The secret to beautiful hair color from Clairol print

The Secret to Beautiful Hair Color – The Color Consultation


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The secret to beautiful hair color from Clairol

Salon colorists credit the ultimate success of the hair color result to the consultation. This is the basis of how the colorist selects, mixes, and applies the color. It is also important to have a good initial conversation so the client has realistic expectations of how the color will turn out.

To help ensure similar gorgeous results when coloring at home, you should consider “consulting” with yourself. Ask yourself the same types of questions a professional colorist would review with you. Use the chart below as a guide, as it illustrates the critical elements of a thorough consultation.

StepQuestions the Colorist AsksWhat the Colorist is Listening ForDecision the Colorist Will Make
1.) What does she want?- “What are you looking for in a color service today?”

- “Are you coloring for a specific occasion?”
Her motivation for coloring is very important, because it impacts the formulations and application method. Common responses:
- To cover gray hair
- To give me a “lift”/refresh my look
- To fix a color mistake
- To add shine/depth to color
- To adjust to the season
- All-over color or partial
- Which formula is appropriate
- Recommend highlights/lowlights
- “What’s your long-term goal?”The best service to perform is dependent on what the client wants down the road. For example, if she wants to have black hair this month, but be a blonde next month, this may cause a conflict.- A plan for future colorings
2.) What are her boundaries?- “What do you do for a living?”

- “How noticeable of a transition are you comfortable with?”
This helps decide the level of transformation that is appropriate for her (office professional vs. artist).

She may or may not want people to “notice” that she’s colored. For some women, they like getting compliments about their hair color. Some do not want the service to be obvious.
- How far from her existing shade
- Placement/thickness of highlights
- “What’s your long-term goal?”The best service to perform is dependent on what the client wants down the road. For example, if she wants to have black hair this month, but be a blonde next month, this may cause a conflict.- A plan for future colorings
3.) What is her color history?- “Have you colored your hair before?” If this is the first time she’s colored her hair, she may be disturbed by a drastic transition. - If first time, consider a demi-permanent close to existing shade, as this is less dramatic
- “Tell me about what’s on your hair now.”The end result that is possible is directly linked to the color history and condition of the hair. Previously dyed hair reacts differently to new dye than virgin hair.- Color approach needed to “fill in” virgin growth to match the rest of the hair strand, as well as all-over color, if needed
- “What other treatments/ processes have you had?”

- (to herself) “Is she a good candidate for color today? Can her hair withstand the process?”
This determines the amount of color services that the hair can take without causing too much damage. E.g, the hair may be too fragile for high-lift.

The colorist will do a tactile examination of the client’s hair for texture, damage, elasticity, and porosity. If the hair is too damaged to properly take the color, she will not perform the service.
- Number of visits needed to achieve end look
- What’s possible today, and what compensating services may be needed
- If the hair is too damaged for color treatments today, she will not color the hair, and will instead suggest an in-salon treatment
4.) How much maintenance will she do?- “How often are you looking to come back into the salon?” How long the client is willing to go between colorings impacts the shade choice as well as permanence. If she is willing to come in frequently, this makes higher transformation possible, can maintain root touch-ups, and enables intense red shades. - If she isn’t willing to come in often, the best choice may be a demi-permanent (less root line) or highlights that are less noticeable
5.) What is her plan of action?- “What color do you have in mind?” Specific shade names are not very important here, as the “meaning” of colors varies from person to person. Instead, the colorist listens for warm vs. cool cues and how close/far from her existing shade she would like. - Shade family (warm/cool)
- Distance from existing shade
- “Do you have a picture of the color you have in mind?”Here is where the colorist and the client really “agree” on the shade desired. Whether the client brings in a picture clipping or they look through a color book, it is most helpful to see the color in mind in a photo on real hair (vs. a swatch).- Exact color to mix
- Application method/processing time
- Exact placement of highlights/lowlights
- (to herself) “What other features should I consider?”The colorist also looks at the client’s skin tone, eye color, eyebrows, face shape, and the season when making a shade recommendation.