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Last updated: September 29, 2017

8 Tips for Handling the “Box Color” Talk

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We all know that when it comes to haircolor, box color is the lowest of the low—one size does NOT fit all. Unfortunately, not all of our clients have figured that out. A BTC Member recently found herself in a serious predicament—she was losing her valued clients to box color!


“I have a couple clients who have started using box color, and it breaks my heart,” the anonymous user posted on BTC’s Facebook page. “Dull, lifeless and fried—it looks like shoe polish. And while I have discussed the whole story and I’m positive they see the difference between when I do it and when they use box color… it doesn’t seem to help. HELP! Are my color services too expensive? Should I ask them that? Maybe lower my prices just for them? Or do they just not care? Any and all advice is welcome and appreciated.”


Luckily, our close-knit BTC Community jumped to this stylist’s rescue! Here are the top eight tips they offered up. 


1. Know Your Worth
“Never, ever lower your prices for anyone,” says Rachel Bottger. “You know what you’re worth, and people getting things cheaper discounts your expertise. Why did we spend SO much money on school if it isn’t worth it to the client? Once you lower your prices for one person, it’s nearly impossible to ever raise them and keep that client.”


2. Show and Tell
“Never just squirt a tube in a bowl—FORMULATE and make sure they see it,” says Donna Carter. “Our color bar is exposed in the salon, so my guests see that I use two, three sometimes four different colors to create the perfect shade for them. This is something a box can’t do.”


3. Up the Ante
“Always do multidimensional color and techniques they can’t duplicate at home,” says Helen Erickson. “Just work on improving your skills and getting new clients—don’t lower your prices because of a few people who don’t want to pay and don’t value your services!”


4. You Can Lead a Horse to Water…
“I think you could ask what prompted them to start coloring themselves, but leave it at that,” says Karen Araya. “If you have already discussed why they should have it done professionally, then let it be. It’s their choice to save the money and look less than amazing. If you harp at them about it, eventually they will choose to go somewhere else. Address it and move on.”


5. That’ll Teach ‘Em
“Explain everything you’re doing and why you’re doing it,” says Donna. “’This color is going to give you gray coverage.’ ‘This color is going to give you depth.’ ‘This color is going to work well with your skin tone.’ etc. Educating your clients is also something a box can’t do.”


6. Cut a Deal
“I have a couple clients I know are on very tight budgets, so I offer them a partial root touch up without a blow-dry for half the price of a full touch up with a blow-dry,” says Sondra Bell. “That way they can still get their color done every three weeks.”


7. Go the Extra Mile
“I would say offer any ‘extras’ you feasibly can,” says Heather Sung. “I offer good coffee, makeup retouches and hand moisture treatments to my color clients to make their experience feel more special.”


8. It’s not Personal
“Remember, if [your clients] don’t want to have [their color] done professionally, don’t take it to heart,” says Sarah Renné Pontius. “Maybe they can’t afford anyone’s color prices. Let them do it at home. One day they’ll be making enough money to have it done again, especially after the box color starts to leave bands and stripes and they really dislike it. You can then offer the corrective color service for the escalated fee, and they will pay it.”