At-Home Color Kits: Should You Sell Them?
Should Hairdressers Offer At-Home Color Kits? Read This!
With more than 83 percent of salons closed across the country, hairdressers are looking for innovative ways to make money. Many have created color kits for root touch-ups or all-over glosses that clients can apply in their homes as a way to generate some cash—but hairdressers are divided over whether this is a good idea. We broke down the issue below, so keep reading for all sides of the debate AND a downloadable waiver you can use if you choose to offer this service.
Disclaimer: Before you start offering this service, please check your own insurance policies, state board regulations and manufacturer directions. BTC is here to provide you with all of the information on both sides, so you can make the best decision for your business.
The Current At-Home Color Kit Situation
To prevent clients from turning to box dye or services like Madison Reed, hairdressers are creating kits for clients to do their own root touch-ups or glosses at home. These kits involve the hairdresser mixing a custom formula and packaging it with gloves, a brush and a bowl or bottle, then dropping the kit off at a client’s house or making it available for curbside pickup.
How Hairdressers Are Creating And Selling At-Home Color Kits
BTC published articles on two hairdressers offering the service for gray coverage clients and for all-over glazes and conditioning treatments, with full details on what to include and how to assemble them. Both of these hairdressers also include in the price a video call or pre-filmed video demonstrating how to apply the color, and make themselves available for client questions during application.
The cost for these kits? Anywhere from $30 to $80, generally. Chris Jones (@chrisjones_hair) and Emily Cooper (@emilycooper_hair), co-owners of Salon Bugatti in The Woodlands, Texas, said their salon made more than $3,500 in one hour when they started offering at-home kits and retail. They charge $55 for a root touch-up kit—that only covers the T-zone, aka hairline and parting—and $35 for an all-over gloss kit, and their kits include trial packets of shampoo.
“This is something I would never do normally during business hours, but this is a different time we are in, so we have to improvise,” shares Chris. “Mixing that color kit for that client will build so much loyalty. If they come around in six months and say they can’t afford to pay for a full service and ask for a kit, just say no. I look at it as an opportunity to build loyalty for that client, not as a threat to my business.”
Here are some ways these services can benefit salon professionals:
- This keeps the service between the professional and the client.
- Your client is depending on YOU for your professional guidance, at-home color kit and tools instead of going to box dye.
- Maintaining relationships = client retention! When this is all over, how can you ensure your clients will come back to you? You have continued to give them value, even in quarantine.
- Essential workers are still required to go to work every day—how can you help them with gray coverage?
Why Some Hairdressers Are NOT Selling At-Home Color Kits
Some BTC readers don’t think hairdressers should offer at-home color kits to clients. “My dentist would never hand me the tools to fix my cavity, why would we hand over our ‘tools’ to let them do their own hair?” said Mandy Tuggle Morrison on BTC’s Facebook. “It’s a liability, and you’re undermining the job we do. Next thing you know, your clients will be texting saying they can’t afford the service but ‘remember how you got me that kit?’ I just can’t do this. I’ll help anyway I can but not by giving my color or formulas away.”
More questions and concerns from our social media channels and forums:
- It takes the service away from the professional.
- Color is a chemical service and clients are uneducated on how to properly use professional products.
- What is the liability? Can my clients sue me?
- Will my clients come back if they know how to apply touch-ups?
- The finished results are uncertain. You can’t guarantee salon quality.
- Will my clients expect these at-home services after quarantine?
Now that you’re up to speed, let’s take a look at what the rules REALLY are.
Are State Boards Regulating At-Home Color Kits?
BTC reached out to a few cosmetology boards, and here’s what we found out:
- In at least three states, there are no rules or regulations prohibiting licensed cosmetologists from selling professional color for at-home use. Texas, Ohio and California state boards agreed that creating color kits for clients to apply at home would not violate any current regulations. These three states have an estimated 66,330 hairdressers combined, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- State boards are cautioning hairdressers to check with manufacturers on further recommendations. Both Texas and California said professional products manufacturers may have specifications that may impact hairdressers’ decision to sell color kits for at-home use.
- We were not able to talk to every state board, so do your research before you start this service.
Does My Professional Liability Insurance Cover At-Home Color Kit Use?
The short answer: Probably not.
“Our insurance policy does cover product liability, but it does not extend to this kind of event,” said Gianna Michalsen, Brand Manager for Elite Beauty Society, an insurer with expertise in beauty and salon insurance. “It’s for you, the professional, applying product and using product as directed and as you were trained to, in your place of business.”
Think of it this way: Liability insurance only covers what you are doing in the salon at the time of service. “Think back to when you just started beauty school,” Gianna said. “All of those things you didn’t know—your clients don’t know those things.”
Again, you should check your policy and talk to your insurer before you offer this service.
Will A Waiver Protect Me From Liability When Clients Use My Color Kit At Home?
“While [waivers] are a great layer of protection, they aren’t the end-all, be-all,” said Joe Fagan, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Elite Beauty Society. But waivers CAN prevent litigation in many cases, so if you do want to offer these kits to clients, a signed waiver is a good idea.
Click here to download a waiver template you can send digitally to your clients.
Disclaimer: If you choose to use our downloadable waiver, please have your attorney review it prior to sending to clients.
What Do Manufacturers Think About At-Home Color Kits?
Most manufacturers do not endorse clients purchasing professional haircolor for at-home use.
“I understand that color take home kits are a short-term solution that can bring in necessary income in a time where that might feel like the only option, but that is a short-term solution and still living under the week to week scenario,” Artistic Director of Paul Mitchell Professional Hair Color Colin Caruso said.
Some manufacturers are suggesting pros offer virtual conversations about in-between maintenance tips and recommendations for retail care using products that are good for touch-ups and/or prolonging color. For example, Joico is reminding hairdressers about its Tint Shot Root Concealer and Color Balance and Color Infuse Shampoos.
So, Should I Offer At-Home Color Kits To My Clients While My Salon Is Closed?
Ultimately, that’s a business decision you have to make yourself. There are strong advocates for both sides of the debate.
As a New Jersey salon owner, Colin is not selling at-home color kits. “That was a decision we made for the integrity of our business and I’m proud of that decision, but I also support all stylists out there who are facing a very challenging time and who are doing what’s best for them and their guests right now. We are in this together.”
Join the conversation! Remember this: Every stylist and salon owner is making decisions that are best for THEIR businesses—that’s why it’s important to communicate with each other. We’re all in this together! See more topics like this in the BTC Forum.