When Your Client Wants Wild Hair Color
Depending on the vibe of your salon and your clientele, you may have a number of clients who request super colorful or vibrant hair colors. This style has moved from being outre to being mainstream, visible in middle school and on the red carpet. Unicorn hair, ombre, pastels and even grey and white shades, none of these are unusual anymore.
But just because these bright colors are becoming popular does not necessarily mean that you can do them easily on every client.
Your goal as a stylist should be the following:
- Try to create what your client is asking for.
- Flatter her with your hair care.
- Be sure that you are not damaging her hair unnecessarily.
With those guidelines in mind, here are some pieces of advice we have culled from our stylist community:
- Extensions provide a baby step. Coloring all of the hair or a portion of it can be pretty radical. But a colored extension can accomplish a lot. It can add the color while being temporary and can give her time to decide if she is ready to really plunge in to full-on color. The extension also adds volume. And while the extension itself can be pricey, the overall time spent in the salon (especially for just a pop of color), may be less.
- Add the light. For nearly every client, the hair will have to first be seriously lightened before the vibrant color can be added. You will have to determine what it will take to lighten the hair, taking into consideration the current color, the length of the hair, how porous it is, what its previous exposure to chemicals has been as well as the texture.
- Consult, consult, consult. Vivid coloration is radical, even if it’s becoming mainstream. Be extremely clear to your client how you will lighten the hair, what chemicals you will be using and even more importantly, how much time this is going to take, which impacts how much this treatment is going to cost. It is quite possible that this process might even take multiple appointments. Be honest about the time commitment on your and their behalf.
- Pre-color cut? Is the hair damaged with split ends? Then you probably need to cut first.
- Don’t undersell; your time is valuable. Be realistic about the number of steps and the time it will take for each step. If this is a three-hour process, you need to be paid for that! If this is your first go-round, consult with a mentor or an experienced colorist prior to setting your prices.
- Treat for damage. This process, let’s be realistic, is damaging to the hair. So you have to counterbalance that with excellent deep conditioning products.
- Coach for color. There are lots of how-tos on maintaining color-treated hair: using specialty shampoos and conditioners, shampooing less often, and coming in more often to maintain the color if that’s what is desired. Be sure to provide your expert advice so that the hair color looks great even after the client walks out the salon door.
- Insist on excellent follow-up care in terms of premium products, hopefully purchased from you, like balancing and moisturizing shampoos and conditioners, hair masks, and leave-in conditioner.
- Vibrant colors do fade and clients who want to keep the colors sharp and bright will need to have retouches. Set the follow up appointment if you can, and if she demurs, just remind her what the time frame will be when she notices the fading.
- Don’t offer quick fixes. If somebody comes to you with a color situation gone bad, be honest that you can do some repair but it will take time and multiple appointments. You may have to start back from the beginning, you might have to do some serious cutting and wait for portions of the hair to grow. Be extremely careful about how you will approach this hair emergency and don’t overpromise.
Changing hair radically is time-consuming and takes real expertise. You can show off your artistry and be amazingly creative as long as your clients understand and buy into the process and all of its steps.