TIGI Fuse asks award-winning colourist, Gina Khan, how she deals with managing clients' colour expectations.

With the rise of social media and connected beauty, clients are using Instagram more and more to communicate their hair goals. As a result, tensions can arise between clients and salons who both feel misunderstood. That’s why managing clients’ expectations during the consultation is the first step to breaking down the communication barriers.

Fuse asks award-winning colourist and TIGI Copyright Colour spokesperson, Gina Khan, how she manages client expectations vs hair reality.

How do you feel when clients bring pictures to share their hair goals?

GINA: We love it when clients bring in their ideas using Instagram. In my opinion, it is always better to SEE what they are thinking, because most clients cannot truly express the look or the shade of colour they would like. It’s our responsibility as the professional specialist to set up the expectations correctly and truthfully. Be clear and use consumer friendly language during the consultation so they understand what you can and cannot do.

How do you manage a persistent client?

GINA: This is how the conversation goes during the consultation…

The client says: “can you just strip out all the colour? I really am ready for blonde”.
I say: “Yes we can do a full head lightener to remove more colour, but I don’t recommend that route because the artificial hair colour does not lighten evenly and way too much orange and gold tones will be exposed. That will be a lot harder to control over the long term. In the foil, the hair lightens more because it is more controlled, and the foils trap body heat which helps to get it lighter, then we tone it as cool as possible. I feel the very warm tones will not be flattering for your skin tone. We are very careful to maintain the health of the hair, so we will be doing reparative TIGI Copyright Booster and SOS Treatments each visit. I will recommend reparative products for your home haircare as well”.

How do you react when clients show you a hairstyle that is unrealistic to achieve?

GINA: Here is an example of how I would respond to a client that might want to go lighter than I can offer.

I would say “I love the idea of going lighter and cooler, but this picture is a lot lighter than your current. There are few things worth mentioning on the process and your skin complexion that will influence your colour journey. Based on your skin tone, I recommend going as light as possible to avoid seeing too much warmth. You have chosen a very cool blonde, which will look beautiful on you. Removing darker tones from previous colour is a process. I would recommend starting with the lightest possible highlights. We could tone your colour to a nice neutral blonde, though it may not be as cool as your picture. I will aim for your colour to be as light and neutral as possible. I will also paint through the lengths for a lighter look. Your hair will look like 40-50% of what the picture is. You will definitely look lighter, but to get to this photo it will probably take 2-3 visits.”

5 top tips to break down the digital barrier

1. When clients refer to a picture they like, always ask what elements of the hair they like.

2. Listen carefully to the language the client is using during the consultation.

3. Ask your client to describe their ideal end goal.

4. The picture they are showing you on a particular day might only represent a temporary hair goal.

5. Understand what your client’s budget is. Explain the maintenance plan the target colour will require, for example toning, treatments, root touch-ups.

Learn more about how to talk to your clients on our Creative Consultation course.