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Hair Color 101- What to tell your stylist before any color application service

Alicia Boal


When you're changing up your color or seeing a stylist for the first time, it's up to you to provide information about your hair so it will lead to the best possible, "smile back" service.  Here is some must-share info for your stylist prior to a color service:

Hair History

Hair salon. Application of cosmetics.

This is the most important part of your consultation. Everything that’s already in or on your hair will determine how the new color will come out and the health of your hair (and if it’s in good enough condition to complete your desired service).

Your stylist needs to know…

  • Do you currently have color in your hair?
    • If yes, when was your last color service?
  • Did you have your color done at a salon?
    • If yes, do you know what kind of color they used (brand and/or permanent, demi-permanent or semi-permanent)?
  • Did you color your hair at home?
    • If yes, did you use box color? What kind of box color did you use?
    • Some box colors have metallic dyes that can lead to chemical reactions during future services. Also, results are not predictable and cannot be guaranteed.
  • Do you shower using well water?
    • Hard water can cause a buildup of minerals that can affect tone and overall look/feel so you would need a clarifying treatment prior to a color service.
    • Hard water can also be harsh on fresh color and can make it fade much faster. Keep this in mind and ask your stylist for recommended products to help maintain and protect your color.
  • Have you had any other chemical services?
    • Relaxers, perms or keratin treatments could affect the current health/state of your hair and porosity, which could affect the rate at which your hair absorbs the color and whether or not your hair is healthy enough for an additional chemical treatment.


colored plastic bottles with liquid soap and shower gel.

  • What kind of products are you currently using?
    • The only way a stylist can guarantee the color service (that the color will last) is with the use of the recommended color-safe shampoo and conditioner.
  • What types of tools do you use?
    • If the client is using an excessive amount of heat/hot tools without the proper products to protect the hair, there will be an increase in overall damage caused to the hair.


  • Make sure to share any known allergies, especially if you’ve never had a color service before.
  • Some color products have ingredients such as beeswax, so if someone is very sensitive to bees, they should do a test strand to make sure they do not have any kind of reaction.
  • If your stylist is concerned about the state of your hair, the best thing for them to do is a strand test (with color on a piece of hair) and/or a patch test on the skin prior to application to ensure that you do not react poorly to the color.

Being transparent with your stylist about your hair is the best way to get desired results from your service. Plus, you are strongly encouraged to bring photos to show the color you want. To make it easy, print out this blog and pre-answer the questions before your salon visit and share with your stylist during your consultation. Follow these simple steps and leave your Hair Cuttery salon looking and feeling beautiful!