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Stylist maintaining standards retention

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mike vallance

Stylist maintaining standards retention

I have decided to touch on some of the issues that. Salon owners and managers encounter. One that stylists need to address. Clients can often be effected by. What could this be? Quite simply “A poor or bad job”. Accidents can and do happen things can go wrong, But excuses are easy to fall back on.

Blaming. The product. The client . The salon owner team work mates! How about taking responsibility for your self and your actions. Raising your own personal standards of skill and knowledge, taking responsibility being accountable. yes stepping up! Some of those reading this may well be thinking. What gives me the right to raise these issues? Well it needs looking at and is so often ignored! Sadly because it happens to often and needs to be addressed. If it’s not you great well done you. But I bet you know a stylist who this addresses?

What are these poorly done services.

Lets start with what is so basic and yet can be a huge problem for some. Bad or wrong formulation. Poor application of product.

Bad formulation can be the cause of. Poor or thin deposit this can be seen as a lack of the N series. Hot roots can be caused by a wrong assessment during the consultation or wrong choice of formulation. Also colour and Developer and timing. The consultation the time we put into making a correct assessment will improve this along with understanding of the colour wheel. Maybe take the time to read the technical manual that came with your colour chart it’s normally the black stuff you need to read! Assessing Grey issues. This includes the amount of N series required in formula . When the colour is thin with poor deposit then wrong formulation is the only answer nothing else!

During the consultation ask many questions we have so many products on the market that clients use and have access to. Touch up crayons colour refreshing products they can deposit unwanted things on the hair that may effect colour deposit. so structure your questions to find out as much as possible. Either not enough N series in formulation or wrong developer  poor timing! All down to stylist technician application of the service they are offering.

Never put the shade chart on a clients lap and say what colour do you want to day ! Good Consultation and assessment is the key. The shade chart is your directory your manual.


Mudding browning out colour.

Again when this situation arises the stylist has to look in the mirror and take responsibility. This is caused by applying a formulation to the roots. Having chosen formulation developer mixed applied for either lift or Grey issue. This formulation should not be left for 20 mins in the bowl then applied as as the refresher! this product has oxidised in the bowl. Its of no use. If it was a formulation for a grey issue then it certainly no good on so many levels.

The mid lengths and ends will in most cases be previously coloured so they need colour balancing,applying the root formulation will over process and will cause dull muddy or brown out your colour. Not to mention longer term issues to condition and colour retention!

Banding. Normal and Grey hair issues:

Yes maybe a repeat of topic! But banding is poor application of the product either over lapping or not enough application of product. [watch how much product on your brush and thickness of sections] When related to Grey issues banding is normally wrong assessment of formulation in most cases when considering Grey hair coverage the normal rule is [25%  of the N series would be required in formulation if 25% Grey in any given two inch section seen during consultation assessment.] what ever the percentage of Grey in any area you need that amount of N series in your formulation! if in doubt consult your colour manual for formulation mixing ratio’s.  Yes two things to remember you may be 70% Grey on the top section and 40% at the back different formulations required!  That being both the N series and indeed developer choice. It’s not just mix and slap it on!

Hot roots.

How many times have I. Do I see this. That colour with bright roots. They can be. Red. Copper. Bright orange. This arrises with both home colour and in the salon.

Cause.Wrong formulation wrong developer. build up of colour through over processing mid lengths and ends.You know the look. A fashionable Brunette. Natural deep Reds. visually the roots are bright hot more lift than colour deposit. The regrowth has not taken the colour it’s just lift bright tacky looking.  [Also happens with Grey issues again N series in formulation choice of developer]


Hot roots is caused by. Wrong choice of colour wrong developer. Amount or ratio of mixed formulation! normally shade chosen lacking enough blue pigment or the choice of developer was way to high or mix of both. Remember although you chose a target colour you may still need so N series to prevent this form happening. All this leads to stylist error ! not the product.

Colour Balancing Combing colour through.

great rich Demi deposit red

Again Mid lengths and ends of colour need to be colour balanced a formulation to refresh. Not lift and deposit .Do not apply old left over colour from root application. Mix less to start with .Think salon wastage!! think about our environment pollution. I have and do see so many stylist combing colour through sort of slapping on mid lengths and ends working colour in a little but rather hit and miss. One needs to take section and apply colour evenly down the hair shaft full cover is essential. all of the above issues are caused by poor application and wrong assessment. No excuse it’s the stylist technician who need to stand up and be counted !!

Highlights. Lowlights.

May different forms of this technique from caps to foil to papers.Most of the issues that arise stem from formulation and application. The issue of heat is it dries out the product and causes it to expand.think on these two issues.

1/ where does the moisture come from that forms inside the plastic cap when you put highlights under dryer or heat?  from the formulation.

2/ why does the product seem dry and flaky and the lift is patchy. product drying out from heat.

