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I was a licensed cosmetologist for 13 years.

And like with any job, there are good moments and not-so-good moments.

Today I’d like to share one the not-so-good moments.

There’s a fine line between a stylist listening to and giving a client what they want, and then knowing and advising a client, as to what would and would not work for them.

I always took the approach, that since a client is the one paying for my services, it was my job to grant their wishes. However, there were times, when I just knew that what they were wishing for, would not be for the best, and would say so.

When giving a perm, the size of the perm rod determines the size curl you want to achieve.

The clients hair length, texture, condition and hair color also needs to be considered. If someone has light blond or gray/white hair, the perm will always appear “tighter” than say, if someone who has darker hair. Lighter hair will always LOOK curlier.

I had a client once, who requested that I use small perm rods on her hair, so that it would last for 4-5 months. I advised her, that because she had white, coarser textured hair, I thought it would be better if I used medium rods, so that her hair wouldn’t look as though she had stuck a wet finger into an electrical socket.

But she insisted that because she was going on vacation, she didn’t want to have to fuss with her hair, and only wanted to wash and wear it.

I explained to her again, my professional advice.

She insisted it being her way.

Since her hair was healthy and in very good condition, I gave her what she wanted, but told her that if she wasn’t satisfied…I didn’t want to hear any complaints.

She said, “Do it.”

When she left, her hair was still wet, so neither one of us saw what it would look like after it dried, but to my eyes, it looked as though it was a good conditioned perm.

Now, let’s fast forward to the next day…..

(the dreaded phone call)

My boss told me that one of my clients was on the phone and needed to talk to me…

Me: Hello?

She: Hello, Ron?

Me: Yes?

She: I’m the women with the white hair who you gave a perm to yesterday…do you remember me?

Me: Yes, I do.

She: Well I HATE it!...when I woke up this morning and looked in the mirror, it appears as though I have a huge fuzzy COTTON BALL sitting on my head - it’s HORRIBLE!

Me: Well, if you remember me advising you yesterday about using smaller rods, I was trying to avoid this.

She: So what am I suppose to do about it??

Me: Well, if you would like to come in today, I could try running a deep conditioner through it and see if that will relax it a bit.

She: I don’t have TIME to come in today, because I’m leaving on my vacation this evening and I still have things I need to do!

Me: Well then, I really don’t know what to say.

She: But I’m completely dissatisfied with what you did!

Me: Listen, I told you that if I did the perm the way you requested, I was not going to take responsibility for it, remember?

She: Yes, I remember, but my hair looks like fuzzy COTTON!…I ‘m telling you, COTTON!… Do you hear what I‘m saying?…COTTON!

Me: Yes, I get the picture…cotton.

She: Well how can I go on my vacation looking like a COTTON BALL exploded on my head??

Me: I offered to try and help you out with a deep conditioner, but you can’t come in, so I guess you’re just going to have to wait until it grows out.

She: Well, I just want you to know that this is the WORST perm I’ve EVER gotten, and I will NEVER be coming back to you!

Me (alleluia): Yes, I totally understand your decision.

She (hanging up): SLAM!

I never did get to see what the perm looked like, but this is what I always imagined….



  1. HAHA...good for her! ;) Always listen to His Excellency Ron. His word is gospel.

  2. You brighten up my day.

  3. My first reaction would have been to stab her in the eye with a fork but the satisfaction of being able to say, "I told you so you silly bitch!" would suffice.

    Ron, you make me laugh. I've seen women with those "cotton" hair styles and I've wondered, "Why?" Now I know, they didn't listen to a professional. LOL

  4. Hi Buddy !
    I'm so glad to be starting my blog rounds again.
    I hope that life has been good to you since the time we saw you.

    What can I say ? We are getting back into the routine, after returning home Friday.If you stop by, there's a photo blog that we started !

