Finding a salon and stylist you trust is tricky. It’s all about the trust. When you finally find the holy grail of stylists (i.e. one who totally gets you), they leave! So you book in with someone new and look forward to a pamper session. ‘Relax,’ you tell yourself. Then you catch sight of your stylist. Usually half your age with a cropped cut, dyed a ghastly shade of pink. All you want is a cut and blow dry, and to escape with your dignity…
1. The sorry state of your hair
Yes, topping our 11 cringe moments all women have at the hairdressers is the fact your mop’s a matted mess. Dank and lacklustre – which is why you’re here, of course. But why do two days without washing it leave you looking like you’ve not showered for a week? Oh well, it’s part of the service, and their fancy products will make your bonce shinier than ever. Hopefully.
2. Other women (who know what they’re doing!)
You’re surrounded by women who look like they’re here on a weekly basis. Arriving with already sleek hair, they’re pros at sitting with elegance, idly scanning magazines for celebrity gossip. The trashy mag you usually read isn’t here, so, you flick through an ‘aspirational’ rag, nodding thoughtfully at the latest fashion trends as if you know what’s what. That’s after you’ve spent three minutes getting past the adverts and, before you can complete an article, you’re called to the chair…
3. The consultation
You’re dealing with a professional – it’s an insult to them that you spend zero hours lovingly caring for your hair. You’re here so that they will magically fix it. ‘I just want a couple of inches off, to get rid of the dead ends and have a tidy up…’ you blather. They hate you, you can tell. ‘Yes, but what sort of style are you after?’ they ask, trying to obtain a smidge of guidance. ‘Whatever you think, but I want it manageable at home,’ you add, sheepishly. Right, they decide, this girl’s clearly a troglodyte. Then they send you to be hosed down by a junior stylist.
4. The gown
The least flattering of garments, but a necessary evil! Is it on like a coat or front ways like a straitjacket? Whichever you presume, it’s always the opposite. It’s either too big or too tight. Barely waterproof, your shoulders still get soaked and loose hairs are destined to creep down your neckline and itch for the rest of the day.
5. The shampoo and massage
You slip your head into the awkward crook on the sink and then comes the question: ‘Comfy?’ ‘Yes,’ you lie.
Next …‘Is that temperature OK?’ The water’s either chilly or scalding – are their hands made of asbestos? You don’t want to fuss so you smile and reply: ‘Yes, fine.’
Staring at the ceiling, you feel ridiculous, and anxious they won’t wash every strand thoroughly.
‘Would you like to try a conditioning treatment?’ they ask. Translation: your hair’s beyond salvation. They know you only visit once every six months, and never apply expensive nourishing products meanwhile. ‘Yeah, great!’ you reply, knowing a tiny squirt will be an added £14 on your bill. Oh well, you’re worth it.
Oh cripes, here comes the massage! Does closing your eyes mean you’re enjoying it a little *too* much? Or is it more creepy to keep them open? Closing them, you try to enjoy it… then suddenly it’s over! What a swizz. You slope back to the chair facing the bright lights, and cruelly unforgiving mirror. The bags under your eyes have appeared overnight, you’re certain.
6. ‘Tea or coffee?’
It used to be so simple. Now there’s more decisions – wine, beer, mineral water, OJ… what’s the appropriate choice? If you get alcohol you definitely have to tip more. ‘Coffee,’ you reply, knowing it’ll arrive just in time to go lukewarm during your blow dry, when you won’t be able to reach and drink it.
7. The awkward small talk
After draping your shoulders with an inexplicably heavy rubber shoulder sleeve, they start snipping. Argh. You didn’t bring the magazine over, and your mobile’s still in your bag so you can’t reach for it… Rooky error. You’re going to have to do small talk. You must be able to think of something to ask other than holidays, you rack your brains…
‘Going anywhere nice on holiday this year?’ they ask, breaking the awkward silence. You know they don’t care, they just want their day to go quicker – and hope you tip them well. ‘Not yet,’ you smile, then exchange some pleasantries about where they last went and are planning to go (if your tip money’s good enough). Totes awks.
8. The head tilt
They’re snipping away, chatting about their next major life event while you hope they’re fully concentrating on the task in hand. Is using their fingers to measure the length 100 per cent accurate? Then, you look up to make eye contact and it comes… the gentle head tilt forward with their fingers. Translation: Shut up and keep your head still.
9. The blow dry
For better or worse, the cut’s done and it’s time to blow dry. There’s no way on earth you’ll ever achieve the same look at home but you decide to go as fancy as possible. Get your money’s worth. As your hair’s dragged from root to tip, are you supposed to let your head be pulled every which way, or fight it with your neck muscles? Whichever you choose, you’re sure they’re getting more and more frustrated with you. Your hair’s either blown in front of your face or rolled up in a dozen different brushes hanging off your bonce. Oh well, at least your coffee’s just arrived…
10. The back of your head
It’s done, and your hair’s bouncier than you ever imagined it could be. It’s still your face, though, rather than Jennifer Aniston’s, but you can’t have everything! ‘I love it,’ you smile, and, thankfully, genuinely mean it. Then out comes the mirror to show you the back of your head. ‘Yep, that’s great,’ you assert, despite not having a clue if it’s actually any good. Why do we only ever see the back of our head at the hairdressers!
11. To tip or not to tip?
‘Any products today?’ they ask. No, thanks, you’re juggling three overdrafts as it is. Then they look at you for a fraction of a second longer than comfortable – willing you to hand over a note. You realise all you have in your purse is coins. ‘It’s all I’ve got, sorry,’ you say, meekly, handing over a few £1 coins to barely cover 10%. Adding on coppers would just be an insult.
‘See you soon!’ they chirp, like you’re their new best friend. Yeah, right, see you in another six months… When they’ll have moved on. Then you’ll start the process all over again!