Professional hair colouring can’t be taken lightly like box-dyeing at home. Clients seek out a stylist expecting the finest results. As a hair professional, your expertise and skills alone cannot guarantee a colour makeover that matches client expectations. Before you even start mixing, make sure to follow these three steps and get everyone on the same page.
If it is one of your regular clients, you’ll have a fair idea of their hair history and personal style. However, it’s always best to have a discussion and cover all bases before proceeding with the colouring process.
With a new client, the pre-consultation is extremely important to gather the most vital details – hair type, texture, natural base, colour history, undertones, etc. An in-person consultation is highly recommended so that you can assess the client’s hair. If the client is planning to lighten their hair, checking their current level and communicating the possible results is important.
Don’t forget to ask questions about their past experiences with hair colouring and if there is anything they wish could have been better – this can help you avoid mistakes and meet their expectations better. Be aware of allergies and sensitivities; also look for any cuts/abrasions, dandruff, and health conditions like psoriasis, alopecia/hair thinning, excessive hair breakage, etc.
For a client who’s never done any hair colouring or chemical treatments, you might want to take a step further and do some tests to ensure a safe colouring service. A Skin Test helps to make sure that the client does not have any allergic reactions to the colouring products you’ll use – but this should ideally be done at least 24 hours before the service. You may also do an Elasticity Test will determine if the client’s hair has enough strength to undergo the process, especially when they want to bleach it. Finally, a Porosity Test can help you decide the volume of the developer for toning and lifting.
Get a Reference
You’ll be asking the client for references to understand their expectations better. But what you see on a celebrity or model may not look the best on your client – and you know this better than them. So, make sure you give them your opinion and solutions to customize the desired look to suit them better.
No matter how evident it is from the reference image, ask all the right questions. Do they want the colour to be lighter or darker than the one in the image? Do they want balayage, lowlights, or babylights – take a few minutes to explain the technical terms if the client is new to the language.
Sometimes you and the client will arrive at a significantly different look from the reference image after consultations. In such cases, get a reference that is as close to the intended look as possible and show it to the client, so they also have a clear idea of what to expect.
Share the plan
Okay, so now that you have a plan, time to review it one last time before proceeding with the hair colouring process.
Explain the process to your client, even if they have previous experience. Give a realistic time frame and don’t overcommit. If something cannot be done within the time and resources available, don’t compromise on quality to somehow deliver whatever the client demands. Also, don’t push it to the edge when it comes to the client’s hair health. There’s no return from using more products and treatments than the hair can handle.
Use the colour wheel and charts to arrive at the final hue and shade. Your knowledge of these resources must be added advantage to the client’s decision-making process. Finally, communicate the cost of the hair colouring service. We don’t want your or your client’s time and effort wasted on misunderstandings.
Throughout the process, from consultation to execution, you may record every change and addition to the hair colouring plan. This will help you and the client revisit the consultation if there are any issues after the colouring service.