We talk with some of the country’s leading technicians on the how, why and why not of the all-important colour consultation. Master the salon’s most important service and reap the benefits.
For you, why is the consultation process the most important part of the client’s salon service? Listening and getting the guest to express their hair concerns and desired outcomes is the best way to get inside their head and form a connection. The consultation is where you work to gauge their body language, tone and the way they communicate – all great indicators of your creative limits.
When conducting a colour consultation, what are the key questions you ask the client, and how do you usually open the consultation? We have developed a really easy and warm consultation form. Our questioning starts with simple questions - allergies, medications, sensitivities, lifestyle, hair concerns, Olaplex? Have they heard of or used Olaplex prior? What is their current home haircare regime, and colour history. Further to this we have a ‘plan’ section where we map out the service plan and have the client sign off on it.
Do you discuss the entire, three-step Olaplex regime in the initial colour consult? YES! Nine-out-of-ten times we discuss Olaplex in the initial consult and then ask the client to start the process before their appointment. Anyone that requires a colour change, or lightening, will require a pre-colour consult appointment. This process also enables us to decipher who is serious about their colour service and who isn’t, allowing us to book appointment times accordingly.
When conducting a colour consultation, what are the key questions you ask the client, and how do you usually open the consultation? I always start with a warm greeting, introducing myself and make it known that I’m happy to see them in my chair. I then quickly try to gauge where they’re at with their hair. I ask open ended questions to let the client do most of the talking, always guiding them with my professional experience and opinion. Asking questions like, ‘what are you loving about your hair?’ is a really good one. I find focusing on positives over negatives is the most important point to remember. Also, I ask the client to show (with their hands) where they want to see any changes - this is a really good tool for colour placement. It’s not always all about the roots or regrowth, so this visual aid can really assist, especially for clients that struggle to articulate their desires. One last one that I love is, ‘what does your dream hair look like?’ This allows understanding of your client’s ultimate goal and for the client to understand that it might be a journey to get there. From here you can work out the ultimate hair plan for them.
What key words/phrases do you use when educating the client on the benefits and necessity of Olaplex for the first time? Olaplex is as important on the first appointment as every appointment thereafter. The great thing for me is that Olaplex was the first of its kind to revolutionise the industry, so usually clients request it without really understanding its true brilliance. So, when I talk about the benefits I keep it very simple. I talk about its integration into bleach/colour, its instant protection properties against the chemical process, and the benefits to hair health and colour longevity. Clients love it, I love it.
When conducting a colour consultation, what are the key questions you ask the client, and how do you usually open the consultation? At Que, we dedicate extra time for the consultation as it’s so important to understand the client’s expectations. Clients often bring in reference pictures, and it’s our job to find out what they really love about the image – is it the cut, colour, mood, styling. This is what takes time and is worth getting right. I always like to take skin tone and face shape into consideration during my consultation to personalise the look they want to achieve.
Do you discuss the entire, three-step Olaplex regime in the initial colour consult? I always explain that I will be using Olaplex with the colour service during the consultation. I don’t go too deep into its 3 step program as its too much information for the client to take onboard – especially if they’ve never heard of Olaplex before. At the basin using No. 2, I explain how to use No. 3 at home. We explain that Olaplex works in conjunction with their regular shampoo and conditioning routine.
How do you respond to a client when he/she brings in a celebrity reference unachievable/unsuitable to them? This always happens! Our longer consultations leave us enough time to work through what they really want, and what will realistically work for them and their hair type/skin tones. We often refer back to our own Instagram feed @quecolour to help them visualise the options that will work for them.
Further to actual colour result, what other service elements are important to discuss in the initial colour consultation? Going in-depth with process is important. If we are going lighter, I make sure the client understands the impact a powder lightener will have on the hair. If it’s a first time colour client, always mention a change of texture - that their hair won't feel as soft and silky. Being open and honest about expectations is key. From here, the conversation can easily progress to products: An in-salon Evo Fab Pro Shine Temptress Treatment for added vitality, a Fab Pro Custom Colour Refresher to update colour at home – whatever is required for upkeep and any changes they will need to make to their current routine.
At what stage of the colour service do you begin the conversation about Fab Pro custom retail – in the initial colour consultation, or later? The initial consultation is definitely a good time to mention Fab Pro, once the desired colour outcome has been discussed. Clients love the fact they can maintain and prevent fading at home with one product. Again, at the basin, it is a good opportunity to talk about tones that are present in the hair (wanted and unwanted) and the benefits a custom colour will have.
How do you respond to a client when he/she brings in a celebrity reference unachievable/unsuitable to them? Honesty is key. Be tactful. Use your knowledge. Talk about natural base level, skin tone, maintenance and upkeep. Stick to facts and there will be no room for offence or misjudgment. Best of all the client will understand why it won’t work.
When conducting a colour consultation, what are the key questions you ask the client, and how do you usually open the consultation? We always open with a bubbly introduction and a small background about ourselves as a stylist/colourist, it is so important for your client to know who they will be spending the next few hours with and often this eases any nerves. Finding out the background of your clients’ hair (including current home hair care regime) is so important as this can completely alter the outcome of a colour service. And finally, as many references as possible (Instagram or print) is always helpful for a complete understanding of expectations and what’s achievable.
Define the classic Evo Fab Pro client – their colour/hair needs etc. Hair & Harlow is predominately a colour service salon and blonde clients make up a large percentage of our clientele. Fab Pro has given us the tool to not only maintain condition but also tone. It’s a product that is more or less suitable to every one of our clients and as a result, extensively recommended by all of our stylists.
What are some key words and phrases stylists/technicians should consider when introducing their client to the Fab Pro concept during consultation? Introducing home haircare is not always easy. Often stylists feel like they are trying to push or ‘sell’ to their client, when the fact is, they are helping their client. If the client communicates that they often have trouble maintaining depth or cool/warm tones in their hair and you have a completely personalised product that can change this, you should be so excited to tell them and inform them of the benefits of a product like Fab Pro!
For you, why is the consultation process the most important part of the client’s salon service? To understand the client’s hair needs, history and expectations. Also, to advise whether the end result would be achievable and importantly, suitable to the client and lifestyle.
When conducting a colour consultation, what are the key questions you ask the client, and how do you usually open the consultation? I always start with a handshake and an introduction to myself. I ask as many questions as possible including how often they colour their hair and the tones they’re drawn to – warm, cool etc.
Further to actual colour result, what other services are important to discuss in the initial colour consultation? Often Edwards & Co clientele are wanting to go lighter or correct previous hair colour. An Olaplex treatment is a must as there is nothing more reliable to assure hair strength and integrity.
For the full article, check out Issue 41 of the Haircare Australia magazine here.