How to Prepare your Client to go Blonde
Instagram is a wonderful tool to help you advertise your work and services as a hairstylist….but it has also created a bit of a conundrum for us stylists as it makes very difficult hair colouring services seem magically easy and simple to audiences that are desperate for beautiful, long, blonde hair but have no clue about the process involved to go blonde!
A lot of photos and videos on Instagram, Facebook and other forms of social media make it appear to our clients that they can go from dark brown to platinum blond with the flick of a wand – and that it’s fast to do and easy to maintain (and therefore should be cheap).
Well, you as a hairstylist know much better than that…and it’s your job to educate and inform your clients if they are considering to go blonde.
So…what are some things that you can or should do to politely educate your client if they’re deciding to make a big change and go blonde?
I myself have been platinum blonde for YEARS and get people asking me about going blonde all the time because they see my hair colour and they want it. So, here’s a list of what these curious future blondes have appreciated from myself and my colleagues before they decided to make the commitment to the service.
During the consultation
If your client is going blonde, you MUST give them a thorough consultation at your chair before performing the service.
You need to explain that going blonde is a process and depending on how dark their natural colour is and/or their colour history, you may need multiple sessions (if it is at all possible).
Under-promise and over-deliver to get a happy client! Do NOT tell your client that they will be platinum blonde after their first session if they hair is a level 3 dyed with box colour. They will not trust you after you are unable to deliver the results that you promised them. And they might get angry, refuse to pay, leave a bad review, tell all their friends, etc.
You MUST assess the condition of your client’s hair. If their hair is already dark and damaged due to over styling with heat products or other previous chemical services, it is very possible that going light blonde is not even an option for them – not if they still want to maintain the length of their hair. You must be honest with them if their hair can not handle bleach or lightener. If their hair is going to break off considerably or if they are going to end up with a chemical cut, you must tell them. And as a professional, you must decide whether or not you would even be comfortable doing it for them if you know their hair is going to end up on the floor after you’ve bleached it. Your work will carry your name.
If necessary, do a test strand for them to show them how much their hair will realistically lift in one session. Once their strand has lifted, show them what options they will have for their toners after their first session.
It is better to take the half an hour to do a test strand than to spend hours and use up a whole bunch of products doing their full head right away only for them to leave disappointed because they were hoping to be blonder.
Explain the cost of the service
Going blonde is not fast. Going blonde is not easy.
It will take time and it will take a lot of products and it will take your skills, patience and careful eye. You will need to dedicate a considerable amount of time to this client and this client only while they are in your chair because you may need to constantly check their hair as it lifts, and rinse out sections as they reach the desired level. You should not be squeezing in other clients in between a blonding appointment.
With this in mind, you need to politely explain to your client the technique you will need to use to get your client the look that they are hoping for, how long this will take and what it will cost them. Explain any products that you may need to use in order to give them the professional results that they are looking for (e.g. Olaplex or a special bleach with a plex already in it).
Different salons have different pricing techniques. Some charge by the hour, some charge per service. This is up to you to decide. But you need to let your client know the cost during the consultation so that they are not surprised after spending 7 hours in your chair that they need to pay $700 plus tax. It is not your salon receptionists’ job to be the front lines of slapping them in the face with the bill after the service has been completed. Be honest and be upfront about the cost during the consultation. Most people will ask you anyways.
Explain the maintenance
As a professional hair stylist, it is your due diligence to explain to your client how often they must come in for root or highlight touch ups and the cost of these services.
The last thing you want to do is bleach your client to platinum blonde only to find out that the frequent root touch ups don’t fit their lifestyle or budget.
Explain the Aftercare
Going blonde can also be a bit of a lifestyle change (and not just because blondes have more fun). Blonde hair requires a considerable amount of TLC from your client at home in between visits to your chair.
They will most likely need purple shampoo and deep conditioners/treatments once to twice a week. They will also need heat protecting products before thermal styling if they blow dry their hair at home.
As a professional hairstylist, you are like their doctor giving them a prescription on how to take care of their blonde hair. You don’t want their hair going brassy or yellow or breaking when they are at home and then coming to blame you if they think it is because of something that you did during the service, when in reality they are just not using the right products at home. Their hair needs to look as good as possible between their blonding appointments with you as this will be a reflection of your work and advice. Also, they will think about you whenever they go to pick up and use one of the products that your recommended/sold to them.
Consider taking a deposit
If this is the first time this client has visited your salon for a consultation and they want to go ahead and book the blonding appointment, consider taking a deposit.
You will likely be booking at least 3 hours of your day (and maybe the entire day) for a highlighting or blonding appointment and you want to make sure that they will show up (otherwise you could have booked in other clients instead). At least, if they don’t show up, you will still get some compensation for reserving a large portion of your day for them.
Your salon most likely has some protocol already in place for the deposit. It may be a flat fee (such as $100) or it may be a certain percentage of the service.
Explain the cancellation policy (e.g. 24 or 48 hours’ notice) and that the deposit is non-refundable if they do not show up for their appointment or if they do not cancel with the policy’s time frame.
Explain to your client that this is your salon’s policy for all new clients that require large colour services and that you will be taking a non-refundable deposit to secure their appointment. In return, they can rest assured that they will have your full and undivided attention during the service.
Before their blonding appointment
Advise your client not to wash their hair 48-72 hours before their appointment, especially if you will be applying lightener directly to their scalp.
I have been bleaching my roots since 2014, and I can tell you from personal experience that having some natural oil on my scalp definitely helps with the sensitivity.
Even if you will be using an on-scalp lightener, a little extra protection from some natural oils is a good idea and will make the service more comfortable for your client.
Consider a Waiver
Some salons will get their clients to sign a waiver before any chemical service (e.g. blonding, perms, keratins, Japanese straightening etc.) that explains to them what they can expect, the cost and that they understand any risks or complications of the service.
You may want to consider getting your blonding client to sign a waiver that they understand the cost, the time, the maintenance and the potential damaging effects of blonding. Also, that if they decide to change their mind and go back to their original colour after the blonding, that this will be at extra cost to them.
We hope this helps you with your blonding consultations! Our clients have always appreciated our professionalism during our consultations and the care and attention that we give to them.
Stay tuned for a sample waiver form and more information on our favourite bleaches and blonde after care products!