But the reality of the situation is that we as stylists can get into a lot of trouble when we make assumptions. Sure, your client wants to cover up her grays, but to what extent? Does she want total coverage, or is she looking for something a little more natural that will blend in her grays with highlights and allow for a more even grow out?
More and more often, the latter option is what clients are looking for. We call it a “modern” approach to gray coverage, because it’s the modern evolution of an age-old service.
Below, we talk about why communication should be the centerpiece of everything that you do and, specifically, offer some tips that you can use to better communicate a modern gray coverage service with your clients.
Why Communication is Key
If you’re not adequately communicating with your clients, then you’re not really being effective in your role as a stylist. Simply put, before you touch your client’s hair for a service, you need to make sure that you’re aligned on certain key points. Otherwise, you’re just working off of assumptions, which can get you into a whole lot of hot water.
Some of the key areas you should be sure to cover include:
- Goals: What does your client hope to achieve? What is the desired end goal for her hair?
- History: What does your client’s hair history look like for the last two years? What products or services has she used recently? Has she recently used a permanent color, which might negatively interact with the treatment you were considering?
- Timeline: How long will it take to get your client to her goals? How many sessions will it take? Does she have a specific event or timeline that she is trying to meet? Can you accommodate that timeline?
- Process: What process do you propose to get your client from her current state to her end goal? Does she have any questions about that process?
- Investment: How much is your client willing to invest to bring her hair where it wants to be? If your proposed process is beyond that cutoff, what is another process that can bring you close to the desired result?
It’s for this reason that we typically recommend that a stylist begin all services with a hair consultation, which can be conducted in person or even virtually if you are unable to meet face-to-face. This consultation will make sure you’re aligned on everything that’s important—before your client ever sits in the chair.
It’s also important that you’re clear and transparent with your clients about what you will or will not be able to achieve for them. This will help you gain and continuously build trust that will serve you throughout your relationship.
This is as true when you’re providing a gray coverage service as it is when you’re providing any other kind of service.
Communicating a Modern Gray Coverage with Your Client
Below are sample questions that you can ask your gray coverage client to make sure that you’re both aligned and have all of the information you need to provide a service that they’ll be thrilled with.
1. Tell me a little bit about your hair. Have you treated it with any permanent dyes?
This is a super important piece of information for you, as the stylist, to know. If your client’s hair has been treated with permanent dyes in the past, lightening it through balayage or foilyage can lead to some results that your client probably doesn’t want: Namely, unnecessary warmth. Make sure that your client knows why this is important!
2. Tell me about your goals. Do you want to cover your grays completely or were you hoping for something a little more natural/gradual?
If you don’t understand your client’s goals, then it’s impossible to ensure that you’re delivering what they want. And when it comes to gray coverage, that’s really important. The difference between full coverage and blended coverage is substantial, both from a process viewpoint and an upkeep viewpoint (as we get into below).
3. How often do you plan to come back to the salon?
The answer to this question might influence whether you recommend a full coverage or more of a blended approach. Because gray blending leads to less of a line of demarcation as the hair grows out, this can be an excellent option for someone who wants camouflage their grays but doesn’t want to come to the salon every three weeks. If your client wants total coverage, make sure that they understand the shelf-life of the look before they’ll need to return.
4. What do you think about this?
Before getting started, you want to confirm your plan of attack with your client. Give them the opportunity to weigh in, and be on the lookout for any signs of hesitation. You should clear those up right away to remove any doubt they might be harboring.
When presenting your ideas, it can also be a great idea to bring more than one option. People love options! Present two or three ideas which could all work reasonably well for your client’s goals, timeline, and budget, and let them choose the one that they want. At the same time, if you have a preference for one option over another, don’t be shy about letting them know why you feel so strongly!
Usually for gray coverage, this might include a balayage option and a foilyage option, depending on exactly what end result your guest is looking for.
Want to learn more about the different gray coverage techniques you can leverage for your clients? Consider signing up for one of our online tutorials, such as Gray Blending with Balayage, Gray Blending with Foilyage, or Gray Coverage & Balayage.