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I’ve Never Had a Haircut I’ve Liked

Beware triangle head

04.12.17
never had a haircut i liked man repeller-130

I’ve always associated being an adult with having good hair. A flattering haircut makes you look put together. A bad one makes it look like your whole life is in shambles.

Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but there’s a kernel of truth to it. A 2012 report found that women are judged more harshly at work for their grooming habits, like hairstyles. Hair frames your face and can highlight your best features if you play it right. It can show that you know what looks good on you and that you have a sense of style.

By 28, I thought for sure I’d have a better sense of my style when it comes to my hair. Unfortunately, I’m one of those people whose hair always looks unflattering at worst and boring at best. My fine, straightish-but-frizzy hair has always been hard to style. And no matter how cheap or expensive, I’ve hated pretty much every cut I’ve gotten.

It’s always too short, or crooked or plain — or it looks great at the salon but then I can never recreate the look. I’m not trying crazy styles, either; I usually just ask for blunt cuts or long layers.

My first time getting a truly awful haircut was in elementary school. I begged my mom to let me get a short pixie. I was sure it was going to look so cute. My dad took me to a local salon, and I came home with an unshapely mess; it was long enough that it laid flat but too fine to actually resemble a hairstyle. In middle school, I had serious triangle hair.

I learned to wear hairclips to hide the worst of it. Today, I still find ways to mitigate the damage of haircuts I don’t like: my hair goes up in a bun, a ponytail or a braid, or it’s tucked away behind my ears.

For years, I decided I’d just leave it long, way past my shoulders, so any imperfections would be undetectable. Then two years ago, I had the urge to cut it above my shoulders. When I got home, I realized one side was longer than the other. Since then, I’ve trimmed it a little myself and let my sister try straightening it out. Both attempts failed.

I’ve thought about the possibility that I’m too picky and my expectations are too high. It is, after all, just hair, right? But at least once, I want to feel that I’m not actively trying to mask the imperfections left behind after bad cuts.

Have you had bad haircuts? Amazing ones? What are your best tips for getting the cut you want?

Photo by Edith Young. Featuring a Tory Burch top and Roxanne Assoulin bracelets.

  • Linda Stárková

    Hi there! I had the same problem… I always wore my hair in a messy bun, even right after haircut, because I just never liked it enough. Messy bun for 10 years straight. But then I found this wonderful lady and I let her cut my hair Kris-Grikaite-style, even though I’ve never had my hair that short. It was radicall. And it worked! The trick? We talked about the haircut. Like, for 40 minutes… It was almost like a psychoanalysis. She asked all the right questions and got me to tell her about my hair and style and attitude in a way I would have never thought off. Some of the things even seemed unnecessary, but I guess it was all needed to get just the right haircut. Also, it is very low-maintenance, because the cut is so precise and made to measure exactly for my hair type. So my advice is – find someone, who understands hair and looooooves their work.

    • Tereza Spilková

      I need to meet her! Last time I let someone cut my hair it was a DISASTER!!!!! The lady that did it asked exactly 2 questions and then did the exact opposite of what I told her.

      BTW I love your messy bun, it is very you and very stylish….. I get your point though….it can indeed feel tiring and boring after a while. Women DO need a change time after time.

  • Martyna

    GURL! I’m at the point where I’m starting to think that it’s not even the hair, it’s something in my life that is represented by the hair. How can one be this dissatisfied with their hair for this long? I NEVER liked my hair. They are kinda curly (20% curls, 70% frizz), but not all of them, pretty thin and frizzy and dry (no hair dyes, best shampoos and masks, no hair dryer, nothing helps). They grow very slow. SOMETIMES, when the planets align, I manage to get nice curls, but that’s very rare. I’ve spent hours researching what to do, nothing helped. Any suggestions, anyone?:<

    • Gene

      Hairstory.com products. Cleansing cream is great. I have fine, curly hair that’s prone to being dry, aside from needing a trim now, it’s been looking great 95% of the time.

    • Katie Waller

      Reading your comment made me think that I already commented on this? 20% curls, 70% frizz is so accurate! I have really thin hair, so most of the intensive moisture products make my hair greasy, and typically don’t even make my hair that much less frizzy. I still have super frizzy hair (shout out to living at 10k feet and having dry everything!!), but it has drastically improved with this Shea Moisture leave-in http://www.ulta.com/raw-shea-butter-extra-moisture-detangler?productId=xlsImpprod1057102. I put it in when my hair is soaking wet and then just let it air dry cause I am lazy. No advice on haircuts though, I’ll just probably wear my hair in a french braid until the day I die.

    • tequilamockingbird

      are you sleeping on silk pillowcases?

      i have 3b/3c curls & a ton of hair but the individual strands of hair are very fine, & i’ve fallen in love w/ a handful of products, but switching to silk pillowcases has absolutely made the biggest difference in terms of frizz / the health of my hair.

