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So you're finished, but the client hates her new hair colour : Hairdressing Articles
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So you're finished, but the client hates her new hair colour

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So you're finished, but the client hates her new hair colour

Postby chris the limey » 10 Oct 2010 10:00 pm

I'm going to enjoy writing this one, especially after Saturday afternoon!

I was in the salon, creating a beautiful autumnal look with browns, blondes and golds (as you do), when my assistant manager came up to me and told me there's a problem. A problem that's coming back at 5pm.

It turned out, that her semi-permanent colour client from yesterday had called, and now absolutely HATED her new hair. She hated it so much, that her mother took the phone off her and told us how much her daughter hated it too.

As a side note, does anybody know exactly at which age it is that mothers finally accept that other people can understand the version of English that their teenage children speak? It's always puzzled me. Is it measured in months, years or days? When exactly do some mothers stop speaking for their children?

So, anyway, my assistant manager told me that her client was coming back in at 5pm and she wanted to run something by me first before suggesting it the client.

Now let's give you a run down of what was done so far. Client (aged 17) had washed out level 7 ends, level 6 roots, and wanted to be dark all over. The name of the celebrity she likes evades me, but it's close to a level 3.

Now then, as a rule, none of my staff are allowed to take any client who is already at (or lighter than) a level 7 any darker than level 5 in one appointment. We know from experience that at level 4 and darker they will feel BLACK. I'm sure many of you do the same.

But this girl had back-up - her mother. The same mother who grabbed the phone off her and spoke for her to complain the next day. And 2 against 1? Well, I guess my assistant manager was outnumbered. :blush:

The formula was a pre-pigmentation at level 5 red, followed by a demi colour at level 4. The client left the salon happy, with her mother in tow.

Fastforward 24 hours, and now she's back. She hates it. She feels like a witch. Her boyfriend said "You look like a goth" and her father asked her "Are you getting your Halloween outfit early?".

I now have my assistant manager asking me if she should start going through the ends with a colour remover and water, or mix it with 3%? And which shade should she apply afterwards? A level 6 ash or a level 5 neutral? :o

It's like the whole world has gone mad. 3 women are about to use more in stock value than the original appointment even cost, all because they each didn't think things through before applying the colour/selecting the shade they wanted.

What went wrong?


In the scenario above, part of the blame lies at my assistant manager's feet. She's been trained to NEVER go below level 5 on a tint-back for the very reasons described above. She did tell me (backed up by the mother) that she tried very hard to convince the client that they should do this over 2 appointments (i.e. level 5 first, and then darker on the next appointment if she liked it), but that the client pestered and pestered her mother to allow her to go dark in one step, otherwise "it would just look lame and I won't be able to show my face at school".

Part of the blame lies at the feet of the mother, who allowed her daughter to make an adult decision and push for soemthing that she thought she wanted, to the degree that everyone else caved in.

And the rest of the blame lies at the feet of the client, who got what she wanted, but then became depressed when the reaction of others wasn't what she imagined it would be.

But in scenarios like this, is it really the responsibility of the salon or the hairdresser to "fix it"? I mean, if I take my car to a garage and ask for it to be sprayed pink, can I then take it back and demand it be returned to it's original colour for no extra charge if my friends all laugh at me? I don't think that would happen.

So what do you do?

First thing's first, you need to be honest about what can be achieved from 'now' and not feel pressured to try something you would usually tell your own mother was impossible. By this, imagine that it's your own mother or best friend sitting with you after they've made a blunder with a home hair colour which has turned their hair black, and they're now expecting you to help them turn it medium ash blonde before their party in half an hour. You would tell them it's impossible! You have to be just as honest with your unhappy client, otherwise you'll just be gearing them up for more disappointment and loss of trust in you.

Many clients presume that hair colour is like paint...you just slap on a new shade if they don't like what they had before. Unfortunately, we know that it's not like that.

Next, don't confuse the issue by bringing out the shade chart and pointing to what IS achievable...it just helps to inflame the situation. You're showing your client all of these wonderful colours, but then pointing to a one that she hates and telling her, "This is the one you could probably end up with...if we're lucky!". :-t

Instead, remove the colours from the shade chart that are relevant to what can be achieved and show your client those. In the scenario above, we removed a level 4, a level 5, a level 6 bright copper and a warm level 6.

