Everyone has had a bad haircut at some point or another--but the truth is that this is almost always totally possible to avoid! If you're in need of a bit of a trim or you think it's time for something new, here's what you can do to ensure that your new do will be one you'll love right away.
Describe your plans clearly--and keep communicating with your hairdresser all throughout the cut
The consultation process is the key to getting the hairstyle you want, so be as communicative as possible during this conversation. Take a few reference pictures with you, go over what you want a couple of times and do a little research in advance to make sure you're using the correct terms. While your hairdresser is cutting your hair, stay engaged and tell them right away if you think they've misunderstood what you're after.
If you're looking to make a drastic change, be very clear about that
Hairdressers learn, over time, to be cautious. Most people don't want to change their hair too dramatically all at once: They come in saying 'I just need a trim' or 'I want to keep the length', and they're liable to get upset if they look too different at the end. Your hairdresser can always cut your hair shorter, but they can't make it longer again once it's done--so they almost always err on the side of caution. If you don't want them to, say that! Most hairdressers will relish the opportunity to let their creativity flow free for a change.
Trust your hairdresser to know what they're doing--and don't assume that 'cheaper' means 'worse'
Contrary to popular opinion, it's not actually that easy to become a hairdresser. Most train for several years, and in many cases you'll find that they received the same training and went to the same schools whether they work in a budget chain or an upscale boutique. Spend some time looking at different hair salons for a hairdresser who 'gets you' no matter where they work, and when you've found them, take their advice and trust their professional expertise. They know more about this than you do, after all--that's what you're paying them for!
Don't be afraid to go back if you're not happy the next day
Any good hairdresser will end an appointment with by telling you to come back if you find anything wrong. It can be a good idea to sleep on it for a night if you're not certain, but if the next day (especially after you've washed and styled it yourself) you're still not happy, it's okay to take them up on the offer to fix your cut.