This Is The Biggest Mistake You’re Making During A Creative Colour Consultation – And How To Solve It

This Is The Biggest Mistake You’re Making During A Creative Colour Consultation – And How To Solve It


The success behind great creative colour lies in the consultation, but what are the common pitfalls many hairdressers get wrong? Paul Mitchell educator, Victoria Panting, shares all.

Victoria Panting

Victoria Panting

The biggest mistake I see is hairdressers not taking enough time in the consultation to thoroughly understand the investment the client has in their hair. To clarify, when we are talking about ‘investment’, in this scenario we are talking about the financial investment and time invested. It is vital to understand this from the perspective of your client from the get-go to prevent any change of direction mid-appointment.

Let’s start with financial investment. This topic should always be handled sensitively, and I always like to give a personal tip – do not judge a book by its cover. 

Have an open conversation with your client about how much they have budgeted for their hair today; this will help you understand their financial comfort level. By having this conversation, you may find that what they want to achieve doesn’t sit within their budget,
so it allows you to recommend an alternative service. 

Other things to consider when discussing financial investment in hair with your client are how much your client has budgeted for haircare to maintain their colour. This means it’s more important to educate your client on the importance of home maintenance.

It’s also important to find out how often your client can afford to visit the salon for colour refreshes. Recommend a service with maintenance that matches their budget.

Next, let’s consider investment in time. How much time can your client invest in their hair? Today – if they are tight on time, can we achieve what they want within that time?

Victoria Panting working

This also relates to appointment frequency – ask yourself will this service require a monthly visit to the salon, is this a realistic expectation for your client? If not, will an alternative service provide the longevity your client is looking for?

Finally, can you recommend any retail products which will help the client to maintain their look at home at a time and frequency that suits them? Setting realistic expectations when it comes to ‘investments’ is vital to a happy client.





Things fall apart, it’s inevitable, but it’s how you respond to failure and grow from it that will lead to success. 

Unsplash Bernard Hermant

Unsplash/Bernard Hermant 

That fuzzy feeling when you attract a new client, turn a lovely profit, or receive a pat on the back for a job well done… it’s great, isn’t it? But life can’t be all good news. We humans are bound to take a wrong step and face failure at various points. Instead of seeing failure as the bogeyman of business, see opportunities for improvement, suggests Gina Conway, owner of Gina Conway Aveda Salon and Spa. “I had to close two locations after lockdown. But I looked at the positives. I had more time and energy to put into one salon and academy, and breathed fresh life into it. Knowing what I know now, and after many ups and downs, I feel I’m in the best professional place in my life.” Failure can be used as a litmus test to figure out whether you’re on the right track in your business. “Sometimes, the world isn’t quite ready, and it’s telling you to listen harder and make some changes,” adds Gina.

Ben Lifton, founder of social media marketing brand Content Kweens, marketing services firm UGC Creators, and a speaker at Salon Smart 2024, advises to check if what you’re experiencing is actually failure… “or does the thing we wanted not serve us anymore”? If it is failure, sit with the feeling as “only once we feel it, can we start to move through it”. Then he advises to process that but “don’t look back and regret”, because that leads to resentment. Afterwards, “identify what influenced us to end up where we are now”, then finally learn and take that learning forward.

“Knowing what I know now, and after many ups and downs, I feel I’m in the best professional place in my life.”

Gina Conway

Perceived failures can leave everyone in a business feeling deflated. But at hair and beauty salon Fringe Benefits in Gloucester, owner Marina Hodgins employs a positive approach to turn things around. “When team members have left and taken their clientele, which has a detrimental effect on turnover and team morale, we dust ourselves off and start again,” she says. “We contact clients to offer an alternative team member that they would be suited to, offering a bonus such as a free reconditioning treatment to demonstrate how we value their support. This helps to grow a team member, boosting confidence.”

Constant success could lead to complacency. Failures, on the other hand, encourage business leaders to stand up and fight. In the case of Fiona Canning Allen, owner of Ark-i-tec Hair in Bradford, failure wasn’t the end “but a stepping stone to growth”. “I’ve learnt to adapt and seek support to navigate the evolving landscape of salon ownership,” she admits. “Through these experiences I’ve become resilient, determined to flourish even amid challenges, and focused on fostering a salon environment where both clients and staff thrive.”

