To many people, hairdressing is a dream job. If you were the kind of little girl that spent her days doing her friend’s hair and her doll’s hair and her Mom’s hair and any other hair they could get their hands on, you probably dreamed of being a hairdresser one day. But there’s a side of hairdressing that nobody ever talks about and that’s the gross side!
These hairdressers and barbers have come together to tell us about the most hair curling horror stories they’ve ever encountered on the job!
1. This is just really sad
“I used to work as a receptionist at a high end salon. One day, a lady called and asked if we had anyone who specialised in cutting curly hair. I matched her up with someone, asked the standard questions, and made the appointment – It was for her grand daughter.
When the family showed up, the mother and grandmother were white, and the granddaughter was African American. They obviously didn’t know (and didn’t bother to learn) how to take care of the girl’s hair, because it was in a giant, waist-length ponytail that was completely matted. She also had a bit of a developmental disability, and they claimed she would not wash her hair herself.
I could smell her as soon as she walked in, but when the stylist got her hair wet at the shampoo bowl, the smell quickly permeated the entire salon.
It was like a punch to the gut. The hair stylist had to keep coming up front for fresh air. She said giant flakes/sheets of dandruff and buildup were basically crusted to the girl’s scalp and throughout her hair. The matted ponytail was the worst of it. What should have been a simple 45 minute service ended up taking over four hours.
The girl looked great when she was done. I felt terrible for her because it was pretty obvious that her mom and grandma had no intention of keeping her hair maintained. I got the impression that they basically only took her for a haircut when things got completely out of control. I was horrified that they apparently weren’t even bothering to wash her hair at home. They bought a bunch of products that the stylist recommended, but ended up returning everything a day or two later.” girlofthewoods
2. What are you meant to say to that?
“This was while I was still in school. A dirty looking woman came in needing her hair washed and probably cut too. She had open sores all over her face and neck, which meant she probably had them on her head too.
Her hair was completely dreaded into one huge dread from how dirty and tangled it was. I was in the middle of putting conditioner on her when she informed me she was HIV positive for over 15 years.” scorpionbutt
3. A hairdressing superhero
“My sister worked as a receptionist at a high end salon. A regular client came in and idly said something about how her scalp had been itching a lot.
She had head lice and didn’t even know. The stylist pulled aside my sister and said, “Get twenty out of the register, run to the drug store, get some Rid. Throw away the box and bring the bottles to me.”
The stylist then told the client that she’d be getting an additional shampooing to help with the scalp, treated the ladies hair, combed out the nits, then washed, styled and blew-out as normal.” MeebleBlob
4. Nobody was harmed in the making of this pixie cut!
“My stylist once had a woman with hair past her butt who wanted to donate everything to Locks of Love.
This woman with hair down nearly to her thighs says she wants a pixie cut, and is donating everything else. After checking multiple times to see that she was positive she wanted a pixie, and not a short bob or anything, the stylist starts cutting.
The woman sobbed the entire time. Like, shoulder shuddering sobs in the dressing chair with her sad little haircut cape on.
Stylist kept asking if it was ok, but the woman was determined to help people with cancer and told her to keep going and to ignore her tears.
My stylist said it was the most awkward experience of her life. Other customers kept coming in and probably assumed she was maiming this poor woman.” PoopsieDoodles
5. That’s one oily customer!
“Long time ago but I had to wash and cut a teenager who hadn’t washed his hair in what looked like months. The smell was awful.
Our salon policy was to wash the hair after a men’s cut. So after his cut, I tried to wet his hair in the shampoo bowl but the water just ran off his hair because of all the oil buildup. I had seen a lot during my years as a stylist but that was the worst experience.” bzookee
6. The hairdresser isn’t always right!
“I had really really thick hair as a kid. I remember going to the hairdresser and as the lady washed my hair I told her that she was doing it wrong, that it wouldn’t brush easily unless she washed it right.
She was balling it all up and massaging my scalp vigorously. What needed to be done (and what I still do today) was to keep the hair straight, NEVER ball it, wash the scalp, and rinse so that the water carries the suds down the length of the hair and cleans it. If it’s so dirty that suds won’t do the trick, you can do more, but still NEVER ball it up.
