There are two types of people in this world, people who take care of their hair, and well, people who don't. These hairdressers share the nastiest things they've seen on a head of hair.
No one should ever be THAT dirty.
“One of the first shops I worked in there were two individuals who would regularly come in for cuts. Both of them were physically so dirty it changed their skin tone, and they absolutely REEKED of cat piss. Being close to them made my eyes water, and it was extremely difficult to breathe as the smell of ammonia was just plain overwhelming. We never turned them away, and we were always as polite as we could be… But f**k if those haircuts didn’t feel like they lasted three hours.” Source
And the water ran clean off…
“Long time ago but I had to wash and cut a teenager that hadn’t washed his hair in what looked like months. Salon policy was to wash after a men’s cut and the smell was awful. After his cut, I tried to wet his hair in the shampoo bowl and the water just ran off his hair because of all the oil buildup. I had seen a lot during my years as a stylist but that was the worst experience.” Source
The dreaded dread cut.
“My husband is a barber, one day he had a guy come in with dreads, wanting them all shaved off. He parted his dreads, looked at his scalp and noticed it was green!! He touched it and saw it ripple. Asked the guy when he’d last washed his hair, he replied ‘about 3 years ago!!’ My husband realised the guys whole scalp was covered in a layer of pus!! Sent him straight to A&E to have it drained and treated with antibiotics.” Source
Lice, lice everywhere.
“My sister worked as a receptionist at a foofy high end salon. A regular client came in and idly said something about how her scalp had been itching a lot … she had head lice and didn’t even know. The stylist pulled aside my sister and said, ‘Get twenty out of the register, run to the drug store, get some Rid. Throw away the box and bring the bottles to me.’ The stylist then told the client that she’d be getting an additional shampooing to help with the scalp, treated the ladies hair, combed out the nits, then washed, styled and blew-out as normal.” Source
Beehives hold more than secrets.
“My mother was a hair dresser in the 1960s for Vidal Sasson. During the time of the beehive. Customers wouldn’t wash their hair for weeks, they’d just keep spraying it to keep it in place as it was such a complicated do. This meant a LOT of fleas, lice, and on one occasion cockroaches that had to be washed out. For some reason this never bothered my mother all that much, but hearing about it made sure I never, ever wanted any kind of hands on customer service job.” Source
Some parents just don’t know anything about hair…
“I used to work as a receptionist at a high end salon. One day, a lady called and asked if we had anyone who specialized in cutting curly hair. I matched her up with someone, asked the standard questions, and made the appointment, which turned out to be for her granddaughter. When the family showed up, the mother and grandmother were white, and the granddaughter was African American. They obviously didn’t know (and didn’t bother to learn) how to take care of the girl’s hair, because it was in a giant, waist-length ponytail that was completely matted. She also had a bit of a developmental disability, and they claimed she would not wash her hair herself. I could smell her as soon as she walked in, but when the stylist got her hair wet at the shampoo bowl, the smell quickly permeated the entire salon. It was like a punch to the gut. The hair stylist had to keep coming up front for fresh air. She said giant flakes/sheets of dandruff and buildup were basically crusted to the girl’s scalp and throughout her hair. The matted ponytail was the worst of it. What should have been a simple 45 minute service ended up taking over four hours. The girl looked great when she was done. I felt terrible for her because it was pretty obvious that her mom and grandma had no intention of keeping her hair maintained. I got the impression that they basically only took her for a haircut when things got completely out of control. I was horrified that they apparently weren’t even bothering to wash her hair at home. They bought a bunch of products that the stylist recommended, but ended up returning everything a day or two later.” Source
A lice infestation from hell.
“I had a young man come in with his mother. He was about 8 years old and had tight curly hair. His mother ask me to shave down to a 00000 that is the shortest you can go with clippers. I said sure it was my last cut of the day and I was eager to go home. I start the service and notice barely 1/3rd in that he had a lice infestation under the tight curly hair. I mean these guys were huge. Probably why his mother needed me to shave it off. So.. I discontinued the service and spent the next 3 hours disinfecting everything in sight. The boys mother called the barbershop later to complain because I wouldn’t finish shaving her sons hair. We tried to explain that it was illegal for us to continue the service as it might spread lice to others and recommended a specialty shop that could take care of this for them but she demanded that it was because we were racist. That was fun.” Source
That’s a lot of locks for love.
“Bit of a different horror story, but my stylist once had a woman with hair past her butt who wanted to donate everything to Locks of Love. EVERYTHING. This woman with hair down nearly to her thighs says she wants a pixie cut, and is donating everything else. After checking multiple times to see that she was positive she wanted a pixie, and not a short bob or anything, the stylist starts cutting. The woman sobbed the entire time. Like, shoulder shuddering sobs in the dressing chair with her sad little haircut cape on.
Stylist kept asking if it was ok, but the woman was determined to help people with cancer, and told her to keep going and to ignore her tears. My stylist said it was the most awkward experience of her life. Other customers kept coming in and probably assumed she was maiming this poor woman.” Source
Our heart is breaking.
