Hair-Raising!: Real Life Hair Horror Stories

March 13, 2012 ‐ By


As black women, most of us have been through some changes when it comes to our hair. And I don’t mean transitions from relaxed to natural from gheri curl to texturizer, I mean real emotional and even psychological changes because of something that’s gone wrong or right with our hair. Some of these experiences occur in the bathroom mirror, in our kitchen or in the beauty salon.  Whenever and how ever they happened, many of us have a traumatic story or two to share. Check out these stories from our readers and once you’re finished, share your own horror stories in the comment section below.

Tisa: The hater trim! (le sigh) Went in to get my hair trimmed and left with 3 1/2-4 inches chopped off! Smh

Karin: The person used a bad relaxer in my hair. Burned my scalp and nape of neck. Hair appt: $75 Emergency Room visit & prescriptions: $300, Going natural: PRICELESS

MadameNoire Video

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • Oneroxie

    Went to get my hair done at a shop in Indiana, I wanted to try something different so I asked for curls, after about two hours and seventy five dollars I left the shop loving my new do until about thirty minutes later every curl in my head was gone. I called the beautician back and told her about my hair, she asked me questions to find out what I had done. I had done nothing, I even sent her a picture, I wanted to come back to get my hair done over and she told me she would have to charge me again, guess what, I never went back to her again.

  • Nicole

    One time I went the this African Hair Braiding place that was closer to my home than my regular stylist. I was told I had to be there at 10 AM Saturday so the owner could work on my hair. When I arrived at 9:50 the store closed. One of the workers didn’t show up to 10:45 and the owner who told me to show up at 10 AM did not show up till 11:30. I was annoyed but desperate so I over looked this. When the woman finally got around to doing my hair I realized that she was eating her breakfast while putting her hands in my hair. Hour into my hair she told a phone call, which didn’t bother me. What bothered me was that the call was obviously upsetting. So upsetting that she started screaming at the caller while she burst into tears. I asked her if she wanted to take a break but she refused but still continued to cry which made me so uncomfortable. Finally when she was almost done she ran out of black hair and without asking me she decides to use red hair in the middle of my head. She never even told me. It wasn’t until I got home that my sister told me that I have red braids in my hair. After all this i really didn’t like the way it came out. By time I left the place it was after 3 PM even though at times I had two people braiding my hair. After that experience I sucked it up and traveled the distance to my regular stylist who was cheaper, faster, cleaner, less dramatic and most importantly who did a wonderful job on my hair.

  • stephY

    I’ve always had full healthy long hair but since I am African American my curl pattern would be a hand full for my mother to manage. so around the age of 8-10 I had my mom put a relaxer in my hair. idk how mild it was but long story short my hair started falling out from that point so It was a setback for my dreams of setting the world record for longest black hair -,-

  • Serenity

    All of these stories remind me of why I havent been to a “professional” stylist for YEARS–especially the dreaded ‘hater trim’ (love that). I got so sick of the bull that I went natural — but after a year of growing out my locs, I went to a barber (thinking it would be better than the string of hatin’ females I had been dealing with) and he proceeded to chop off half of my locs in the back when I had only asked his grimy azz to trim my NECK! Hatin’ azz… I didnt know I had that many cuss words in my vocabulary–I let him HAVE IT! (Then cried for hours after I got home : (

  • About 3 yrs ago I went to a “Dominican” salon in brooklyn for a relaxer. The stylist separated my hair into four big braids and only put the protective gel around my forehead. He then came out w/ this industrial bucket of relaxer and just globbed it onto my scalp. Before he was even half way done applying the relaxer my head was BURNING. He was all “Oh no mammy its supposed to burn,that’s how you know its working”. note this is only the 3 o 4th time I’ve gotten a relaxer so I didnt really know. Well after he finished putting on the relaxer he put me under a hair dryer fo 45 MINUTES!  After 20 min I was basicly crying so he takes me and rinses my head. His next words were “Oh no” and I really knew I was in trouble. My head was bleeding and my hair had melted to my scalp. I ended up having to put burn and baby rash cream on my head for weeks. After that I started going to the true Dominican salons.

    • cabugs

      Darling, I am so sorry. That sounds horrific. Hope your scalp heals well and quickly! I am sure there are some sites on the web that can direct you in what steps to take to soothe and heal your scalp and hair. Good luck!

