They are murderers!

For more than a month now, I have been considering having a hair perm and leave my almost seven-year relationship with straight hair.

I have natural wavy hair which I felt a burden starting when I became self-conscious on my appearance. There is this connotation in my country that straight hair is always “in” and curly (especially telephone-cord curly) mane is much associated with indigenous groups. I have nothing against those original Filipinos, but I don’t want to be mistaken as a member, so since I was fifteen, I have sported sleek, salon-straight hair.

With the tsunami effect of Korean wave, this association started to crumble. Many Korean actresses and idols are fashionably pretty wearing colored curly locks. In my country, which warmly welcomed Korean culture and their people, a lot of Korean hair salons are increasingly sprouting in almost all parts of the metro. They enticingly invited Filipinos and Korean immigrants to follow those famous stars and have that enviable hair. Many have been persuaded. Including me.

I searched before plunging to another change in my hairstyle though. The current trend for getting curly hair is by digital perm (digiperm), an advanced and mechanical treatment.

jessica snsd

There’s also the traditional cold perm, which is way cheaper, but with lower quality than the digiperm.

There’s also the traditional cold perm, which is way cheaper, but with lower quality than the digiperm.
 I have checked out the photos of the outcome for both treatments. Cold perm looks okay, but digiperm looks fabulous.
Days before I planned to brave another momentous decision, I have read some reviews about digiperm. Actually, at that point I was going to choose to go digital, but some said that the treatment will ruin one’s hair in the long term. It will also make one’s hair dry and frizzy. That made me think. I checked the photos of digipermed hair and say, “Well, I guess I’ll try this treatment the next time. I don’t want to look like I’m going to a party everyday though.”
So I decided to have the traditional one. I saw an advertisement over the internet for a salon in my village. It is advocating the use of natural and organic treatment and I thought that was a good sign. I browsed over its website and found satisfying photos t. Then I checked its services and found that it was offering hair perming. To top it off, it had an ongoing promo! Now, who wouldn’t want to save some cash?
I immediately called the hotline for an appointment. I asked if I could have mine in late afternoon, seven hours after the conversation. The lady I was talking to was “glad to inform me” that I could have a slot at my desired time of 4 PM. I hanged up and smiled. Everything was going out as planned.
Boy, was I wrong.
I arrived on time and the employees of the hair salon were accommodating. A woman in her forties ushered me to seat. She asked if I wanted my long hair to be trimmed (the longest point was in hip-level) and I nodded my an answer. I told her I wanted it two inches shorter, but she insisted in cutting more “because long hair can make you look older” so I settled for three inches.
She then started trimming my hair before the treatment while I comfortably sat and continued reading in my Ereader. That was my first mistake. I occasionally checked my hair though and asked her in two or three times: “Is it still long?” which she answered in, “Yes, don’t worry it is still long.”
Relieved with the idea that my slow growing hair is still long, I went back to my reading. When she was done, she left me to find another staff member who would put the first part of the treatment. And that’s when I looked up. And stared in horror at the nightmare reflected in the mirror.
My hair was cut short. Very short. No, not ear-level short, but short nonetheless. Almost a foot of my hair was gone. Disappeared. Vanished. I gazed longingly at those locks in the floor as I touched my now shoulder-length hair. I almost cried.
Another employee appeared before me and introduced herself as Mia and that she would be the one assigned to do my perm treatment. She hadn’t done anything wrong, but I complained to her about the length of my hair. It wasn’t supposed to turn that way. She apologized profusely, as well as the old lady who did the cutting, but the damage has been done. Did they think apologies would help me sprout hair? I tried to be calm, and surprisingly, I did. I should’ve left right there and then and forget about the perm treatment, but I pasted a weak smile and turn to Mia for the perming.
That’s my second error.
She asked me how I wanted my curls and I answered I wanted them big. Big locks look natural, right? She started with the process and I was confident that she was doing her job well. I asked questions then and there like how it would turn out, would it still look good provided that I now have short hair, etc. She assured me that it would be fine and there were even customers with shorter hair who had beautiful results after. Relieved with her answer, I went back to reading.
Then it was the moment of truth. Mia and another girl dried my hair and slowly unraveled the locks. I was holding my breath then saw the telltale look of a wave. But it stopped there. “Is this it?” I queried.  “Wait ma’am, we’ll be drying it a little then apply some cream. You’ll see,” she guaranteed once again though that time it didn’t have the desired effect on me.
The drying and creaming were done, but it looked like the same to me. “Where are the curls? You said it would be big curls!” I said in alarm. Mia then responded after her great enlightenment which was pronounced by clicking her fingers. “Ah. You mentioned you previously rebonded your hair. Maybe that’s why it didn’t have much effect.”