“I’m not a stylist for humans but I do groom dogs and I have seen some things that make me want to never give these dogs back to their owners! My worst experience was when I had someone bring in their 2 year old shih tzu..she was down as a mini groom (that’s where we only trim the face,feet, and private areas) so I’m thinking this will be an easy groom, wrong. This woman walked in with her dog wrapped in a towel because she doesn’t want to touch him and I can see why the dog is a mess! The dogs hair is one solid mat including his face and there is a deep giant hole in his coat where the poop has exploded through his hair meaning he has been pooping into his own hair for so long the build up finally busted a hole through his hair! So I have to shave him before he can get any kind of bath so I find a spot I can break through and start shaving (this is very bad on my tools by the way) once I finally release this dog from his mat prison, which came off almost in one solid piece he ends up having so many sores on his skin, he was shaking his head so much he was starting to cause hematomas on his ears, his butthole was infected and he is infested with fleas! I’m so upset at this point I feel so terrible for this poor dog but all I can do is bathe him, get rid of the fleas and inform the owner that he needs to go to the vet.” Source
How could you go that long without washing your hair?!@@@
“When I was an assistant at my first salon right out of school we had classes every Wednesday night. Well one week I couldn’t find a model in time so my mentor had someone she knew come in and be my model. So the model comes in, seems perfectly normal. She sits in my chair I start the consultation and start looking through her hair to see what I’d need to do. Apparently this young lady had not washed her hair in what I’m assuming was weeks because her hair was so greasy that every time I touched her hair my hand came back drenched in grease. And the smell, oh man I’ll never forget that smell. It was the worst thing I’ve ever had the displeasure of working with. I asked my mentor if I could shampoo her before starting and was told that I couldn’t. So here I am working on this girl who almost literally has grease dripping from her hair. I must have washed my hands 10 times that night. Needless to say I had my own model for every class after that one. I have other stories from my time teaching as well. Lots of lice and people leaving the school bleeding TL;DR: couldn’t get a model for class, was supplied one with an oil slick on her head.” Source
Should have walked out right then and there.
“I’m a hairstylist, pretty new still. In school, you can’t really turn anyone away. I had a prostitute sit in my chair, tweaked out of her f**king mind, with her pimp telling us to dye her stringy, fried hair blonde and cut it to her chin. She didn’t speak for herself at all, she wouldn’t even look in the mirror. he gave all the instructions, he definitely had a specific look for her in mind. He was a huge a**hole to everyone and she left the chair to go cry in the bathroom. A classmate went to go check on her and she had just walked out of the door. He left really quick after that. I think about her sometimes and I hope she’s okay. I wish I had gotten the chance to make her feel beautiful. So that was a pretty nasty expedience even though I didn’t have a chance to start the service. Besides that.. I was pregnant throughout school and gagged quite a bit at the ladies who would come in for a wash, blowdry, and style after weeks of not brushing out their hair or washing it. I always suggested braids for these ladies since they obviously for whatever reason chose not to maintain their naturally curly hair but most refused and would be back in 3-4 weeks for the whole process again. This was a very time consuming process with tons of detangling rats nests and dreads that invariably ended in zero tips. There were also really creepy men that would come in for $5 cuts and say very sexual things and enjoyed the shampoo a looot. My school was basically just a mill of free labor and we had to accept every client no matter what and it sucked, but I’m enjoying more creative freedom now that I have graduated and am in a salon. I still volunteer for events where homeless get free cuts and there are quite a few very dirty people there but I don’t mind because it’s not a daily basis situation like it used to be and I like making people feel good.” Source
The shedding head or horror.
