Wednesday, May 20, 2009

6 Strikes Against Jen, or Why You Should Avoid Her at Axis Hair

I used to think that anyone with the most basic Hair 101 training can cut bangs.  I also thought that nobody could mess up a trim of my long sleek locks.  I was proven wrong on both counts last week.

My original hairdresser, Jasmine from Axis Hair, upped and moved to Tofino a few weeks ago, and she was not allowed by the salon to contact her existing clientele to let them know the news.  As a result, I didn't find out that she had moved until I called the salon and asked for her; I was left having to find another person to trim my long bangs and even longer hair.  I requested that the reception folks book me in with someone who was as good as Jasmine (whom I liked very much and who was a very good junior stylist), and they set me up with Jen.

When I went in for the trim, I was pretty explicit about my preferences.  I told Jen that I had just been to the salon 3-4 weeks prior, and that I liked having longer bangs that I could either sweep to the side or wear down the front of my forehead.  I also explained that I like longer layers that aren't too obvious in my hair.  She reassured me that she knew what she was doing and she would simply give me slightly shorter layers (for volume) and would trim up my bangs.

I started to worry when large chunks of my hair began falling on the floor; this was bad sign #1.  The second bad sign occured when she tried to part my hair to the side (it normally parts in the middle) and I had to stop and correct her, even though my part should have been painfully obvious to anyone who was paying attenion and knew what they were doing.  

The moment she snipped at my bangs and I saw the end result of said snip, I almost cried; bad sign #3.  She had cut the bangs to the same length as where my eyebrows sit! Given that my preferred length was somewhere around my lower lash line, this was a big problem and I knew I was not going to love this cut.  I mentioned, calmly, that I was concerned that the bangs were too short.  She insisted they weren't.  
Bad sign #4: after she had cut more of just the front layer of my bangs, she began cleaning up the back.  I had to stop her to ask her to cut the remainder of my bangs (which run a little deeper into my scalp and aren't limited to one straight layer across the front).  She then proceeded to challenge me on this decision (bad sign #5) until I absolutely insisted.  As she cut the rest of my bangs, I asked if she could leave those layers a little longer and blend them into my shorter bangs so that I had at least a bit more length in the front.  She insisted she could not do this without the bangs looking even shorter.  

When she had finished with the now-very-short bangs, she asked me if I wanted to have them layered.  Um...NO?!?! If she couldn't layer the longer portion of my bangs to blend with the short front layer, I wasn't about to have her layer them to be shorter than they already were!  I told her absolutely not, and insisted on a blunt bang.

As she blow-dried my hair, she was very quiet.  I think my upset and disappointment came through loud and clear in the tone of my voice, and even though I didn't tell her off, she knew she had messed up royally on my bangs.  When she was done blowing out my hair, she apologized for the bangs being too short for my tastes, even though she remained insistent that they weren't actually too short, and that they looked good.

I left the salon feeling ticked off and disappointed, as well as embarrassed by my stumpy bangs.  Despite reassurances to the contrary by friends and Hubbs, I still could not shake the feeling that this cut sucked arse.  I tried consoling myself with the knowledge that bangs grow quickly and my misery would be short-lived, to little avail.

Jen from Axis Hair needs to go back to beauty school and get more training, or find a new profession.  I realized this when, a few days later, I tried to pull up my hair into a ponytail, only to discover that the "blended layers" she had cut into the length of my hair left me with several very short layers, several chunks of medium-length hair, and two lone chunks of freakishly long hair.  Bad sign #6 is that there was no subtlety whatsoever to the cut, and in the ponytail position everyone could tell that the haircut was poorly executed and blended.  Even Hubbs, who usually makes up something to compliment me and will almost always avoid making critical statements, had to concede that my ponytail looked wacky.

By this time, I had hit my breaking point.  Usually, 3 strikes and you're out.  Now we have 6.  I called the salon in my most panicked and upset voice and demanded a re-cut with a senior stylist who knew what she was doing.  Luckily, such a stylist existed and they booked me in to see her the same day.

When I arrived, the stylist was attentive and pretty quiet as she listened to me rant about the shoddy quality of my haircut.  She grew extra quiet after she examined my jagged ponytail.  She apologetically informed me that the bangs would simply have to grow out; there is nothing she'd be able to do about them.  She then explained that she could help me blend those jagged layers back in while maintaing most of the length, although I knew that this meant that she would have to take off more of the length in the back to even things out.

This stylist was obviously experienced; I could tell by the way that she re-cut my layers and explained things to me.  She also apologized for my crappy experience with Jen, although she was careful not to be critical of her even as I continued to rant about how horrible my initial haircut was.  

In the end, the back of my hair was repaired, even though I lost about an inch and a half from the length.  With this new stylist still there, I tried pulling my hair up in a ponytail to confirm that the layers now looked blended.  They did.

The salon also comped my second haircut, as they rightfully should, and I tipped this new stylist well and also bought a product from her.  However, I'm left wondering if I should ever return to this particular salon (or this location), or whether this was a sign that I should move on to a more upscale and experienced salon like Suki's.

I haven't made up my mind yet, but I'll be that by the time these bangs grow out two months from now, I will.

And now you know...not everyone who goes to hair school knows how to cut bangs, or layers, or hair, period.

BLACKLISTED: Jen from Axis Hair