At that moment, I was getting furious so I answered back with:  “Yes, I did say that and remembered correctly that you assured me that since that treatment was more than a year ago, it would be fine!” Then that middle aged woman reappeared and I lashed at her: “I told you I wanted two inches of my hair trimmed and even agreed when you suggested three. But what did I get? My original V-shaped hair, which the longest point reached my hips, is now chopped shoulder-length straight! Not only it is short, but straight cut! I look like a five-year old!”
I was shaking with controlled fury. I asked for their manager, but she was out of town for the holidays. Great. I think I really made a scene there. Who wouldn’t? I wanted to express my grievances for my peace of mind as well as for their own benefit. If you won’t tell them they are doing wrong, then they’ll be committing the same mistakes forever.
In the end, I couldn’t do anything more. The manager remained out of town who didn’t bother to answer her calls. Figures. For the damages that they caused, they, unwillingly and with heavy hearts (if they really have), offered a P1500 (US$37) discount for my total fee. Yes, ladies and gentlemen. They offered to pay me 37 dollars for my chopped and damaged hair! Containing my anger, I reached for my wallet and paid them the remaining balance – P4000 ($98).
After 3 and half hours in that devious hair salon, I stormed out and walked away. With my short, electrocuted-like, murdered hair.
***Apologies for this rant. I felt I should express this or else I might attempt to take revenge on those employees.
DISCLAIMER: The writer isn’t actually violent and most of her threats remain undone. Keyword: most.
Have you ever been to a hair salon and had the misfortune of having the same experience? How did you handle it?




92 thoughts on “They are murderers!

  1. Oh, my…bad haircuts can definitely boil the blood, but the upside is…it grows back. I’d stop back in, though, and show the manager your hairdo…and ask for more money to be refunded.

    1. How I wish I could do that, Kitt 🙁 The manager was in Tagaytay for the long weekend (it was holiday last Nov30 here in Phil). The just offered me 1000 pesos discount and perm hair activator which functions as a mousse.

    1. Hello there, Shruti. I wish it could be that easy. I was with my Korean friends last weekend and they said it looks okay! They even talked me in getting a huge black eyeglasses so I would be certified Korean-drama character. LOL

  2. I’m so sorry to hear that Monica!! 🙁 That is one of the reasons I have not been back to a hairdresser for years. Every time I go they cut my hair shorter than I want, and generally style it in a way I don’t like, completely ignoring my instructions. I’ve opted now for a simple trim I do myself at home – it’s not perfect, but it still looks fine, and doesn’t cost me a fortune to have something I do not like. I am generally a coward lol, so I never say anything, just put up with what has happened and try and learn from it lol.

    1. Thanks, Heather. I have been reading the comments here and found others who cut their own hair, too. How do you do it? I can’t imagine myself trimming my own locks. I think doing the back part of the hair would be tricky.

      I think you are not a coward, but a strategist instead. If you cut your hair too short or in different style than what you already planned, you have no one else to blame. Not costly either. 🙂

      1. I read a hint on a website once for cutting your own hair. They said to bend over like you are going to touch your toes and brush your hair down (does that make sense – I’m not good with description lol), and then tie a ponytail so that when you stand up the ponytail is at the top of your head. Keep adding bands to the ponytail to keep it together, and then when you get to the end, trim a bit off the end of the ponytail. It can take a few goes to figure out what looks best, as depending on where the pony tail is on your head, depends on what sort of layering you get at the sides.

