The dos and don’ts for keeping colour clients in the salon.
Between tougher economic realities, a savvier client base and the retailing success of mass market products, it can sometimes be difficult to convince clients not to go it alone when it comes to colour. But colourists have found ways to counter the effects. Here, three of them share their secrets for keeping budget-conscious clients in their chairs.
Don’t…Forget to prescribe the right take-home products.
“For clients, educating them on using the proper shampoos and conditioners is highly important. You want to make sure they’re not leaving and using high alkaline products that are stripping your colour out of their hair,” says Cini. “A good hair-care regimen is crucial to keep colour looking good.”
“One of the first things I might ask, if she wants something extreme and high maintenance, is, ‘How often are you looking to come in here?’ If the client says, ‘Every three or four months,’ then I may still play with highlights, but do a softer colour, so she can get more time out of it,” says Joanna Cini, co-owner of The Barber’s Daughter Hair Salon in Toronto.
For Crystal Brown, artistic director for Ricci Hair Co. in Edmonton, the consultation is the time for establishing a budget—and it’s a natural progression during the course of learning who they are and figuring out the best way to give them what they want. “Lots of clients are afraid to bring it up, but it’s key to avoiding sticker shock when they go to checkout,” says Brown.
Do…Get creative in working with a client’s budget.
“The most expensive thing is creating the look. Maintaining is where we can balance the budget,” says Brown. “For instance, I can create the look for a client and then a more junior stylist maintains it. So she is seeing me three times a year and the other stylist sees them six times a year. That’s still my client, and she’s still referring people to me.”
Don’t…Demonize drug store colour.
“I don’t think drug store hair colour is a bad thing,” says Brown. “Who am I to tell my client that she can’t be beautiful within her budget? I have to do things to make her choose me over the drug store. The performance between box colour and the colour in the salon is me.” In some instances, Brown will have clients who maintain their base colour at home and then come into the salon for highlights.
Do…Create something they can’t do at home.
Brown makes a point of never doing a solid colour in the salon. Instead, she’ll create something she calls a spotlight: using a demi-permanent colour in the same tonal family of the base shade—one depth lighter or brighter—she selects pieces around the face to create depth. “I let her see that I’m using more than one thing. That it’s not just throwing a box of colour on the hair,” says Brown.
Do…Go low maintenance.
There’s never been a better time to be low maintenance with colour, especially with the continuing popularity of ombre and the extensive ranges of demi-permanent shades. “Ombre is great because they don’t need to come in and get their roots done. Demi permanents are huge because they wash out, can be used to extend the time between service, refresh the colour, make it richer and, overall, avoid that strong line of demarcation,” says Shannon Simmonds, owner of On the Fringe Hair Design in Vancouver. Cini recommends playing with splashes of colour in a peek-a-boo effect below the part. “As long as you have natural colour over the part, clients are able to maintain it longer,” she says.