  • GeniaDaydream

    When I was younger and in my teenage  years my hair was nice healthy and long my mother would braid it herself in extensions because she said that would keep people out of my hair and they wouldn’t know how long my actual hair was well I let my cousin talk me into wearing my hair out when I slept over her house I woke up in the morning and my hair was cut since it was uneven my mom had to cut it even I was heartbroken since it was a couple of girls over that night I don’t know who actually did it but I always believed my cousin did it because she was jealous you know what they say karma is a b years later  I went with my cousin to the salon and she sat in the chair and the stylist chopped all her hair off like Bernie in waiting to exhale turns out my cousin was sleeping with her boyfriend she was devastated after 13 years now she knows what i went through

  • Kinky & Loving It

    I started going to a stylist about 2 years ago who convinced me to go natural. My hair was shoulder length. I cldnt stand to see my hair nappy. So I wore a sew in for a year & wld cut the perm out every 3mths when I went back for my sew in. This past January I started wearing my own hair but getting it staighted every week. Don’t get me wrong she is a damn good stylist but when I cldnt get an appt for six weeks I tld my daughter one day I’m gonna wash it & I want you to do 2 strand twist. Rocked it for 2days got loads of complements. Since then I got in to another stylist dyed it red & canceled my next 4 standing appts with my stylist. I’m in love with my kinky hair. I will never put that hair crack aka relaxer in my head again.

  • Yo!

    I have been natural for most of my life, only sporting a relaxer for around 4& 1/5 – 5 years. I went to a stylist for a trim…A TRIM…for my waist length hair (when is naturally curly). When I turned around to look in the mirror, the “stylist” had taken off nearly a foot of my hair. Since then, I have decided to cut my own hair. I have found that there aren’t enough stylists that know how to handle natural hair. Your best bet is to learn how to properly care for your own hair. I do believe I had that super hater trim. 🙁 

  • Oh yes . . the dreaded “hater trim” (yes, you SHOULD trademark that term). I had grown out my natural hair for two years and had about 8-9 inches of natural hair. I went to a salon for a trim and this b*tch not only talked about me the entire time (“Ooo, what you been doin witcho hair?”” but CUT IT ALL OFF! I left with about 3 inches of hair. Another time (at a different shop) I walked in for my 3:30 appointment on time. All I wanted was a trim and line (I was wearing my hair short and would texturize it myself when I got home). At 6:30 this woman hadn’t even TOUCHED my hair and called somebody else into the chair. I got up and walked out, Another made me late for a concert even though I told her, three weeks in advance, that I needed to be out of the salon sooner on that date. Last time at ALL those salons and I’m  SO grateful for my Sisterlocks (had them for 2 years now): I sit for about 3-4 hours, once every 6-7 weeks and VOILA!

  • Oh yes . . the dreaded “hater trim” (yes, you SHOULD trademark that term). I had grown out my natural hair for two years and had about 8-9 inches of natural hair. I went to a salon for a trim and this b*tch not only talked about me the entire time (“Ooo, what you been doin witcho hair?”” but CUT IT ALL OFF! I left with about 3 inches of hair. Another time (at a different shop) I walked in for my 3:30 appointment on time. All I wanted was a trim and line (I was wearing my hair short and would texturize it myself when I got home). At 6:30 this woman hadn’t even TOUCHED my hair and called somebody else into the chair. I got up and walked out, Another made me late for a concert even though I told her, three weeks in advance, that I needed to be out of the salon sooner on that date. Last time at ALL those salons and I’m  SO grateful for my Sisterlocks (had them for 2 years now): I sit for about 3-4 hours, once every 6-7 weeks and VOILA!

  • Candacey Doris

    Had a stylist i went to for awhile. She was good at first. Then we got to know each other and she starting doing dumb stuff. I’d make my appt for 3, next thing i now i’m waiting until 4 because people she didn’t know walked in an wanted their hair done. Ask me to pay double because her rent was due…When she went on vacation and didn’t even say anything, that was it. I haven’t seen her in almost 3 years.