    As for that customer, she should have listened to the pro ! The end result must have been HILARIOUS ;)

    Big hugs to ya xxxxxx

  5. Funny picture and story! LOL
    No matter how professional and knowledgeable you were some clients just have to be in control at all costs and there isn't a whole lot you can say or do with people who are like that. They need to learn their own lessons the hard way. And the next time she was permed she probably told the stylist to use the bigger rods because the last person who worked on her used tiny ones and messed her all up. LOL

    I have naturally curly or atleast in some areas very wavy hair so I've never really needed a perm, however, I did get two of them many years ago. The first time it was the summer after my Junior year of high school and my girlfriend had started beauty school so I let her give me a style. OMG. She put the wrong solution on first, we had to call a neighbor who could take her back to the school and get the right solution, and do it all again. Needless to say, my senior pictures didn't come out quite the way I'd hoped. I was able to blow it out enough though. LOL The next time was a couple years later and they used, like you tried to warn the women away from, smaller rods. I looked like a poodle too and had to go back to the salon to get the conditioner combed thru. The only thing is, the woman who worked on my hair didn't offer me any options. She just permed it and I trusted her I guess. It was a little better after the comb out, but I never had my hair done since then. Now that I'm going away the end of the year, I stopped at another friends shop and asked her if we could just spot perm my hair for the places it doesn't seem to want to curl so I won't have to bother with the iron while away. She said if we use big rollers and a very quick perm that's only left on for a few minutes it might be okay. We're still discussing it because some days I can scrunch it up with some mouse or gel and I get decent curl. So she's going to look for a good styling product for me too. She just got a sample of something in at her shop that might work.

    Well, you know I'd ramble on longer, but this inner ear thing is kicking my butt.... back to bed.
    Have a great week!! :)

  6. Oh man,
    The people you run into
    and wish you could run over..
    love it!

  7. Oh, man! I would have totally paid to see a photo of her hair!

    As you know, the customer's always right(even when they're wrong, right?).

  8. On my! People are UNBELIEVABLE.

    I am just the opposite when I find a good stylist. I listen to them and so basically whatever they suggest. It's how I ended up with really short hair. Never in a million years thought it would look good on me, but I LOVE it.

  9. good morning ron!

    what a wench - she got what she deserved. some people just don't want to listen, they always think they know better. (not that i've dealt with people like that before, *cough* *cough*). at least you never had to see her again! (i hope!)

  10. Tee hee. Funny story Ron! I bet you have oodles more like that.. :)

  11. Hi Debi!

    Oh god, Debi...and this is only ONE story...

    I could fill up a whole blog, with HAIR RAISING tales!


    Always great seeing ya, Debi!

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Happy Monday!

  12. Hi Fi!

    So nice seeing!

    Thanks a bunch for stopping by the COTTON Club today!


    So glad it made you smile!

    (I wonder what the hell ever happened to that woman?)


    Have a great Monday!

  13. Howdy Lady Nitebyrd!

    OH have NO IDEA what I REALLY wanted to say to her over the phone, but when she ended it with, "I'm NEVER coming back to you!"...I thought, "OK...I can live with that!!"


    Hey... and have you ever seen those ladies with that slightly BLUE colored cotton candy hair? It's a special hair rinse that many women use to counter-react the Florida sun!

    It's breathtakingly beautiful!

    Thanks a BUNCH for stopping by today, Nitebyrd!

    Always a pleasure talking to ya!

    Wishing you a FABU-Cotton Monday!

  14. HELLO Barbara!!!!!'re BACK!!!!!


    So good seeing ya!

    I stopped by your blog a few weeks ago and saw the photos you took of our time in Philly and they were WONDERFUL! Your hubby takes such awesome pictures!

    I bet you must have had a wonderful time in Canada too!

    Again, my was SO GREAT meeting up with you. Leesa and have been talking about it, ever since!

    One of these days, I WILL come to France and see YOUR wonderful home!

    Thanks SO MUCH for stopping by to let me know you've returned!

    Have a wonderful Monday, Barbara!

    And yes...I'll be sure to stop by your blog later today and check out the photos!!


  15. Afternoon Crystal Chick!

    First of all...I hope you're feeling better, my friend. I know that inner ear thing CANNOT be something pleasant!?!?

    Hey listen, if you have some time, go to my other blog (Foot Notes) and click on the Foot Map page. Find the ear reflex points and gently press on those throughout the may help with any discomfort your having.

