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When Mistakes Happen: I Melted Off a Client's Hair

by Alison Alhamed | May 9, 2019

In a recent post on her Instagram, Philadelphia hair colorist Jess Dworniczak bravely shared a story about every colorist's worst nightmare: she melted off her client's hair.

"No, that’s not a euphemism. It’s a short version of the worst moment of my career, and it happened just the other day," she says.

Her client arrived with super-long brown hair, a change from her usual years of platinum blonde. Living far away, but also having a personal relationship and a general knowledge of her hair history, Dworniczak--like so many of us--was pressed for time and didn't do a strand test.

"⁣We had discussed the inevitable damage that would occur, she was realistic about expectations," Dworniczak says. "Anyone who knows me knows I am certainly honest about expectations."

Not long into foiling, she things took a bad/scary/insert-synonyms-for-horribe-here turn.

"It wasn’t just her ends showing that telltale gummy' look, in many spots this was starting about four inches from her scalp," Dworniczak says. "Fast forward many hours, toner bowls, bond treatments, and sweat puddles later... it was an absolute worst-case scenario. If there was ever a time I wanted to hop in my car and drive away while a client was processing, this was it."

They went down the checklist. "Was it medication? Treated water? Hormones? Satan? We had no answers," she says. "Ten years working with hair, and hundreds and hundreds of happy clients. I never thought this day would come. Believe me when I tell you, nothing will humble you quite like this. All the horror stories and memes in the world don’t prepare you for when it happens to you. What could I do? This poor girl was walking out with literally half the hair she came in with, and just as dark. She cried, I wanted to cry. Actually I wanted to vomit. I’m sure she did, too."

When Dworniczak posted this story on her Instagram page, it took a lot of courage. Afterall, she has more than 20,000 followers--potential clients, included, in addition to many industry professionals.

Dworniczak paid for the service out of her own pocket, including a shampoo and masque. "The client wants to pay for extensions, but I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I let her," she says.

"Why would I post this? Because I can’t  stand that we look up to people who only post their highlight reel. How does help anyone?⁣" she says. "I'm not telling you this to scare you away from my chair forever. I’m hoping you will keep this in the back of your minds. Stylists: THIS CAN HAPPEN TO YOU. Cover your butt, and when you think it’s covered, cover it some more. Clients: Please don’t think because the Kardashians appear to be able to jump the color spectrum every  month, that you can too. This isn’t the E! network, and not everything you see on TV is real life. Please, be realistic with your hair choices."

Dworniczak is always keeping it real, and we love following her for her real-life tone and how she shares her experiences. Check out her recent post on our site to see why we're loving her.

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