As you prepare to be booked and busy for the fall season, now is the time to start thinking about creative ways to make the most of your colour services. And while it may be easy to shift into an old and familiar routine as you try to balance a steady flow of clients, it’s important not to lose sight of the business opportunities that this bustling season presents. “A lot more people want low-maintenance colour,” says Zeina El-Sherif, a stylist and colour specialist at Curious Salon in Calgary and a field education trainer for Wella Professionals. “Clients are going from solid colours into something more lived-in and blended, so they aren’t coming back into the salon as often, which means we need more clients to make up for them.
Every client has the potential to give you more service dollars, even if it’s not today. Planting seeds for tomorrow gives them something to think about.” “It’s about thinking of other services you can offer to keep your clients returning every six to eight weeks,” adds Kelly Hallett, a hair colour specialist and national artist for Goldwell who’s based in Kingston, Ont. “Whenever I talk to a client, I’ll ask about the maintenance they’re looking for and the other services in between that are going to grow business while still making the client feel very comfortable.”
PRO TIP MANY EXPERTS RECOMMEND CHARGING HOURLY FOR COLOUR CORRECTIONS TO ENSURE THAT YOUR CLIENT IS PAYING BASED ON YOUR TIME. HOWEVER, IT’S ALSO IMPORTANT TO FACTOR IN THE COSTS OF PRODUCTS USED. CONSIDER PRICING A BIT HIGHER AND IF IT TAKES LESS TIME OR FEWER PRODUCTS ARE USED, A LOWER FEE CAN BE A NICE SURPRISE FOR YOUR CLIENT AT THE END OF THEIR VISIT.
While colour corrections are often considered to be timeconsuming and exhaustive processes, they can be huge revenue generators that can build business into the salon across multiple visits. “What I like about colour corrections is that they get your brain working,” says El-Sherif. “The process is challenging and puts you to the test. There’s so much colour theory and every hairdressing skill comes through, from your communication skills during the consultation to the technical skills in your application.”
“For many, colour corrections are a big challenge, but they often give the most spectacular results if the hairstylist takes the time necessary,” adds Jeannyfer Bernier, a Joico artist and owner of Blush Le Salon in Chicoutimi, Que. “Of course, magic doesn’t exist so it’s important to inform our clients of the process and the time it can take. When you do this and execute the work with meticulousness, a colour correction client becomes a satisfied customer and, very often, a regular one.” Although people often equate colour corrections with do-it-yourself box dyes or bad work, corrective colour isn’t always about turning a negative into a positive. “Any time I work with a client who’s coloured their own hair or even has any kind of permanent colour in there, I always consider it corrective work,” says Chris Weber Mirlach, co-founder of Vanilla Loft in North Vancouver and an ambassador for Redken. “Especially if we’re trying to get to a different colour or create a different look. However, I think people need to understand that corrective work doesn’t always mean the hair is messed up or a disaster. Even if a client has beautiful highlights and is looking for a totally different colour, it may also require a colour correction.” While we know that consultations are key to just about every service, they’re even more important for colour corrections as they help you understand your client’s hair history and expectations. Plus, they can help identify opportunities for additional services. “You definitely want to use consultations as a chance to build a relationship with the client,” says Weber Mirlach. “I ask them for their last five years of hair history. We also talk about budget because, for me, it’s important to be clear and to know how quickly they want to get somewhere– especially if you have to do a correction over two or three visits to get to the goal colour.”
“You also want to plan ahead,” he adds. “I like to do my initial consultation and then talk about the next year, any goals they have and where they want to be with their colour so it’s not just a one-time visit.”
While it can be difficult for clients to accept that their hair colour dreams may be further away than they originally had hoped, it’s important to help them enjoy the journey while creating a defined course of action to get them there. “Some clients are so focused on the end goal, but I always tell them to enjoy the process in between,” says El-Sherif. “They’re going to have a number of different looks and because they’re paying for them all, let’s make it fun. Since the colour can get too warm for some people in between visits, you can definitely ask them to come back in for maintenance toners.”