  • bushbabe

    A few years back, trying to save money, I went to a beauty college for a shampoo, condition and flat iron.  The instructor could not believe that all of the thick and long hair (past shoulders) was actually mine.  She had about 3-4 students descend upon me like vultures, telling them what a real treat this was to take part in.  Each of them started pulling and tugging on my hair and one of the girls started trying to comb my hair out with a rat tail comb and I could feel and hear my hair ripping.  When I protested, her response was:  ‘you have so much, you won’t miss it.’  I politely told her to step back, I called the instructor and informed her of what happened, that I changed my mind and wanted my money back.  I’m proud and completely natural now and twist my own hair, which is waist length now!


    When I was in 7th grade. I had hair midway down my back. My mother would braid it every other week, and got tired of that, so we went to get a relaxer. The lady said I was too young and gave me a “wave nouveau” which is French for jheri curl! My long hair came out in clumps, I had bald spots and all the kids knew where I sat on the bus, cause of the drip. When we finally stopped going to her months later I went to get a relaxer with another woman who clamped my ear with a Marcell and pretending like it didn’t happen with a giant burn on both of my ears.

    And what’s with charging for longer hair!!?!? If u are doing your job you are going to have clients with long hair

    • Flowers_christine

      We charge for long hair because it requires more products and time. There’s a difference between longer hair and long hair. Longer hair=10-12 inches, Long hair=anything perceived as extensions at first glance. ; )

  • I haven’t been to a stylist in years because they would cut inches and inches off, EVERY SINGLE TIME, lol! I don’t know what their obsession is with chopping off people’s hard earned locks.  I’m writing a book about growing your hair out without a stylist, and I need your help to publish it ladies! Head over to to learn more about the book.  Thanks and God bless!

  • Anon

    Ladies, to avoid the hater trim you must stop letting women cut your hair. My stylist is a man and d*mn near cries when I chop my hair off or ask for a trim lol no hateration to worry about.

  • sometimesIwonder

    I was in my third trimester and wanted to get a weave. , needless to say i was tired and wanted to stop taking hours to do my hair. So i went to a shop the stylist looked at my hair and said your tracks are as long as your real hair. You should wear your hair. But i didn’t want to risk breakage 14 inches after i kept my hair short for years. She does my hair pulls so tight that the THREAD RIPS OUT MY EDGES AND BREAKS OFF THE BACK OF MY HAIR!!!!!!!
    I cut my hair short and never looked back! warning sign should have been the fact that she was running behind told me to come backing in two hours smh. Lesson learned

  • NicciNic

    I was 3 or 4 when my moms and grandmama gave me a relaxer. My hair was really curly and frizzy back then and they kept trying to work fine tooth combs through it and couldn’t so they relaxed it. I screamed bloody murder

  • Fyneredbone3000

    I had the hater trim… i had already cut my hair short and was goin in just to get it cleaned up, however once the stylist was done, I could feel that there was absolutely no hair in the back of my head…she cut me down so low that one could see me scalp…needless to say I never ever went back.

  • Veryspecialy2k

    Went in for “streaks” stylist was sooo busy running her mouth on the phone & left the bleach n too long. My hair was WHITE!!! THEN she had the nerve to threaten me because I refused to pay! One thing u should NEVER do is argue with a completely pissed off black woman (me)

  • I was about 13 getting micro braids by the ever so loved African Braiders since they are all that with the chips and sandwich, she showed me what she would use to make the  ends stay (Nail Glue)/(Super Glue) Mind you I am 13 and first time getting this done, she was a professional and charging me 150+another 100 for the hair I just knew I was going to get jealous stares all day the next school day. Anyways she does my hair and looks great til about 3 weeks later when one starts to really get loose so my sister (who does braids as well but doesn’t have the time or patience for Micros) tries to take it out and put it back in for me. And Yes I did say try, because she put the glue not only at the ends but to also hold the hair at my roots. 3 hours later I was bald headed wearing a wig and I never went back to our beloved African Braiders again!… well once after for kinky twists but I made sure glue of any kind was no where around me

  • Msnabbott

    I’m currently 8 months pregnant and my hair has been growing like crazy!! I started my journey exactly a year ago. I actually enjoy keeping it up. I usually go to the same lady once a month for a trim. Then last month I allowed a stylist friend of mine to do my hair and before I knew it she had CUT 2 inches!!! I wanted to cry because I’d JUST had a trim and I did NOT ask for that service and she tried to convince me that I needed it. Sooooo… NEVER AGAIN! This setback has taken my motivation to even wash my hair.

