A Hairdresser's Skills

Unhappy salon client after a bad haircut
Photo: Nomad Soul/Shutterstock
Q: I had some concerns with a recent haircut, but I'm not a hairdresser. So, I am reluctant to jump to conclusions about someone's skills without reason. I am very easy going with my hair. It was very long (mid back) and I was looking at split ends. I mentioned wanting the ends off and wanting more volume.
The only request I made was that it would not look blunt, just cut at the bottom. I brought pictures of wavy hair with a not-blunt cut, and she said that would be easy to achieve with the layers she would put in. She decided to cut my hair dry, so she blew it straight and then took out a flat iron. This is probably where I started to get very worried. From all my experiences flat irons have never led to volume. With my hair then dead on my scalp she started cutting it with shears straight across the bottom, and then worked some 3" layers in. She let me see the back which was, well, as you would expect, a very even, but very blunt cut. I said it was blunter than I like, and she tried again, but it was still blunt.
Same routine a few times, and then she took out a razor. The back ended up looking ok, but why wouldn't she have started with a razor? The front is horribly uneven, but I had to stop having her correct it after a point because I was getting very scared and intimidated. I literally started the consultation with the statement that I don't like blunt straight cuts, and now my hair is much shorter than it should be, and I can't help thinking that she was just rushed, or something. For asking for volume and a not-cut look, I walked out with flat, bluntly cut, excessively short hair. Is there a better way to phrase what I wanted? I can't help thinking that the use of a flat iron and shears means I asked for something very wrong.

A: Frankly, in the case you describe, I think you are right in questioning the stylist's skills - or at least her experience. Stating that your primary concern was the removal of split ends and that you wanted to avoid a "blunt-looking cut" at all costs would seem pretty clear to most stylists.
In fact, my initial thought would have been to take my razor straight-away and simply remove the split and damaged ends as closely as I could, and perhaps to extend the layering upward a little to add some lift in the upper portions to give more volume in the hairstyle.
Of course, I too, would not think of a flat-iron as my first option for creating a style with volume. Flat irons can be used to create lift at the scalp, but this would be more easily created using a blow-dryer and diffuser as you are drying the hair.
Personally, I don't think you asked for something wrong, because I seem to understand perfectly what you were asking for. It is far more likely that your stylist was hurried and wasn't paying you the proper amount of attention as you described your desires to her regarding your hair.
See also:
Why hairdressers never do what you want
Talents and skills needed to become a good hairdresser
How do we report salons that continually do not honor the patron's request?
Why do women keep going to the same hairdresser, even when they are unhappy?