“A BLONDING SERVICE DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN THAT SOMEBODY HAS TO BE A LIGHT BLONDE. FOR BRUNETTES, YOU CAN STRATEGICALLY PLACE FOILS OR LIGHTEN THEM TO A LIGHTER BROWN, WHICH DOESN’T TAKE A LOT OF TIME AND BRINGS IN SERVICE DOLLARS.” — ZEINA EL-SHERIF, STYLIST AND COLOUR SPECIALIST, CURIOUS SALON, CALGARY
While colour corrections often include blonding, there’s a high demand for adding lightness and brightness to both blondes and brunettes, from bold money pieces to more blended balayages. “We’ve had a lot of the high contrast looks, but I think now we’re going back to a more of a ’90s vibe with what I call the ‘supermodel blonde,’ which uses very soft, sun kissed colours,” says Weber Mirlach. “It’s not super high contrast, but more muted with very warm tones and colours. A lot of clients are also asking for more of a blended money piece or a full head of highlights without too much dark underneath.” “The trend of the moment for every level of blonde is to create a soft and bright multidimensional colour,” adds Bernier.
“Choose a gentle depth effect at the roots as well as a slight sweep inside. The goal is to offer a look that will age well. Sweeping [or hand painting] will always be my favourite technique for glamorous and nuanced results.”
Of course, a client’s hair condition should be top of mind for all colour services but it’s especially critical with blonding and the use of lighteners. While the level of lift achieved in one visit can vary depending on the client’s starting level, hair history, condition and end goal, it’s better to underpromise and overdeliver. “You always want to set yourself up for success,” says Hallett. “I always care about the integrity of the hair, so first and foremost, you have to look at the hair type and see what condition it’s in. If it’s not in the right condition, now is not the time to do a colour change. Get the hair condition back first with some treatments and then get the client to where they want to be in the long term. I think by explaining this process to the client—so it’s not about what you’re not doing today but more about what their hair won’t allow and why—and what you’re going to do to help, they’ll understand that you’re dedicated to achieving the result they want.”
“It’s about not committing to any guaranteed results,” she adds. “It’s going to be a journey and realistically, two to three levels of lift [during one visit] is a guide of where you can go. From there, anything extra is a plus.”
“IF YOU’RE NOT TAKING THE TIME TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE CLIENT IS LOOKING FOR, YOU’RE ALREADY MISSING THE MARK.” — KELLY HALLETT, HAIR COLOUR SPECIALIST AND NATIONAL ARTIST FOR GOLDWELL, KINGSTON, ONT.
There’s no denying that root touch-ups are one of the fundamentals that keeps clients coming back to the salon regularly, but with a bit of creativity, you can use this service to transition clients to a new look or routine. “I’m noticing more clients want to step away from root touch-ups and are embracing more of their grey hair,” says Weber Mirlach. “I’m all about grey blending, which is a big trend right now.” “Clients don’t want to see that hard line of demarcation anymore,” adds Hallett. “We’re seeing a stretched regrowth that amalgamates into other shades and tones, using the round of the head to create a different shadow root at the hairline. So maybe at the top portion of the head, you’re at one or one-anda-half inches, and as you’re working down the head, you’re almost extending that root to sometimes four to five inches long. It’s kind of a stretched regrowth so you can have more colour popping in through the top and less at the ends. You can also reverse it so it’s a four-inch shadow regrowth at the top round of the head, followed by some diffused colour into the mid-lengths and ends. It’s customized and since you’re using the round of the head to create it, it’s seamless placement.” With the trend of warm tones extending into all hair colours, there’s an opportunity to customize clients’ hair colour to their skin tone and face shape for a more personalized approach. This, in turn, helps build loyalty and boosts client retention.
PRO TIP REGARDLESS OF THE LEVEL OF EXPERIENCE YOU HAVE, A STRAND TEST IS ALWAYS HELPFUL IN DETERMINING NOT ONLY WHAT’S IN YOUR CLIENT’S HAIR, BUT ALSO HOW IT REACTS TO LIGHTENER AND/OR COLOUR. AND WHILE IT REQUIRES A BIT MORE OF YOUR TIME INITIALLY, IT CAN HELP SAVE YOU TIME IN THE LONG RUN.
“I’ve always been a big believer in looking at a client’s face shape and where we’re placing our colour, and determining why we’re placing our colour based on that face shape,” says Hallett. “It’s no different than with makeup and contouring; we can apply those same theories into hair colour. We know that blondes tend to widen, darks are contouring and that reds take emphasis off the face entirely, so face shape is important.”
HAIR: LAURA & RIA KULIK, THE HAIRBANK, U.K., MAKEUP: REBECCA TUPMAN, PHOTO: MARK IVKOVIC, HAIR: SEVDA DURUKAN, ALBERTO DI DOMENICO & DANIEL SPILLER FOR JOICO, MAKEUP: KATIE MOORE, WARDROBE STYLING: ELLEN SPILLER, PHOTO: JAMIE BLANSHARD