I remember sitting there bored out of my gourd with the most miffed “I told you so” thoughts going through my head for the longest time as three hairdressers and my mom all tried to brush out the rat nest that hairdresser caused.” MangaMaven
7. Please tell me he wore a glove before touching this!
“My husband is a barber, one day he had a guy come in with dreads, wanting them all shaved off. He parted his dreads, looked at his scalp and noticed it was green! He touched it and saw it ripple. When he asked the guy when he’d last washed his hair, he replied ‘about 3 years ago!!’ My husband realized the guys whole scalp was covered in a layer of pus!! He sent him straight to A&E to have everything drained and treated with antibiotics first.” Deleted
8. I wonder what happened to this poor woman
“I’m a hairstylist, pretty new still. In school you can’t really turn anyone away. I had a petite women sit in my chair, tweaked out of her mind, with her pimp telling us to dye her stringy, fried hair blonde and cut them to her chin.
She didn’t speak for herself at all, she wouldn’t even look in the mirror. He gave all the instructions, he definitely had a specific look for her in mind. He was a huge douchebag to everyone. After the cut she left the chair to go cry in the bathroom. A classmate went to go check on her and saw she had already walked out of our shop. Her pimp left quickly after that.
I think about her sometimes and I hope she’s okay. I wish I had gotten the chance to make her feel beautiful.” fleur_de_la_c*nt
9. I don’t even want to think about this!
“I was new to doing hair in a community that was mostly old people. Well, a lady comes in looking for a haircut and I swear, she had a giant crust mountain on her head! I wanna say like 3 inches in diameter. It was disgusting.
Now I know due to laws in my state you can refuse service if there is a medical condition like that. Well being brand new, I did not know this. She brought in a medicated shampoo from her Dr., so I used it on her and it smelled like cat food. During the cut, she had lumps of crust falling out and it was disgusting. I will never do that again.” polkadotpoppy
10. Why wouldn’t you try to treat the lice yourself?
“I had a young man come in with his mother. He was about 8 years old and had tight curly hair. His mother ask me to shave down to a 00000, that is the shortest you can go with clippers. I said sure. It was my last cut of the day and I was eager to go home.
I start the service and notice barely 1/3rd in that he had a lice infestation under the tight curly hair. And these guys were huge. Probably why his mother needed me to shave it off. So I discontinued the service and spent the next 3 hours disinfecting everything in sight.
The boys mother called the barbershop later to complain because I wouldn’t finish shaving her son’s hair. We tried to explain that it was illegal for us to continue the service as it might spread lice to others and recommended a specialty shop that could take care of this for them but she demanded that it was because we were racist!
That was fun.” sometimes_always
11. Cockroaches? Really?!
“My mother was a hair dresser in the 1960s, during the time of the beehive.
Customers wouldn’t wash their hair for weeks, they’d just keep spraying it to keep it in place as the style was so complicated do. This meant a LOT of fleas, lice, and, on one occasion, cockroaches that had to be washed out.
For some reason this never bothered my mother all that much, but hearing about it made sure I never, ever wanted any kind of hands on customer service job.” LibraryLuLu
12. Thanks for that
“My sister is a hairstylist and got scabies once from a kid.
Apparently the mom knew the kid had scabies, but just didn’t tell my sister until they were leaving. Yuck.” 82workthrowaway82
13. He’s real ticked off!
“A guy comes in for a haircut and all seems well. He gets a shampoo and then I go to cut. I notice this weird flappy thing on the top of his scalp so I take a look at it thinking it’s a scab or something.
Well, it has legs. So I take the fine teeth of my comb and pick this little critter out. Come to find out, this dude had a tick on his head and he probably wouldn’t have noticed for a long time had I not picked it off.” Deleted
14. I’d leave the job right then and there!
“My best friend went to cosmetology school and said the majority of pedicure practice came from old men who would come in to get their toenails cut, because they were too old to do it or couldn’t reach them, or whatever.
She told me once she saw a girl cut some old man’s toenails and one went flying right into her mouth.” ALynn1982
15. How is that hairdresser in a job?!
“I once had to turn a lady away after she booked in for hair extension removal. The micro bonded type, your stylist should tell you, last three months max. Apparently nobody told this lady. They had been in for seven months!
My boss booked her in with me (the extensions weren’t done in my salon). I took one look at it and told her I couldn’t help. There was a chunk of hair about six inches wide that was matted with bits of hair glue (not what we use) poking out. To me her options were shave it or cut it almost to the scalp. Some “hairdressers” shouldn’t be allowed.” hinky28
Are you a hairdresser with a horror story to share? Have you ever had a hair disaster happen to you? Share your stories in the comments and don’t forget to share this article with your family and friends!