut the other side the same, since I no longer had a choice.
Until the hair grows, I am following some tricks my boyfriend’s aunt (who is a hairstylist) showed me in order to hide the unevenness. Also, I have been pinning the sides or gelling them down. Sometimes I wear a hair band in order to keep the sides in place with the bangs showing.”
“I asked the barber for a high bald fade with a line-up in the front. Instead, I got a low bald fade where the lines were still visible. I asked her multiple times to line up the front but for some reason, her clippers weren’t cutting. I told the barber multiple times to go back and blend the fade in more and told her ‘Can you line me up again?’ The barber tried and tried until I eventually gave up and accepted my haircut. To some, the haircut may not seem that bad, but personally, I like my fades well-blended and my lines crisp. I got neither with this haircut.
I could tell the barber was new because after my first complaint another barber was giving her advice. After she went back and ‘fixed’ it, that’s when I realized I wasn’t going to get what I wanted out of this cut and just accepted my fate. Finally, I did what anyone else would do when receiving a bad haircut: I cried a little and just wore a hat for the rest of the week. Well, I didn’t cry but I posted a rant video on my TikTok and titled it ‘the worst haircut.’”
“Ironically, I visited a salon (as an influencer) to try their services and promote them on my social media. I only asked for curtain bangs to frame my face and showed her examples of exactly what I wanted. There’s even a video of me explaining what I wanted, as we were being filmed for content creation. She ended up cutting 360-degree bangs on top of my hair that looks like a bowl cut with poorly installed hair extensions underneath. On top of that, she also cut a lot of length without my consent (over three inches), even though she mentioned she was only going to trim a little bit off the ends.
I immediately freaked out when I saw some super short strands of hair toward the back of my head. I asked her to dry and style my hair so we could check. She was super rough when she was curling my hair, she was yanking it so hard I was almost in tears ― even the videographer approached me and asked if I was OK.
Once my hair was dry, I freaked out and told her it was not at all what I wanted, I didn’t like it and I was very upset. The owner of the salon came over and said she would fix it and had the original hairdresser wash my hair and prep it. She went ahead and cut even more horrible choppy layers. When I left the salon, she had the audacity to ask for a good review.
I’ve since got a haircut with a very talented hairdresser that softened the layers and made it a bit better, but that super short layer is still there and haunts me every day. I am being patient until it grows out and in the meantime favor lots of half-up, half-down hairstyles.”
“I asked for a feminine cut and wanted to keep my existing hairline and not push it back. Instead, not only was my hairline pushed back, but both my hairline and edges were cut off. I tried to ask the hairdresser to fix it, but the damage was already done. I was clearly unsatisfied.
Until the hair grew out, I wore many hats and only took photos from the side least affected.”