We showed the client these colours. We explained:
  • Currently, you are this colour (level 4).
    If you wait around a week, and shampoo your hair each day with a basic shampoo, the demi will naturally fade to this colour (level 5).
  • If we try to remove the demi from the hair so soon after it is done, you will turn this colour (bright copper level 6) which we can then possibly tone to this colour (warm level 6).
  • Alternatively, we could place a few highlights around the front (warm level 6) to make you feel a little lighter while you wait for the colour to fade.

We then asked her what she would prefer?

The highlights were out, as she didn't want 2 colours.
The colour removal was out as she didn't want any red to show in her hair.
The week of fading was out as she didn't want to walk around for a week "looking like a goth".

So I repeated the options again. I answered her questions as to why she couldn't just go back to blonde (once more) and then again, I repeated her options. I told her what I would have told my best friend.

While she was thinking about it, I also added up the cost of each and broke down how much it would be. Of course, the fading option was free.

So, after some thought and a much calmer atmosphere, the client agreed that the fading option was the best scenario all round. We agreed to give her a call next weekend and follow up how she's getting on.

Conclusion

  • Don't feel pressured into doing something for a client, if you would tell your best friend that you would refuse to do the very same thing for them. If it's going to look too dark in your opinion, ONLY offer a lighter shade. If it's going to look too red for the client's skin tone, ONLY offer coppers and golds.
  • If the client insists, and you go ahead anyway, DON'T fix it for free. If you've warned her and given advice about it, you cannot be held responsible for paying to put it back when her husband/friends/work colleagues tell her the same thing that you did.
  • Be honest about what can be achieved, in the way that you would if it were your own mother/best friend with the same problem. Don't try the impossible to keep the client happy, as you'll only make things worse by raising her expectations.
  • And finally, stay calm throughout and don't get flustered. If you get flustered, you'll give in and stop thinking straight. Remember...you're the expert...not the client!
-----
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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Re: So you're finished, but the client hates her new hair co

Postby haircut60 » 07 Nov 2010 06:18 pm

Lots of great advice here. We've all had a similar nightmare I think !
The client does tend to think a shade guide as another form of a Dulux Emulsion one and we actually say that during our consultation!. That and the warning that is far more trouble to remove depth than add it. We also use swatches of real hair extensions to give them a much clearer idea as to how the colour will look against their skin.
On the plus side modern colour removers ( avoid the term 'stripper' )are really excellent now and leave the hair in good condition, unlike bleaching.
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Re: So you're finished, but the client hates her new hair co

Postby chris the limey » 12 Nov 2010 12:37 am

haircut60 wrote:The client does tend to think a shade guide as another form of a Dulux Emulsion one


LOL! That deserves a thumbs up thanks! I love it!

:D ;-D
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Re: So you're finished, but the client hates her new hair co

Postby Cathy Duncan » 15 Dec 2010 12:16 pm

lolx @ "haircut60 wrote:
The client does tend to think a shade guide as another form of a Dulux Emulsion one". Thanks for enlightening mood.
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Re: So you're finished, but the client hates her new hair co

Postby Jenna0555 » 30 Sep 2011 03:48 pm

Love it! I had almost this same exact scenario not too long ago, except my client was a pale blonde goung dark with chunky golden blonde highlights, and had tons of breakage already on the top layer, I tried explaining that the chunky highlights were not going to flow through her hair because of the breakage which would result in it looking more dark, she insisted, and said it was ok when I finished she said that she liked it, but after going home and I'm sure getting "goth" and Halloween comments as well, she called and said she didnt like it. So I suggested the SAME THING YOU DID with the fading option with clarifying shampoo. (especially since her hair was already previously breaking off) I explained to her that I ABSOLUTELY could not put anymore chemical in her hair because it would all break off, she kept insisting and I stood my ground, and offered some conditioning treatments in the mean time while she's doing the fading method. Needless to say she went and got a box frosting kit and lightened it herself but LUCKY for her her hair did not fall out, as she said she didn't leave it on long! Wow! I was amazed! So lesson learned, I will now take your advice and START LIGHTER than what they actually THINK they want and go from there! Thanks! We are the professionals not them you are EXACTLY RIGHT! :)
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