  • LisaLuvless

    LMAO @ every person having bra-strap length hair. That’s like the infamous “When I was younger my hair was long” crap that liars with pinch hair love to use.

    When your hair at the front grows pass your straps start talking about it. Black girls and hair length is always a joke.. My favs,the bunny tail in one and the everything but sides in the ponytail.

  • TeeBabe

    I went to an African braiding shop where I requested microbraids. It took 2 women and I bought hair with me. Apparently I have a big head because the 2 packs I bought weren’t enough. One of the women went to the hair shop next door and purchased a half pack which was really cheap. She came back talking to the other women in their language telling her how much it was. I understood every word. I spent a great deal of time with my friend who was from that same part of Africa and who also spoke the very same language. 
    So when it was over and the girl finished doing my hair I paid her the money plus the cost of the half pack of hair. She tried to tell me the price of the hair was more than what it was and that I owed her more money. I told her straight up, “No. You told the other lady when you came back exactly what the price was and I heard you and I understood you. I owe you nothing more then what I gave you.” Her jaw hit the floor. She was shocked that I understood and equally embarrassed that I called her on trying to rip me off. I never went back, but my braids were ON POINT.
    I have NEVER had a good experience at an African Braiding shop. They either try to rip you off, mess up your hair purposely or talk mad shti thinking you have no clue what they are saying. I learned how to do my own micros. Screw those janky shops. 

    • Sincereeighteen

      So true. Most try to rip you off. I went to one and the price changed 3 times before I arrived at the salon. They are so blatantly thieving, it’s crazy. I wish I knew how to do my own micro braids, I would do it in a heart beat!!!

  • Oh  a few years ago i went into an African braiding shop… i dont like going to those cause when i never know what they saying. but once the lady started braiding my hair she was going HAM on my scalp and trying to bend my neck like licorice.  After like 15 min she said i had to turn my head so she could braid it thay way, i told her that she was hurting my neck. she said she would try not to, but no change in her braiding… so i still wasnt holding my neck how she wanted it… she got frustrated n asked if i was going to continue to do that i said yup! She cut off the 4 or 5 braids she did and gave me my money and told me to leave. actually she said ‘Get out!’ i never got my hair braided since…

  • Jolie

    1st year of college, let the resident “hair dresser” on campus put highlights in my below bra strap length hair…she literally dumped a box of color on top of my head on a Wednesday and that Saturday I sat in my hair dresser’s chair back home and cried while she had to give me a pixie cut!

    My hair looked like a dry tiger for those three days before I made it home and I won’t ever be that foolish again. Since that moment in 2003 I treat my hair like her name is Blue Ivy Carter and mine is Beyonce.

  • YoYoMarie

    I was about 15 or so, in the bathroom curling my hair for school and somehow got too close to my face.  I had a HUGE burn mark right under my eye!  ALL BAD! 

  • Tanluv68

    I gave a new salon a try!  My mother had gone before me and looked great!  My appointment was at 10!  The hairstylist arrived at 11:25!  They tried to wash my hair and put conditioner on it and a plastic bag!  Ye olde stalling tactic!  I politely called my friend who is a stylist (in front of this stylist) and made an appointment!  I left the salon hair wet and under a plastic bag!  They thought I wouldn’t do it!  I fooled them!

  • Lola21

    I remember I let my auntie trim my hair, mind you my hair was at my bra strap literally, when she was done my hair it was at neck length, my momma was so mad at me for allowing her to do that, I think she was hating since her daughter bald head.

    • Jolie

      …And you still call her auntie? You’re a good person because I would’ve disowned her soooo quick lol.

  • Long to Short

    When I was 12, I had hair down to my shoulder blades, and whenever I would get braids they would be long (with synthetic hair added). When it was time to take them out, my mom and I knew where the hair wasn’t mine anymore, and we could cut the braid at a certain length above the burnt ends to speed up the process.
    Somehow my grandmother wasn’t up on this information. When I went to stay with her for a weekend, we were taking my braids out, and she cut up too high. WAY too high. I was looking at 8-inch braids on the floor next to my 2-inch pieces in horror. Ended up rocking the swinging bob in 6th grade.

    • omg that happened to me before. To speed up time, I would cut my box braids at a certain lengths. little did I know that i cut my real hair. so like a good section of my hair was shorter than the other. It’s still uneven to this day.