Unless you’re superhuman, failure is an inevitable occurrence in your career. When faced with it, listen to these voices above and unpack them first. Use the experience to grow, learn and get better. Once a positive analysis of your perceived failure has had its use, move on with your chin up, head up, and heart full… 





Concerned for the welfare of your colleague or client? Celebrity hairstylist Sam Kerswell shares his first-hand experience, so you know how best to help.

Sam Kerswell

Sam Kerswell, photographed by Lynett Genockey of Harplette Photography with make-up by Tracy Graham

It’s no secret that the hair salon is seen as a safe space by clients – it’s a chance for them to vent, divulge details from their personal lives and chat to hairdressers like old friends. Often, hairdressers consider themselves to be agony aunts, but what happens when it goes beyond discussing a new relationship or family drama?

A hair salon can be a lifeline for someone experiencing abuse and may provide a safe place to seek help, be it as a client or as an employee at the space. For hairdresser Sam Kerswell, a survivor of domestic abuse, his clients knew something was up because of him repeatedly cancelling or rescheduling appointments. When they eventually got to see Sam in person, they noticed how his physical appearance had changed because of the abuse he was suffering at home.

Like so many victims of domestic abuse, Sam was afraid to speak out against his abuser, with those in his life none the wiser as to what was causing the bruises, weight loss, and much more besides. Fast forward a year, and he’s now sharing his story to raise awareness and help anyone else who is suffering in silence.

If you’re concerned about a colleague or client, here Sam shares the signs you should be looking out for, and what to do if you’re wanting to offer support but unsure how to help. 

10 things to look out for

1. Physical injuries: Notice unexplained bruises, cuts, or marks, especially if they occur frequently or seem to be escalating in severity.
2. Changes in behaviour: Look for sudden changes in mood, anxiety, or withdrawal from social interactions.
3. Isolation: If a co-worker or client becomes increasingly isolated, avoids social gatherings, or makes excuses to not participate in group activities, it could be a sign of controlling behaviour from an abusive partner.
4. Excessive absences or tardiness: Consistent tardiness or unexplained absences could indicate the need to hide injuries or emotional distress caused by domestic abuse.
5. Unusual financial strain: Notice if a co-worker or client suddenly experiences financial difficulties, such as requesting pay advances, selling personal items, or borrowing money frequently. This could be a result of financial control or manipulation by an abuser.
6. Fearfulness or nervousness: Pay attention to signs of fearfulness, nervousness, or being easily startled, especially if they seem to be in the presence of their partner.
7. Overly controlling partner: If a co-worker or client’s partner exhibits overly controlling behaviour, such as constantly calling or texting, monitoring their whereabouts, or restricting their communication with others, it could be a red flag.
8. Unexplained excuses or cover-ups: Be wary of inconsistent or implausible explanations for injuries, missed work, or changes in behaviour. Unexplained weight loss and excuses as to why is also an indicator as some abusers limit food intake.
9. Uncharacteristic clothing choices: Notice if a co-worker or client wears clothing that seems inappropriate for the weather or situation, which could be an attempt to hide physical injuries.
10. Expressions of fear or concern: If they confide in you about feeling afraid or concerned about their safety at home, take their words seriously and offer support and resources for help.

Sam Kerswell with friend Annie Franklin

Sam with friend Annie Franklin

Sam Kerswell behind the scenes

Sam behind the scenes of a photo shoot

How to help

1. Choose a private and safe space: Initiate the conversation in a private setting where the individual feels comfortable and safe. This could be a quiet office or a secluded area away from others.
2. Express concern and support: Begin the conversation by expressing genuine concern for their well-being. Let them know that you’ve noticed certain signs or behaviours that have raised concerns and that you are there to support them.
3. Listen actively: Allow the individual to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences without interruption. Practice active listening by maintaining eye contact, nodding, and providing affirmations to show that you are engaged and empathetic.
4. Avoid judgment and blame: Refrain from making assumptions or placing blame on the individual for their situation. Instead, focus on validating their experiences and feelings while offering reassurance that they are not alone, and that help is available.
5. Offer resources and assistance: Provide information about available resources, such as domestic violence hotlines, counselling services, legal assistance, and support groups. Offer to assist them in accessing these resources if needed, while respecting their autonomy to make their own decisions.
6. Respect confidentiality: Assure the individual that any information they share with you will be kept confidential to the extent possible, while also explaining any legal or professional obligations you may have to report certain disclosures of abuse.
7. Create a safety plan: Work together to develop a safety plan tailored to their specific situation, which may include steps to ensure their immediate safety, such as identifying safe places to go or establishing a code word to signal for help.
8. Follow up and check in: Continue to offer support and check in with the individual regularly to see how they are doing. Let them know that you are there for them whenever they need someone to talk to or if they need assistance in any way.

