How to Recover from a Nightmare Haircut

When you get a new a haircut, you expect to leave the salon feeling like a million bucks. But sometimes those expectations -- and your hair -- fall flat. Instead of wearing a hat for the new few months, read this: Top hair pros tell us how to make the best of even the worst cut.

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Beauty , Hair Care
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Bad haircuts happen to good people. Maybe it was a miscommunication. You said, "Add a few layers." He heard, "Give me a full-on shag." It could've been a case of mistaken identity. You said J.Lo; she pictured J.Law. Whatever the reason, you're suddenly stuck with a cut you don't like. And yes, hair grows back, but not fast enough.

So, what do you do? Rule number one: Don't leave the salon just yet, says Jet Rhys, a salon owner in San Diego. "Talk to your stylist -- he or she wants to please you," Rhys says. Be specific. "Say, 'These bangs aren't working for me.'" Give your stylist a chance to resolve it, she says. If you're still not loving your new 'do, there are a few easy tricks you can try to make it more manageable -- and likeable -- during the growing out phase.

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Switch Up Your Brushes

If your strands have gone limp, experiment with different size round brushes to add fullness, Rhys says. If your stylist took a little too much off the ends or snipped too-short bangs, switch to a paddle style. The smoothing effect from this brush gives the illusion of longer hair, she says. Try Denman Paddle Brush ($12, folica.com).

Learn more about the best brushes for your hair.

Try a Change of Part

Flipping your hair to the other side can make the same cut look totally different. Plus, you'll get an added volume boost, Rhys says.

Add Length, Instantly

Get your long locks back in an instant with clip-in extensions, says Stephanie Angelone, headmaster at RPZL in New York City. To make it look believable, match the shade of the extensions to the ends of your natural hair, which tends to be lighter than roots. Placement is key, too. Start at the nape of your neck and work your way up -- teasing your natural hair at the root before attaching the extensions. Stop when you hit the temple area, Angelone says. "This will ensure the clips won't show and they'll blend in easily with your natural layers," she says. Then trim the ends of your faux pieces, following the lines of your current cut. You can find clip-ins at most beauty supply stores or specialty sites like rpzl.com. An expert can help you find the right match.

Play Up Texture

"Nothing shows off a bad haircut more than pin-straight hair," Angelone says. But soft waves can help conceal harsh lines and choppy ends. Use a texturizing beach spray to coax out some natural texture (try TRESemmé Expert Selection Perfectly Undone Sea Salt Spray, $8, ulta.com) or whip out your curling iron.

Add Accessories

"Even the worst haircut can be camouflaged with the strategic placement of some cute barrettes or a headband," Rhys says.

See Your Colorist

If too many layers left your strands looking thin, ask your colorist for a thickening treatment. By dying just the bottom layers 1-1/2 shades darker than your allover shade, you'll create the illusion of depth, which means your hair will look fuller, instantly, Rhys says.

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