    • Kay

      soapberri shampoo!!! I have fine dry semi curly hair and it’s made a biiiiig difference in all the qualities- strength shine sleekness. less hair shedding. Sooooo good. It’s expensive for shampoo but they have some deals.

  • I’m always so freaked about getting a bad haircut, I do more research than for term papers in college. I look up cuts for my face shape, my hair color and my hair texture (stick straight and fine). I screenshot about 10 photos from varying angles of the cut I’m thinking about.

    But the best thing is finding a stylist who knows what they’re doing and is willing to work with YOUR hair, not just how she usually does that style. Growing up, my hairdresser kept a card of all my hair treatments and styles I had over the years with notes of what worked and what didn’t. She knew my hair better than I did, and we were almost always on the same wave (hair?) length. Moving away from her was torture!

  • Andrea

    I have very fine hair and hated every haircut I ever received. Then 5 years ago I started cutting my own hair. Cutting hair is not rocket science, and now I am almost always happy with my hair.

    • Trilby16

      I’ve been happier with my own cuts too. I had one where I just side-parted my hair, combed it back into a ponytail and cut straight through. I got longer in the front, shorter in back, and many compliments!

  • Lauren Helen

    I always cut my own hair because even though all I can achieve are very average looks, I am terrified of going back to a hairdresser! Too many awful haircuts at numerous different salons! The first terrible one was age 12 when I asked for layers (I was normally a blunt cut kind of girl) and the lady gave me two layers – I basically had a long blunt cut underneath with a shoulder length blunt cut on top. It was awful, like a mullet+ bowl cut combo.

    • Julissa

      I think I got this cut once in high school!

    • Riikka

      This is the exact haircut I have right now. I am losing faith.

    • I rocked that haircut for years at a very delicate age. My hair just looked like a mushroom and no one knew to do anything about it. It scarred me for a long time.

    • Mia

      OMG, so happy I did not grew up in the US. Mushroom sounds even worse than flowerpot hairstyle…

  • I find the best thing to do is go to a very good hair dresser, one of those annoyingly expensive ones, and just say idk what I should do and let them work their magic. Thats what i’ve done a few times in bad hair moments and its worked out well.

  • Kristina Klaffenboeck

    Who is cutting your hair??? One side was longer than the other when you got it cut above your shoulders? Finding the right stylist (not just someone to cut your hair) is super important (and doesn’t necessarily need to cost a ton). You need to find someone you can communicate with.

    • Julissa

      I swear it’s been reputable stylists at multiple salons! It happens almost every time.

      • Are you sitting with your legs crossed in the chair? Also, if they give you a lopsided haircut, you can usually call and someone else will straighten it out for free! (Speaking from experience)

        • Julissa

          Hmm never thought about that (crossing legs). But I got a cut a day after I wrote this and I definitely didn’t cross my legs and the layers she did STILL came out crooked. Will definitely try getting it fixed for free because it was $80. 🙁

          • Oh. That’s a stubborn destiny if I ever saw one. 🙁

  • Ha ha … yes. Well, I am pushing 45 🙂 and still haven’t found what I’m looking for (though I did love the pixie period until I didn’t. The same goes for chin length). So I just let my hair grow, trim the ends and braid it or wear it as it is, with some lovely coconut product rubbed in to make me feel like I do real maintenance that smells nice to prove it.

    Instead of thinking about changes I havediscovered a new method to bring some life into … my life: I tell people I ain’t gonna dye my graying hair. It’s true, I won’t. This is known. Now, it turns out there is such thing as … hair nazis. In my case: ladies only. This again reminds me of a time when I was young and wanted to wear heavy, sturdy shoes (Docs and alike), it made so many people angry I kind of stuck to them. So my new hair pleasure is telling people about my new gray hair and waiting for the result.

    A pic? Here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BSekrTdlaTs/?taken-by=alcessa

    (my husband says gray hair does not mean I will look old to him, there are other signs that disclose age and he does not think I should strive by all means to look younger anyway)

  • I could not relate to this post more, I have hated every cut (and color) that I’ve gotten, once it grows out for a few months I start to kind of like it, but then it’s time to go to the salon and ruin it again! I wish I had some advice, but honestly the top knot is my saving grace… If you find a solution please update this post!
    -Maxime Kumler
    https://www.sisiterpacifica.com

  • Abby

    I always had terrible hair, like with zero redeeming factors, so eventually I just went the ultra short pixie route and now I buzz it myself once a month. Easy and cheap!

  • Kay Nguyen

    I’m glad I’m not the only one, it’s hard for me to trust people with my hair, due to bad experiences 🙁

    https://www.myblackcloset.com/

  • me

    And here I thought I was the only one feeling tortured by bad cuts. (So bad that I used to cry afterwards! And I’m not a crier, trust me.)

