The primary responsibility for a great consultation falls squarely on the shoulders of your colorist, but you can help by providing a solid hair history and visual references.
Clear Communication - Pictures of what you want lower the chances of miscommunication. Two people's vision of “strawberry blonde” may contain vastly different amounts of red. If you aren't sure of what you want, bring a few photographs of what you don't want; they can be almost as helpful. Phones and tablets are great for this, or go old school with scissors.
Hair History – It's important that your colorist have the most complete hair history possible, because things you might not consider can affect the outcome. Make a list of everything you can think of that's been done to your hair in the past few years and bring it with you.
The more information you can provide your colorist the better, because things you might not think of can make a difference in how your color turns out. Highlights added a year ago in long hair will still be in the hair and will affect how the color deposits. Previous direct dye color brands, straighteners, perms, hormonal issues and some medicines that treat those issues can also affect how your hair reacts to color.
Things you’ve done to your hair at home can affect your color service too, so don’t be reluctant to mention those; we’re not judging. Box color, henna, lemon juice or olive oil and spray tan around the hair line are things your colorist needs to know about. Hair history is like Italian race car driving - “What's behind you doesn't matter”, but telling your colorist about it does.
A Plan of Action – By the end of your consultation, your colorist should be able to present you with a clear plan of what you can expect and the steps to achieve it. Most color services are gorgeous after your first visit, but depending on what you want and what you currently have, getting to your desired result may not be possible in one visit. If that’s the case, your colorist will be honest about what can be achieved during your initial visit and about the steps involved in a longer term plan to achieve your hair goals.
Lifestyle and Budget - Your colorist will also discuss how much effort and expense you’re willing to invest in maintaining the look you want. Are you willing to come in every three weeks for a refresh? Every six to eight weeks? Twice a year? This information will inform the techniques your colorist uses. If the look you want doesn’t jive with how often you want to come in to maintain it, your colorist should be ready with options.
When the Consultation Doesn't Go Well - If you're not completely comfortable with the consultation don't move forward with the appointment. There are polite ways to do this and while your colorist may be a bit disappointed, every colorist we know would prefer to have no client as opposed to an unhappy client.
It’s rare, but your colorist may inform you that what you want isn’t possible without excessive damage to your hair. In a case like this, the colorist will tell you what is possible and you’ll need to decide if that’s acceptable. There are colorists in the industry that will perform color services knowing full well they aren’t going to turn out like the customer wants or that the service is going to severely damage the customer’s hair. Those colorists don’t work with us.
Provide as much information as possible, including photos of the look you want
Know the plan and upkeep requirements
Be confident with the consultation before proceeding
Be Ready to Bail Politely