        And yes – if I make a mistake, I’ve only got myself to blame, and no money wasted! 🙂

  3. Oh, I’m so sorry!! I’ve had a bad salon experience or two myself, but nothing that bad. I ended up with gray instead of my normal blonde, but at least I still had my length.

    And like Heather, I went to cutting my own hair a few years ago. Nobody else to blame now!

    1. At least hair color can be easily changed 🙁
      Actually, I can live with shorter hair. But shorter hair with small curls seems to be difficult to manage! I am trying to cope now. 🙂

      I won’t go dare cut my own hair, but do you think it would be easy to apply other hair treatments?

  4. Sorry about the hair issue. I know, I’m a bloke, and thus cannot relate to the whole ‘perm’ thing, but I am able to acknowledge the brilliance of beautiful hair, as I change my style on a yearly basis. Don’t know if my advice here will be of assistance, but perhaps you could just put faith in yourself and do your own hair. I’ve been cutting my hair since I was, well, must be going on almost ten years (I am so old!), and I have not once had a person say that my style was bad, so I guess I’m doing an alright job – or they’re too frightened that I’ll hurt them if they express how horrified they are. Either way, if you are at the helm, chances are that you will succeed in doing whatever it is that you wish with your hair. Unless you’re like my father when he tried to do his own hair once – the attachment on the clippers fell off and he accidentally shaved half the back of his head – funny stuff! Hope your hair grows back extra fast so any embarrassment that has been done to you has little longevity.

    1. Hi, Derek, or whatever your real name is. 🙂 It seems easy to be a guy without worrying whether your bangs look like Dora the Explorer or your hair as curly as Goldilocks. Is your hair long? If it is, then I salute you for styling it well since you said no one approached you and said otherwise. Or did I read something of them afraid to get hurt? Haha! Whatever the case, sometimes I wish I were a man without hair problems. Aside from getting bald, that is.

      The story about your father’s hair tragedy made me laugh out loud and feel better. Perhaps hearing/reading someone’s experience worse than mine did the trick.

      That’s the problem. My hair grows very slow. I don’t know why. Genes or lifestyle, I guess.

  5. I’m so sorry. I’ve had my fair share of bad haircuts in the past including a horrendous one in March that I’ve only just managed to grow out and deal with, but have found a great stylist who gives me awesome hair. She’s just gone on maternity leave, so the next year is going to be tricky. I’m very scared of having another bad cut.

    1. What happened that March? I hope it wasn’t as tragic as mine. You are lucky to find a great stylist who knows how you like your hair. As for me, I’m in the continuous stage of finding or befriending one. Aha! That’s it! I will have a stylist friend who will surely love and care for my hair, too. 🙂

      1. It was about as tragic. Nasty, harsh layers, a wedge missing at the back, far too short on top… You wouldn’t know to look at me now how bad it was, thank goodness! The worst part was that she was showing 2 practicum students how to cut curly hair to maximize curl, so the cycle of horror will continue unless they unlearn her ways!

  6. Hi Monica, I just came by to say thanks for the likes on my last few book reviews (it’s nice to know someone is reading and enjoying them), but then I read your salon horror story and just had to comment! I recently had my first hair cut, chopping off a couple feet of the stuff. Anyway, I too was pretty unhappy with the final effect, but have found that after a couple days my hair settled down and I didn’t feel as bad about it. Hopefully you will experience something similar and have better luck next time. 🙂

    1. Hello there. I’d been reading a lot of book reviews lately because I want to write and post a few myself. I was looking for inspirations and your blog fits wonderfully. I will write a review before the week ends so I hope you could drop by.

      Lucky you easily got over it. Mine became pretty short and having a natural wavy hair, it isn’t a good sign. I think my face looks like a cherub!

  7. Yep, I always hated hairdressers. They could never get it right for me. So I ended up getting my head shaved by my mom to #3 with a clipper and have stuck with that style since.

    I guess I’ve got it easier as I’m a guy…

    1. How easy it is to be a man! If I were a man, I’d style my hair though I secretly admire men with curly hair. Perhaps i’d still go for a perm then. Haha!

