Consultations are one of the most important and often overlooked facets of a successful salon visit. A consultation is essentially a discussion between two people: you and your hairstylist. Let me be crystal clear on this point, more than two people in the consultation process will cause confusion and miscommunication. If you're struggling to describe what you'd like, pictures are a great help! The purpose of a consultation is twofold: 1) For the stylist to understand the client's needs and #hairgoals and 2) To lay out a plan for achieving those goals. Below I've got some tips to help you navigate the consultation process.
1. Be Honest!
This conversation should include any and all color/lightening services you have done in & out of the salon in the last 5 years. Yes, five years! So often clients are eager to get started on the way to their dream hair that they omit some pretty important information. Guys, color doesn't lie! The truth always comes out. It's better to be honest about your hair history so we know how to better plan for what's underneath. If I had a nickle for every time a client “forgot” they had done something to their hair, I'd be writing this from my yacht!
2. Bring Photos.
Pictures make for great references but be specific about what is you like about the hair in the photo. Which part of the hair is most appealing to you?
The tone: gold, ash, honey.
The money piece: bold, subtle, bright.
The pattern: seamless blend, ribbons, chunky.
Many times when I follow up with these type of questions I find that there are only one or two elements that clients like about the hair in the photo. More times than not, they don't like everything about it and it's necessary to identify what those things are and in what ways they would like to modify them.
3. Be prepared for multiple sessions.
The reality is, you may not leave that first day with the hair in the photo. The current color and health of your hair will dictate how much can be done in one session. Factors such as hair history as we discussed above and hair condition will ultimately determine how far we get that first session. This is why identifying what you love most about the photos is important. It helps direct the stylist's efforts to the area of greatest importance to you. Please keep in mind, you can always find a salon that will bleach out or over-pigment your hair. Those places are a dime a dozen! What you need is a stylist who will value the integrity of your hair and help you set realistic and attainable goals.
4. Be realistic with your budget.
Budgeting is not only important in terms of money but also of time. There's no wonder services such as Balayage and Root Melts are booming in popularity. These services allow for soft and seamless grow outs. This means longer times away from the salon and shorter visits in the salon. Most hair services will require regular toning or gloss treatment sessions for color enrichment. Be sure you're clear about the color maintenance required for the hair you want so you know what it'll take to keep your hair looking it's salon best!
After an honest discussion with the stylist about your hair history, goals, expectations and budget you should feel ready to get started. A solid consultation should take no more than 10 minutes. If it goes any longer than that, I can guarantee you there is a disconnect in the communication process and the two of you are not on the same page. A consultation with a new stylist is like a blind date, sometimes it's awesome and sometimes the chemistry's off. And that's ok. That's the best part of a consultation! It's also why the consultation should never be skipped. The most important thing is that you feel confident in the stylist doing your hair and a thorough consultation will help get you there!