    I’ve not gotten my hair cut in six months because I 1) dont know what kind of cut/style I want, and 2) currently dont have a good stylist that I trust to give me a good cut. Arghh!

  • Geo Laird

    I cut my own hair for YEARS, for the same reasons! I never liked what the hairstylists did and/or I never felt like they understood what I wanted. Now I AM a hairstylist, and the most important part of the hair appointment is the consultation beforehand. A commenter below mentioned that she spoke to a hairdresser for 40 minute before they cut her hair?! I love hearing stuff like that. Always book a consultation before you get a cut. Find someone who will genuinely listen to your hair story/problems and ask open ended questions. This is the ONLY WAY they’re going to understand you and your hair, what you like, what your routine is and how much maintenance you are willing and able to do. It’s alllllllll about communicating effectively. It can be done! Great hair can be in your future! ☺️

  • Sierra J.

    I’ve had what I call squid hair. I have a ton of hair and wanted the weight of my hair taken off… ended up having too much hair on top and little on bottom. Didn’t look so great.

    Still struggling to find a good hair stylist to cut my hair and have yet to find one. Why is it so hard when there’s so many hair stylists around !!! The result has been me hacking my hair off with kitchen scissors – probs not the best idea but it gets the job done.

  • I have a coworker who said she’s always hated her hair, so she shaved it all off in the fall. She looks amazing! I know it’s not for everyone but I’ve been admiring her for doing what I’ve always been afraid to do.
    I’m happy with my hair for the most part. I’ve found a good length where it doesn’t poof out too much and just waves nicely on good days. I’m terrible at styling so low-maintenance hairstyles are the way to go for me.

    • That is so badass. Some women look better without hair I think. Like Amber Rose. I like the idea but I fear I would more resemble some kind of tunnel-dwelling mammal.

      • LOL but I agree. My coworker has a very symmetrical face with soft features (I feel like that sounds creepy but I don’t know how else to describe her) so she pulls it off very well. My face is more pointy so my whole head would just be pointy. Plus I’m always cold and I rely on my hair for warmth.

  • I love my hair, but I hate hate hate haircuts. I have never had a good one, I think because my hair texture is quite unusual – it’s fine caucasian hair but it’s got a wiry texture and there is TONNES of it – and so stylists never seem to know how to deal with it or give me a style that isn’t a total pain in the ass to maintain, or they give me triangle head, which drives me nuts. Now I’ve been cutting my own hair for over a year and it looks much better. Maybe try looking up some video tutorials for how to do it.
    Whiskey Tango Flat White | A Feminist Lifestyle Blog

  • K

    I’m quite short and skinny and everyone used to tell me that long hair would make me look even shorter, skinnier and much younger than I am (and when I was a teenager I desperately wanted to look older), so I kept my hair short for a long time. So wrong. I’m cringing when I look at old photos of me with short hair. I looked so boyish – but not in a cool way. So, it may be boring, but for the past ten years I’ve kept it very long. My hair is getting very grey now, but I won’t colour it. I like my hair and I’m happy that I don’t have to think too much about it anymore.

  • Melissa

    My 2 cents: When you see a woman on the street (or subway or whatever) who has hair similar to yours and it looks great, ask her who cuts it! That’s what I did, and I swear I would walk through fire for my hairdresser. 🙂

  • Cynthia Schoonover

    I have an amazing stylist who knows what works and what doesn’t work for my hair. The important thing is to talk with the stylist about what what your hair is like and what type of style you want, as well as how much time you are willing to spend on your hair. Bring pictures and the stylist can tell you whether a certain style will work for you or if can be adapted to your type of hair. After my stylist finishes my cut, she lets me see it at all angles in the mirror and asks if anything needs to be shortened or adjusted. She gives me tips so my hair will look just as great when I style it at home. I have gotten some not so great cuts in the past at places like Hair Cuttery and Great Clips. I have been with my stylist since she finished cosmetology school, as she happens to be one of my daughter’s best friends. If you are paying $80 for a cut, you should be happy with it and not have to go home and take the scissors to it yourself.

  • Trilby16

    Ooh, I have that too– fine, not curly but tending-to-frizz hair. It’s the worst! No products exist that really tame frizz. None. Don’t believe the claims.

  • Basil

    My theory (which has mostly worked so far, but it could be luck) is to have your hair cut by someone who’s hair style you like. My thoughts are – they’ll have similar taste to me and better understand what I want. That, and once you find a hair dresser who is good, NEVER let them go (I’ve been with mine for nearly 10 years now. Only problem is that he gets more expensive the more senior he is at the salon)

  • Aimee

    I’ve given up on ever having a good hairstyle and accepted that my hair is just… there?
    I’ve tried fancy London salons twice – the first just moaned about how fine my hair was and the second gave me the exact same cut my dad gives me but blow dried to within an inch of its life for £60. So at 26, every time I visit my parents my dad gives me a 5 minute blunt cut and that’s it.

