From at-home haircut mishaps to hair colour gone wrong, we’ve all seen the numerous DIY blunders throughout the pandemic. As clients return to the salon in need of a hair rescue, many colourists are experiencing “colour correction overload” as they work to fix all the mistakes brought on by the lockdowns.
“Clients don’t necessarily understand the journey or path to get to what they want for their hair,” says Katrina Smiley, a Redken artist and former salon owner based in Kincardine, Ont. “The more processes someone has had done to their hair, the more processes it’s going to require in order to correct it. In other words, the more they play, the more time and money they’re going to need to invest to get back to the colour they’re looking for.”
While corrective services can vary, it’s important to identify the areas that need to be corrected by starting with a thorough consultation and in-depth conversation before starting the process, to discuss the work and time involved, as well as the price. “Sometimes it means we’re doing a decolourizing wash to shift or lighten the colour a couple of levels, and other times we’re doing a lightening service and dimensional work,” says Smiley. “Sometimes the hair needs to be tinted or darkened if it’s too warm, and when hair is too cool, we’ll warm it up by adding brightness with an all-over glaze or permanent colour. Colour correction is an all-encompassing term, and during the pandemic colourists have seen and done it all!”
WHAT IF My Double-Processed Blonde Clients Need a Colour Correction?
“I think double-processed blondes were some of the clients that struggled the most during the lockdowns,” says Dana Lyseng, an educator for Wella and owner of Supernova Salon in North Vancouver, B.C. “Other than grey-haired clients, they noticed and felt their roots the most and therefore they were the culprits of most ‘home jobs.’”
According to Lyseng, it took quite a bit of time and practice in her career to gain the confidence and skill to achieve a Gwen Stefani-inspired double processed blonde look, so clients are creating a lot of work for themselves (and even more work for their colourists!) when trying to dabble in the world of colouring.
“Double-processed blondes are hard to do—period—so they’re obviously hard to fix,” she says. “I know a lot of clients were trying to recreate a double- processed blonde at home and do their roots so those colour corrections for us were absolutely the most challenging and the most time-consuming.” To effectively correct double- processed blonde, Lyseng says it’s important to identify all the different bands in the hair, including new growth. “All the different bands have to be coloured individually. You’ll want to mix a lightener with a lower developer for your yellow-blonde clients, a lightener with a stronger developer for clients with some natural dark brown and a very gentle developer on hair that’s been fully lightened twice,” she recommends. “You have to re-lighten the hair that was improperly lightened during a home touch-up, and then obviously still do the root, process it all and tone afterwards— potentially with a corrective toner because you might still have some banding. Double-processed blondes are very much subject to a tight timeline and maintenance so it’s definitely not the most ideal when the client can’t come to the salon frequently.”
PRO TIP: SINCE SOME CLIENTS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT ANOTHER SALON CLOSURE, LYSENG SUGGESTS LETTING [DOUBLE- PROCESSED BLONDE] CLIENTS KNOW THEY CAN TRANSITION INTO DIMENSIONAL COLOUR—FOR EXAMPLE, A FULL HEAD OF HIGHLIGHTS WITH ROOT SHADING OF THE OLD COLOUR IN BETWEEN, FOR A MORE LOW-MAINTENANCE OPTION.
“ASSUME EVERYONE WALKING INTO YOUR SALON IS A NEW CLIENT. EVEN YOUR REGULAR CLIENTS MAY BE LOOKING FOR A CHANGE. THE PANDEMIC HAS TAKEN A MASSIVE EMOTIONAL AND FINANCIAL TOLL ON EVERYONE, SO MOST CLIENTS ARE WALKING IN AS A BRAND-NEW PERSON. IT’S THE PERFECT TIME FOR A FRESH START—TO START FROM ZERO WITH THEM.” — DANA LYSENG, OWNER OF SUPERNOVA SALON, NORTH VANCOUVER
WHAT IF My Clients Insist on Touching Up Their Roots at Home?
While in many ways colour correction can bring in more money for the salon, it continues to be challenging for colourists when their clients return back to the salon with extended regrowth or after a DIY-gone-wrong that can result in their service being both twice as long and expensive.
Since some clients may continue to insist on touching up their grown-out roots at home, as their colourist it’s important to try to deter them as much as possible. “My recommendation to clients
was and is always, ‘Do nothing,’” says Lyseng. “Everybody’s got roots. It will be easier to fix extensive roots than to fix multi-tonal colour in hair. Plus, it’s expensive and we have to charge for that time.”
“I highly recommend educating your clients and explaining to them that a ‘quick fix’ at home will lead to a colour correction that is far more costly and time consuming in the salon,” adds Bx Pfeiffer, a Pravana educator and owner of Fade N Dye hair salon in Roberts Creek, B.C. “We started filming how-to videos with ideas on how to hide your roots with head scarfs and so on. Of course, we still had clients come in with DIY colour gone wrong but that’s when our skills are needed the most—not just to correct the hair but to educate our clients on why they should always seek a professional for colour.”
Pfeiffer says the most common issues with home root touch-ups she witnessed were hot roots, uneven coverage and roots that were too warm. “Depending on my canvas, I would decide whether I need to add more ash to my formula to counteract warmth, or if a pre-lightening service is necessary to lighten roots that are too dark.”
