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Why Does My Hair Look Bad After Getting a Haircut?

Have you ever left the hair salon satisfied with your new haircut and after reaching your home you find out your new haircut actually looks weird?

You’re not alone! This is a common complaint we often receive after cutting the hair of a client. There are many possible reasons why your hair may appear bad after a cut.

Let’s break down the reasons why hair looks bad after a haircut. We will also answer some common questions regarding this issue.

Why Do Haircuts Look Bad At First?

It’s a nearly universal experience to go into your hair appointment with high hopes only to leave with slumped shoulders and a look you don’t love. Why do so many people go through the same thing?

Hair tends to look bad after a haircut because of the fresh bluntness of just-cut ends, but several other reasons might also contribute to why you’re not a fan of your new do.

Learn why you might not feel satisfied with your fresh haircut when your hairstylist turns you around in the salon chair:

​​Fresh Cut Hair Doesn’t Lay Right

why do haircuts look bad at first - fresh layers doesn't lay

Hair that doesn’t lay right is expected when you get a haircut involving layers or bangs, but any kind of cut can result in feathered hair that doesn’t fall as it should.

New layers can take time to get used to and settle in place. If you’re not accustomed to having layers, it can take time for them to blend with your existing style and to fall into place correctly.

If you didn’t get layers or bangs, but things still don’t look right, think about the ends of your hair. Hair ends are often split or damaged, which thins the shaft and can add weight to your ends.

When these damaged ends get cut off, they become blunt and thicker, taking up more space and creating more volume.

After a few days, your freshly chopped ends will settle after heat, styling, and washing.

Using New Products

Your stylist may have used different products than you usually use at home, which could affect your hair’s appearance.

If this is the case, try re-washing and styling your hair at home using the products you know and love. You might see a different result and like how it looks!

Using New Tools

Reasons why haircuts look bad at first - new tools

Perhaps your hair stylist used tools (such as a flat iron or curling wand) that you don’t typically use yourself.

If you wear your hair naturally straight and the stylist added beachy waves, the shock of the style might be distracting you from the cut itself.

Instead of using fancy new tools, try styling your hair with your favorite devices at home and give your haircut a second chance.

Negative Feedback Loop

When we don’t like something about our appearance (our haircut in this instance), it can create an emotional feedback loop where we focus on what we dislike instead of focusing on the positives.

If you’re already nervous about the cut going into the salon and you think it won’t look good on you, there’s a good chance you’ll feel that way at the end of your appointment.

Breaking out of this negative feedback loop and anxiety can help us appreciate new haircuts more quickly.

Rather than act on a haircut you’re unsure of, only make a significant hair change when you know you’re ready and feel confident it will look good on you.

If you feel yourself falling into a negative feedback loop after getting a haircut you thought you wanted, remind yourself that you’re beautiful. It’s just hair. It will always grow back.

Poor Cutting Skills

Reasons why hair looks bad after a haircut - poor cutting skills

If your barber or hairdresser doesn’t have the proper skills, your haircut will be noticeably bad. 

If you can spot an outline that is too high above the hairline, small sprigs of hair sticking up in the crown part of your head, or a style that only looks good with gel and pomade, chances are the stylist didn’t have the necessary skills to perform a nice haircut.

Ask plenty of questions before getting another haircut from anyone else in the future! It’s also a good idea to check reviews of stylists before going in for a cut so you know who is cutting your hair and how experienced they are. 

Wrong Hair Part

When a stylist parts our hair differently than what we are used to doing ourselves at home, we can look strange to ourselves.

If you ever feel that way, just part your hair the way you prefer when styling it at home and then spritz it with hairspray to keep it in place all day.

Blunt Ends

Reasons why haircuts look bad at first - blunt ends

Blunt ends can make fresh haircut look bad and appear heavier than usual because there isn’t any layering or blending of shorter strands within longer strands of hair, giving lift and volume to hairstyles overall.

To fix this issue, ask for layers next time or try adding some texture product throughout the ends of your locks for more body & movement! 

Bad Match With Your Face Shape

Not every hairstyle works with every face shape. Some styles are better suited for specific face shapes than others!

Consult your stylist before any significant changes because they can tell whether certain styles suit your face shape.

You Don’t Look Like the Inspo Pic

Reasons why hair looks bad after a haircut - unrealistic expectation

Another culprit of haircuts looking bad at first could be unrealistic expectations.

We often bring inspiration pics into salons expecting our results to look exactly like what we found online. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible due to various factors such as texture/length/color, etc.

Try bringing several examples to your next appointment and discuss options with your stylist beforehand to set expectations.

Why Do Haircuts Look Better After A Few Days?

Why Do Haircuts Look Better After A Few Days?

Haircuts look better after a few days because freshly-cut hair has blunt ends that don’t blend easily or lay flat at first. The more layers your haircut has, the more drastic the difference will be.

After a few days, the blunt ends begin to settle into their new homes with help from washing, products, and heat styling. Your hair will start to adjust to the new, lighter weight of its strands, and things will look more natural after three to five days.

When Should You Get Your Haircut Before An Event?

You should get your haircut at least 3 to 5 days before an event. Waiting a few days will let your hair settle and give you enough time to make adjustments if necessary.

After a haircut, especially if a significant length has been removed, the hair may feel different. This change is often due to the altered weight and distribution of the hair. This is known as hair being in shock after a haircut.

For instance, someone with long hair who goes for a much shorter style might find their hair feeling lighter and possibly behaving differently when styling.

This hair shock can last up to a week. After this period hairs will settle naturally, and your cut will look its best. That’s why most haircuts look best after 5-7 days of getting the haircut.

If you want to be on the safe side, we recommend cutting your hair 8-10 days before your event.

If something doesn’t look right on the day of your appointment, having a few days before the event will give you time to return and get your hair fixed without feeling rushed.

How Often Should You Get a Haircut to Look Good?

how often to cut hair for different lengths

It’s also important to consider how often you should get a haircut, depending on your hair length—this can impact whether your hair looks good after getting it cut.

Short-Length Hair

For short-length haircuts (think pixie cuts or men’s short hair), we recommend you get a trim every six to eight weeks. Maintaining this interval will help keep your style fresh and prevent split ends from forming.

Medium-Length Hair

For medium-length haircuts (bobs or shoulder-length styles), aim for eight to 12 weeks between trims. Going too long between trims could leave hair looking awkward, and trimming too frequently could take off too much length.

Long Hair

For long hairstyles (past shoulder-length), 12-16 weeks between trims should do the trick! Some people with long hair push it even longer, getting a haircut once or twice a year.

However, to keep split ends at bay and maintain your hair’s health, it’s ideal to make an appointment for a trim every three to four months.

Wrap Up

Hair tends to look bad after getting a haircut because the ends are so freshly trimmed they’re still blunt, causing the hair to lay differently and without the weight it previously had.

Poor cutting skills and choosing a lousy inspiration picture can also be culprits. Other reasons may also play a role— such as using the wrong products, tools, or part that makes a difference.

Minimize risk by choosing the right stylist and cutting and scheduling your haircut a little before any special event to ensure it looks the best.