We’ve all been there: money is a bit tight, you need a trim or a freshen up of your look – but instead of waiting until you can afford to book an appointment at the most popular salon in town, you swing by Supercuts and hope for the best. I spent many years on a budget and didn’t quite understand why anyone would chuck fifty quid at a hairstyle, particularly when you could get one for a fraction of that amount. Cutting hair is cutting hair, right? How wrong can you go? The answer is very, and the proof is below. I would put money on the fact that almost every one of us has experienced a bad haircut at some point during our lives, whether that’s a salon completely getting the wrong idea about what you requested, chopping off too much, adding layers when you specifically asked for none, dying your hair a funny colour or (even worse) slicing your ear with a pair of scissors. I like to put it down to experience, but that doesn’t make it ok. It’s about time we stopped accepting bad haircuts and disastrous salon appointments as just part and parcel of what we have to go through en route to our ideal style – and here’s a little story to explain why.
My best friend Gemma is a mum of two who rarely justifies spending any
money on herself. After two years of growing out her hair, she
fancied a re-style – but instead of doing her research and booking an
appointment with a stylist she could put her trust into, she popped into
our local branch of Supercuts. After showing the stylist a photo or two
of the look she was after, she sat back and awaited her mini makeover.
After forty minutes in the chair, and without so much as a mirror
presented to see the back or a blowdry to showcase the look in all its
glory, she was ushered to the cashdesk and shown her way out. It was
only when she was walking past a window on her way home that she saw the
horrendous ‘do in all its glory: badly cut to the point of pure ‘hair
hacking’ that looked worse than her five year old could have achieved
with a pair of safety scissors. The ‘layers’ were uneven and blunt, her
fringe was missing chunks and had been cut far too short, the gradient
resembled flappy ears and there were random bits of hair just sticking
Luckily for her she has a mate who is both ballsy and into her beauty
(moi) so she was straight on to me, somewhat panic-striken
and mortified. How could this have happened and how could the stylist
let her walk out of the salon showcasing her inability to cut the look
requested? After letting Supercuts know, I immediately booked her
into another salon I knew I could trust (RUSH in High Wycombe if you’re
wondering,) and Gemma covered up the mess in the meantime with a bobble hat. (That was a
Christmas present with more foresight than I realised!) Because of the horrendous cut she was left with, the salon that fixed it had no choice but to cut it even shorter and completely re-style once again; although it does look fab and Gemma suits short hair as much as long, it’s been an expensive and traumatic experience – as well as somewhat time consuming. Supercuts have now offered an apology, refund and will be covering the cost of the re-style elsewhere, but this is not a stand-alone incident. I’ve been tweeted endless stories of incompetence, rudeness, violations against hairdressing and even sliced ears! Here is just a selection, for context, alongside a couple of pictures of Gemma’s ‘do after the Supercuts stylist had mangled it.
“Popped in there for a trim a few years ago; I left with one side longer than the other and weird long bits in the shorter side. NEVER AGAIN”“They cut my fringe once when I had it and it was HORRIFIC. I was disgusted with it.”“A year ago today they highlighted my hair and burnt my scalp so badly it has never recovered!” “I had the worst cut of my life at Supercuts!
I went from all one length to having a blunt asymmetric layer by my eyes.”“Supercuts in Swansea once cut my friends ear with scissors. He bled down his top and asked “did you just cut me?” They said: ”Oh no that must be from your piercing””“Supercuts are awful, I had the absolute worst time there recently. I was very close to walking out.
The staff were so rude.”“I once made the mistake of going to a Supercuts. They’re not hairdressers, they’re failed butchers.”“I went there a year ago and it was the most awkward experience ever. Such bad service!”“Supercuts are tragic. I’ve never know anyone come out of there with a good haircut!”
“I asked for my hair to be dyed chocolate brown, but it ended up jet black. They denied it was a different colour to what I requested.”
“I went there out of desperation years ago, and they hacked my hair. I refused to pay.”“I don’t know anyone who’s left Supercuts happy with their hair. How they’re still in business is beyond me.”“I didn’t like my colour once (orange and blonde are not the same thing,) so I asked them to fix it and they did. It was still crap.”
“I would never recommend Supercuts. I used to have endless clients coming in with disaster cuts from them!”
GEMMA’S HAIR AFTER IT HAD BEEN STYLED BY SUPERCUTS, HIGH WYCOMBE
Like with any form of skill-based work, you
unfortunately get what you pay for. You wouldn’t spend a tenner on botox and expect
to get a good result; you wouldn’t chuck an electrician fifty quid and
simply hope your house didn’t blow up; you wouldn’t go to the cheapest garage
if your car was on the blink and expect it to last long before failing
again. In hairdressing, like with so many other professions, you simply
pay for the skill level of the person holding the scissors. My motto has
always been this: if you’re prepared to spend £50 on a new outfit for
the weekend or £50 on cocktails at the bar, why on earth would you not
spend £50 on a great hair do when you have to walk around with it
attached to your head every day for the next three months?
