Something as simple as a haircut or a new color can make you feel great, can’t it? Sometimes it’s the perfect remedy for stress or a tough week. Updating your look every once in a while can give you that boost of confidence you’ve been needing, but with each trip to the hair salon there is always just a tinge of worry that your hair won’t come out exactly how you want it. For most of us, the worst haircut we’ve ever had involved too many inches being cut off, or winding up with accidental bangs. But for one woman in California, the results of her trip to the hair salon were a lot worse.

Elizabeth Smith visited the Blowbunny Salon in San Francisco, and ended up being rushed to the emergency room in a nearby hospital. Elizabeth’s doctors eventually explained to her that she had suffered a stroke. They determined it was the position of her head in the wash basin that caused it. Her neck was hyper-extended, which most likely caused a blood clot that led to a stroke.


Elizabeth said, “Initially I couldn’t walk at all… it hit both sides of my body but more my left, so I couldn’t move my left arm at all.” Photos taken after the incident show that the 48-year-old couldn’t even form a smile on her face after suffering the stroke.

This condition is rare, but it has happened before and it does have a name. It’s known as “beauty parlor stroke syndrome,” and it occurs when a client’s neck is hyper-extended into a wash basin when their hair is being washed. When a client is leaning his or her head back in that position, the circulation can be irritated which may cause a blood clot that leads to a stroke. The earliest record of the incident dates back to 1993.

Two years after her stroke, Elizabeth still suffers from dizziness and loss of vision, causing her to fall at times. Doctors say that if she suffers a second stroke, she could die. She is now sharing her story to warn others about the dangers of “beauty parlor stroke syndrome.”

To lower your risk for “beauty parlor stroke syndrome,” you can ask your stylist to place a towel underneath your neck to prop your head up. Try to keep your neck tilted at no more than a 20-degree angle. You can also choose to face the wash basin and flip your hair over. Your hair stylist can still wash it that way.

Watch the video below to hear more about Elizabeth’s story:

h/t: sun gazing