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Precisely Formulated Care for color-treated hair
Unless you’ve repeatedly visited the same pro--someone who has proven that he or she is able to do excellent (and I mean, consistently excellent) work on your hair, it’s really hard to know if you’re putting your head in the hands of the right person. All too often, you won’t be able to gauge the level of talent until after the ‘do (or the damage) is done.
Having your hair colored doesn’t have to be a crapshoot, though. Follow these tips and I think there’s a decent chance you’ll be able to steer clear of future salon disasters. (Warning: You’re going to have to do some research; but don’t you think avoiding brassy strands and bleed lines is worth a little detective work?).
1) When you see someone on the street with really beautiful hair, ask them who does it—it’s the oldest (and best) trick in the book. You’ve got walking proof that her pro knows a thing or two about hair color.
2) Try to avoid a jack of all trades. Inquire on the phone or at the desk if the person you’re booking is a colorist only, or also works as a stylist. I know it’s not always easy to find someone who specializes in color (many salons are budget conscious and want to get the most bang for their buck), but do you really want to have your colorist step away from your foils to do a bang trim in the next chair? I think not.
3) Ask to schedule a 15-minute consultation…and be willing to pay for it. There’s good reason we charge: I can’t tell you how many no-shows we see when there’s a complimentary consult on the books. The rate should be about 25 percent of the color fee. (If the colorist charges $100; it’s reasonable to pay $25 for a consultation.)
4) Show me the photos! The more I can visualize what’s in your head, the better; so rip out pictures from magazines and catalogs, or print things off the internet (not in black and white, please). Do not, however, ask us to recreate the blonde you had in that pageant photo when you were eight-years-old; it was charming…but it also involved a flashbulb and virgin hair.
5) Get utterly honest. We need to know about everything that was done to your hair chemically over the past two years…perms, relaxers, color, bleach, foil, you name it. Even if your hair was platinum for a while and now you’re a Kardashian- brunette, you must fess up. Any kind of chemical processing changes the structure of your hair and will affect the outcome of our work. And not in a good way.
6) Beware of the colorist who promises the world in one appointment. Successfully altering hair color (especially if you’re going from one extreme to another) can easily take three or four visits, spaced five-to-six weeks apart. If the colorist tells you that today she can take your black hair to platinum, get up and leave. If she promises red hair to blonde in two hours, get up and leave. If she agrees to color and relax your hair in one appointment…yup, get up and leave. I know it feels awkward, but don’t bother explaining why it’s not right for you (most likely, the person won’t understand the problem, or worse, will try to convince you otherwise); and you’ll be the one who suffers in the end. Just tell them you need to think it over, thank them very much for their time, and skedaddle. And then go have a celebratory cocktail, because you just avoided a hair-color catastrophe.
7) Ask them what technique they plan to use (i.e., foiling, painting, applying allover color); they should have a good idea from the get-go of what will net you the best results. That said, if you see, hear, or even smell a cap coming at you—the plastic headpiece used with a crochet hook to pull strands of hair through tiny holes--run like hell and tell Houston you have a problem. It’s the coif equivalent of me inviting you to a party in 2012 and playing music on an eight-track tape. (And no, I don’t want to know if you’ve never heard of an eight-track.)
8) Check to see if the person is consistently busy. A good colorist will almost always have a client in the chair, and a flow of confidence about them. They should be pleasant, but not overly chatty. (No, it’s not rude; it’s good…it means the colorist is concentrating on the work instead of your love-life.) They might even have extra real estate in the salon, with two chairs or stations reserved for their clients.
9) Don’t be surprised if there’s an assistant working alongside. Just as a doctor has a nurse to hand over the scalpel and wipe a sweaty brow, a talented colorist will have someone on standby to pass foils (and maybe wipe that brow).
10) Beware of up-charges for “color correction.” Unless you’re walking in with virgin hair, every appointment with a new colorist is considered a correction. So ask them for the price from the get-go, and if they’re talking big dollars for hair fixes, make sure they justify—and explain--the added expense.