      Your mom is very supportive of you! Trimming or even just shampooing/massaging one’s hair is a sign of affection. 🙂 you are lucky.

      1. My hair does get naturally wavy when it’s long, hmm, perhaps I should try a perm after all. 🙂 Do men really do perms?

        🙂 Yep don’t know how I’d do without her, saves me $20 bucks a haircut each time 😛

  8. Being a man I have no worries about my lack of hair style, as long as the hair doesn’t fall out but I sympathise with you and shall understand the pain that my female friends sometimes go through when these things happen. Thanks for the insight. Big hug also.

    1. Thank you for giving us a man’s perspective, Steve. I think hair is one of the important assets a woman should have. I mean, would a man considers dating a girl with dry, frizzy hair he just met in a club? It is far an analogy to me since I don’t go to clubs, but you get the point. 🙂

      Thanks for the hugs! I am starting to get used to it. As if I have a choice.

      1. I am not a clubbing person either, you can’t read a book with all that noise and flashing lights, I think it’s frowned upon for some reason. I once spoke to a woman who had hair like straw, I was fascinated and possibly 9probably) drunk, if that counts?

        You always have a choice in hugs otherwise I’d just seem like a strange person giving unwanted hugs lol.

  9. And thus this is precisely why no one, and I do mean NO ONE, has laid hand, comb, nor stylist scissors to my hair in nearly 5 years. There are too many amateurs out there. With stylist schools popping up all over the place (I can count nearly ten just within a 100 mile radius of my own home) there is far too much risk involved when you love your hair as it is.

    However, I would like to make a couple suggestions. I understand what it is like to go from lovely long locks to a sudden shoulder length style. It’s shocking, deflating, and downright maddening. There are things you can do to improve that style though! Take a good look at the shape of your face, the angle of your jaw, and your cheekbones, eyes, etc. This will help you to determine if perhaps a slight adjustment to that shoulder length style will help. For example, a sloped jaw and high cheekbones are often well-complemented by a more wedge style cut to such lengths. While this would mean allowing another stylist to touch your hair, it is a very simple adjustment and just might completely change your outlook on this new length.

    No matter what you choose to do, I pray for speedy growth so that you can go back to the lovely length you prefer.

    1. You are correct, Kathryn. Hair salons keep on sprouting like mushrooms and I often wonder where their mother is hiding so I can do something about it. It’s already bad there are too many of them, but the worse is that, yes, amateurs are put in action and make innocent customers as their guinea pigs! Argh!

      Thanks for the sweet thought of suggesting something for my hair. I am still in a bit of a trauma with what happened, and seeing someone holding a pair of scissors would definitely make me flinch. Another style will surely be better than this straight chop, but it would make my hair shorter.

      To top it off, I am to attend my company’s major Christmas party where more than 7000 employees will join. How can I wear my hair in this state? 🙁

      1. Ah! See this is an area where most would believe I have no vision. My own hair is most often found in a ponytail, under a hat with a ponytail, braided down my back, you get the idea. However, the length and cut you currently have is actually MUCH more manageable!

        Consider this. Long hair is laborious to style, no matter how you look at it. Forget the idea of even TRYING to create an up-do, because the number of pins needed is ridiculous! With your current length you have a huge variety of options to try out for that party. Go for an up-do and show off your neck and shoulder line, or just use heated rollers to add some waves or curls.

        I’m sure you’ll look fantastic no matter what you decide. Besides, it’s not the outer beauty that matters, but the lovely soul within. 🙂

  10. I once contemplated bangs. I asked my then hair stylist if bangs would look okay on me. She was like “yeah sure”. I was envisioning thin wispy bangs. But before she even asked me what type of bangs I was looking for, she took a big section of hair in front and cut short blunt bangs that hit no further than my upper eyelid. It made my face look really wide and the bangs were even too short to pin back until they grew out. I was so self-conscious for the next two months until the bangs grew. I never went back to that hair dresser again.

