If you’re like most women, you have at least one hair horror story to share. Whether it was a haircut gone wrong or a major color blunder, we’ve all been there. To help prevent repeat experiences, we’ve compiled some helpful tips submitted by our customers and sprinkled in some of our own advice.

When it comes to new haircuts or color choices, don’t get in a hurry to chop or dye your locks into the latest craze. Not all haircuts look great on everyone, and not everyone is prepared to keep up with the maintenance some cuts or colors may require. For example, if you have naturally dark brown or black hair, going platinum blonde would require frequent root touch-ups. If you have a busy lifestyle with school, work, kids or other commitments, you may find it difficult to get to a salon frequently.

Do some research before overhauling your hairstyle. Ask your stylist if the cut you want would look good with your face shape, current hair color, lifestyle needs, etc. And if you are dead set on getting a new cut, be sure to explain to the stylist exactly what you want. Having pictures of your ideal cut can also help the stylist create the look you want, not a look you will be crying over for days.

Once you do decide to cut or color your hair, Pro Extensions always recommends going to a professional.

One Pro Extensions fan, Nicole S., learned the consequences of at-home coloring the hard way.

“I used to have long, beautiful, dark auburn hair,” Nicole said. “I bleached all the color from my hair and then I spent the next seven months coloring, bleaching, coloring and bleaching.”

Because of her excessive dye jobs, Nicole’s hair took a turn for the worse.

“My hair went limp, it went soggy when I washed it and it took on this strange, almost sponge-like consistency that was horrifying and embarrassing,” Nicole said. “I couldn’t comb my hair without enormous clumps coming out…It was and still is the single worst experience I have ever had in my life.”

Doing your own haircut or color at home to save money may not be the greatest idea either. One Pro Extensions customer, Scarlett P., learned this lesson after she decided to let a friend dye her hair just before a family reunion and pictures.

“She managed to turn my hair clown red with bleached hot spots that looked like thumb prints all over my head,” Scarlett said. “My hair looked like Strawberry Shortcake’s for the family reunion.”

Selecting a qualified hairstylist is also important. The person cutting your hair should be experienced and preferably licensed. Samantha C., a Pro Extensions customer, found this out after she let her mom’s friend, who used to own a hair salon, give her a new cut.

Samantha said the wording she used to tell the stylist what kind of cut she wanted was her first mistake.

“Shorter on top and longer underneath,” Samantha had said.

Unfortunately these words lead to a mullet.

“I looked like a boy,” Samantha said. “The woman had given me a mullet. I had short, feathered hair on top and this long layer that hung down past my shoulders in the back.”

So if you are thinking about changing your hair’s appearance, give it some serious thought and consideration. Research your options and pick a qualified professional to do the job.

And don’t worry. If you end up with a bad cut or color, there’s always Pro Extensions!

Katie Clontz is a staff writer and customer service representative for Pro Extensions. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University and has previously worked for publications such as The Courier-Times, The Knightstown Banner and Angie’s List.