Thursday, 3 October 2013

The Life Cycle of a 16 week Blowdry- the hair and the conflict

Sorry for not posting this yesterday, but I was honestly too put out by the whole experience on Tuesday to blog about my hair again yesterday. More about that later!

The Hair

I had to endure another day of sticky, parched manky hair in work yesterday, and I swear I didn't make eye contact with anybody all day. It was raining so much outside that I just wish I could go out in it and let the rain wash away all the sludge off my hair. I stuck it out though, and I kept the treatment on my hair for a total of 29 hours which was pretty damn impressive if you ask me. I didn't have my QOD shampoo and conditioner yet because the Art Team were out of stock (I'll come to that) but I have been talking to a QOD Ireland rep and my shampoo and conditioner are in the post and on the way to me. I used L'Oreal Ever Riche Shampoo and Conditioner last night- they were the only products I had that were sulphate free, I shampooed my hair twice and put some conditioner on the ends, and I didn't put a hair mask on because I was interested to see the condition of my hair without me adding to it.

The washing process was easy enough but I noticed a few things:

1. The smell was brutal. Really, if you have a sensitive nose, I think you would have died. I can't describe the smell exactly but I think the closest thing to a description would be gravy granules- before the water or anything is added. It was unusual and I could still smell it off my hair even after washing it. When I was straightening my hair this morning, it smelt like burned gravy granules. It still smells like it now as I type.

2. My scalp is extremely sensitive again today and this is not something that I am used to. In all my years of getting easi meche highlights, I have never had so much hair pulled out of my head in one sitting. The area just above my neck is particularly sensitive. 

3. My hair was less fuzzy coming out of the shower than it usually is, especially considering that I only used one conditioner and no detangling spray. It was still a bit tangled but my trusty Tangle Teezer ran through my hair without pulling out any of the hairs. I didn't blow dry it straight away because I felt like it was subjected to so much heat just the day previously so I let it airdry for an hour or so and use my hairdryer at lowest heat and speed for about 60 seconds just to set everything. 

4. My hair does feel softer since I had the treatment done but I am not convinced as to whether it made my hair significantly easier to style. I ran the straighteners through my hair this morning, and the plates of my GHD were slightly clinging to the hair shaft, something that I have never experienced before. I am not sure if this is just because it was my first time washing it post treatment, but it's something I will be looking out for.

5. The colour of my hair has changed quite significantly. I have heard of hair turning a shade lighter, but I am inclined to think that this was more than just one shade. This could be down to alot of things- I recently have had my hair significantly darkened and that was over a lot of highlights. I am not overly concerned with this but I thought it was worth pointing out in any event.

6. My hair is quite limp and greasy looking today. Again, this might be because I have only washed it once post treatment. The roots are alot shinier than the ends, and the ends of my hair look quite parched. I think I would have expected for the condition of my hair to be improved from root to tip but I would definitely say I notice no difference in the bottom 2 inches of my hair.

The Drama

Now, as to the issue of the hairdressing experience from hell. I am still significantly traumatised after my experience in the Art Team. I get my hair done a lot- I mean once a month for the last six or seven years. I get my hair done so often because it's my thing, I enjoy it, and I like to make sure my hair is ok. I'm not hugely into buying clothes and that but my hair is a priority and I spend alot of my funds trying to maintain it. I know in my heart that the treatment I received in the Art Team last Tuesday was not of an acceptable standard. I have never ever, in any of the 100 times that I have gotten my hair done, felt the need to call the salon to complain about a service. I have had some experiences and chosen not to go back to a particular salon again, but I have never actually been hurt and almost reduced to tears by hairs being yanked out of my head. It was really a mortifying and painful experience.

I called the salon yesterday at lunchtime and asked to speak to the manager. I was told that she was on her lunch and that she would call me back, and in fairness, she called me back within a few minutes. I tried to explain that I had just gotten a treatment and I wasn't happy with the consultation and the application of the treatment. She asked me if my problem was with the 16 week blowdry treatment itself or whether it was with the stylist. I know it will sound silly to say, but I actually felt guilty, like I was getting someone in trouble.

I told her that I had two main problems- one in relation to information and an advertisement which I considered to be misleading and incorrect, and the other problem was the shoddy service that I received in the salon.

In relation to their website, the advertisement and the information available to me before I decided to go to the Art Team, I explained how I was hair savvy, and I had conducted quite a bit of research on where to go for the treatment, I had looked into the process, watched the video they had posted online and read blog posts from customers- all of which had led me to believe that I would be easily able to go back to work with normal, not sticky manky hair (nevermind the fact I put down 1.5 days of this). The manager wasn't really listening to what I had to say about this I believe. She said that QOD (the brand of formula used for the 16 week blowdry) had changed their rules in the last month (go figure!!) and that now it was recommended to leave the treatment in the hair for 24 hours after application and not to wash or tie it up in the interim. This new information was completely at odds with the information that was available on their website, and when I pointed this out, the manager said that they were currently in the process of changing the website. I am highly skeptical of this, but I did take a few minutes yesterday to take a vast array of snapshots of their website before any changes take place. I would never have booked the treatment for a late lunch break on a Tuesday afternoon if I had known that I would go to work looking like a scarecrow afterwards- there is no way in the world I would have done that. I don't even come to work without straightening my hair any given day, so I was definitely more than a little put out, I was mortified. (Disclaimer- everybody I work with is lovely and nobody had anything to say to me about it- it's just how you feel yourself). The QOD video that they had on their website showed a girl leaving the salon that she had her treatment done in with shiny, bouncy hair. I left the salon with sludge on my parched and broken strands.

