PSA: How to avoid 2023’s worst DIY haircut & beauty blunders

15 November 2023 – 7 Minute Read

James Nesbitt gives niece an at-home haircut

Have you given yourself a beauty treatment at home, like 90% of Brits out there? Here’s where they’ve gone wrong – and how you can avoid a similar fate.

Ever heard the expression ‘beauty is pain’? It’s something we’ve all experienced – taking on discomfort to look at our best.

Of course, in many situations, the pain follows beauty treatments and haircuts. In rare instances, this is because your trusted hairdresser or beauty salon has made a mistake.

More often, it’s because we’ve foolishly attempted a home beauty treatment or to cut our own hair when we should have gone to a professional. Oops! We all remember the classic Yellow Pages advert , right?

If you’re thinking about cutting your hair at home or giving yourself a pampering beauty treatment, you’re hardly alone. According to a recent Yell survey , 68% of Brits have used DIY beauty treatments and haircuts to save money – but it hasn’t always gone according to plan!

Before you break out the scissors, take a moment to read through the UK’s most common DIY hair and beauty mistakes. You might just save yourself some pain.

James Nesbitt trimming niece's hair

7 common DIY hair and beauty mistakes

Nowadays, the internet is flooded with expert tips, tutorial videos, and information on how to give yourself home beauty treatments and haircuts. In many ways, this is a great thing, but it does lead to some less-than-desirable results.

Fresh from our survey, these are the most common hair and beauty blunders that require professional correction.

1. Hair trims

If you’re short on time or cash, skipping a trip to your local hairdresser and trying to give yourself a trim might seem like a smart idea. But it often leads to disaster.

18% of people who try to trim their own hair end up booking a hairdresser for corrective action.

Errors sometimes occur because haircuts with long layers and face framing layers are difficult to judge. It isn’t always a simple matter of trimming an inch or two off the bottom. Once the hair is uneven, fixing the shape can be tough. And you could make things even worse!

2. Hair colouring

Home hair colour treatments are very popular in the UK. But since colour treatments aren’t always predictable and bleach is often involved, it’s not unusual for things to go wrong.

Sometimes, home treatments are left on for too long or not long enough. At other times, these treatments use ingredients that can damage hair – which is why manufacturers urge users to carry out patch tests. In many cases, people just don't get the colour they were expecting.

Rather than causing further damage to their hair, 15% of people choose to visit their local hairstylist to get things fixed.

3. Cutting fringes

Trimming a fringe is a dangerous game. Featuring so prominently on the face means that any mistakes are obvious, often painfully so.

We’ve seen it countless times in the past, people trapping a handful of their fringe between two fingers and snipping off a chunk. Naturally, this leads to disastrous – and hilarious – results.

Once a fringe is ruined, it’s not easily fixed. For an acceptable look, visiting a nearby hair salon is the best place to start. If you take this option, you’re in good company.

4. Hair extensions

Using hair extensions can add volume and fullness to your hair. Unfortunately, when they’re applied incorrectly, they can have the opposite effect.

Putting serious strain on your hair follicles, hair extensions can leave you with less hair than before! That is a very real danger when you’re giving yourself hair extensions, but it’s not something you need to worry about at your hair salon.

Whether hair extensions are causing strain or becoming tangled, an experienced hairdresser can help resolve the matter.

5. Face masks

Capable of replenishing moisture, removing excess oils, and revitalising skin, face masks are a valuable part of any beauty routine.

In some cases, though, face masks can cause a bad reaction – and quite a bit of pain. If you’re not mindful of the condition of your skin, problems follow.

Beauty services have the knowledge and experience to assess your skin and provide beneficial facial treatments, without any risk of harm. If you’ve already damaged your skin with a face mask, they can help with restorative action, too.

6. Waxing

For swift hair removal, it’s hard to beat waxing. But you need to apply wax treatments in the proper manner or you can expect bad results.

When wax isn’t applied or removed in the proper direction, or when it’s too hot or cool, it can become ineffective and even damage your skin.

If you’ve botched a waxing treatment, take yourself to a beauty salon – like 5% of our respondents – that can finish the waxing and give you the smooth skin you’ve been seeking.

7. Fake tans

When the sun isn’t shining, getting a tan the natural way isn’t an option. Fake tan applications can look authentic, yet they can go badly wrong too.

Home tanning treatments can look streaky and uneven, come out too dark, or look too faint. When this happens, it’s really noticeable and not a good style.

Your local tanning salon can give you an even tan that looks natural, even when your at-home attempt has left you blotched and streaky.

James Nesbitt assesses his attempt at cutting niece's hair

Why do people try beauty treatments at home?

When there are so many great professional hair and beauty options around, why do people choose to attempt DIY haircuts and beauty treatments?

The answer often comes down to expense.

68% of respondents admitted they’ve carried out at-home treatments because they’re trying to save money.

While some beauty treatments might feel optional, many are part of people’s everyday routine. Since they can’t be skipped, home treatments become the more accessible and affordable choice.

Obviously, if things go wrong, that's no longer true!

5 tips to avoid at-home hair and beauty blunders

While booking an appointment with a beauty professional will give you the best results, there are certainly times when you’ll prefer to try beauty treatments at home.

A whopping 58% of respondents have visited a professional when a home treatment has gone wrong. Luckily, you can avoid dodgy haircuts and beauty treatments by keeping these tips and tricks in mind.

  • Think about your skin and hair types

Often, people forget to consider their skin and hair types when selecting products and treatments.

What works for someone with straight hair might not suit someone with curly hair. The same goes for oily skin compared with dry skin.

Not tailoring treatments to your condition can lead to irritation and a lacklustre outcome. By taking the time to look into the treatments that suit you, you can avoid problems and give yourself a real treat.

  • Skipping patch tests

If you’re trying out a new beauty product, patch tests are essential. That’s especially true if you have sensitive skin or allergies.

When you don’t carry out patch tests, treatments can result in rashes, redness, and other unpleasant reactions that you’d much rather avoid.

While you might be excited to give a new product a try, it’s best to take the time needed to perform this crucial step.

  • Rushing through the process

People are usually eager to have a new hairstyle or hair colour, or to enjoy the benefits of their beauty treatments. As a result, they rush through the process – and this is always a mistake!

Taking the time to follow instructions, perform proper techniques, and allow products to work their magic is a must. If a treatment needs to be left on for 15 minutes, don’t leave it on for longer or shorter. Instructions are there for a reason.

If you rush through the treatment or your DIY haircut, disappointing results are a given.

  • Using unclean tools

Treatment tools and styling equipment can become breeding grounds for harmful bacteria when they’re not cleaned regularly.

Using unclean tools doesn’t just limit the effectiveness of your treatments, but can actually lead to skin and hair problems.

Luckily, this is entirely avoidable. Just make sure all your tools and equipment are cleaned thoroughly after each use. Yes, every time!

  • Knowing your limits

At times, people try to do treatments and haircuts that are simply too complex.

It takes years of training and experience to shape and style hair, while certain beauty treatments also require knowledge of hair and skin types – and skill to apply.

If what you want seems complicated, it’s better to speak to a professional. Taking the DIY option and making a mess of things will only result in costly corrective appointments.

Consider the safe approach

The temptation to cut your own hair and give yourself beauty treatments is understandable – but be careful!

It doesn’t take much for things to go wrong. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could easily do yourself a mischief.

Whether you need help now or you’re avoiding DIY treatments for the time being, contacting the professionals is the right call.

Start by speaking to the leading beauty salons and hairdressers near you with a quick search – or let businesses contact you by posting an enquiry for exactly what you need.