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I think we can all agree that sometimes there are miscommunications behind the chair. An inch to a stylist may feel like a yard to a client and one person’s red can be another person’s orange. While communication and understanding between stylists’ are usually close to the same perspective, clients are another story. How many times have you had a client sit in your chair and tell you that they want “golden” highlights, only to witness their dismay when the color comes out “warmer” than they would have hoped. That’s why we’re detailing our top tips for client consultations when it comes to talking about tone!

As stylists, we go through an infinite amount of education, which is constantly growing and changing. We learn about colors in a different way – our eyes are trained to see layers of undertones and organize hints of color families. While our vision and education about color is constantly evolving, we can do our best to teach clients along the way – ensuring communication gaps are minimal.

Start with warm versus cold

The biggest distinction between tones is usually between warm and cool and that is a great place to start. Most clients can understand the difference between these because they are on opposite sides of the spectrum and are fairly large groups of colors. Warm can be associated with anything from pink to red and gold, while cool usually refers to green, blue and violet. Within each of these families there is an infinite array of the rainbow – so stick to the basics before getting into the details.

Refer to images

Hairdressing is a highly visual career. Even if you are excellent at communication, visual representations are the quickest and easiest ways to ensure you and your client agree. While discussing warm versus cool and ashy versus golden can get a little hazy, showing a photo and agreeing on the outcome are bulletproof. When referring to images, be sure to find and decide upon tones that are similar in base color and skin tone to your client.

Discuss Upkeep

Discuss with your client that this is not a one and done process. While we hope it wouldn’t, hair is a living, breathing thing and is prone to change over time, which means hair color will too. For highlights, it is recommended that toner or gloss be applied every 4-6 weeks to ensure tone stays true. In between appointments, using a color safe and often times a color-depositing shampoo is key. Suggest using a lavender-hued formula to keep blondes’ and highlighted brunettes’ brass at bay to using a color-safe formula to protect hair color against fading.   

Our product picks:

Matrix Total Results So Silver Shampoo

Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo

Matrix Total Results Color Obsessed Shampoo


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