How-to: Dramatic Color-Change Consultation (Hint - it's all about Communication)

As a stylist, I aim to maintain the strength and integrity of my client’s locks – and I know that you do, too. Because of this, I often find myself cursing the ‘miracle’ that is the Internet – and here’s why: Drastic changes. More often than not, my client’s have unrealistic expectations relating to how fast these changes should occur – plus what type of investment these changes will require. Why? They see celebrity before-and-after pictures.

But the same-day-miracle is rarely as simple as it seems. Often, these changes require over a dozen hours of time and a significant financial investment. Luckily, with a few simple tips and tricks, you can educate your clients about the time required for real change. Read on to discover how to prepare your clients for a multiple-day service – plus make sure that they’re satisfied with their end-results, today.

How to: Adjust Client Expectations

As a colorist, when one of my clients wants to take their hue from a level 2 to a level 10-beige, I’m thrilled – because I love a challenge. But I also wonder if she really knows what she’s in for. This change isn’t as simple as a finger snap – and it certainly isn’t a single process. There are MANY shades that fall between 2 and 10. I’m always careful about the promises I make, and I take care to be conservative in my estimation of what’s possible in a single day. For reference, the before and after results pictured below took 4 days to achieve (no, this is not my master creation).  


It’s Good to be Direct

  • Today’s change will not happen in two and a half hours. Most transitions take eight to twelve hours – and this one will likely be no different.
  • This is the perfect time to tactfully explain your pricing, because after all, color corrections don’t come cheap – and you shouldn’t short change yourself, and end up working for free. Your time is money. It’s best to make your client aware of the investment beforehand, so there are no surprises at the front desk. 
  • It’s ok to say: “This is an estimate of the time required to create this look, and the corresponding price. We may have to add in additional services (such as deep conditioning treatments), which will add time and dollars to your final bill.
  • It’s great to have pictures for reference. But make your client’s aware of any variations that could prevent their results from looking exactly like that of those pictured. Variables include density of the hair, natural base color, underlying tones in the hair, plus porosity.  
  • Make your client aware: how much of a change will they see today? In this case, it’s great to use the Internet for reference. Pull up pictures of expected results, and make sure that they are ok with the transitional color. 
  • Points of difference: Is your client’s skin-tone lighter or more ruddy than the model in the reference picture? Let your instincts guide you. If you feel the color could use adjustments, let them know this, beforehand.
  •  Sometimes, a big change just isn’t in the cards. If a client’s locks are brittle or breaking, it’s good to be honest. Sure, you could loose the client – but in some cases, that’s preferable to client who’s walking around with your work on her hair, which is barely hanging on.

When making a big change, communication is key. Though being direct can feel uncomfortable, it can save you from an awkward front-desk experience – and a frustrated client. So make sure that you’re giving your guests as much information as possible before a big change – and you can be sure that you’ll both be happy with the finished product.  

If you’re frustrated by the rigors of this kind of consultation, consider investing in a ‘Same Day Multiple Services’ course. Hair Color Magic is in conversation with master-colorist Luis Gonzalez (he’s the inspiration for this post!), and is developing a class for our 2017 calendar. Keep your eye out!

With Love,