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Quick Fixes For Bad Hair

Bad hair day? Get Kelly Atterton's expert advice.

What's as uncomfortable as telling your mother the sweater she gifted you with isn't something you'd wear in public? Letting your hairstylist know the haircut he just gave you makes you want to burst into tears and run screaming from the salon. Knowing how difficult the client-service relationship in the salon is, we tortured our remaining contestants by surprising them with a visit from their loved ones.

Just to make it more exciting -- OK, stressful -- we paired each stylist with another's relative to get the most objective opinion. Thankfully, there wasn't too much cross-familial drama: Charlie gave Daniel's mom an awesome Sharon Stone-inspired pixie cut, and the layered cut and reddish streaks that Dee gave Paolo's cousin were extremely flattering. But let's be honest -- it could have been a situation with a capital S.

THE ALLURE ADVANTAGE If you hate your hair, say so. OK, maybe not that blatantly -- hairstylists are people, too, and more selfishly, you don't want a scared, shaking, person taking a razor to hair or crying in the bathroom as your highlights fry well past their processing time. No, be nice. But be honest. Mistakes and misunderstandings happen in every salon, even with the most seasoned pros. If they're professional, they'll take responsibility and quickly act to help appease you ASAP. As for a haircut, what's gone is gone. But that doesn't mean your stylist won't have ideas to help camouflage, soften, and rethink the cut you've been given. (Or at least she can give you some styling tips.)

Color is a lot easier. "We can fix it quickly," says Rita Hazan, a New York City colorist. In fact, a good colorist would rather you air your grievances rather than leave the salon angry, badmouthing the colorist to anyone who will listen all the way home. Most of them will fix it for free, which is certainly better than paying another salon to rectify the damage. And when you're explaining what's bothering you, offer constructive criticism, not simply, "I don't like it." "You have to know what the issue is," says Kyle White, a colorist at Oscar Blandi in New York City. By being specific -- explaining whether it's too shiny, too dark, and so on -- you're more likely to get the results you want.

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