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As a stylist, you must play “fairy godmother” to your clients’ strands. And, much like Cinderella was transformed from rags to a princess, you, too, are expected to work your magic by transforming lifeless locks into stunning works of art. Unfortunately, you’re likely not holding a magical wand in your hand, but rather a mere coloring brush and a bowl full of dye, which can only alter color so much. So what should you do when your ebony-haired client comes into the salon begging for long platinum locks a la Kim Kardashian? Don’t panic! Keep reading to discover easy ways to handle clients’ expectations without sending them out the door.

Have a thorough consultation

Even if your client is waving a picture in front of you, sometimes the end goal can get lost in translation. Carve out sufficient time (at least 10 minutes) to thoroughly analyze your client’s strands. In addition to discussing what type of look your client wants, give your client a full assessment of her hair by asking about her hair history (i.e. how much heat does he or she use, when was the last time she got a cut, has he or she ever dyed her hair, etc.).

Keep your tone in check

Pay attention to the way you speak to your client. The last thing you want to do is belittle your client or undermine her in any way. One surefire way to get rid of a client for good is to laugh at her when she suggests something extreme. Instead, remain calm, cool and collected at all times.

Discuss the process

Before even attempting to create a drastic change, take the time to explain the techniques involved. For example, say your dark-haired client wants to go platinum blonde. Tell her that this isn’t a simple “one-and-done” operation—her color needs to be lifted gradually. Explain to her that achieving the color in multiple sessions is the only way to go unless she wants her hair to literally fall out in chunks! Reassure her that even though the process may not be overnight, you are dedicated to giving her exactly what she wants as long as it doesn’t compromise the hair’s integrity.

Reassure your client of your expertise

No matter how confident your client may be, remember that you absolutely know what’s best for her hair. Tell your client about your success with any similar requests you may have done in the past. Also, stress to your client that not everything is as it seems. Sure, her favorite celebrity may have gone from black to blonde overnight, but that doesn’t mean that her hair isn’t falling out, forcing her to make a drastic chop and wear extensions on a daily basis.

Inform your client about the risks involved

One way to get your point across? Tell your client what exactly would happen if you took her from black to blonde in one session. Hearing you say that her hair will actually break off and fall out is a surefire way to get her to see your side.

Encourage her to enjoy the process

Yes, coppery strands are not necessarily fun, but, after a couple of sessions, those golden locks start to look fresh and youthful. Remind her that taking the appropriate amount of time to achieve a certain color doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Reassure her that you both have the same end goal: creating the hair of her dreams!