PRO TIP: WHILE VIRTUAL CONSULTATIONS HAVE BEEN IN HIGH DEMAND SINCE THE START OF THE PANDEMIC— ALLOWING HAIRSTYLISTS TO CONNECT WITH THEIR CLIENTS WITHOUT MASKS—SMILEY RECOMMENDS CONTINUING TO BOOK A VIRTUAL CONSULTATION WITH YOUR CLIENT AHEAD OF THEIR APPOINTMENT. NOT ONLY DOES IT ALLOW YOU TO HAVE A FACE-TO-FACE CONVERSATION ABOUT THEIR GOALS, BUT IT CAN CREATE MORE OF A CONVERSATION TO HELP THEM BETTER UNDERSTAND THE INVESTMENT INVOLVED, WHILE ENABLING YOU TO PROVIDE MORE INSTRUCTIONS IF THERE’S ANYTHING THEY SHOULD BE DOING AHEAD OF TIME TO PREPARE THEIR HAIR FOR ANY UPCOMING COLOUR SERVICES.
HOW DO I CHARGE?
Since some colour correction services can have more unpredictable results, they can be even more difficult to price.
According to Smiley, who says she often gets asked about pricing when it comes to colour corrections, if the path is unpredictable you’re going to want to start working towards a hair goal, but you might be unsure of all the processes required to get there. “It’s important to re-examine and reanalyze as you go,” she says. “For that type of client and service, you’re going to want to give them a ‘by the hour’ price so they’re essentially paying for your time rather than the service itself.”
Smiley says it’s important to pause at each stage of the process to explain what needs to happen next so together, you and your client can decide whether to proceed or pause before going to the next step. “When you’re making a really major transformation in a colour correction scenario, but the path is more predictable, then you can give clients à la carte pricing as you can specifically break down what’s required at each stage in order to get to their goal,” she says. “I like to use the consultation to break down what we need to do to set up the hair ahead of time and how we can protect the hair. I always want to be known for creating beautiful hair, but hair that is healthy as well.”
WHAT IF My Clients Need a Major Colour Correction But Can’t Afford It or Their Hair isn’t Ready for it?
While some colourists will adapt their services to fit the budget of their clients, others strive for perfection and if they cannot provide it within a certain budget, they’d rather not offer the service at all. But most colourists would agree that being upfront and honest with your clients about what they’re getting into and what they require is the most important thing.
“If a client has really pigmented colour but wants to be blonde, they will likely need to spend upwards of 600 or 800 dollars,” says Sarmad Najem, a Vancouver-based hairstylist and ambassador for Matrix. “Every hair situation is so different. To fix a problem, you have to look at the hair first and see how and where you can take the client and see the health of their hair. If the client has too much colour in the hair or it’s severely damaged, I just won’t lighten it. Sometimes, I tell my clients there’s nothing I can do until the hair gets some health restored. If her hair is damaged, you have to explain what you can and can’t do for her.”
When it comes to pandemic-related colour corrections, Najem says he’s been spending approximately 15 to 20 minutes talking to each of his clients as soon as they walk into the salon. “Together, you have to come up with an idea about how you’ll work with the hair,” he says. “You have to be honest with your clients, especially when they show you a picture of where they want to get to, but you know it’s unrealistic. The best thing I tell my clients is that they’re not paying for the colour, they’re paying for the service because we can’t guarantee how the hair [after at-home services] is going to react. Be careful not to promise something that you don’t know you can do or if you’re not sure how it will turn out. They’ll appreciate the transparency.”
PRO TIP: NAJEM SUGGESTS TRYING TO UPSELL ADD-ONS TO AT LEAST THREE CLIENTS PER DAY, WHICH CAN ALLOW YOU TO MAKE UPWARDS OF AN EXTRA 200 DOLLARS (INCLUDING TIP).
Express colour services can be equally beneficial for you, your salon and your clients, allowing you to make a bit of extra money in a time-crunch, without sacrificing the results of your client’s service or hair.
“I like doing a treatment during each stage of the technical application. It’s a luxurious experience for the client, especially at the end of their colour service once their colour goal has been achieved. A back- bar moisture treatment is a great and quick add-on service that leaves the hair really silky and soft after having a lot of different things done to it.” —Katrina Smiley, global Redken artist, Kincardine, Ont.
“When I have a client coming for a blow-out, I still have to wash the hair first and at that point I’ll start talking to the client. If her blonde hair is looking dull or brassy, I would suggest a toning service. A 50-dollar blowout can now cost 110 dollars just by spending an extra five minutes on her.” —Sarmad Najem, Matrix global ambassador, Vancouver
“I provide quick services to my clients in the form of [express toning services] that only take five to 20 minutes. I apply the toner at the sink, so it’s an easy add-on service to refresh colour in between services.”—Bx Pfeiffer, owner of Fade N Dye hair salon, Roberts Creek, B.C.
“I have a colour menu in my salon that can be pieced together in different ways to cater to the client’s exact needs. These days, clients are walking in with inspiration in the form of Instagram photos that require more than one service to achieve and it’s hard to have those coupled services when running a cost-effective business. I like to have an à la carte menu so the client and colourist can piece together exactly what the client needs, and they can create bespoke colour services— anything from an express ‘15-minute foils à la carte service’ (charging per foil) to a ‘tone and blow,’ an express toning service to maintain tonality during the blow-out.” —Dana Lyseng, owner of Supernova Salon in North Vancouver, B.C.
PRAVANA Color Enhancers
Pfeiffer likes to send her clients home with Color Enhancers, colour-depositing conditioners that are available in a variety of colours so that they can preserve the vibrancy of their new colour.
Matrix SoColor Sync
Najem suggests using Matrix SoColor Sync, a five-minute toner that is great for express toning and allows you and your client to see instant results.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate
Smiley enjoys using this three-step system to restore the pH balance and quality of the hair strands, which will create a cleaner canvas for better colour results.
Lyseng uses this demi-permanent line for everything from full-blown colour corrections to services that just need subtle lift or movement, since she says it offers great coverage and saturation, and is available in a whole portfolio of colours.