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A TikTok-famous hairstylist went viral for fixing bad dye jobs for free. It soon backfired.

Lindsay Dodgson   

A TikTok-famous hairstylist went viral for fixing bad dye jobs for free. It soon backfired.
  • Hairstylist Alfredo Lewis fixes hair disasters and has gained 1.4 million followers on TikTok.
  • He faced criticism after a client was disappointed with her results and complained publicly.

TikTok can blur the lines between influencer and customer — and when it does, things can go sour quickly.

Alfredo Lewis recently found this out when an influencer said she left his salon feeling disappointed and unheard after he offered to fix her bad dye job for free.

Lewis, who has 1.4 million followers on TikTok, told Business Insider he enjoys having the "opportunity to positively impact how someone feels about themselves."

The free services have also helped him grow his huge following on TikTok. The platform is filled with videos of heroic acts where people offer free services, prizes, and gifts to those less fortunate in a bid to spread kindness and gain followers.

Lewis' videos can get as many as five million views. He offers to fly people out to LA — where he collabs with fellow hairstylist Philip Wolff — if they have been left with straw-like, burned, uneven-colored hair due to inexperienced stylists using the wrong products or misguidedly trying DIY treatments at home.

Most of the time, the clients are filled with gratitude. But last week, a woman said she didn't feel like Lewis listened to what she wanted when she went in for a hair fix and complained publicly, generating an online feud that spiraled out of control.

The story is a cautionary tale for businesses who offer their services for free, particularly when they post the results on TikTok and have built high expectations.

Samantha Zink, the founder of influencer talent agency Zink Talent, told BI that free publicity is "often valued at a significant cost," especially when creators have a large following.

With exposure comes inherent risks, she added, including "potential backlash or negative comments."

"Businesses should keep in mind even though they may have good intentions by offering gifted services you never know anyone else's intentions," she said.

A hair fix gone wrong

On February 27, Taylor Madison, a TikToker with 765,000 followers, expressed her excitement that Lewis had invited her to fix her hair. Her locks had been left coarse and damaged after she attempted a drastic change with bleach.

Lewis was tagged multiple times in Madison's TikTok where tearfully showed off how much damage she'd done, saying he could help and would fly her out from Minnesota.

In the transformation video, Madison's hair went from brassy blonde to chocolate brown. Lewis said in the video they kept the length the same, rather than putting in extensions and suggested that was what Madison wanted.

But things soured when Lewis responded to some comments under the video, saying they were "disappointed" and "underwhelming."

"You guys did her dirty," one comment reads.

Lewis rebuffed the claims publicly and posted a video he took of Madison at the salon saying she "loved" her hair, along with messages from her saying she was "in love" with how it turned out.


Replying to @user6124304594020 I wanted to clear some things up. Taylor’s DIY Hair Transformation Clarification #bleach #colorcorrection #fyp #greenscreen #hairtransformation #consultation #hairtok

♬ original sound - Alfredo Lewis

However, Madison responded with her own TikTok, saying she requested extensions from the start, and her brunette bob wasn't what she wanted at all.

"I remember saying, 'I don't want a bob,'" she said.

Madison said she believed extensions weren't offered in the end because Lewis couldn't get them for free from the hair company. That meant a bob was her only choice.

"It's my fault for not communicating enough while I was there," Madison said. "I've always been taught, be thankful, and you get what you get, and don't throw a fit."

She said she was also "sad" and "broken-hearted" that she didn't get what she wanted but didn't want to start "any drama."

"I just kind of feel that I'm being gaslit a little bit right now," she said.

Lewis told BI this was the first time he heard Madison wasn't entirely happy with her hair.

"I wanted to make it right," he said. "Inspiration pictures are common, so I had a good understanding of what she was looking for; however, it's also important to manage expectations. Some of her requests were not feasible given her hair type and condition."

Some desired looks take multiple salon visits, he added, as doing too much can compromise hair health.

"I was honest about these limitations," he said.


I really dont want to start any drama. But I really do feel like I communicated enough in what i wanted, and I have the receipts to prove it. #greenscreen #greenscreenvideo

♬ original sound - Taylor

A back-and-forth then ensued between Madison and Lewis on TikTok, with both sides getting more heated and commenters getting swept up in the feud.

In a follow-up video, Madison said she felt "used" by Lewis because he would make so much money from the TikToks she featured in. She also claimed Lewis overemphasized her resemblance to Kylie Jenner to gain more views.

Madison also labeled Lewis "unprofessional" because he was "liking" comments that said Madison should have been grateful for the free service. She also changed her mind about her hair, calling it "patchy," and claimed Lewis was "sloppy" and only spent around an hour on her hair.

"The whole thing felt very rushed, very, very rushed, and it didn't feel like he put a lot of effort into it at all," she said. "Call me ungrateful, call me whatever the fuck you want, but I know my worth. I know what I'm bringing to the table. And I made him well over $5,000 just because of my face."

BI reached out to Madison but didn't hear back.


Replying to @Priscilla Johnson #greenscreen

♬ original sound - Taylor

Lewis responded again to Madison on TikTok, saying he was "super sad" about the situation and how it had all gotten "out of hand."

He said he didn't understand Madison's intentions, and he had "loved" meeting her and doing her hair. He showed what appeared to be screenshots of messages with Madison, which suggested she asked for his CashApp to be able to tip him.

"If you didn't like your hair, why would you want to pay us?" he said.

Lewis said if Madison had told him she was unhappy with how her hair turned out, he would have flown her back out and given her extensions.

He also denied Madison's allegations about not being able to get the extensions, that he was on his phone the whole time, and that he had made $5,000 from the videos.

"We flew her out first class, we got her a hotel, like, what more does she want?" Lewis said.

Lewis told BI he's "truly passionate" about his fixes, which he calls "hair saves," and the "joy it brings" so he'll continue to offer his services for free. But he will invest more time into consultations beforehand to ensure people get their desired look.

"When you open yourself to the world, a certain level of scrutiny is to be expected," he said. "While my intentions with this series are sincere, I must acknowledge that not everyone I bring in behind the chair may share the same level of integrity."


I have never been so sad hurt and upset from trying to help someone with their hair FOR FREE that they damaged themselves. This is the last and only time I am telling my TRUTH. I am not doing well y’all #hairtransformation #diy #colorcorrection #bullyingawareness #hairstylist #hairstylistsoftiktok #greenscreen

♬ original sound - Alfredo Lewis

Katya Varbanova, an expert in viral marketing, told BI: "This drama is more than just regular TikTok drama."

"It's a sign that we're at the intersection of blurring the lines between a business, an influencer, and a customer, which is very unique to the last two years on the platform," she said.

It also shows that it doesn't matter how generous creators are or how much their followers love them, she added.

"Bartering relationships are known for going sour fast, and your reputation is on the line," she said.

"Miscommunications can happen, and in this case, it was disastrous."

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