    1. Oh dear! That was one nasty hair tragedy. I am sorry to hear that. I always dream of sporting bangs, too. However, since my natural hair is wavy, I feel it won’t look good. I mean, curly bangs? But this February, I managed to feed my curiosity and asked a stylist to create bangs for me. My hair was recently rebonded (straight treatment) then so it looked okay at first. But when my hair started to grow, the bangs became curly and look like hair from down there! 🙁 I tried my best to hide it behind my ears after that.

      P.S. I never went to that salon again, too.

  11. Hi Monica – Thanks for taking the time to like one of my posts. I am a new blogger. So, I was happy to be found and liked by you. Now… about the hair situation… I, as with several other commenters, just cut my own hair. One thing I get from your post is an affirmation about how hard it is sometimes to be heard and even to be understood. I’m not really just talking about in hair salons. I mean just in general. So, yes, it can be totally frustrating. Maybe the lesson to be learned is to find a way to cope with frustration or maybe to figure out a way to make sure someone “hears” you before letting them take some action. Or Or Or… In any case, take good care!

    1. Hello there. You have an awesome blog for a newbie! 🙂

      You are correct in a way. In general, we say things that are sometimes unheard and it is frustrating when we can’t send our message across.

      Thank you and I hope my hair grows back normally, too!

      1. You end up wearing their egotistical opinion instead of walking out satisfied with the request for service you paid for. She gave you such the opposite of what you asked for that I wonder if she was deaf or maybe distracted with how much money she could sell your hair for. lol

  12. Don’t worry, you have a beautiful face and no matter what hair style you wear you will look wonderful, that’s the advantage to be naturally beautiful. As for the salon, I hope they remember that one unhappy customers will tell many, while a single happy customer will tell few. thank you for sharing your story.

    1. Thanks for the compliment though it wasn’t me in the photos in this post 🙂 They are Korean idols and I really envy their hair.

      You are correct. Even with the rise of media advertising, word of mouth still prevails. They must indeed value customers and make them happy.

      1. You’re funny, I know that those were not your photos, your blog has your actual photo on it, at least I think that is your picture. Very pretty young woman, watch out for those boys chasing you.

          1. Don’t feel bad, boyfriends are a pain, men are a little needy. Enjoy our single life, go places you want to see because when you settle down, it’s all over, you have a tag along with you who has an opinion….and then the babies come, ugh what a huge responsibility those little runny nose things are.

  13. Wow, I didn’t know you already grew your hair to hip length (I mean before this most unfortunate event). Makes me curious what you look like now. Share some pics! 😀

    1. I actually had a similar experience to yours many years ago. I had the idea that I would get a permanent curl that was loose enough so that I would have long, flowing hair with gentle waves throughout. When the hair dresser finished, I thought I looked like a poodle! It was embarassing. I was so horrified that I ignored the rule to not wash the hair for two days. It didn’t help much, but eventually the perm loosened up. It never looked as I had envisioned, but I didn’t feel as though I had to wear a hat all the time. I hope yours turns out better too. P.S. I never went back to the salon.

      1. Hi, Janisek. Apologies for the late response.

        Oh dear! You also had the hair perm murder experience? I think I didn’t look like a poodle; it’s seems I wasn’t used to seeing my flat hair that bushy. As of this moment, I am getting used to how I look like. I befriended lots of hair products to tame my hair. It still has frizz, but at least my hair doesn’t look like a jungle.

        You never went back to salon after that? Don’t tell me that like others, you’d been on your own ever since? Wow!

  14. I’m feel more nervous while waiting for my turn on the barber or parlor than being in the hospital or clinic’s waiting area. It gives me a butterfly on my stomach.

  15. Oh no…! Even if the manager was away, I’d still go back there and talk to her again. Just say that you are really unhappy with the result (even if you’re getting used to it now) and that they went against your specific instructions etc. It’s not just to get money, but to provide feedback – maybe they’ll do the same thing to another person, or maybe they do it all the time! What I’ve found helps, is to bring a friend or even two to talk such as this – everybody hates bad publicity. But, in this case, I’d also ask for a complete refund, because you didn’t get what you wanted at all….

    1. Thanks for the advice. I would do just that, but the manager wasn’t around. I called her, but she wasn’t answering. I would have stayed there longer, but my hair treatment finished passed 7 PM so it’s already late. I don’t want to go back there the other day and relive my horror though.

