Color Consultations: Why The Swatch Book Is Important!

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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!

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How To Have A Consultation When Looking For The Right Stylist!

Looking for a new stylist can be frustrating. Will he/she listen to my wants? Will I be able to get my wants in one appointment? Will things be explained? Will he/she be nice? Hopefully the following tips will help you with

When looking for a the right new stylist it is important to discuss your chemical service history, your current complaints about your hair, your end goal, pricing, and how often you desire to come into the salon. These things will impact your end goal and possibly change your end goal.
-Some chemical services can not/ should not be done if other chemical services have been done in a certain time frame. You do not want to put bleach on your hair same day you relax or perm. Depending on the health of your hair, bleach may not be an option for you changing your end goal to a different look. If your stylist is not informed of your chemical history, your stylist can accidently cause more damage.  Think of your chemical history as informing your new doctor of all the medications you are on.  Just like certain medications can not be taken at the same time because of interactions, chemical services can not always be done in the same appointment or ever.
-Your current hair complaints about the color being too gold, too red, too ashy, too heavy, too flat, lifeless, etc gives your stylist a direction where to take your color and/or cut.
Your end goal may be achievable in one appointment or it make take multiple appointments.  If the end goal is achievable in multiple appointments your stylist should take notes on what you currently have, your chemical history, your current complaints, your end goal, and a plan of action.  Of course your stylist will inform you of the plan of action.
-Price.  It is okay to ask about pricing. Sometimes we stylists get wrapped up in our plan of action thoughts that we forget to talk price.  If you are set on paying a certain price please let your stylist know.  You may pay a higher price upon your first appointment because your color may be a color correction, but appointments after the first may be less.  Ask your stylist how much it will cost to maintain the color you are wanting.  How often you desire to come to the salon and the price range you are looking for may result in considering a new style.
-Discuss how often you are wanting to come into the salon to maintain the color or cut. If you desire to come to the salon once every 5-6 months your price (depending on your look) may be the same higher price of your first appointment.  If you have long hair and desire a color with 3+ colors as well as coming in to maintain every 5-6 months you will be paying a higher price.
After all has been discussed you may feel that you’ve really connected with this stylist and proceed to schedule your service.  Or you may feel that you did not connect but you really enjoy the salon so you may want to schedule a consultation with a different stylist in the same salon and that is ok! If you did not make a connection with the stylist or feel that he/she is on the same page as you and you do not enjoy the salon enough to try another stylist, it’s ok to go elsewhere.  Finding the right stylist can be a challenge.  If you are moving to another area, ask your current style for your color formula or at least permission to give his/her number to your new stylist so the two of them can discuss your color and cut.  Sometimes this is best as things can get lost in translation or if the new stylist is not familiar with your other stylist’s color line and has some questions.

I hope these tips are helpful!