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Hair Color Consultations: Why They’re Important


hairdresser talking with client

Source: Serhii Basyn |

There are many procedures that recommend or require an initial consultation before going through with the actual service. Since other providers like contractors and doctors offer this service to clients and patients, it’s expected of hairstylists as well because the consultation itself is preparing for a change in the client’s appearance. Whether a client wants a color service or a new style, a hair consultation is an important first step in the process. 

Specifically for stylists, the main goal for hair color consultations is to end the meeting with the client feeling confident and on the same page as their stylist. This is a chance to build rapport with the other person and ease into what might be a huge color change for the client, as well as a big professional hair color project for the stylist. The consultation also guides colorists’ product recommendations to ensure they achieve clients’ desired color results. Here’s a bit more about hair color consultations and why they’re so important for both the stylist and the client.

How to Prepare as a Stylist

Whether you’re working with a new client or someone whose hair you’ve been styling for years, a hair consultation is crucial. Though it might seem rather easy, it’s vital for stylists to prepare for each and every hair color consultation in a unique way. With each different client comes a unique head of hair, as well as their individualized vision, inspiration and ideal maintenance routine. Stylists should take note of everything mentioned by the client during this consultation and, unless the two have spoken beforehand, it typically makes sense to allow the client to share all of their thoughts and ideas first.

While hairdressers should hope for the best during each hair color consultation with their clients, it is best to prepare for the not-so-realistic. Clients who are first-time hair color seekers or who might not know much about pricing, maintenance and post-color salon visits for things like root touch-ups may come in with rather unrealistic expectations for their hair and may want a final result that just isn’t possible. Know that this is something that happens often and can easily be explained by the stylist in a way that is kind and mindful of the well-being of the client’s hair. It’s helpful for stylists to have a general lineup of top-rated professional hair care products handy to help explain and break down the process of their intended results. 

Communicating with Clients

The biggest part of any successful hair color consultation stems from a steady flow of communication. If the client does not know exactly what they want, it can be difficult to make recommendations for new products or hair treatments. Instead of asking them to come back later with a clearer vision, stylists can help spark immediate inspiration within the client by showing their own past work or professional inspiration collections (like this extensive gallery curated by SALONORY users). You may want to show them examples of popular techniques and looks like balayage and lowlights to give them a better understanding of how you’ll help them achieve their perfect color. The goal is to make the client feel confident and informed by the end of the session.

Communication is also a key concept for stylists because it’s extremely important to be upfront with clients about what their intended look will entail. It’s a good idea to have specific high-quality color options and professional lighteners ready, in order to show clients exactly what they’ll get at their color appointment. Note that clients may be in need of a pre-color procedure like color-correcting, which evens out and fixes undesirable results from a previous color job.

Making the Most of the Consultation

A successful hair color transformation hinges on a thorough and informative consultation. Here’s how you can ensure a seamless and productive experience for both yourself and the client.

hairdresser styling client hair

Source: Iakov Filimonov |

Dive Deep into Hair History

Don’t underestimate the power of a detailed hair history. Ask your clients about past coloring experiences, including both professional treatments and at-home box coloring. Understanding past chemical processes allows you to assess the current state of their hair and predict how it will react to the new color. Heat styling habits and any previous hair treatments are also crucial details. This holistic picture helps you determine the best course of action for achieving the desired results without compromising hair health.

Determine Porosity

Hair porosity, a measure of how easily hair absorbs and releases moisture, significantly impacts color results. Conduct a simple strand test to assess porosity. This allows you to choose the appropriate products to achieve the client’s desired color and prevent complications like uneven coloring or excessive damage.

Understand Their Hair Type and Texture

Fine hair may not hold onto color as well as coarse hair, while curly hair requires specific coloring techniques to achieve even distribution and minimize frizz. Knowing the client’s hair type allows you to tailor your approach and recommend suitable color services and aftercare routines.

Harness the Power of Strand Tests

Strand tests are not just for porosity! They offer a valuable preview of how the client’s hair will react to your chosen color and lightening techniques. Conducting a strand test on a section of hair hidden from view allows you to refine your approach before committing to the full head, ensuring a successful final result.

Prioritize Clear Communication

As mentioned, open and honest communication is crucial. Listen attentively as the client describes their desired outcome. Temper expectations if unrealistic goals are presented. Explain how factors like previous hair color and current hair condition can influence the achievability of the final look. Always be upfront about pricing, maintenance requirements and the time commitment involved in achieving the desired color.

client sitting in salon chair

Source: Vadymvdrobot |

Ensuring a Top-Notch Salon Experience

Ideally, both the stylist and the client will leave the hair color consultation with a positive and confident mindset knowing what they are both giving and receiving. For clients, this means they know the intended process, price, maintenance plan and overall results for their upcoming hair color appointment. For stylists, this means they know a little more about their client and have a clear picture of what procedures and products their upcoming appointment will include, making for a seamless and stress-free experience for everyone involved.


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