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Choosing a hair colour for your client : Hairdressing Articles
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Choosing a hair colour for your client

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Choosing a hair colour for your client

Postby chris the limey » 15 Jul 2007 10:28 pm

The purpose of hair is to protect the scalp; it is not necessarily a beauty asset and can therefore be tremendously enhanced by the perceptive and imaginative use of colourants.

I am not suggesting that people should change their hair colour completely. On the contrary, by only slightly changing the colour to accentuate the natural pigment, the hair colour will, in turn, promote the size and colour of the eyes and the colour of the complexion. The art of hair colouring is knowing which colour to use and whether or not it will suit the client.


When choosing a colour, it is important to consider the depth of pigmentation in the base colour. Example: Apply a light ash blonde to dark brown and the result will be a bright chestnut brown. This is caused by the peroxide in the tint reducing the black/brown natural pigments, thus projecting the natural red/yellow pigments. Incidentally, this is the hardest of all colours to remove whether painting a wall, dyeing a dress or colouring hair.


Personally, I feel that if the colour is going to be that difficult to achieve, it is not likely to suit the client and therefore should not have been chosen. I particularly recommend a colour which is two or three shades lighter than the natural shade to emphasize the natural pigment.


Skin Test
With the exception of vegetable products such a henna, all permanent dyes have a toxic base (mainly para-phenylene diamines, diamino benzenes and toluene diamines). It is therefore essential to give every client a skin test 48 hours before each colour application—to ensure she is not allergic to these particular chemicals. Although a client may not develop an allergy the first time, there is a possibility that she could be allergic on a subsequent occasion (just as people can suddenly develop an allergy to a perfume which they have been using happily for the last 20 years).

Remember: Colourists need only ONE client who is not given a skin test prior to permanent colouring to put them out of business!

Method
Using the skin just behind the ear, apply the tint to an area the size of a 5p piece. Go ahead with colouring if no swelling or irritation occurs within 48 hours. Do not colour if the client shows an allergy (no harm will have been done by the skin test).

Effects of a para colour application to a client with an allergy are horrific. Initial symptoms are irritation of the head and then the face which subsequently swells up to twice its normal size—or even three times the size in extreme cases. The swelling spreads to the rest of the body resulting in severe blistering and weeping; the client will also suffer bad headaches, a dryness in the mouth and hot and cold shivers as with influenza.


Before making the final decision on which shade to choose, talk to the client about her own views on colour. If you disagree, tactfully explain why, pointing out the colour of her eyes, her complexion and, without going to extremes, her life-style.


It is important to have confidence in your decision as this will instil confidence in the client. If you are changing the colour fairly drastically, it is advisable to warn the client beforehand that it will take her a while to become accustomed to her new image. If a client insists on a colour against your will, ask her to sign a statement recording your recommendations in writing to safeguard yourself. As a professional, rely on your own judgement and try not to be motivated by the salon till—after all, what you lose on the swings today you will gain on the roundabouts tomorrow through recommendations.

Note: Always ensure the client has enough time to have her hair coloured. There is no short cut to hair colouring—it is not simply a matter of \'sloshing\' it on and washing it off.

In order to achieve the best results, an enormous amount of care must be taken in application, development time and conditioning. Obviously, clients are impatient whilst waiting for the colour to develop so make sure they have sufficient magazines, tea, coffee and sandwiches, etc. In other words, MAKE A FUSS OF THEM!

When not to use Permanent Colour
Never use a permanent colour if any of the following are apparent:
1. Abrasions or skin diseases.
2. Metallic substances have previously been used on the hair (e.g.
compound henna which leaves a dull, metallic hue).
3. Over-processing due to straightening, perming or bleaching.
4. Hair has just been permed—always allow a period of seven days
between perming and tinting or the perm will be slackened and
the hair damaged.
5. Hair has recently been highlighted.
6. It will not suit the client\'s complexion, eyes or life-style.
Always use your professional opinion to judge what has previously been used on the hair. Never take the client\'s word for it! If in any doubt at all—do not colour.


Preparing the Client for Hair Colour
Hair colouring is a messy business so make sure the client\'s clothing is well protected with a gown, cape and towel around her neck and shoulders before starting work. It is also extremely important to protect your hands so always wear gloves, well-sprinkled inside with talcum powder, to avoid the risk of skin irritation. Remember: Your hands are the tools of your trade—without them you have no trade—so it is worth looking after them!

Salon Lighting
It is essential to work where you can see, whether in good artificial light or natural light. It is only possible to register the true tone of colour in natural light. Some salon lights throw red or orange glows on freshly tinted hair and this can alarm the client, especially if an ash shade has been chosen. Under these circumstances, hold a magazine, or anything with a flat surface, 20 inches above the client\'s head and this will \'kill\' all the red light on the hair. Always warn the client beforehand if the salon lighting will distort the results. For specialist guidance on the best artificial lighting consult the leading lighting manufacturers.

Record Card System
One of the most successful ways of organizing a hair colouration department is to keep a record card on every client. Each time a client visits the salon her personal file can be checked and a new entry inserted. The cards, which are filed in alphabetical order, should include the names of the client, stylist and colourist, what, where and when colour was applied and details of aftercare. The cards must be kept up to date every time the client comes into the salon for any colour application. In the event of a client wanting a colour that she had, say, two years ago, the colourist immediately knows the exact range and shade by referring to the relevant record card.
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I try to get online to answer forum posts at least once per day. If I miss your post, let me know. :)
chris the limey
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