“When I was in school, I had a lady come in and she wanted a cut, and a manicure. I loved those appointments because it blocked a good amount of time, but was fairly easy. First off, I’ve been around smokers my whole life but this woman REEKED of cigarettes. Like she smoked them in her house and car, all the windows rolled up, I couldn’t even understand how she could have that strong of a cigarette odor permeating off her. I get her draped and start asking her what she’s looking for, I start to run my fingers through her bleach blonde hair, to see what I’m dealing with here, and a piece of her hair just FALLS OFF IN MY HAND. At this point I have a look of horror on my face and started mumbling something along the lines of ‘Your hair!…..I’m so sorry!’ And very calmly she says, “Oh a chunk fell out? That happens sometimes, it’s fine.” I politely tell her that she might want to get that checked out. So I go get her shampoo and conditioner and I take her to the bowl, turn on the water and her hair turned to bleach blonde mush, (other stylists know what I mean), and has now made the whole salon reek of wet dog/cigarette. I used about a cup of conditioner in her. It was the most rough hair cut I’ve ever done, and it was a very simple bob. The manicure was even worse, she had coat upon coat of nail polish on all of her fingernails, I let them soak, took them out, tried to take some of the polish off, won’t come off. I took my wooden dowel and tried chipping some of it off. Cue my horror when the wooden dowel sunk INTO HER FINGERNAIL. The stench coming from it I will forever remember. Like a mix of rotting corpse and durian fruit. I alerted my teacher who told her she probably had a nail fungus and that she needed to go to the doctor. She put me in dispensary for the rest of the day. TL;DR A clients hair came off in my hand, I then uncovered her rotting fingernails during a manicure.” Source
Brb, throwing up at this.@@@
“This is my time to shine! I have a few doozies…First one, guy comes in for a haircut…Well all seems well, he gets a shampoo and then I go to cut and I notice this weird flappy thing on the top of his scalp so I take a look at it thinking it’s a scab or something. Well, it has legs… So I take the fine teeth of my comb and pick this little critter out. Come to find out, dude had a tick on his head and he probably wouldn’t have noticed had I not picked it off. 2: I was brand spanking new to doing hair in a community that was mostly old people. Well, lady comes in looking for a haircut and I shit you not, she had a giant crust mountain on her head. I wanna say like 3 inches in diameter. It was disgusting. Now I know due to laws in my state you can refuse service if there is a medical condition like that. Well me being brand new, did not know this. She brought in a medicated shampoo from her Dr., so I used it on her and it smelled like cat food. During the cut, she had lumps of crust falling out and it was disgusting. I will never do that again. 3: Last one, lady comes in and explains her step-daughter has been in the hospital for 6 mos dealing with treatment from Anorexia and her hair is a mess and she asks if she can bring her in for us to fix it. Ok sure, why not. Well… girl comes in and she’s probably 95 lbs soaking wet and sobbing from anxiety and crying. At this hospital she was at, supposably no one washed her hair FOR 6 MONTHS. So I tried to wash it and she was crying and screaming and her scalp was red and irritated and covered in knots and flakes. I sat with her for 2 hours trying to comb out all the knots but she cried the whole time and my hands were covered in gunk. I still don’t know whatever happened to that girl. I hope she’s ok. But anyways, this will probably get buried but I’m glad I could share my stories. :)” Source
Never, we repeat never, get a perm.
“This happened in hair school and I wouldn’t say it was entirely my fault but I guess that is for you to decide… So I was toward the end of my time in school and I had been ‘out on the floor’ taking clients for a couple months. A woman came in with very long, very dry looking hair and told me she wanted a perm. At this point I was already beginning to get nervous but I figure I might have time to talk her out of it. For anyone who doesn’t know, perms can be really harsh on your hair. Not a lot of stylists I know like to perform them because they take a long time to wrap, they stink, they can turn frizzy really easily, and they are super hard on the client’s hair. I can’t tell you how many girls have brought in pictures of Taylor Swift and expected me to give them a perm that will come out like her natural curls or her iron curls. So this woman is sitting in my chair with her hair probably measuring 3+ feet long and she wants a perm. So I do a quick integrity test on her hair to see how strong it is and if it can handle the chemicals. I’m already predicting that her hair is too weak for the solution but I check anyway. Low and behold her hair breaks off in my hand. At this point I have my instructor come over and help me talk to this lady about the possible risks of her hair falling out or breaking off or becoming SUPER frizzy and this lady is having none of it. So per school procedure we have her sign a waiver saying that we made her aware of all the potential risks and that it may not come out how she wants it and we are not liable and we’re just students blah blah blah. She happily signs the waiver and sits back. This whole time I’m freaking out because waiver or not I did NOT want to be the one responsible for fucking up her hair. I ended up going to the director of the school because I didn’t feel comfortable performing the service and she told me to do it anyway or go home and lose hours. So I walked back to the chair and spent 2 hours wrapping a f**king piggyback perm on this lady and when I finally get her to the shampoo bowl, as predicted, her hair begins to break and fall out. My instructor and I worked for another hour and a half rinsing and styling her hair and when we were done it was…..horrific. To say it looked like shit would be a massive understatement. I was on the brink of tears and my instructor was stressed and exhausted but this lady was as happy as can be. She paid, gave me a big tip, and disappeared into the night. Tl;dr: In hair school I am forced by my instructor to perform a perm on a client with long, brittle hair and she comes out looking like an ugly poodle.” Source
Nope. Never again.@@@
“In cosmetology school we used to do a program where homeless and shelter people could come in for free services. I thought the program was fantastic if they wanted a haircut or shave etc. Unfortunately a lot of these people would take advantage of it and get unnecessary services because they were free. One of my worst nightmares was a teenage boy who’s mom made him come in for the afternoon to get ‘whatever he wanted’ – so he got a haircut (ok), then he wanted a shave (also ok), then a manicure (meh kind of unnecessary), then a pedicure. His feet were DISGUSTING, I don’t think his socks were washed in a month, and then he insisted we do french polish on them. It was awful. THEN : He decided he wanted a facial and a back facial. OMG I am going to DIE at this point. And i can’t turn him down because that’s policy at the school…So this kid had the WORST acne in the world; and here I am just massaging his face (and then back) and it felt like crater town. And while giving the facial he kept his eyes open and was smiling the whole time while staring at me… It was the worst 4 hours of my entire life to deal with this kid. Then when his mom comes to pick him up – she actually said to me, oh you gave him a facial – you should have popped some of those pimples he had (uh no thank you!!).” Source