When it comes to balayage, foilyage, color melting, or really any kind of transformational hair service, clear and open communication between you (the stylist) and your client or guest is key. It’s the only way that you can ensure that you’re creating results that align with your client’s desires and expectations.
While many stylists will simply try to bundle in a quick conversation in the minutes before a treatment or service, we don’t think this is anywhere near enough time—especially if this is your first time with a new client, or if they’ve gone a long time between visits. But what alternative do you have?
That’s where a balayage hair consultation comes in.
What is a Balayage Consultation?
Also called a hair consultation or even just a hair consultation, a balayage consultation is a conversation between stylist and client which is designed to help you understand and deliver on the goals of your client.
Typically, the discussion will revolve around their hair history, their hair goals, and the technical aspects of their hair (like texture, current levels, etc.).
But the hair consultation also lets you begin building a relationship with your client. It’s where you are able to connect, communicate, and set expectations for their hair journey. It’s where you begin setting realistic expectations for what your services can, and can’t do, and where you can give your client a taste of what it would be like to work with your business.
Questions to Ask During a Hair Consultation
Some of the value of the hair consultation certainly comes from being able to show new (or potential) clients your facilities, your staff, and your personality and vibe. But the true value for the stylist comes from the information that you are able to glean from a deep conversation, which is without a doubt going to be more informative than a 5-minute chat before a treatment or service.
If you’re new to hair consultations, you might not be entirely sure of the kinds of questions you should be asking. To help make things easier, we’ve pulled together this list of the most important questions that you should make sure you ask all of your new and returning guests.
Questions About Their Goals
These questions will help you understand what your client is trying to achieve by coming to you in the first place, which can help you manage expectations and set a rough time frame to completion.1. What is their hair’s current color, texture, etc.?
2. What do they want to achieve?
3. What is their timeline? Is there an important event or date that they are working towards? An example might be a wedding, birthday, vacation, or reunion.
4. Are they okay with the idea of multiple sessions to achieve their goals, or do they want a one-and-done approach?
5. How much are they willing to invest in their hair today, and does that include take-home products?
6. Is it important to them that they maintain length?
7. What have they done with their hair in the past that they’ve really loved?
8. What have they done with their hair in the past that they’ve really disliked?
Questions About Their Lifestyle
By understanding your client’s lifestyle, you can ensure that whatever treatment or service you are suggesting (and ultimately providing) will mesh with the bigger picture.9. What is their job? Do they need to wear their hair a certain way for the job? Are they exposed to different substances or chemicals that might impact color lasting?
10. Do they have children?
11. Do they do a lot of socializing?
12. Especially in summer months, do they do a lot of swimming?
Questions About Hair Care
Hair care routines and rituals can impact the longevity of the treatments you perform, so it’s critical that you understand how they will be caring for their hair if you are going to deliver results that they will be happy with.13. How do they like to get ready in the morning?
14. What products do they use for styling?
15. What tools (like curlers, flatirons, etc.) do they use for styling?
16. How do they style or part their hair?
17. How often do they want to have to visit the salon for upkeep?
In-Person vs. DIgital Consultations
Some stylists offer in-person as well as digital hair consultations, in order to accommodate their clients different schedules and needs. If the choice is to either have a digital consultation before a treatment or no consultation, then the going digital is definitely the better option. But otherwise, in-person consultations will always give you better results.
In-person consultations allow you to build a connection with your client in a way that can be difficult with a digital consultation. Digital consultations also have other limits, because you’re most likely working off of photos or, maybe, a video livestream (like Facetime or Skype). Simply put, it’s easier to evaluate the current condition of the hair, and to have an open line of communication, when you’re in person.
That being said, here are some tips to getting the most out of each type of consultation:
In-Person Hair Consultation1. Be sure to start with a warm welcome, and position yourselves so that you’re sitting face to face. Make them feel welcome, and show gratitude that they came in.
2. Walk through goal photos if they brought some. Ideally, you should aim to have these before the consultation.
3. Work through the questions above.
4. Share an explanation of the process or treatments you think will be necessary to get their hair where they want it.
5. Talk investment.
Digital Hair Consultation1. If conducted by email, ask for (recent) photos of their current hair, as well as goal photos of what they want their hair to look like.
2. Ask them to explain their current hair condition.
3. Once you’ve reviewed their photos, explain from your perspective what their hair condition is and explain the treatment you would recommend to reach their goals (realistically).
4. Give an estimate of how long the appointment will take and what the investment will be.
5. Book the appointment.
6. Explain your cancellation policy, and confirm the appointment.
Want more great tips about how to have an effective balayage consultation? Sign up for our in-person Salon Social Media & Color Fusion Master Class on August 12, 2019, where you’ll learn all about:
- Digital vs. In-person Hair Consultations
- Using photos to set realistic expectations with clients
- Simplifying sectioning and placement for blonding
- Business tricks
- And so much more!