For most of my career, I've been known best for cutting. I was drawn to it immediately. My background in fine arts and life drawing made it the perfect match. The instant gratification of a haircut was the perfect replacement to a piece of charcoal on paper. Color, on the other hand, took a lot longer for me to love. It was too complicated, there were more variables, and I was too impatient. Fortunately, I've had a lot of people to mentor and guide me to a place where I feel comfortable in color the way I feel comfortable with haircutting. When asked about what I felt were a few things every colorist should know, and the 4 most common mistakes colorists make, I didn't even hesitate. Here are some of the most important lessons I've learned about color.
1. Know your color theory. This has been the most helpful for me in my career. In the beginning, I would second-guess a lot of stuff that was just plain elementary and fundamental. The funny thing about color and formulation is that it's so simple that we tend to complicate it in our fear. Know how formulation works, the difference between permanent, demi, semi and temporary and their limitations know the structure of the hair and how color affects it. Foundational placements and when to use them.
2. Give a great color consultation. I try to collect as much information as possible before beginning a new color service. What are the goals? What does the color history look like? What is their level of commitment? Is there a budget? These are just a few questions I try to have answered before beginning. Keep a collection of pictures. If I'm able to consult before the service I'll send home a client with some homework to collect images detailing what they want but also what they don't want. The better the box I build regarding goals and limitations the easier it is for me to be creative and problem solve. Be honest about expectations and timelines. If something can't be done or you don't have the skill set yet to meet the demand, it's always better to be honest than to create the potential for a bad experience. People will respect and appreciate you more for it.
3. Always have a plan. Never begin a project until you know exactly what you're going to do. There's been a number of times I started a color without fully having a placement in mind. That kind of guesswork and uncertainty leads to a lot of stress that makes decision making more difficult later. When you have a plan, it makes it easier to predict an outcome, or identify the cause of a mistake to correct in the future. It also allows for you to explain and educate your way through a service. This is helpful when calming a client who may be a bit nervous or apprehensive about a course of action.
4. Be patient. I can't count the number of times I've dropped the ball because I didn't wait 10 more minutes for a highlight to develop, or prematurely rinsed gray coverage/toner. Be patient, both with services in the moment and long term. There's no greater bummer than something not going as planned because of something entirely preventable. I'd also like to add that if something occurs, own up to it. Correct it and don't hide it in the styling or hope that they won't notice. It's untrustworthy and will catch up eventually.
Lastly, some advice on growing a color business should make it in here as well. Outline a routine, get people to see you on a regular basis. It makes the upkeep of color easier for you and less costly for your client. It also helps you to maximize your pace and efficiency by eliminating surprise changes. Practice as much as possible. Get better at something by doing a massive volume of work. This will help you draw connections between the theory and the experiences needed to support and strengthen it. Document everything! That way when you go through a lull, you can see the progress you've made.
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Proud hairdresser. Passionate educator. Follow me on insta - Christianawesome