      The manager sent me a text message two days after and I sent her my complaints. She didn’t reply.

      1. As I said, if you want them to reply or want any kind of response, use social pressure… I heard an interview recently with a guy who works in consumer studies and he said that companies respond to criticism that is posted on their facebook pages much, MUCH faster and more thoroughly than if you write them e-mails or letter or call them – because on facebook there is an audience and other people will witness how they treat you. 🙂

        1. Ah, I finally got what you mean. I think it would be effective. I am considering it, but at the same time, I would like to put the experience behind. I would like to have this positive vibe as the holidays come and start the new year right.

            1. Well, I hope so. My friends are getting used to seeing me with curly hair now. I am wanting to dye it, but my colleague arrived in office last Monday with an ugly hair, too. Apparently, she had hair perm and color, too and her hair simply gave up.

  16. I know that so well…everytime I went to the hairdresser, I was never happy with the results. I have very long hair and only wanted to cut the ends… you know how it works for them “Only the ends, no problem”. Now your hair is shoulder lenght =( So I decided to never go to the hairdresser again and cut my hair by myself, there are lots of tutorials on Youtube! =D Maybe a perm is something more difficult to do, but honestly, they have to stop playing with our hair!

      1. Same punishment for them. I think that just sitting them in front of their angry customers with the fear or not knowing how their hair will look like after the session it’s enough. Maybe we could add a diabolic face to the customer, for more emphasis.

        Seriously, I haven’t been to any hairdresser in years. And I’m proud, hahaha =D

  17. I had a perm back in 1987 (I’m showing my age here!) that was supposed to allow me to puff out my naturally straight hair to appropriate 80’s proportions. It didn’t take so the stylist tried again; the second time she left the rollers on too long and burned the hair off at the root. I haven’t tried again since.

    Did you ever talk to the manager? You definitely deserve your money back!

    1. Oh my! That first error would be enough with me, but trying it again would surely make my MMA classes put into action. My hair has been permed in a way I didn’t like, not to mention its current length now, but it remained partly smooth though. I might kill them if my hair smells like burning wood.

      The manager was away for the holidays, she messaged me after two days. I sent her my complaints and she didn’t respond after that.

  18. How horrific!!! I had a similar experience last year and what I learned is that never, ever, ever get you hair done overseas, I had hair pass my shoulder blades and after a promised tiny trim my hair ended up above my shoulders and I cried, I was not ready to loose that much hair!! Since the bad experience the only thing a hair dresser can trim is my fringe, nothing else!! My hair is finally getting long again and I will never get “a tiny trim” ever again!

    1. I haven’t tried a hair cut overseas though thanks for your advice, I won’t do exactly that. I guess if having it done in another country which speaks a foreign tongue would be a problem. Good thing you had your hair grown now. 🙂

  19. Awful!!! They are lucky you paid. Honestly, I probably would have, too, but I would want to have walked out without paying. You should write a review of the salon since it sounds like a terrible experience!!!

    1. Yes, I must write a negative feedback about their service. Others have been pushing me to write my experience in SNS so their audience would know. Still, I want to get this behind me and treat it as a nightmare. 2012 is soon to end I would like to start my year with a positive vibe.

      1. I agree. I think you can write the complaint in a less “venting” way like you do on your blog, but keeping it factual. It’s not about being negative, it’s about warning others so that they don’t have a catastrophe like yours.

        You can always add a positive, too, since even though it was a terrible experience, there might be something good about it too, like the place was clean. 🙂

        1. Yes, I think this is a good thing, too. In a way this is an eye opener to others to be more careful in going to hair salons and having their haircut/treatment.

          With my experience, it overshadowed any other good things they have. Haha!

  20. I had a haircutting experience many years ago that was similar to yours; you have my sympathies! But good for you being assertive with the stylist and at least getting a discount.

  21. Hi sis sorry to hear about that … Had the same experience when I got cold perm , sometimes you really get what you pay for you know?

Share your thoughts, I would love to read them!