S.O.S! FAQs for DIY Fixes in the Salon
How many times has it happened, people? The do-it-yourself-er watches the 13-year-old YouTuber snip her own bangs, tries her hand at her own bang trim and winds up looking as if a starving weasel has chewed off her fringe. Another believes that those sunny, buttery highlights depicted on the box of color she bought at CVS are actually possible to achieve in her bathroom. In one afternoon. ON HER LEVEL 2 HAIR!
On the one hand, misguided home hair mavens provide you with a steady stream of new clients, who, if tended to properly, end up being long-term, loyal clients who sing your praises. But as anyone who has ever had to comfort a sobbing client with orange spots and black roots knows—DIY clients require a special brand of TLC. So here to guide you through some of these delicate processes are top members of the Schwarzkopf Professional squad of educators.
Does the image below look familiar? Meet Do-It-Yourself Donna on Schwarzkopf Professional’s “Hair Scenarios” video!
Q: Many home color clients aren’t exactly forthcoming. Other than hooking them up to a lie detector, how do you get to the truth of what they’ve done and what they’ve used?
Kim Vo, Schwarzkopf Professional Global BLONDME Ambassador: If you lie you fry! Seriously though, if things don’t add up, address the client without judgement. Use your professional training—you know the difference between tinted and virgin hair!
Damien Carney, Schwarzkopf Professional North American Creative Director: You have to ask the right questions to get the right answers. ‘I can see you have some color on your hair. What was it and when did you apply it?’ If she denies it, go back with, ‘No I can see a little bit of variance here.’ Humor always helps. ‘Darling, you’re kidding me. Tell Daddy what’s going on here so I can do the best for your hair!’
Rossa Jurenas, Schwarzkopf Professional North American Color Director: You need to ask many questions in an honest, friendly way. Usually after my ‘interrogation’ I’ll say something like, ‘I do not mean to ask so many questions, but I really want to find out what is on your hair so we can move forward.’ And I might touch her shoulder. This makes a client feel comfortable, and the truth usually comes out!”
Q: You’re THINKING, “OMG, what the hell did you do???” But what do you actually SAY?
Jorge Bucio, Schwarzkopf Professional Artistic Team Member: They know they’ve made a mistake, and what they need at that moment is support and our expertise. I try not to dwell on what they did; I focus on reassuring them it will look amazing once we add highlights, lowlights, coolness, warmth, whatever.
Rick Wellman, Schwarzkopf Professional Ambassador and Hue Director @ SAHAG Workshop: The truth is that celebrity campaigns and Photoshop make home color very tempting and misleading (I know because I have worked on many of these projects.) So I use this as an opportunity to point out that successful haircolor is created with the hands and minds of professionals. The best way to get your point across is with compassion, honesty and humor.
Kim Vo: Give them a ‘complement sandwich.’ Start with something positive, state the negative and bring it back with a positive plan of attack on how you will improve her hair. Fix botched and you’re top notch!
Q: There’s no way around it—she’s going to have to go MUCH shorter…or darker, or different. How do you ease her into her new hair reality?
Kim Vo: Lots of champagne! Also, there is a new Schwarzkopf Professional House of Color app that can be a tremendous tool when helping clients understand the color process.
Damien Carney: Take her through a journey of communicating what is possible and what is not. Be honest. ‘I don’t think I can accomplish what you want today, but with two or three appointments, I think we can get there.’ And always be sure they understand that the integrity and condition of her hair is one of your prime concerns.
Rossa Jurenas: Be truthful. Use key words and phrases like ‘healthy, not compromised,’ ‘shiny’ and ‘gorgeous.’
Genia Church, Schwarzkopf Professional National Artistic Team Member: If I have to cut the hair short, I try to give them a visual in the mirror and show them the exact amount I need to remove.
Q: OK, it’s bad, and color-wise, it’s going way beyond a retouch and tone. How do you charge for intensive corrective color?
Rick Wellman: I keep corrective color prices flexible based on how many applications and how much time is required. I also point out that it will be at least double my regular prices to help the client understand why it’s not a good idea to try this at home again!
Jorge Bucio: Prices vary depending on the desired look and the steps needed to achieve it; usually double. But I don’t like to call it corrective color. I might call it an ‘Advanced Color Upgrade’ or something that doesn’t make a client feel punished for doing her hair at home. She already feels bad enough!
Genia Church: All of my services are a la carte, so the charge is based on the services I feel will be needed based on our consultation. And I always include a conversation about prices in the initial consultation to avoid surprises.
Q: Do you practice prevention? To convince a client to skip the home haircolor or to come to you for professional blowouts or special occasion styles?
Rick Wellman: Absolutely. If a client ever hints around or asks me about DIY coloring, or even an unflattering color or style that I don’t recommend, I kindly ask them to agree not to tell ANYONE I did their hair. That usually makes them stop and think.
Damien Carney: Even if they aren’t willing to get a professional styling service, it’s a good idea to give them tips and product and tool suggestions for achieving the look they want at home. And to build styling services in the salon, remember, your skills have to be sharp! Everyone in the salon should be A-1!
Kim Vo: Invest in your business by offering a complimentary blowout. When the compliments start rolling in, they will begin to value this professional service!
Rossa Jurenas: Explain how nice it is to have your hair done for a special occasion, especially since it’s hard for a client to work on the back of her head. Blowouts last longer, updos hold better when done professionally.
Jorge Bucio: I show them photos from fashion shows, red carpets, celebrity magazines and explain that all of those polished looks, perfect cuts and incredible balayage melts were done by pros!
Genia: I own a blow-dry bar so I always bring up the fact that a professional blowout is such a stress reliever!
Q: Family drama! Mom brings her rebellious (and pissed off) kid to the salon to fix a botched home job. What do you do?
Kim Vo: Rule of thumb—whoever pays controls the color. Expect a roller coaster of teenage hormones and keep the kid away from the mirror. Take the money to the bank and don’t expect a compliment!
Genia Church: I try to educate the parent and the teen about the coloring process and the long and short term effects of color services not performed by a professional.
Jorge Bucio: I try to make the client feel like I’m on her or his side. I tell them the color or cut looks cool. I tell them if they ever do it again, we can fix it. Once the kid relaxes, they will agree to a fix and mom feels better.
Damien Carney: You want to be a peacekeeper, but at the same time, be honest and assertive.
Rick Wellman: I make it very clear that my final color is directed by the person who is paying the bill!