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Things I’ve learned running a hair salon: color corrections

HB SuedeUntil 5 years ago all I knew about hair salons was they were places where you got your haircut. Oh, and don’t be late for your appointment and don’t forget to tip. Seriously though, that’s it. And why should I know more? I worked in Media/Entertainment Marketing.

Well, fast-forward 5 years and I’m now the General Manager of one of the largest and most successful salons in Metro Detroit. I’ve learned a ton about not only hair salons, but also the hair industry. So it’s time again for another segment in my on going blog series: Things I’ve Learned Running a Hair Salon. In the past I’ve commented on everything from Moroccanoil being the new “crack” to the fact that hair stylists can go an entire day without eating or peeing.

For this installment, we are going to talk about the “Color Correction”. For lack of a more scientific description, a color correction is simply changing the color of your hair. Sounds easy, and often times it is. However, what I’ve learned is that clients have no comprehension of what goes into a major color correction. Specifically, changing your hair from dark brown to blonde or from dark brown to a vibrant, almost neon color. It becomes a daunting task; a tedious marathon of sorts which confirms my belief that the only thing that would give me more anxiety than being a hair stylist would be being a tattoo artist or a surgeon.

FB_IMG_1430187101799Many clients, especially the younger ones who are rocking the wildly colored coiffures these days, think that hair stylists are magicians. They believe they can literally walk in the salon with dark brown hair and the stylist waves a magic wand and poof, two hours and $120 later they walk out with neon blue hair. Well, that could be true, if you want sucky hair and if we wanted to go out of business.

In reality, such a color correction takes time. Depending on the color and condition of your hair, it could take anywhere from 8 hours to 4 weeks. It’s also a complicated process of color removing, bleaching and then coloring, which wreaks havoc on the integrity of your hair, often, leaving it dry and damaged. However, recent advances in hair science have developed “bond building” products (Olaplex, Brazilian Bond Builder) that actually protect and repair your hair while the chemicals used during the process are destroying it. Craaaaaaaazy! Yet, as amazing as these “bond building” products are at repairing your hair, they can’t speed up the process. You’re still gonna be at the salon for most of the day.

FB_IMG_1430236502516Recently, One Salon stylist Mandy Hayes did a major color correction on one of her clients. It took two appointments and a total of 15 hours. During the first appointment, Mandy did two color removers and then bleached the roots and ends separately using B3 to protect the hair. She then applied Elumen and created a denim blue color. Two weeks later, after the clients hair took a breather from the initial process, Mandy bayalaged a topcoat to create the final bright teal color or mermaid hair as we like to call it. The client loved it, and it was worth the wait and the investment to have it done correctly.

So what have we learned today? If you want a major color correction done, ask yourself these two questions. Do I have the patience to have the service done correctly over 2 or possibly 3 appointments? And, am I willing to take on the investment for the service and the after care? If you answer yes to both questions, then listen to the stylist. They are not magicians they are hair scientists. They want to make you happy, but they also understand the long, harsh process your hair has to go through to obtain the color you want. They will develop a plan of attack and get you there, but there are no shortcuts. Trust them, they are experts at what they do.