Your Client Hates Their Hair Colour – Now What? The Advice No One Tells You
Picture the scene, you have been rushed off of your feet all day, have had a full column to attend to, had to put out fires on the shop floor and update your social media with the colour transformations you’ve created–all with a professional veneer and a smile on your face. You’re wrapping up a colour appointment, when you notice that your client doesn’t look completely happy (yes, you can even tell beneath the PPE) – they don’t like the finished look. When a client hates their hair colour but you have spent hours on it and you have stacks of appointments lined up in front of you, what can you do to make it better?
We spoke to two colour experts to get advice on colour appointments gone wrong and how to avoid disappointed clients…
Firstly, know you’re not the only one
“Every colourist has had a client who isn’t completely happy with their colour result, but there are ways to avoid this and it’s all down to communication,” says Robert Eaton, Wella Professionals technical director UK & Ireland.
The consultation, often skipped, is crucial in avoiding mismatched expectations. Lisa Farrall, Matrix ambassador UK&I couldn’t agree more and has three consultation rules she always sticks to. “I ask three times to confirm the client is happy, especially after a complete makeover,” she says. “Sometimes it can take time to get used to the change the client has decided on, especially if they have opted for a complete colour change or when they’ve chosen a vibrant colour, which is why it’s so important to talk through these options before proceeding.”
Doing these things might seem time-consuming but it will help later in the appointment. “Always cover your back and protect your time – try on wigs with them, use an app or carry out and old school strand test; a longer consultation will save time back in the seat.”
Be realistic from the outset
Everyone wants to create jaw-dropping transformations from behind the chair, but sometimes this isn’r feasible and it’s crucial both you and your clients are dreaming within boundaries. “I think it’s important to be realistic as to what’s achievable,” warns Robert.
“With social media stars having colour transformations in what seems like super quick time, it’s easy for clients to think major colour transformations are achievable in one visit, when quite often it takes many hours and multiple applications,” he continues. “Never overdeliver in the consultation and underdeliver with the results.”
Be specific with your vocabulary and use props
Before you set off with you bowl and brush make sure you are on the same wavelength as you client, and that includes making sure the same image comes to mind when you are talking colours and shades. “Always use swatches to show a client the colour,” advises Robert. “It’s no use saying ‘light blonde, or ash blonde or cool blonde’, because your vision of this will be different to your clients. However actually showing them a weft and explaining the variations of tone with a shade chart will ensure you are talking the same language.”
“What’s blonde to you? This is a question I use when teaching colour,” says Lisa. “One client’s blonde could be Ginger Spice, where as another clients could be Gwen Stefani. Use visual aids to make sure you’re both on the right track, and with your smart phone it’s never been easier.”
Toner is your ‘fix it’ friend
It’s amazing how much toning the hair can appease a disgruntled colour client. “Ultimately, if a client isn’t happy, you can offer a toner – this works in most cases if the honey is too saucy for your client” says Lisa. “We aren’t saving lives here, we’re doing hair but we all know, time costs money.”
Above all, honesty is key
If you know that the colour that your client wants can’t be achieved in one appointment then it’s crucial that you let them know the stages that their hair colour will have to go through to get their final look. “Ultimately, being honest will build trust. While your colour client may not be happy that their colour is more of a journey than a single session appointment, it will ensure they value your expertise and trust you.”
Lead image – Adrian Swancar on Unsplash