    OH MAN...and your experience with perms sound not-so-good too! It's so important when giving a perm, to really communicate to the client all the options, so that they have a good experience. That's something I always tried to do to avoid any catastrophies.

    But as you read here...some can not be avoided.


    And your hair (from your photos) looks like it has beautiful curl/wave to it. And you're SO lucky that it's NATURAL!!

    Hey...and that's an EXCELLENT idea about getting a "spot perm." I used to do that to some of my clients who had areas of their hair that were not as curly/wavy as the rest. There was never any need to do a full perm.

    Thanks for stopping by today, M!

    It's always FUN sharing with you!

    Have a VUNDERBAR Monday...and sending you "healing thoughts."

  16. Greetings Jenna!

    Welcome! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

    Nice meeting you!

    OH MAN...your comment made me LAUGH! That was great! I think a steam-roller would have nice choice, don't you?

    Have a great Monday, Jenna. And feel free to stop by whenever you wish!

  17. Afternoon Mama Dawg!

    I could only IMAGINE what this woman's hair must have actually looked like...

    ...cotton candy was the FIRST thing that popped into my head!

    God love her!

    And yes...that's what I've always heard, "The customer is ALWAYS right." But I like what YOU'VE added, "Even when they're WRONG!!!"


    Always FUN taking to ya, Mama Dawg!

    Thanks for dropping by today!


  18. Howdy Diane!

    OH are the type of client I always DREAMED of having!!!

    But your right...a client/stylist have to build a "trust" with one another, so that the client can say, " what you feel is best."

    And from your avatar, I can tell that you look FABULOUS in short hair. Actually, if you want to know the truth, I LOVE how short hair looks on women. I think it can be very sexy and feminine all at once!

    Thanks for stopping by today, Diane!

    I always enjoy talking with you!

    Have super Monday!

  19. Hello Christina!

    The time I spent as a cosmetologist really helped me to learn how to communicate with people. It was a very good "teaching experience."

    But just as you shared, even when you do communicate fully, some people will always see and want things their way.

    And YES...when she said she'd NEVER be back again...I was VERY happy!!

    tee, hee!


    Thanks oodles for stopping by today, Christina!

    Always a pleasure seeing ya!

    Wishing you a "cotton-free" Monday!

  20. Greetings Kate!

    You said it, my friend!

    I should probably write a book or even a BLOG on some of the HAIRY-RAISING experiences I've had.

    I've actually been blessed to not have as many as some stylists have. I was always very cautious, but sometimes stuff happens, ya know?

    If you've not already read it, and feel like it. Please go to Favorite Takes on my blog sidebar and click on "Psychology of Hair" may find it amusing.

    Thanks for stopping by today, Kate!

    It's great having your nice energy here!

    Happy Monday!

  21. Stupid woman! It was her own fault, she should have listened to you Ron!

  22. Afternoon Akelamalu!

    I know...poor lady....

    ...she's now selling her own brand of cotton candy on EBAY...

    ...Cotton Hair Candy!


    Thanks a bunch for dropping by today, dear lady!

    Always a delight seeing ya!

    P.S. and remember, stay away from that cotton candy!

  23. I have "I told you so" moments on a daily basis... and the worst part is, I don't feel vindicated. I feel bad. I don't like it when bad things happen even if I warned of them and offered a pre-emptive strike or way to avoid it. Of course, my "I told you so" moments usually result in someone needing cotton balls because they got hurt...

    People need to leave it to the expert. if you don't trust them, go see someone else you can trust. Sheesh!


    Yeh i agree with Nite! Shoulda stabbed her in the eye with a fork! LMAO!!! You're so patient Ronnie! (Well you're good at appearing that way anyway!) :-)

    I've seen many grams with the cotton ball look! And they seem to love it! I don't know what the silly bitch was complaining about!!! :-P xx

  25. Hiya Anndi!

    I LOVE your wonderful WIT, my Libra friend!!

    And TRUE, Anndi...we can guide someone to what may be best for them, but people will ultimately make their own choices (like I have done myself, so many times). It's part of learning, I guess.

