From sun-kissed balayage to bold pure pigment hues, hair colour has never been so versatile. In fact, colour services are one of the biggest sources of revenue for salons and, according to the professionals, colour correction is often the biggest reason why clients walk through their doors.
According to Marie-Eve Faucher, a brand ambassador for Redken and master colourist for Salon Tocci in Toronto, any time you’re changing a client’s hair colour, it’s considered a colour correction. Here’s the rundown on the top five challenges with this service, along with ways in which you can ensure that every client is a more colourful version of themselves.
The Challenge: Hair Health
No matter what the hue, with any colour correction, the quality of the hair is the first thing you have to consider. “Porosity can be a friend because it allows hair to absorb the colour quickly,” explains Faucher, but, colour also fades quickly when hair is porous. Hair that has been compromised through previous colour processing is also more porous and requires that the proper steps be taken in the salon. “In the lifting process, the natural pigments in the hair are being distorted in smaller pieces, which allows it to be lighter,” says Faucher. In addition, Faucher says clients can damage their hair at home with hot tools and products that are not salon quality, adding that she tries to keep hair healthy as much as possible when clients are in the salon.
The Fix: Fill the Hair First
When working with hair that has a high porosity, you need to fill the hair first, then apply colour. For example, with clients who are beginning with blonde hair, Faucher recommends beginning with a golden pigment as the first step in putting pigment back into the hair before moving to a darker level. “It’s okay to take more than one appointment to achieve your client’s desired hair colour if it will maintain the integrity of the hair,” reminds Faucher.
The Challenge: All That Brass
Living in metropolitan areas like Montreal or Toronto means that hard water can alter the hair colour and turn it brassy. For blondes, this can mean green undertones, while dark-haired clients may see more red or orange in their hair. “With more minerals in the water, a clarifying shampoo is a must for at-home care,” says Faucher. In addition, blondes and brunettes can fade, depending on the amount of sun exposure, and this can also result in a brassy appearance. In both cases, Faucher says that adding warmth to the existing hair colour will help create the hues that your client wants to achieve. In addition, double glazing the hair will help you achieve the multi-dimensional tones that many clients see on celebrities.
The Fix: More Than One Process
Depending on the hair type and how brassy it gets Faucher recommends selecting more ashy tones in a monochromatic hair colour line. “For hair that gets brassy quickly, one process isn’t enough,” says Faucher, “I may apply a lifting product, a second tone and then neutralize the warmth of the colour to achieve that rich blonde or brunette.”
Challenge: Erasing Shades
With pure pigment hues being hot summer shades, transitioning from these darker shades to lighter ones requires colour removal. “There are different approaches, depending on what we are trying to remove, especially with trendy hues like violet and turquoise, the hair needs to be light underneath. If you are going super-dark, it’s easier, but if you are hoping for a different tone of those colours or blonde, colour removal is a must,” explains Faucher.
The Fix: “Erase” the Colour
With many clients enjoying the flexibility of a rainbow of shades of semi-permanent colour, Joico now offers Color Intensity Eraser. In only 30 minutes, this product removes semi-permanent colour while conditioning your client’s hair, offering a seamless colour transition in one easy step.
The Challenge: Waiting Time
According to Sue Pemberton, international artistic director for Joico, timing can be a big challenge for clients who are expecting their desired colour to be achieved in one appointment. “In many cases, it’s just not possible to solve your clients’ colour troubles with one service, and clients need to be aware of this from the start,” says Pemberton. As Pemberton has learned through her years of experience, honesty goes a long way in building a rapport with clients, and if you aren’t completely happy with the colour service when you look at your client, fix it while you still have them in your chair. “Trust your gut instinct,” says Pemberton. “Even if your client seems satisfied when you’re done, if you aren’t, then explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Even if it takes more time, you’ll save time in the end.”
The Fix: Have Set Expectations
Set out clear expectations from the beginning of the appointment so that your client doesn’t leave feeling disappointed. Just because they may not achieve their desired look in one appointment, knowing that you have a plan to make it happen means you’ll be able to retain them in the long run.
The Challenge: Client Knowledge
It’s one thing if your client has been with you for 20 years and you have a strong understanding of their hair colour history, but that rarely happens these days. As Pemberton points out, clients with long hair can be most challenging because their hair has likely been processed multiple times, which changes the way in which you’ll treat that hair compared to hair that has grown in.
The Fix: Compulsary Consultations
With new clients especially, Pemberton recommends scheduling a separate consultation appointment to gather their hair history. “From the type of colour they have used to the medications they may be taking, the more information you have, the better recommendations you can make when it comes to colour correction,” says Pemberton.
When booking a separate consultation, both Pemberton and Faucher recommend charging clients accordingly, which sets the tone that you are a colour expert. Then, when your client schedules their colour appointment, the fee from the consultation can be applied towards the colour service, which adds value for the client.