How to take the fear out of colour correction work.
The broad title of “colour correction” in the salon includes a wide range of services. Many experienced colourists, including Rodica Hristu, a master colourist for Goldwell and at De Beradinis Salon & Spa in Toronto, consider it a correction anytime a client wants to make a major change. Catherine Allard, a Redken artist and colourist at Odyssée Salon in Montreal, also sees problems like faded ends, blondes with a green tint or clients who experimented with box colour—and lost.
While it can certainly be a challenge, they both agree there’s no reason to fear this type of work. In fact, both say they’re invigorated by the challenge. When we asked our readers about it on our Facebook page, nearly every hairdresser loved the challenge.
Read on for our four-step plan for facing a messy colour job head on.
Step 1: Book enough time.
When handling bookings, consider treating each new colour client as a colour correction. Michelle Pargee, a Contessa-winning colourist and owner of Milica SalonSpa in Langley, B.C., says this allows her to start with a clean slate. “You don’t know what’s been done to the hair,” she says. “Ninety-eight per cent of the time, I know what the colour will come out like, but sometimes guests don’t give the whole story. You have to prime the hair and it takes time.” By booking properly for that first appointment, you know you’ll leave yourself time to complete all the steps, including a pre-treatment, if necessary.
Step 2: Make a plan.
“The most important consideration when doing colour correction is asking yourself if the hair is healthy enough to get the desired result or does it need some reconstructing treatments with colour correction in phases and steps to maintain the hair’s integrity,” says Sue Pemberton, international hair colour artistic director for Joico. Answering those questions will form the basis of the plan that you’ll put together to take the client from point A to point B.
Allard recommends writing down exactly what steps you intend to take, along with the cost involved for each one. “When you write down the steps, you can see if you missed one and you can’t cut corners. Write it down and stick to your plan,” she says. This has the extra benefit of fully preparing the client for the cost and time involved.
Step 3: Communicate with your client.
So much of good customer service comes down to communication, and with colour correction, it is no different. “Consultations are akey for colour corrections. Asking the right questions is so important,” says Philip Ferreira, of Axis Salon in Vancouver and a Wella educator. “What is the real level? What is the tone? When clients want darker or a specific blonde, what level and tonality do they really want? Listen, listen, listen to what clients are saying.”
Hristu agrees, and recommends making sure that you and the client have agreed on the end result. “Make the client understand what he or she is looking at and asking for and what he or she is going to get. Give the client some visuals, like hair strands; something he or she can picture,” she says. “Just because a client likes a picture, doesn’t mean it will look good on him or her. If you know it’s going to be a failure, don’t be afraid to say, ‘No’.”
Step 4: Take your time.
“Sometimes what a client asks for can be done in one visit. But often, with a colour correction, it won’t be possible without causing damage to the hair,” says Allard. “I prefer to be really honest with the customer. Sometimes it’s a lot of time. If she has three colours in her hair and wants a natural colour, it may be impossible in one shot.” She often finds that even by making one or two steps toward the desired result in the first visit, the client will be delighted by the change—and know her hair will be healthier in the end.