    Thanks SOOOOOO much for stopping by today, Anndi!

    Always a happy moment!

    Hey...and WE have birthdays coming up soon, don't we????


    Have splendid night!

  26. Helloooooo Giggles!!!!'s so great seeing ya!

    I hope you had a nice rest, but I'm glad your back in the blogging world...we missed ya!

    sshhh...don't tell anyone this, but I'm actually NOT a very patient person. But at work, I have to try to be. I always made sure I explained everything clearly to a client, so that they understood a service. But some clients, like this one, would insist.

    And after that....I AM NO LONGER PATIENT!!!


    Thanks a BUNCH for stopping by today, dear one!

    You always add the GIGGLES to my posts!

    tee, hee!

    Enjoy your evening!

  27. I had a few of those perms myself..thanks to my Mother!
    I have fine, straight as a board hair so the perms always fried my hair. I'm talking "Orphan Annie" on steroids! Not a pretty site..especially when I was a built like a stick too. :O

    My stepmother cut my hair inch or two all over!! Then my nickname became Twiggy. Do you remember her?

    Now that I am in control I wear it in a swing bob style a couple of inches above my shoulders. Recently, I saw my Mother (which is rare), and she said, "Your hair looks good like that." I thought to myself..Yeah, well you are decades too late!

    You gave me a good chuckle this evening, and I thank you for that!

    Love Ya!

  28. So tell me - did she think it looked like cotton cause bitch didn't make it clear in her phone call!

    I picture her dusting with her head!

  29. Oh...Dearest Gypsy-Heart...your comment gave me a good chuckle too!

    Orphan Annie on CUTE!!!

    That's actually what this woman probably looked like!!!

    Perms were never one of my favorite things to do as a stylist. It always seemed that what people were expecting, was NOT what they got. Coloring and cutting hair were my FAVS!

    Hey...and I LOVE a swing bob! They're CLASSIC...and NEVER go out of style. And there easy for someone to take care of. You really don't have to blow and style it.

    Thanks for stopping by this evening for a little COTTON CANDY, dear friend!

    It's ALWAYS a special treat seeing you!

    Love ya!

  30. Oh, Dianne I LOVE YOU, GIRL!!!

    That was BRILLIANT!!!

    You ALWAYS make me laugh!!

    Thank you for that!

    God knows what the hell happened to COTTON candy lady....but I was SOOOOO grateful that she NEVER came back!!

    Thanks for stopping by tonight, Dianne!

    Always WONDERFUL!

    Have a great evening!

  31. I read the post you suggested.. ! Wow. I can't blame you for making the "cut" that day.. ha ha.

    I, too, felt like a "doctor" when I worked for several years as a supplement buyer for a large health food store chain (ok, Whole Foods market). I had complete strangers walking up to me and saying, I have (insert any number of health concerns here), what should I take?

    Um. I mean, I got a lot of training, but I certainly was not a doctor!

    Ok, off to get some beauty rest, doctor Ron!
    -doctor Kate

  32. HOLY COW RON!! You are a multi-talented person, I never know all the things you can do.. We can DEFIN. do an exchange of services!!!! Hey, your story reminds me of a bad perm I got at age 13 or so at Marinello's Beauty school in L.A. YIKEES... I came out looking like Shirley Temple!!!! I just lived with it til it relaxed and grew out.. But, I NEVER went back there after that!! Plus, it smelled bad- back in the 70s you know!!!! I had a bad highlight job here in France and she took it out a little too soon and it was yellow orangey instead of blondie blonde! Now, I'm pretty light yellow blonde... The stylist redid it because it was REALLY obvious.. Oh well.. I don't go back to her either.. I found a good stylist in Paris.. same price.. A highlight job here is 70 euros... And when I got my hair done at Wendy's in San Diego last April it cost $50US.. that's about 30 euros.. Big diff. in the price, eh?!!
    You are sooo hilarious, though.. I can just imagine that you felt AWFUL but you tried to find a good solution for the lady and she wasn't able to come in.. Too bad for her.... She should heeded your warning...