  • lateshift

    +1000. I have both the identical and the opposite issue, since my hair is of the coarse Mediterranean variety (I was the only one in the family lucky enough to be gifted with it, everyone else has effortless silky hair.) Fine-haired girls may not have volume, but high fashion hearts shiny, super-thin, messy-looking hair…or at least that’s what the memo pretty much every model has gotten seems to have said. Super-fine and straight – well, that’s what people pay big money to get, so: sorry, not feeling your pain. I’m also jealous of people with fabulous, big-time volume they can embrace… giant curls, amazing Afros, etc.

    If you have super-fine hair or big, curly hair, and you let your hair go reasonably “natural” and lean in to the texture – find maybe one great product and just go low-maintenance – you may not get perfection, but you’ll have an approximation of healthy-looking/intentional hair, or at the very least be on-trend, even if it’s not your personal preference. If I did that, all I get is a giant lump of frizzy, dull shapelessness, because that is the natural texture of MY hair. It won’t hold on to a shape, so big curls are out; it won’t go smooth, so straight is out (unless I want to look like Monica Lewinsky, and also stay inside so air, wind, rain, sweat never get near my head.)

    I know the grass is always greener, but it always KILLS me to hear fine-haired people complain about their hair…put your hair in a ponytail with a dollop of product, you can look at least somewhat chic; if the ponytail gets a bit messy, there’s a decent chance it could look hip. If I try a “nice” ponytail, I get a ridiculous stump of straw that sticks straight out like a tree log. And “messy” ponytails are beyond out of the question – any tendrils that escape don’t fall casually…they either stick straight out or up like I stuck my hand in an electric socket, or sweat binds the short ones around my ears into absurd rings that can’t be straightened. Not that I can usually do a ponytail to begin with – ponytails are like my holy grail…my hair is so stiff, and there’s so much of it, at some point in the day the hairband either breaks (usually right away, but sometimes I get an hour or two before it spontaneously snaps) or slides right out.

    If I woke up with the “super-fine” hair people moan about, I would fall to my knees and weep hot tears of gratitude. It may feel like a problem, but trust me, THERE ARE FAR, FAR WORSE HAIR ISSUES one can have.

  • Cut ya hair at home!!!

  • Carolyn

    Seems every woman I have met has had multiple hair salon horror stories. My worst was about eight months before I met my husband. The guy shrieked when I told him not to use a razor on hair and did anyway, he yanked my hair, jerked my head around, and burned my scalp with the blow dryer, and of course he cut it too short. Then the add insult to injury he charged me $30 more than I was told it would be when I booked the apointment. So shortly after I met my guy I shared my disdain for salons and that I needed a haircut. He told me he could cut it for me and I said please do. Before the haircut I asked if he had good scissors, I was not going to ket him hack my hair with kitchen shears. He had good hair shears, clips and a rat tail comb. My hair was clean and dry as he asked me come that way before he cut it.
    So he set me on a stool in his kitchen, put a towel around my shoulders, combed my hair sectioned it and asked how much off. I told him it is bad, chop off 3-4″. He said lets try an inch or so first and see how it looks. Cutting less? Sure ok. Well he trimmed the bottom layer, let it down in 1/2 sections and finished trimming my hair. No yanking, no jerking my head around, he asked me to turn my head, tip my hair, look straught ahead, etc. when he finished he swept the clippings and showed me what he took off. I dashed to the bathroom to inspect his work. He gave me a great haircut and it was free. I was ecstatic, I asked him if this was just a one time good deal or will he continue to do my hair. He said as long as I want him to, and I have not been back to the salon since. My hair has grown out and is long as I had always wanted it to be and now hubby colors my hair for me with henna. I get stopped and asked who does my hair quite a bit. I tell them my husband and they ask where his salon is. I tell them our living room. My coworker complemented my hair color last week and asked how I get it to look so good doing it at home, and I told her my husband does it for me. So if you hate the salon as I do, I would recommend that you ask your husband or boyfriend to to step up. I know not every guy is as talented as my husband, but I think it is worth the try. Good luck to all 😊

  • Marcia

    Story of my life (40 and still triangle hair)

  • Holl

    Due to health issues my hair is falling out right now (at a quite frankly alarming rate) and its looking scraggaly at the bottom & 100% needs a shorter cut but I just cant – it feels like sacrilege to chop it & get rid of any hair that I still have. Any cut would be a good one, but I just can’t do it yet.

  • Tammy de Fox

    If you want a nice haircut that makes you feel like a Unicorn wearing a crown, if you want to meet a hairdresser who will give a huge damm to your hair and treat it like the most expensive thing on your head let me know. I’ll bring you to meet Aoki.