The walk home takes about 10 minutes longer than usual because she cannot stop checking her reflection in the windows she passes by. She keeps throwing her hair from side to side admiring her new colour and how it shines in the sun. She feels more confident and beautiful than ever. She just left your salon.
That feeling is what it is all about. Being a hairdresser. It goes beyond knowing the craft of colouring and styling; it is about making the person who sits in your chair feel beautiful and special. We know that this runs in the veins of every professional hair artist. But how do you make sure that your consultation meets the individual needs of your different clients?
We have asked two of our experienced NATULIQUE Master Educators, Amanda Gath and Lynell Dumont, for their advice for the ‘Customised Hair Consultation’.
“I never let clients pick their own colour from a chart”
Amanda Gath, owner of Amanda Jane Salon and NATULIQUE Master Educator on Hair Consultation
For Amanda, the customised hair consultation starts from the second the client crosses the doorstep to her salon. She starts by making the client feel welcome and asks how she has heard of her and the salon. This gives Amanda some background information she can use here and then throughout the hair consultation.
Amanda points out that if the client is new to her salon it indicates that she is looking for advice. The client has made the decision of changing her salon and stylist, which means that she has moved out of her comfort zone. Amanda asks the client to talk about ‘hair goals’, and always starts the discussion with colour choice and secondary moves on to hairstyle. She works from the mantra that a colour should compliment a style and the style should compliment the colour. The number one rule for her is that the client never gets to choose her own colour from a chart.
“I never consult with a colour chart, because I want to demonstrate to the client that I am a confident professional and I know my colour well. I then go on to recommend what I believe would be best suited for my client and I give reasons why”, Amanda says.
1. Give a detailed description of what you want to do
Amanda advises you to strategically use engaging and describing words when you explain how you are going to work with the client’s current colour. She gives an example of how the conversation could go:
“Annie, I think your previous colour is nice. However, I believe we need to add some depth into the root area by cooling down your base colour, which will give you a longer lasting result. I also think we should make your highlights creamier because the previous highlights are looking too warm for your skin tone, and I would recommend that we add a few low lights just around your face to compliment those fresh highlights – this will shape and frame your face nicely”.
2. Listen to your client’s body language
Amanda emphasises the importance of listening to your client’s body language when you give the detailed description of what you want to do.
“I can judge by body language at this point if my client is engaging with me or not, I then say: ‘OK, I know exactly what colours I would love to go and mix up for you, are you OK with me to go ahead?’ We then have a conversation about what colours I use and why”, she explains.
3. Get your client to smell the colour
As the hair consultation moves along, Amanda explains what kind of products she uses. She recommends you to get the client to smell the NATULIQUE colour, as this is a great starting point to talk about the ingredients and how they benefit the hair.
“I argue for the choice of organic hair care and talk about the harmful effects on our health and the environment when using products with sulphates, parabens, and paraffin. I explain why and how the colour fades, why the hair is not soft or shiny, and why it is hard to manage”, she says.
In order to guarantee the work until the next consultation, Amanda recommends her preferred products to the client and gives styling tips, but more importantly, she makes sure to follow up the consultation after the client has left the salon. This makes the client feel that you really care about her.
“I always recommend retail products, but I am not pushy. I make it clear to my clients that I will not guarantee colour lasting without my retail products. Also, I encourage my client to rebook for 6 weeks. I give the client a follow-up call or a message a week later to see if they are still happy about the result”.
“Always be ready to ‘actively listen’”
Lynell Dumont, owner of Hair and Soul Organics and NATULIQUE Master Educator on Hair Consultation.
Lynell’s belief is strong when it comes to customer service and hair consultation in the hair industry. She has an important rule of thumb when she customises her consultations. Even if you have known the client for years – never get too comfortable.
“My approach to a consultation is exactly the same with a new client as it is with an existing client. I always set aside 10-15 minutes for each hair consultation, as it is so important to never let yourself become ‘too comfortable’ with a client. Always be ready to ‘actively listen’ and be ready for change”, Lynell argues.
5. Consult at eye level
Lynell recommends you to shorten the distance to your client by sitting down and talk to them face to face. This will give you the opportunity to create a more personalised hair consultation.
“When I have a client in my space, I sit with them at their eye level. This sets a scene for a comfortable setting allowing you to be open to their thoughts, and most importantly, them being open to your ideas”, says Lynell.
6. Ask for a 5-year hair history
Before Lynell gets into the talk about hair goals, she finds it important to gain knowledge about the client’s hair history.
“I ask for a thorough 5-year hair history, in which I include questions about illnesses or medications. This is essential to our end result with any services on the day, and even more so for the longevity of any colour service being performed. I engage in a talk about how we are going to achieve the desired result with the organic products I choose to use as a stylist, and I explain the extra health benefits internally and externally achieved through choosing a cleaner product”, Lynell tells.
7. Get the client to list the hair products used at home
In order to know what you are working with and to align expectations with your client, Lynell recommends you to gain insight to what products the client uses at home. The biggest ingredients she is looking for, when she asks this question is: ‘Are there any silicone or metallic based products?’ These ingredients will firstly prevent colour penetrating the cortex and allow pigmentation to be changed. Secondly, if there are signs of metallic product usage, there is a very strong possibility that there will be a chemical reaction, which will lead to unwanted hair damage.
“It is at this point I determine whether we need to do a detox service on the client’s hair, along with explanations as to why the colour may not hold as long as usual due to certain medications, and past services”, says Lynell.
8. Place the product into the client’s hands
Lynell recommends what products she would like the client to take home to ensure longevity. She calls it the prescriptive part of her hair consultation. An excellent advice is to place the product you are recommending into the client’s hands. This way the client get a closer relation to what you are talking about, and it gives her a sense of ownership.
“I firmly, but gently go through ‘the why’s’ and ‘the how’s’ to use the products, and why it is beneficial to start the regime immediately after their service. It is also at this point I talk about when I would like to see them again, and we make an appointment for their next visit. I feel this is an important step in not only retaining clientele – it also gives the client confidence in you as a stylist. To make a plan for them is a sense of care and commitment on your behalf to the client”, Lynell explains.
Lastly, Lynell gives a small hint…
“By telling the cost of the recommended products during the hair consultation, it gives them a good couple of hours to think about it, instead of a ‘last minute’ add on, and they feel comfortable with their decision of commitment to purchasing the necessary products”.
Share your advice for the ‘Customised Hair Consultation’
Every client is unique, which means that no consultations are alike. If you have some successful experiences in customising your hair consultations as a hairdresser, please share your advice in the comments below.
You can also share your beautiful work on Instagram and tag #NATULIQUE. Here is our hairdressers instagram guide – try it out!