I know there is a lot of discussion & opinions about using the swatch book in your consultations. There is always the view of “You will never get a 100% true to swatch color on a client! That is why you need pictures!” I believe in using both pictures and the swatch book! Sometimes clients have a hard time picking out one or two colors from a picture. Or they get very upset that they don’t look exactly like the picture. I am not against using pitures but I am a firm believer in using the swatch book! Let me explain why & how!
Showing a new client or a current client who is wanting a color change the swatch book allows you to determine if the client likes warm or cool colors. I always bring the book out and say “Ok, we are going to go through this book and when you see a color you like, even if you do not want to see it on your head, let me know. You can even say ‘I like this but I don’t want it on me because…. (insert reason why)”. This allows me to see what colors the client is attracted to. In some cases what level the client is attracted to. Most cases you will find the client is attracted to either warm or cool tones and even more specifically what tones in that category. Your client may be drawn more to golden tones or copper browns.
Another way to use your swatch book is to determine what your client perceives as warm and cool tones. I once had a new client walk into the salon complaining that she just had her hair done the day prior and it was still too brassy and she HATES brassy and no one can get her hair right and she wants a cool blonde! We’ve all been there. Her hair was most certainly not brassy. It was about as cool blonde as one could be. Before dismissing her as a crazy person who forgot her meds, I sat her in my chair pulled out my swatch book and said “Let’s look at some swatches and when you get to the colors that you want to see on you let me know.” We start flipping through the book. We get to the cool colors and she hates them. However, when we arrived to the golds she loved them! Golds are what she considered cool colors. Now, all the previous stylists did nothing wrong formulation wise. She just needed someone to listen and take the reigns on her color issue. I did professionally inform her that the reason she was having issues with stylists was because her definition of brassy is the opposite of what it actually is and that is likes golden blondes. It was a simple toning fix. I’ve had clients inform me they hate red & everyone makes them red. Turns out red to them is gold. Some consider copper to be red.
Another way to utilize the swatch book is to determine how dark is dark to your client. A level 6 or 7 can be black to a very platinum blonde client. While the same level 6-7 can be considered platinum to someone who is a level 3.
I never promise the client that they will turn out exactly like a 7.3 (7g). Typically, clients don’t end up liking just one swatch. I usually say “I really like this color for you but I can tell that it is a little much, so I am going to mix this color and this color to customize your look!” Clients usually love that explanation! They don’t want to necessarily be in the dark, nor do they 100% understand what it will end up looking like. They like to have a ball park in my experience!
At the end of the day color is all about perception with clients! It is our job as the professional to determine what the perception is with each and every client! My goal with this blog post is to give you some tips on how to utilize a tool that you already have, the swatch book, give you another way to unravel the mystery of the client, & help you!