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Last updated: February 13, 2019

What Would You Do: When A Client Takes Photos Of Your Swatch Book

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What Would You Do: Taking Swatches for At-Home Retouches

 Building a book of loyal clients is one of the best parts of being a hairstylist. Clients can become friends, confidants and sometimes even family. So what happens when a long-time guest abuses your relationship and tries to cut corners? A member of the BTC community reached out in need of advice and we’re sharing your responses below!


“I caught my long-time client taking pictures of my swatch book during a consultation and then she went online and purchased them to do her own color retouches at home!!! She only came back in for her retouch because she wasn’t sure what developer to buy. The thing is, she told us that she did it! I feel completely disrespected and want to fire her as a client. But what if she still wants me to cut her hair? Any advice out there for this one? What would you do?”



It’s Easy To Be Insulted At First And Benefit From The Client’s Mistake



“Ridiculous! She is rude.” – @haironshort


“Let her f*ck up. She’ll learn lol.” – @_styledbyalexandra


“Awful.” – @bbpgirl


“Sounds like you might get to charge for a color correction in the future.” – @thewhitehursts


“Look forward for the color correction 🤣.” – @stylesbysahar


“Let her! Then sit back and wait for the call!!🤣🤣🤣.” – @godsangel76


“Omg 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️!! That’s like the ultimate what the heck are you doing moment 🤯!”– @sheenanr23


Your Client May Be Going Through Some Things…



“She probably can no longer afford getting her services done at a salon. Please, don’t take it personally. She is probably going through some financial problems and does not feel comfortable discussing it.” – @intergalacticglam


“I think she will be back once she realizes it’s not easy. It could be a financial problem, I would carry on being professional.”  – Debbie Goodlip


“Personally, I’d try to help her through it in whatever way I can. In my experience, guests who do this come back after a while. She may be going through a hardship that she is too embarrassed to talk about. If they come back, I would prefer to have to do minimal work to get the guest back on track. Though you won’t be getting paid for the time they aren’t in your chair getting color, the respect earned is worth it enough for many stylists.” – @fiv3oclocksh4dow


“If money is an issue for her ask her to come into training sessions for the assistants. She’ll still return for cuts and color to frame her face. Otherwise, you might lose her completely.” – @judypinkgin


“She’s probably a bit tight on cash right now. Would you want to alienate her? Or, help make sure she still wants to remain loyal to you? She can buy all the color she wants, it’s never going to be your formulation.” – Theresa Dudeck



They Can’t Get The Salon Experience At Home



“Make your service more valuable. Anyone can do touch-ups at home, but they can’t get the amazing customer service that goes with it. I have a guest who does her own touch-ups but still comes in and I do her highlights and cut. Then, every few appointments we do her touch-up because she can’t see the back of her head.” – Kristen Brooke


“EVEN if she is able to do it at home, she won’t be able to do what you do at the salon as a professional. Sure, maybe she’ll skip every other appointment but she still needs you.” – Mia Gray


“It won’t compare to the work you do and the whole salon experience. She’ll be back, so let her try.” – @veroxx_


“You can’t take things so personal. The proof is in the pudding. They will see over time it’s not working out and they will come back. Same as when they go to someone ‘cheaper,’ they will be back eventually.” – @jacqui.swan


“I’d warn her that color formulation takes years of experience, education and is not as easy as it looks. Ultimately, if she is insisting on doing it herself, let her.” – Angela Sassi


“They pick the color they want, but that doesn’t mean that’s the color or only color we use.” – @zachrbell94


If The Client Is Worth Keeping Around, Have An Educational Conversation



“Thirty years in the business and I learned early on that you do not take anything personal. Clients will go through all kinds of financial burdens, and we don’t know half of it. So how about for the sake of being a decent human and a smart hairstylist you give them tips on how to go about it? 9 times out of 10 my clients come back for me to do it because they can’t stand the mess it makes in their home. So, they sacrifice something else and pay for their haircolor at the salon. Being a little sympathetic and compassionate, it pays off!! 🙏🏼” – @belindabarrios


“If a client wants to do their own color unfortunately, there’s nothing you can really do to stop them. All you can do is educate them on the negative side of what can happen with at-home haircolor and explain what the process and cost might be in the case she needs to come and have it corrected.” – @coloristnat


“Most of the time clients are uneducated on what they’re doing when they try to color their own hair. So, I just let them know you can’t guarantee results when they come in next time. But I would never make the client feel bad because that’s not our job. We are here to make people feel better about themselves. I definitely had clients that I’ve questioned why they come back to me. But when you stop caring about every client that walks through your door, you lose the opportunity to give them the best experience possible.” – @barber_baby18


“If you feel disrespected, tell the client. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing, burn-it-to-the-ground scenario. Calmly explain to the client that as a professional, you don’t feel right offering her advice on how to perform a service that should only be performed by a licensed professional. You don’t need to shame her or make her feel guilty for trying to cut corners or costs. Simply explain that if she wants your expertise, she’ll need to pay for it.” – @mysaloninsider


And NEVER Forget The Golden Rule



“Never let the guest see your swatch book!!!” – @thejohnnycuts


“Never hand them the swatch book. My rule! I only bring it out if I can’t talk them out of seeing it.” – @hairby_saranicole_