3 Tips to Help Stylists Connect Hair Color & Cut

Connecting Hair Color and Cutting

Ah, hair color and cut. Has there ever been a more beautiful relationship? It belongs up there with the greats: Peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper—color and cut! One simply isn’t as strong without the other.

To put it another way, we’ll quote Jacob Khan from a recent interview that he did with us: “Cut and color working together is obviously important. You can have a great cut, and ruin it with the wrong color. Or vice versa. Nobody can pay attention to their beautiful tone and blend if their bangs are jacked up.”

While many stylists choose to departmentalize and either only cut hair or only perform coloring/lightening services, there are plenty of stylists who do both (or would love to do both). Similarly, within a single salon, their may be stylists who specialize in either cutting hair or coloring hair, but who work together in support of a single client or guest. 

If either of these scenarios describe you, then it’s crucially important that you understand the relationship between color and cut. 

The Importance of Color and Cut Working Together

Simply put, the right color (or lightening) service will be one that matches and compliments the cut and style of the individual’s hair. Color should work alongside the haircut in order to create an area of focus which either draws attention to, or away from, a certain feature of your client (depending on their wishes). 

For example, a client who is self-conscious about a scar on her forehead might choose a style designed to draw attention away from that area of her face. Done right, any color treatment would compliment this and work alongside it. 

Done wrong, and the two would clash: The cut and style could be trying to accomplish one thing, while the color is trying to accomplish another. At best, this results in a confused look; at worst, it could result in a look that does exactly the opposite of what the client wanted.

Tips for Connecting Color and Cut

Struggling to get better at connecting color and cut for your clients? Below are some tips that can help!

1. Have a clear idea of the end goal before doing anything.

Before you pick up your scissors or balayage brush, you need to understand your client’s goals. Without this understanding, you’re playing a guessing game, and it’ll be nearly impossible to guarantee that the end result will be one that they’re happy with. 

That’s why you should always start with a hair consultation that asks all of the most important questions and guides you where you need to be. Use photos to guide your client’s expectations and truly understand what they are trying to achieve.

2. Follow the right order.

Generally speaking, the color should always be created based on the cut—not the other way around. This means that you should start with the cut, and use that to guide your coloring/lightening strategy.

Typically, we’d recommend that you do a foundation cut first, bringing the hair roughly in line with the length and shape that it will ultimately take. Then, you should formulate and finalize your color/lightening strategy, making sure that your client is onboard with the plan, and proceed to color the hair. Once that is done, you should finalize the cut, dry, style, and texturize to complete the look.

3. Maintenance is key.

For many guests and clients, a great color and cut is a smart investment. By putting in the time to find and develop a look that truly compliments their features, and then maintaining the look with regular cuts and touch ups, it’s possible to get quite a long life out of a single look. 

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