How to colour match effectively

colour-matchAs a hair extension technician, one of the most important tasks you will perform during your initial consultation with a client is the colour match, as this holds the key to natural looking, seamless hair extensions. Colour matching can take time to master, however with a bit of knowledge and practice, you can become a pro at picking up which colours will work best for your client.

When it comes to hair extensions, there are a number of different elements that will play a role in ensuring that your choice of colour is perfect for your client. These include:

  • Using the correct colour ring
  • The condition of your clients hair
  • Available lighting
  • Multiple angles
  • Potential colour changes
  • Desired final look

Using the correct colour ring

Firstly, it is absolutely essential that for a perfect colour match you use the colour ring supplied by the company you are looking to purchase your hair extensions from. The majority of colour rings are not universal, and many will vary greatly in the shade and tone of the colour even if they are both listed with the same colour code. The only way to truly know you are going to receive the same colour that you have matched on your colour ring, is to order both from the same company.  To view our colour ring, please click the link.

The condition of your clients hair

The first element to take into consideration when colour matching your clients hair is the condition it is in on the day of the consultation. For the optimum colour match to be achieved, your client should have freshly washed hair that has been straightened and worn down. If you client does not have clean hair, this can distort the appearance of the colour, and can also make is difficult for you to fully assess the clients head. By ensuring that your client knows this before hand, this should hopefully mean that once you arrive for the consultation they have prepared their hair adequately to make your job a lot easier.

Straight vs wavy hair

As mentioned above, it is important to ask your client to have their hair down, and straightened for the consultation. This will allow you to see the colour and various tones within the hair more clearly, resulting in an accurate colour match. As the extensions you will be fitting are most likely to be straight, any colour differences will be most noticeable when the hair is straight, therefore by ensuring you match the hair whilst it is straight you have a much better chance of achieving a seamless blend.

Available lighting

When it comes to matching hair extensions you need to ensure that the hair is viewed in natural light. Standing in a poorly lit room will affect your perception of colour, meaning you may not match the colour correctly, and once the day arrives that the hair extensions are due to be fitted you may wonder why the colour does not look as perfect as it did when you matched during consultation. The biggest issue with lighting is that as many customers work full time, as a mobile hair extensionist you may find a lot of your appointments fall in the evening where no natural light is available. If this is the case the best way to combat this is to either purchase a few different shades that could be used at a later date to ensure you have enough variety to change your mind during the fitting should you need to. Alternatively you could ask that your client sends you an image of their hair in natural light so that you can re-evaluate whether or not you have made the right decision when selecting a colour. Please bare in mind however that using an image for a colour match is not always 100% accurate, and you can find out more on this subject be clicking the link.

Multiple angles

franYou then need to check the colour against multiple parts of the head. Take your colour ring, and by eye select a few colours you feel are close to the shade of your client. Then one by one, hold the colour against the hair until you find the closest match. The most important part of the hair that needs to be matched correctly is the tips of the hair, as this is where the natural hair will meet the hair extensions, and where it needs to be most seamless. You may find the ends to be slightly darker or lighter than the shade you have matched for the top of the head, and in these cases you would need to either select the colour that has matched the tips and ignore the colour at the roots all together, or purchase a mix of the 2 colours to add some dimension. Do not be tempted to only select the colour at the roots as you may find the extensions do not match once they are fitted.

If your clients hair is a mix of different colours, you first need to find your base colour, the colour that dominates the majority of the hair. Once you have located this colour you can then work your way through the colour ring to locate the additional shades. For specific guidance on matching blonde, brunette, mixed blonde, mixed brunette or red heads, please click the links.

Once you have selected a colour, you will need to check this against different locations on the head, for example the back and both sides, as you may find there are some variations and multiple colours need to be selected for a perfect match.

shutterstock_173320658Potential colour changes

When colour matching, it is also worth bearing in mind any colour changes which could possibly occur between the day of your consultation and the fitting date.  2 typical examples of this would be if your client has recently dyed her hair, and therefore the colour could fade between the date of your consultation and fitting, or if you client is going on holiday where the sun could lighten her hair.  If you are worried the colour could change due to either of these circumstances, the best way to counteract this would be to either purchase a few additional shades which could be used should the colour change noticeably (e.g. one shade darker and one shade lighter), or offer to pay the client a second consultation closer to the fitting date to reassess the colour.

Desired finished look

Finally, when colour matching it is also important to pay attention to the final look your client is looking to achieve, as this may impact your colour selection.  An example of this would be a client with dark hair, who is looking to add some lighter shades to lift the colour and add something interesting instead of just a flat brown.  By knowing this information during the consultation you can look to see which colours would best compliment your clients hair colour, and agree a strategy of colours and placement ahead of the fitting.

Still having trouble?

If you are having trouble matching the colour of your hair or a client’s hair, please do not hesitate to call the SimplyHair team. We have fully trained members of staff experienced in colour matching who will be able to guide you through the process and offer helpful advice.