Yes it may
seem like an expensive outlay, but it’s an investment in your own
self-confidence; hair is more than just hair, it’s the key to a bad day
or a great day because we’re so emotionally involved with those little
coloured strands. We only have one head of hair and it’s not like you can change it once it’s cut – the only option you’ve got it tying it back or popping on a hat until it grows out. I’m a firm believer in investing in your beauty regime as far as your budget allows. I fully understand not everyone can afford to or can justify spending a lot of money on their hair, but I would always recommend going to the best salon your budget stretches to if you want anything more than a trim. Although Supercuts undoubtedly serves a purpose and is adequate if all you need is a basic tidy up, if you’re asking for anything more complex then it’s worth finding a salon and a stylist you can trust – because I don’t want any more of you to end up like Gemma.
What’s even more worrying is the tales I’m hearing about expensive treatments being added to Supercuts bills without the clients knowledge or permission. Gemma herself didn’t realise she’d been charged for a hair treatment until it was itemised on her bill, and this is a story I’ve been told many times both on Twitter and by stylists working in other salons. One reader told me: “I had a cut and blow dry, but during the wash the stylist told me my hair looked really dry so she was going to add a treatment to it. When I went to pay I was shocked to find the ‘treatment’ had actually bumped my bill up by £25! I was never told it came with an additional charge, and would never had agreed to it if I was.” This is not ok. You should absolutely be prepared to pay extra for additional treatments, but you should also be made explicitly aware of the cost associated with them so you can make an informed decision; it is absolutely unethical and unacceptable for stylists to be adding these treatments on to bills or quoting with a treatment without explaining the breakdown of the cost. It’s my understanding that Supercuts stylists earn a commission on these additional treatments, but bolting them on without the knowledge of the client is simply bad business practice.
So with all this considered, I wanted to know how likely we were collectively to put up with a bad ‘do or hairdressing experience – and how many of my social media followers would stand up for themselves and refuse to pay for a shoddy (or undeclared) service. This is what you said:
What are the chances that a poll with over 300 responses would come out exactly 50/50?! Although I’m pleased to see that half of you would be prepared to say something, refuse to pay and point out when you’d not been provided with the service you thought you were paying for, I’m also concerned for the half of you that would just smile, pay and walk away. So if you’re one of those people that have admitted you’re maybe too intimidated or unsure of your rights, if you’re unhappy with your haircut here’s what you can do to hopefully rectify the situation.
1. Before you leave the salon, always ensure they show you your new look from all angles. If it’s a re-style, ensure they blowdry/straighten and add styling products so you can see what it should look like when fully prepped. Don’t ever leave without being fully aware of what they’ve done.
2. If there are elements of your cut or style you’re not happy with, politely point them out to the stylist and ask if they can re-look at particular areas. Any good stylist wants to showcase only their best work and will prefer to tinker than to leave you unhappy.
3. If you don’t notice how bad the style is until you get home, make sure you ring up the salon and ask to discuss your experience with a manager within 24 hours. Don’t leave it any later as it will be harder to rectify (and you’ll just feel rubbish.)
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for additional support or aftercare – most reputable salons will offer this free of charge. If you can’t get your style to work at home, ask if you can pop back in for a mini consultation and request specific advice on styling and products.
5. If the worse comes to the worst, ask for a full refund. Hairdressing is a service like no other, so if you don’t get the service that was advertised you’re entitled to ask for your money back. If they refuse, you can take it further by either contacting their Head Office, speaking to an area manager, using social media or even contacting your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
More importantly, how can you find a great salon to start with so you don’t have these issues? If you can, always go off the recommendations of others – whether that’s someone you know, comments in a forum or feedback being left online. There are tonnes of websites and apps that help customers make good decisions (including Treatwell and The Good Salon Guide) and minimise the risk of getting a horrendous ‘do. Don’t ever think you can opt for a bargain and get the same level of service; expect to spend a significant amount to get the results you’re after, even if you have to scale back how frequently you can enjoy that experience. And finally, ask for a free consultation to understand whether the stylist truly understands what you’re after and that they can achieve it with ease. You should be developing a long-term relationship with a stylist that ‘gets’ you and creates a look you’re more than happy to walk out with, rather than leaving you embracing the bobble hat when it’s not even cold.
My final words are this: please, please, if you can help it, don’t go to Supercuts. I’m yet to hear a single positive thing about any of their salons across the UK, and their social media accounts are full of tetimonies that are similar to the ones above. Although I’ve no doubt that many of their stylists are skilled and offer their clients a great service, the overwhelming opinion is that the majority need some training – in hairdressing, customer service and business ethics. They’re giving an industry I have a lot of love for a bad name, and women across the country bad hair cuts. And I simply can’t abide bad hair cuts.
Have you had an experience with Supercuts, positive or negative, that you want to share below?
GEMMA’S HAIR AFTER IT HAD BEEN RE-STYLED BY RUSH, HIGH WYCOMBE
I provided an opportunity for Supercuts to comment on the experience of Gemma and my many readers, and this is what they said: “At Supercuts, we are very proud of our reputation for providing excellent guest service and it is always disappointing to learn that, on occasions, we may fall short of this usually high standard. We would hope that all our guests leave our salons feeling great about the service they receive. However, when faced with a complaint, we always do our upmost to find a resolution that is acceptable to our guest and addresses the issues they raised. Our guests are of utmost importance to us and we strive to achieve the highest standard of service in all our salons.”
Got an issue? You can email Supercuts directly here: firstname.lastname@example.org