I think everyone can think of a time when they set up an appointment with their hairstylist, only to be disappointed with the final result. It can be frustrating, especially since the cost usually is not cheap. When people's feelings and money get involved in the same situation, it's a recipe for disaster. But what if I told you there was a way to avoid all this frustration and disappointment? There's one key element that will make sure that you leave the salon feeling happily satisfied, and that is the client consultation.
In beauty school, one of the first things that we are taught to master is the client consultation. After you have greeted your stylist or they have checked you in and led you back to their station, it is both the stylist and client's responsibility to communicate CLEARLY what is going to happen during the appointment. Here is some advice on how to make sure you and your stylist are on the same page to avoid disappointment.
As a client, it helps to bring in pictures of what you like AND what you don't like. This gives the stylist an idea of what you expect when the appointment is finished. I don't know why, but for some reason, there is an assumption out there that bringing in inspiration pictures is rude. It's not at all! It helps the stylist visualize how they are going to bring you from point A to point B. You could bring in a picture of your hair goals, but also a picture of what you wouldn't want your hair to look like and communicate something like, "see, I like how it's bright around the face in this picture, but I don't like how it's streaky or more golden blonde in this picture. I like the ashy tone, but I don't like how this picture is just straight up white blonde." This helps bring you and your stylist to the same page tremendously.
Now after you've shown your stylist some pictures of what you like and don't like, it's up to your stylist to explain to you if getting to your hair goal is possible in one session. This can depend on a lot of things: your hair history (if there is previous color whether it be professional or box color on your hair), your hair's integrity (whether it's in good condition to perform chemical services on), any chemicals that could interfere with the coloring process (box dye is usually high in metallic salts which can cause a scary chemical reaction if not treated correctly). This is where it is CRUCIAL to be 100% HONEST with your stylist. If you lie about your hair history, you're only hurting yourself and your wallet. After your stylist evaluates your hair, he/she will determine if reaching your hair goal is possible.
As a client, it's important to understand, accept, and more importantly respect the knowledge that your stylist is giving you. We are licensed professionals, and the information we share with you isn't just for shits and giggles. If they say that your hair goal is possible but with at least two more sessions, they're not trying to cheat you or waste your time. They are saying this because hair is fragile and needs to be treated with care. In the process of chemically altering your hair color, slow and steady will always win the race. If you are impatient and don't want to wait, you could try to find another stylist that can bring you to your hair goal in one session. But keep in mind, stylists who are able to perform this service (there are many out there) invest in bond-protecting products (added to lightener/direct dyes) to ensure the integrity of the hair will not become compromised. Which means expect to pay more $ for one session if you see a stylist who tells you that going from black to blonde hair is possible in one session. An example would be one stylish, Kim Wasabi who is known for her ability to bring dark hair to blonde in one day or session. These sessions can last up to TWELVE hours and cost anywhere from $600-800.
Once you and your stylist have a mutual understanding of what will happen during the appointment and what you can expect once finished, there is no reason why you should leave the salon unhappy. I think a common mistake during the client consultation is for the client to expect the stylist to read their mind.
For example, you could tell your stylist, "I want to be blonde!" Ok….How much blonde do you want to see in your hair? Do you want to see more blonde around your face? Do you want traditional highlights or balayage? What tone of blonde do you prefer? Do you want to be blonde but with dimension or do you want no dimension?
Let's say you told your stylist you want to be blonde, but in your head, you meant that you want to have heavy highlights around your face, with dimension, toned ashier, and not touching your root because you want to have a low maintenance look. So since your stylist can't read your mind, he/she proceeds to give you a "generic" blonde look with traditional foil highlights and a honey blonde tone. Come the end of the appointment as your stylist is blowdrying, you start to get frustrated because it's not what you wanted. However, your stylist could have given you exactly what you wanted if you had communicated all those small details that go into being "blonde".
If you are still confused with where your hair is going to be by the end of the appointment, try reciprocating back to your stylist what you have both established during the consultation. Something along the lines of, "Okay, so since my hair has color on it, we won't be able to get to my hair goal this session, but we will get to _____ by the end of the session, right? And after two more sessions with you, I'll be at my hair goal?"
My point is, communication is KEY when it comes to a hair appointment. Hairstylists cannot read your mind. As long as you provide your stylist with a thorough consultation, you won't ever leave the salon unhappy again. Try practicing your communication with a friend or family member before an appointment. If they can understand what you want with your hair, your stylist should be able to go above and beyond and provide that service to you.