It was the 3rd time in my entire life that I have sat down in a hair stylists chair in a hair dressing shop.
Before I continue, I interrupt the ordinary flow of this post to bring you a Latin Proverb:
"A wise man learns by the mistakes of others, a foolish man by his own."
Replace 'foolish man' with 'Simple Thing' and you can kind of see where this is going, yeah?
I only went because I was so darn tired of being blonde. It wasn't even funny, and my student newsletter said this salon do a student discount of 20%. I'm saving money! I thought, so booked an appointment at the salon, had a patch test and set off later that week, in a rush and late to get to my 11:45am appointment.
The Wonder Thing made me run for the bus, goshdarnit. Where does he think we are? London?! Luckily, I knew where the salon was, so was only 5 minutes late. So my first point:
1. Do your research
I'd looked up the price of the treatment I'd wanted, I'd inquired to confirm that the student discount was intact, made sure they knew that they should not expect someone with blonde and silky hair to turn up on the day and I'd also looked up where the salon was, to prevent me running around the city centre like a headless chicken. So that was good.
However, I was cold, because I'd left my house in such a hurry, I didn't even have a coat.
And it is still winter here in England!
Which brings me swiftly to point number 2:
2. When going to a salon, be prepared!
Because I was in a rush, I forget everything - my micro fibre towel, my conditioner (especially as I'm picky about ingredients), my coat and my dignity behind. And I was naive. I thought they were simply going to put the colour on my hair, rinse it out and let me go on my merry little way.
Not only that, I'd been testing out a twist out the previous day, so my fringe was a bit tangled, and he went at it with a wide tooth comb. But it was nearly a fine tooth comb.
Which highlights my third point:
3. Please don't be afraid to tell them if you are uncomfortable
You are paying for a service, and hopefully you will get a good one in return. Stylists don't want to hurt you because then you will never come back and their business will shrivel and die and they will end up trying to sell their own hair for a couple of peanuts.
My lovely, lovely hairdresser, when we first started, picked up the smallest comb with the finest teeth I'd ever seen in my life. I freaked out (inwardly) and calmly asked if he had anything bigger.
A lot of people when talking about handling stylists are quite rude, and I'm not very confrontational with provocation and I'm also extremely empathetic, so I don't see any reason to be so aggressive.
Just a polite 'Excuse me, I was wondering if...?" or a "No thank you, I'd rather not" should suffice.
Don't make me get all Victorian lady up in this cottage.
I didn't enjoy the conditioning that I somehow ended up getting after my shampoo - the deep conditioner dried my hair out (a task I'd previously thought impossible) and my stylist kept going out my hair with a (thankfully bigger comb) from the roots downwards.
I told him not to, but occasionally he'd forget and I'd grimace but say nothing.
Hello, point number 4!:
4. Please don't be afraid to ask them what they are doing to your hair and, if necessary, how much it will cost. If necessary, be insistent (on knowing the details, or refusing a service).
I had checked the price before, and the woman at the desk had confirmed it, but she hadn't confirmed it with my stylist, who was lovely, but new, and thus a bit nervous.
And I was nervous as well (he had my head in his hands, you'd be nervous too) so I didn't want to say anything to nark him off and make him give me a green tint.
Green is not my colour.
So when he said "Would you like me to wash it out now?" I was like "Yes please!" I'd been there for an hour and was getting peckish.
But when he washed it out, I didn't realise he also put conditioner in.
And then he asked me if I wanted my hair cut.
I screwed up my face and said "Not really."
Stylist: "Just a small trim off the edges?"
Me: "Er, I guess if there's any split ends, they could get cut off?"
I'm mad paranoid about split ends, yo.
Me: "How much will it cost though?"
Stylist: "Eh, not much."
Me: *thinks* He knows I'm a student, it won't be much *is reassured*
But I didn't get a trim - I got a mini cut (yes, there is a difference). And yes, it got rid of the beach boy surfer from the 90s look I had going on, but I didn't ask for it. Hence, the ungratefulness.
|Maybe I *liked* resembling Ben Adams from A1 circa 1999|
It's, like, half an inch longer than when I first started this blog. Also, it's not longer just shy of Arm Pit Length. Oh welllll. C'est la vie and all that jazz.
