Bad Haircut Emergency Action Plan – Did Your Barber Mess Up? What To Do When You Get A Bad Haircut
Yeah, you think – but my image?
Harder to salvage.
When you’re going after your dreams –
making first impressions…
selling your personal brand…
a bad haircut is always an emergency.
But you should never let one slow you down. That’s why today I’m going to show you how to roll with it – and keep it from ever happening again.
1. Call Your Barber On Your Bad Haircut
It might be awkward but one of the best things you can do for yourself AND your barber if he gives you a bad haircut is to communicate with your barber. Politely tell him you’re not happy with it. Be specific about what the issues are.
The shop may offer to fix it for free. Unless you trust that particular barber and have a fair amount of previous experience with him, turn the offer down and go to someone else – someone you CAN trust. You may want to wash your hair and see how it looks at home before you spend money on a fix.
Once you’ve decided to go for the fix and you’re with a barber you’re certain you can count on, ask for a “fix cut.” This is the terminology barbers use for making a bad haircut look presentable.
Again, you’ll want to be as clear and specific as you can about what you wanted and what went wrong. A barber who knows what he’s doing can then either nudge things in the direction of what you wanted in the first place or run you through the possibilities for a shorter style that’ll hide the damage.
2. Explore Your Short Hair Options
If the cut you got is truly beyond salvage, your barber will recommend going for a shorter style. It might be a drastic change for you – but a different style that looks good is always better than a butchered version of the style you’re used to.
Ask what short styles your barber recommends. There are tons of options – crew cuts, buzz cuts, fades. If you can pull it off, you may even want to consider a shaved head (note that this is more advisable in winter, when your face won’t be tan compared to the rest of your head).
3. Hair Products
Say you chicken out on the fix cut or just can’t find a barber or style that works for you. You’re not out of options – styling a bad haircut can basically save it… or at least allow you to go out in public.
Pomade or gel can slick it down if it’s too short and spriggy. Mousse or spray can provide body if it isn’t laying right. If you’re not sure what product is best for what you’re trying to achieve, check out my chart on finding the best hair product for your needs.
If a new style isn’t helping, the new look you really need may be a hat. Go with one of the classic men’s hat styles that’s appropriate to your day-to-day life and the other things you wear – extreme example, but if you’re wearing a fedora worthy of Don Draper with your jogging suit, everyone’s going to assume your hair is embarrassing (which in this case is true).
Bad Haircut Prevention
4. Be VERY CLEAR In Communicating
The time-honored trick is to bring a picture of the haircut you want on a model. If you’re not getting a new style, bringing a picture of yourself with the haircut you want is even better.
But also be specific about length, where you want your hair shorter and longer, and what kind of shape you’re going for in case they need to thin.
Pay attention to your hair being cut – be assertive and STOP them if you don’t like it. Voice your concerns as specifically and clearly as you voiced what you were looking for. Give them a chance to address the issues – but be willing to walk out if you don’t think the end result is going to make the cut.
5. Make Sure You’re With The Best
If you can, set up an appointment – the best barbers are usually booked solid with loyal clients, so that’s not who you’ll be getting if you take your chances on a walk-in. Lots of availability is convenient but a bad sign.
Go to a shop that specializes in men’s haircuts – a straight-up barber shop, not a full-service salon that offers loads of other services. Salon and beauty parlor employees usually know how to cut men’s hair, but they’re not the experts – the time they spend on dye jobs and eyebrow waxes, a barber spends just cutting men’s hair.
To choose the best barber look for those with good reviews on Yelp, social media style forums, and other web outlets. Make sure you read them and don’t just look at the ratings – other reviewers may not value the same things you do (they might rate a good barber lower because he took more time, for example).
6. Learn How To Ask For What You Want Beforehand
Your first step is to find out what kind of cut looks good on you – and know what it’s called. Our guide to the most popular men’s haircuts can help you find your preferred look or something similar and ask your barber for it by name.
Unless you wear a longer style, learn the different sizes of clippers. They’re measured by how long they leave your hair – 1/8 inch, 1/4 inch, and so on.
Finally – if you like your look, try to have less drastic haircuts. Getting your hair cut every two weeks means there will be less guesswork (i.e. trying to divine what your hairstyle looked like the last time you got it cut) on the barber’s part than if you were getting it cut every 4-6 weeks.
Ultimately, a man who dresses and styles himself with intention will look better with a bad haircut than a sloppy man would look with a good one – so don’t let this be an excuse to give up. Make something else about you (your top-notch suit, your dazzling smile, your unique tie and accessories?) the first thing people notice. And yes, the old saw is true – hair does always grow back.
Looking for men’s style advice? We’ve got you covered – regardless of the state of your hair.
Find out how style can help you overcome obstacles WAY bigger than a bad haircut when you sign up for our free masterclass. You can learn more about it right here.