Just try. No heat. plastic bag is ok but just formulation and timing=patients

Cap Highlights.

Biggest issues over lapping product on hair already highlighted leading to breakage. Try to use a cap on hair that is to long! use of wrong toner!

Foil and papers.

Where to start so many issues on this maybe weave and sections. Uneven weave and not thinking about placement of foils or papers. ket is to make sure that you don’t create a root looking issue and your sectioning is even and clean. working to the plane or curve of the head!

folied up


Again the stylist has to take responsibility for this. Caused by sloppy application. untidy work. Application of two much product. to root area. foil or paper squashed either squeezing product into roots or folding paper or foil so tightly no room for expansion of the product especially Bleach. If adding heat the product will expand more and quicker before then drying out as the moisture evaporates. [ A thing i think not required it’s formulation and timing]. Adding heat to the formulation lift process can also create beading sort leopard spots.Cause the product dries out and does not expand giving even lift.


Big patches of bleached hair random caused by two much product application the products spreads out drawn toward the scalp by naturally produced heat. it seeps out of paper or foil expands and creates blobs. Stylist error.


Caused by overlapping Bleach or product and over processing hair it will stretch and break off when being combed out. HAIR IS VERY FRAGILE WHEN WET! especially after chemical service. It becomes stronger as it dries and the Keratin starts to harden.

Poor lift wrong Tone.

shades tone

Well this goes back to grass roots formulation and timing. poor lift will with highlights normally cause problems with to much warmth. Possibly to Orange or yellow if this is the case an assessment to re apply more lifting formulation normally bleach decolouriser. Or toning to control pigment exposed.

shade and tone pigment

To many stylist when toning reach for the ash toner! you have to assess the tone you have and work out what is needed to neutralise that unwanted tone. Ash,Violet, Beige. consult the colour wheel . it’s about balance. Orange normally requires Ash toner. Yellow normally requires Violet toner.

Poor uneven lift when lightening previously coloured hair.

This topic could be classed as corrective. If you don’t have the skill the knowledge seek help! or don’t take it on. get the skills first. In this case one would have to colour or lift from the ends to get an even degree of lift down the full hair shaft. It takes time and patient and application of different formulations working into the roots.Remember the roots in this instance will always lift very quickly. See previous [ Posting Colour case review on Highlighting a solid colour]

What can we do about all these issues. Well it going to take some honesty about your skill level .How much you are prepared to do to reach your full potential become a true professional.  The skills that we all need to address constantly are as follows.








Finally it is a journey of self discovery we constantly need  to up date stay current be honest with our selves about maintaining those standards. Learn to be a team player listen to other’s.Take constructive criticism.Loose the Ego. Enjoy what you do.

Finally Trust the colour wheel each and every day .Don’t settle for second best or that will do !!

The ‘Three R’s’ 
”Reputation. Recommendation. Retention”. 
It’s not built on that constant looking for new clients it’s looking after what you have! It’s investing in your self and your business and those around you.


This journey, this career, is wonderful – challenging, inspiring, and yes, hard work.

Our industry is in constant change and is sometimes criticised. For lacking vision in some areas. However there is an ever growing body of professionals. That have a firm commitment to our industry, they have a passion for change, to raise standards through education and sharing. Leadership, education and team incentives.Will over time and with commitment give any individual that ability to do exceptional work and to be more creative. Leadership and management help create an amazing work environment for all concerned. So key for success for all concerned.
This journey. This career, is wonderful – Challenging. Inspiring and yes can and will be hard work. but the rewards are worth all the effort.
Thank you all for letting me share some thoughts with you today.These are inspirational, passionate, industry professionals.They have a vision. These are the people I want on my bus to learn from, share with, take a journey with. Get inspired. Connect with driven motivated industry professional. challenge your self. invest in ones /your self 

Are you driver or passenger !

 There are no guarantees in life and ones career and career choice is no different thing happen and its how we deal with them that defines us. Jobs change relationships come and go the one thing that remains after training is our skill both hands on creative and the ones we learn about people and communication about caring about being a team player. Constantly developing new skills staying current is so very important.

I also think that we need to always look at the WhyAsk the question Why are we in business whats it for? OrWhy do we want to go into to business what is success? Why do I suggest this I think by asking and exploring the why we get to the motive behind why we want to be in business what is true success. Why the will also help us to understand our true values this in turn helps us to follow the path to the success we want  and desire. It will help us to surround ourselves with the right team those who share our values and vision.


Remember. Salon success. Stylist success. Business success are all linked together it’s Team success. Its never about any destination only ever about a journey taking the right people on that journey makes it enjoyable maybe even fun!

Mike B2MR

The salon and the S word now available in book and e book format for links to purchase and reviews Click here or on the image.


The Salon & the ‘S’ Word

 Written by Mike Vallance

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