If you’ve never had a haircut so bad it feels like the end of the world, we both a) envy you and b) think you’re lying. A terrible cut can be traumatizing on a personal level: You finally decide to take the plunge and brave what you think will be a killer new hairstyle, only to leave the salon looking less like Mia Farrow and more like Lisa Rinna. True, it’s just hair, and true, it will grow back, but not nearly fast enough. We can’t tell you how to fix a bad haircut, as that’s better left to the professionals, but we can help you distract from the situation in the meantime.
Draw attention elsewhere.
“Wear something that will take the focus off of your hair, like bright pink lipstick,” says celeb hairstylist Julia Papworth. The ultimate end goal is to manage to accessorize in a way that distracts people from noticing your (unfortunate) new cut by drawing the eye to another feature that you feel more confident about.
Multidimensional hair color can make a choppy cut appear even choppier, as they call attention to the hair’s texture and the way the strands move. Consider replacing your highlights and lowlights with a single process until your hair has grown out, as maintaining one color all over can help to distract from a poorly done cut.
“Having curls will hide grown-out layers, split ends, and an uneven cut,” says Beverly Hills stylist Lindsey Carse, owner of Fringe Salon. Curls and texture both add shape and distract from what’s going on beneath. If you’re miserable about having lost a bit more length than you’d have liked to, it really works to wave things up and make your hair look bigger and bolder—you’ll barely miss those last few inches.
Wear it up.
Look at it this way: now is a great time to experiment with fun ways to wear your hair up off your face, like in a great messy top knot or bun. When you’re not happy with the way your hair looks on its own, try getting creative and having fun with it until you feel confident enough to wear it down again.
Don’t ever try to fix it yourself.
We’ve all gotten a bad blowout and gone home to wash and redo it ourselves—that kind of thing happens. But we’d never, ever recommend taking that same principle and applying it to cutting your own hair. A new cut is definitely a great way of dealing with a bad cut, but that doesn’t mean you should do it yourself, as you’re only likely to make a bad situation far, far worse.
Aim for growth.
Hair grows best when you take optimal care of it. Avoid excessive use of heat tools, eat right, drink lots of water, and consider taking a vitamin supplement. Making the right health choices now means longer, stronger, healthier hair later, which will all but redeem that time you had that godawful haircut.
Don’t be afraid to fake it until you make it.
If you really hate your hair length and know that you’ll feel more confident with longer hair, extensions can be your very best friend. Whether it’s clip-ins or a more permanent solution, if you find yourself feeling like you need a serious solution fast, you can cover up your true length while giving your locks time to grow.
Read more from Daily Makeover: How to Skip a Haircut (and Still Have Great Hair)