Who said commercial colour was boring?!

Who Said Commercial Colour Was Boring?!  Follow me over two articles where I discuss why it’s anything but boring (check out part 2 here).

“When will you decide to take action on all that education you’re consuming? Because the truth is, until you do, please do not expect any changes to occur.”

I recently read that line in an article. I thought it was quite funny and true.

So many of us love a hair show or a class, but how much of what we see translates back into us implementing it in to the salon?

Many years ago, I was on stage somewhere in the States and the models were dancing, the music was pounding and no doubt fireworks were shooting up around me; I looked out into the audience and couldn’t see anyone because the lights where so bright! I decided there and then that I wanted to be in the classroom, not on a huge stage. I wanted to be where I could connect with the audience, where we could spend time together and talk about what I love, and that’s commercial hair colour.

I have always felt that there’s a disconnect between hair shows and the audience, and often wonder what people do take home with them. Don’t get me wrong, the artistry that goes into them is fantastic and the skill sets are amazing. I enjoy seeing them myself, but they are more inspirational than educational.

This begs the question: what does the audience do with that inspiration? Does it spur them on commercially or do they park the ideas and go about their day the same as always?

In today’s market, where hair colour is seeing some fantastic growth in salons thanks to new technologies and a vast array of choice in colour house products, I personally want to see more technique and less dancing, loud music and avant garde hair.

I want to see ways to build, maintain and develop my commercial colour column at a hair event, because whether you are self-employed, employed or renting a chair your column is your business and the only way you can grow your business is to be busier, sell more retail and maximise your day! So quick easy techniques that speak to the consumer and are easily implemented are a must.

In this age of Instagram, it’s quite easy to think that everyone is having vivid colours because the posts that draw my eye, and probably yours, are quite often oranges, reds, greens and yellows – what people are calling ‘hair porn’. They definitely get the most likes!

It’s the same at hair shows – quite often the hair colour isn’t really going to be replicated back in the salon.

I love these bright, bold, creative colours but the reality is that it’s a smaller part of the hair colour market. They are ‘bleach and tones’ that can take hours to do, don’t actually last for long, and really should be expensive – but many consumers don’t understand that’s because you could have done five sets of highlights in the time it takes to create one eye-catching look!

But don’t be fooled, a beautiful root stretch or colour bleed can be done with browns or blondes as well as with greens, yellows and vivids.

It’s all about good technique, great education, brilliant products, knowledge is the power, but you still need to practice the techniques you learn to hone your skills. You can’t do one balayage course and call yourself an expert. You then have to practice.

Management of client expectation is also key here and I love the work that Sophia Hilton has been doing to convey the message that Instagram is often filtered. Colours that clients see on social media aren’t always possible, and that colourists shouldn’t feel pressured to attempt to recreate these unrealistic goals.

For me, the key to managing expectation is the consultation. I’m fascinated by stats from a L’Oreal Professionnel survey that showed 97 out of 100 hairdressers claimed to give a consultation to every clientbut only 7 out of 100 clients surveyed said they’d ever had one!

We must get this right – call it a consultation, tell the client why you’re doing it, come out of it with a clear and agreed course of action.

As colourists it’s our job to get clients excited about the opportunities that colour presents to bring out their best attributes. Then we need to professionally apply that colour so they leave the salon with a new found confidence. This is the cornerstone of a successful appointment that results in a happy, loyal client.