  33. Gosh. I looked like that without someone sticking silly rods in my hair......

    *shrugs* Just sayin'.....

  34. Hiya Kate!

    Thanks for checking out the post!

    Glad you enjoyed.

    That was probably one of the most frustrating times I had in the business. At that point, I just KNEW it was time to CUT.


    See!!! I know YOU understand what I mean, from what you shared about your Whole Foods job. As a reflexologist, quite often people will ask me if I can diagnose certain things, and like you, I tell them...I'm not a doctor. I'm always careful to know my limitations.

    Thanks for stopping by again, Dr. Kate!

    It's always nice sharing with ya!

    Have a great Tuesday!

  35. Good Morning Leesa!

    I can never decide what I want to be when I grow I just try EVERYTHING!!!


    No, actually...every job/career I've ever had, was always such GREAT preparation for the next career! I've alway felt drawn into providing a "service" for people.

    Hey, and I hear ya about the "smell" of perms! Sort of like "rotten eggs" right? They've improved tremendously, but they still have a distinct odor.

    Even here in the States, the cost of hair services has become very expensive. This is why I cut my own hair.

    Just from your avatar, I can tell you have good color in your hair. I'm telling ya, you look like a MOVIE STAR!!!

    Hightlighting can be very tricky, because you have to get the blond JUST right...not too light, but also not leaving it in the brassy stage. Your's looks just right!

    Thanks a KABOODLE for stopping by today, Leesa!

    You always bring sunshine!


    Have a great Tuesday!

  36. Mornin' Mel!

    NO WAY...I can't imagine that!?!?

    (however, your hair is not PINK, is it???)


    Always great seeing ya, dear Mel!

    Thanks for dropping by for some cotton candy!

    (it goes so well with candy corn!)

    Happy Tuesday!

  37. That woman was unbelievable. I can't believe she had the nerve to call and complain after you WARNED her what would or wouldn't work.

    Cotton head. hehe

  38. sweetie f@cking killed me. I laughed so hard. Um, I think I farted.

    Just kidding...a Southern lady does not do things like that...let alone admit to it. hehehe

    Ronnie, you had me rolling, I could just imagine the cotton head explosion...hehehehe. was her fault, she insisted. It's like here at my boss wants to something weird...odd, because he's seen some movie and believes we can do stuff like that. I tell him gonna backfire on you and we will look like crap and I don't want to explain toheadquarters why. He will insist. I say okay...fine, when the big wigs call...I'll tell them you insisted and would not listen to reason...hello I'm Spiky Reason. hehehe.

    Um...ronnie babe...did she ever go bacvk to you?

    Hey when my hair conssultant...Paulalo, says Spiky i want to do this and that with your hair...I say go for it babes. he know his stuff, he's the expert, plus he will cry like the little bitch he is. hehehehe. He knows I can't stand to see him unset and cry. He so plays me like a guitar huh?

    Ciao babes. :D

  39. Howdy Rhea!

    Hey...I've been meaning to tell you, I LOVE your new avatar!!!

    Since I just recently switched back to the other comment format...NOW I can see it!!

    It's GREAT!

    And yes...this woman was LOVELY!

    I often look for her at the CIRCUS...selling COTTON CANDY!!


    Thanks for stopping by today, Rhea!

    ALWAYS a great treat!!!!!

    Enjoy your evening!

  40. Dearest Miss Jones....

    OMG...your comments always end up being a post all of their own!!!

    I LOVE THEM!!!!!

    Honestly though, I've laughed so hard before, that I've farted!

    A Northern Man ALWAYS admits to that!


    And no...she NEVER came back to me, but that was a blessing. There were some clients who I could never satisfy, but that's something you learn to accept in that business, ya know? A stylist and client have to "click" and if they don't...sometimes it's best to move on. sounds like Paulalo and you have a GREAT relationship! And I bet he LOVES you. He knows that you trust him!!!

    And dear god, I know what you mean about how some stylists can be tempramental. I've worked with SEVERAL!! HAIR DIVA'S!


    Thanks alotta for stopping by today, Spiky!

    Always a SPARKLE!

    Ciao bella