I then explained how horrible the treatment I had been subjected to was. I explained how painful it was when the hairdresser tried to brush my hair after the cleansing shampoo (no conditioner but I was expecting that)-and how I felt like she could have used a better brush or been a lot more considerate. She told me that I have loads of hair but I didn't really mind that because I do have a grand thick head of hair and I am proud of it. I said that application of the product itself was ok except that I didn't understand why the hairdresser used a comb to untangle my hair before applying the treatment. The manager said that they use a comb to distribute the treatment on the hair and I understand this- I just queried why she used a comb to detangle my hair before applying any of the treatment at all. I said that the blowdrying was painful because the product turned to sludge and the hairdresser yanked my hair and head consistently, but that it was the fact that my hair was getting caught in the GHD as she straightened the treatment in, causing whole hairs to be pulled out of my head from the root, that caused the most discomfort. I have binned GHDs before as soon as my hair started getting caught on them, and I am very surprised that the Art Team "Elite" hair would keep using GHDs that caused damage to their patrons' hair.

The manager was quick to pin all the blame on the hairdresser- she said herself that the treatment does not cause the hair to break so it must have been the hairdresser being rough with my hair that caused that. I also said that I did not have a proper consultation before the treatment, that there was little attention to detail (i.e. asking what side my parting was on) and that the customer service and care aspect of running a professional service business were lacking.

Unfortunately for me, during the course of the conversation, I got a bit upset, and I think that came through in my voice. The manager first offered me a complimentary cut and blowdry, and I said thank you but no thank you- I have a regular hairdresser that I love for cut and colour- and later on in the conversation she also offered me a colour and blowdry, and I explained how I would not be comfortable going back to the salon to get another treatment of any kind done, such was the discomfort and humiliation the first time around. She offered me another 16 week blowdry in March, and said that she would look after me herself if I was worried about the other hairdresser being there, and I also refused- honestly, I couldn't have made it any clearer that I did not ever want to get my hair washed and blowdried in that salon again. She asked me what I did want and I told her that I wanted and expected a full refund- not only because of the false and misleading advertisement on their website which led me to believe that I would be able to tie up my hair immediately and that the treatment would be washed out in the salon for me, but for the shoddy treatment I got, the amount of damage that was caused to my hair, and for the lack of consultation and aftercare products. The manager said that she could not give me a refund because it is not their policy- their policy is to offer another treatment- and I asked about their statutory obligations, she said that they were not obliged to offer a refund, and that in any case, she wouldn't have the authority to do that and she needs to talk to the owner (who will be uncontactable for the next few days because he is having a surgery). I asked to receive a response by Friday and she said she would try to get back to my then.

I received a phonecall from the manager today and she asked me to put down in writing what my issues were- basically translate everything I said yesterday into written form. I will do this, I was probably going to do this anyway, but again, I think it's bad customer service to put a customer out like that. If I was running a business, I would make sure that my customers were happy above all else. I will write the letter (I know some of you on Twitter suggested that I print off my blog post from that night and send it to her but to be honest, when I was writing it, I was upset and annoyed, and I don't really want to bring emotion into it- I am a personal customer, I was induced by false and misleading information relating to the service and I was subjected to a harsh and brutal treatment, without proper consultation, which ended up causing more damage to my hair than I could have imagined or envisioned.

To be honest, I am kind of past sad, and I have moved onto mad now. I am so annoyed that my quest for more manageable hair has taken such a sour turn. I am irritated that the treatment I received was substandard and the whole experience has just left such a bad taste in my mouth.

One final note- I mentioned that I was not able to buy the branded aftercare products in the store in my post on Tuesday night. I contacted QOD Ireland yesterday about getting some aftercare products and they kindly agreed to get these out to me as soon as possible. I was told on Tuesday evening by a girl working behind the desk that the salon couldn't actually get their hands on the product because it was in such high demand and that the distributors couldn't get their hands on enough of it even. I was actually told to use a competing brand instead and that this was much better in any event, and on special offer at the moment conveniently. I asked the sales rep for the salon if this was really the case, and if it was, how was it that I could purchase it online easily but not in a salon, and he said that he was shocked to hear that, and asked me to put down what was said to me in an email so that he could investigate it further. He also said that he was sorry to hear that I had experienced such bad treatment and said that there are other salons in Dublin offering the same treatment. I haven't written that email yet but I will get back to him because from a business perspective, I don't think it was very wise to be strongly recommending the sale of a competing product and lying about not being able to get an order in from the company- they have sales reps on the road every day and I know that QOD were very shocked to hear this.

So this is probably the longest post that I have written on this blog ever, but I was so touched by the well wishes of so many people- some complete strangers- who reached out to me via private messages, on Twitter and on Facebook- telling me about their horrible experiences and urging me to see this through until the end. I am really sick of this situation now to be honest and I still regret ever setting foot in that salon, but I cannot change the past, I just want to be reimbursed and I believe that that is reasonable. I am going to draft a letter and send it to the salon, and I hope to hear back from them as soon as possible.

I'll continue to keep you posted about both the hair treatment and the conflict with the Art Team.

I think it is important to stand up for yourself if you have been wrong done by, don't you?


  1. Great post, Aisling.
    For someone so angered and upset about the whole experience, you have put it really clearly and eloquently in this post. I really hope they reimburse you. I cannot get over the sales assistant pushing another brand of product on you! I hope you're feeling better today and please keep us posted.

  2. WOW that salon is shocking, it sounds like they have no standards and certainly no respect for their customers! Hope you get the refund that you are fully entitled to! I'd be fuming!


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