And "Not much" is very different to different people. I thought £10 maximum on top of my colour (what? I'm naive, I know!) Plus, my point of reference is The Wonder Thing, who usually pays just under £10 to get his hair cut. But he is a boy, and salons charge it differently.
However, back in reality girl land, it would have come to £45 in total *jaw hits floor*
But my student discount came to the rescue and dropped it down to £36.
My colour (which I had originally gone in for) cost £15 before discount, and cost £12 after discount.
Which I was cool with.
But the 'Afro Shampoo/Condition and Cut' I'd also gotten was £30 on top of that, and £24 after discount.
So that was £36.
I said an extremely rude word when I stepped out of the salon and looked at my receipt. Which highlights my penultimate point:
5. If you have a problem, say it in the shop.
And be nice! I didn't say anything at all - I was so shell shocked, I just paid the money and left and commiserated about how I was going to eat for the next week and a half (yes, the money for the extras I hadn't asked for equals how much food I eat in 10 days).
But seeing as they're a salon, if you're brave enough to kick up a fuss, then they'd probably give you some sort of remuneration to prevent you bad mouthing them everywhere and potentially unnerving their waiting customers.
The thing is, the colour? I love it - it's a lot darker and richer than my previous one, so it's difficult for people to see, unless I purposefully do a style that allows them to see it. So if it had been left at that, I could have honestly and openly said it was an awesome salon experience.
And the cut is nice. I just didn't want it because I was growing out my front layers.
But the shampoo and conditioning which I hadn't asked for? And which hadn't helped my hair at all? And then I paid twice as much for the colour that I liked?!
But I didn't say anything. And because I like the colour, and the cut's okay but I hated everything else, I wasn't quite sure how to mention it.
In fact, I'm still not, so I decided to blog about it instead!
And my last point?
6. You make the salon experience, not the stylist.
Obviously, they have to do their best not to make it a nightmare, but if you know they don't know your hair as well as you - like when my stylist put the colour on my hair, the coils and waves were more defined, and he said "Oh, it'd look nicer it was left wavy!" I was side-eyeing like I was Zahara and someone had stolen my sweets. My stylist was sweet, though it wasn't a 'specialist' salon, so he was surprised when I mentioned that Beyoncé's hair was fake. I pointed out that Solange had cut all her hair off, and he said "Yes, but Beyoncé's lighter, isn't she? So I thought her hair wouldn't be like that."
The idea that lighter skin = looser curled hair is just - I just - what! *froths at mouth*
I also saw a baby having their first hair cut =/ He was bawling his eyes out, and some of my friends later remarked it may have been better for the mum to do it at home, rather than taking him to a foreign place and plonking down in front of a stranger wielding sharp and deadly scissors.
But in the end, the salon is a business, and they have to make money. There are ways to be polite as well as assertive - I just need to work on the assertive bit a lot more.
If I had realised how much more the cut was going to cost me, and the fact that I was being charged for the conditioning, rather than naively assuming it was 'part of the service' I'd have walked away a lot happier.
And I think that's why I haven't complained or anything.
Because, you know:
"It's easy to be wise after the event."
Which is apparently an English proverb, which I'm a bit narked about, because nobody told me that before I went and got my hair done. So it looks like extreme DIY-ing for me, since that salon trip completely and utterly blew my toiletry budget out the water for the next 6 months.
Ooohh, I've always wondered what I would smell like after showering without soap! Mmm....Student Experimentation....
I got home, sulphate washed, deep conditioned for about 10 minutes, oil rinsed and then medium fat twisted with a little bit of hair creme. And that's it! I'm done mucking about with my hair until the 12 of February at least! For this moment in time, after the last week and a bit spent de tangling and mangling and combing - and er, roaming? - my hair, I'm officially tired out with it right now.