Maybe you went in looking for an updated Rachel and ended up looking more like Ross – or maybe your layered cut isn't horrific, but just isn't great. A bad haircut does a number on a woman's self esteem. Get your mojo back by finding a new way to rock the style, or at least by finding ways to hide the damage while the cut grows out.
Wash and Dry
If you're panicking right after leaving the salon, press pause. The hairstylist may have added product or used styling techniques you wouldn't use, and it could be that the cut looks completely different when all that is removed. Wash and condition the hair and dry it straight to see what the layers really look like.
Coax the Curls
After that initial State of the Haircut washing, start using trial and error to style the hair. One of the most effective ways to hide butchered layers is by adding curl, because it masks unevenness. Encourage any natural curl by adding mousse or gel and letting the hair air dry or by using the plopping method, in which the hair is wrapped loosely on the top of the head while it dries. If your hair is naturally straight, experiment with a curling iron or work texturizing spray into it.
Play With Accessories
Short, long, curly, straight – no matter what your hair does naturally, using accessories is an effective way to hide the damage from a bad cut. If ever you've dreamed of becoming a hat person, now's the time. But few women can wear hats all day, so embrace bobby pins, headbands, scarves and wraps. Bobby pins are especially helpful for hiding weird patches. Twist layered sections back away from the face and secure them with pins, or use pins to secure the hair in a bun.
Scout Shorter Styles
Unfortunately, some cuts can't be saved by creative styling alone. Fixing a layered cut might require losing major length. That might be a bummer, so try to reframe it as an exciting opportunity for a do-over. Grab some magazines and look for shorter styles that might work with your hair type and current cut. A bad layered look could become a chic pixie cut, a sleek bob or a daring asymmetrical style.
Get Professional Help
Calling on a therapist is probably overkill, but a professional hairstylist can minimize the damage from a bad cut. If the original stylist made an error, he or she may be willing to fix the cut for free; if the stylist did a competent job delivering what you asked for, expect to pay for it to be changed. It may be preferable to go to a different salon for a fresh start. Either way, be prepared to explain exactly what you don't like about the cut so the stylist can address it. And if you've already embraced the idea of going shorter, bring inspiration photos. The only thing worse than one bad haircut is two bad haircuts, so be very specific.
Kathryn Walsh has been writing about health, wellness and beauty for nearly 10 years. Her work has appeared on sites including USAToday.com, Mamapedia and Livestrong.com.