Bad haircuts are one of life’s inescapable nuisances. If you’re lucky, you experience one in early childhood (thanks for the bowl cut and baby bangs, Mom) and never again. If, however, you’ve been hit with a later-in-life haircut catastrophe, the damage can seem borderline unbearable.


But don’t worry; you don’t have to suffer through it alone and option-less. You may have already spent the past 30 minutes crying in the bathroom, but we’ve got you covered with our guide for how to fix a bad haircut. We tracked down hairstylist and all-round hair guru Dallin James to help us during these trying times. When a bad haircut hits, remember these tips.


TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND RELAX

Our first tip for how to fix a bad haircut is simple: Don’t panic! After getting what you think is a bad haircut, James’ first piece of advice is to live with it for a few days. “What you got from your haircut may not be what you originally had hoped for, but this might be that chance for an impromptu change,” he says. “Play with it, change up your style, buy a new shirt or put on a bold lip color — see what happens.”


DON’T GO CRAZY TRYING TO OVERCOMPENSATE

Our second tip is to not do anything drastic to try and mask it. “If it truly is a disaster, don’t try and over work it,” says James. “A lot of people panic and try to put in extensions or change the color, but what ends up happening is you stress out your hair more than necessary.”


DO MAKE MICRO-TRIMS PART OF THE PLAN

Our third tip for how to fix a bad haircut is to incorporate regular visits to the salon. James also recommends making a plan with a goal in mind. “If there is a look you want, make a plan and start growing toward that goal,” he says. “Micro-trims are amazing! Find a stylist you trust and make subtle tweaks here and there to get your hair back into the shape you want.”


DON’T TRY GOING TO EVERY STYLIST UNDER THE SUN

Avoid trying a different stylist with every salon visit. First of all, it’s exhausting, and it could throw off your style even more. James reminds us, “We all have a million different ways to get to that same result and one may contradict the other. One stylist’s technique may throw off the others, ending in a bad haircut. If you are looking for a new stylist, book a consultation or a blowout and see if you have the same vision.”


Figuring out how to fix a bad haircut is not a matter of life or death. Trite as it may sound, remember that it is just hair and will grow back. In the meantime, hair health is always paramount. Keep your strands in shape and any style (even if it’s not the one you wanted) will look better.


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