By approaching these conversations with empathy, understanding, and a commitment to supporting the individual’s autonomy and well-being, you can help clients and colleagues feel empowered to seek help and make positive changes in their lives.





Session stylist Laura Chadwick shares her top tips for success when styling onset of a music video.

Laura Chadwick

Laura Chadwick

With a background in fashion, I never imagined myself working on music videos.  

However, fate had other plans, leading me on a journey filled with unexpected opportunities and thrilling experiences. 

 It all began during the Covid pandemic when I was brought in by a make-up artist to provide haircuts and styling for a music video shoot for Inhaler in Dublin. Despite the challenging circumstances, my skills as a qualified barber impressed the production team, opening doors to a world I had never considered. 

Working on that first music video was a turning point for me. It made me realise that there was so much more to my craft than just fashion. Music videos offered a whole new realm of creativity and expression. 

With my foot in the door, my journey in the music video industry continued to unfold. A contact in Sony recognised my talent and offered me opportunities to work with various music artists, ranging from emerging talents to established names. These experiences working with smaller artists gave me a solid foundation and understanding of the industry. I learned to adapt to different styles and visions, honing my skills along the way.  

Becky Hill’s music video for Outside of Love

It was a connection through a stylist named Kyle Devolle that would change the trajectory of my career. Through Kyle, I was introduced to Becky Hill, a chart-topping artist known for her powerhouse vocals and dynamic performances. Working with Becky was like stepping into a whole new world. The scale of the productions was immense, with elaborate sets and breath-taking locations. It was an exhilarating experience, and I felt privileged to be a part of it.  

Despite my initial focus on fashion, I have found a new passion in music videos. Each project brings its own challenges and rewards, but there’s something special about seeing your work come to life alongside the music. As I continue to make my mark in the music video industry, I remain grateful for the opportunities that have come my way. I never could have imagined this journey when I started out, but I’m grateful for every twist and turn that has led me here. My story serves as a testament to the power of following unexpected paths and embracing new opportunities. With passion and determination, there’s no telling where my journey will lead next. 

10 things you need to know when working on a video shoot 

  1. Creative collaboration: Working behind the scenes on a music video as a hairstylist involves collaborating closely with the creative director, stylist, make-up artist and artists to bring their vision to life through hair design. I usually receive a brief or a ‘feeling’ of what’s wanted, then I create a separate hair mood board to complement the theme. Ensuring we all know what the outcome is going to be reduces any changes or wasted time.
  2. Versatility is key: Be prepared to create diverse hairstyles that match the concept and theme of the music video, ranging from edgy and avant-garde to classic and elegant. This is where all my years assisting on fashion shows really helped as I’ve learnt so many techniques that’s you’d never use in the salon that I can put to good use.
  3. Time management: Music video shoots often have tight schedules, so being efficient with your time and able to work quickly under pressure is essential.
  4. Attention to detail: Every strand of hair matters, as even the smallest details can make a big difference in the final look on camera. I am always right there behind the scenes, ready to jump in at any moment to keep the hair looking perfect. Of course, on video you’re going to get a certain amount of movement so it’s important to take that into consideration when choosing your style, especially when shooting on location and being open to the elements.
Becky Hill


  1. Adaptability: Conditions on set can change rapidly, so you must be adaptable and able to adjust your hairstyling techniques accordingly. On my last video with Becky Hill there was a last-minute decision to shoot in the water next to some waterfalls, so I adapted the hairstyle by creating a wet look with some oil-based products, so it retained the texture and suited the environment.
  2. Communication skills: Clear communication with the director, artists, and other crew members is crucial to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the desired hairstyles.
  3. Product knowledge: Familiarise yourself with a wide range of hair products and tools to achieve different textures, volumes, and styles as needed for the shoot. Over the years I’ve collected a large collection of products to suit every hair type and environment.
  4. Continuity: Pay attention to continuity throughout the shoot to ensure that hairstyles remain consistent across different scenes and takes. I always take pictures of the screen to look back on so the styles can be matched down to the smallest detail.
  5. Problem solving: Be prepared to troubleshoot any hair-related issues that may arise during the shoot, such as frizz, flyways, or unexpected changes in weather conditions.
  6. Professionalism: Always maintain a professional demeanour, as working on a music video set requires teamwork, reliability, and a positive attitude to deliver the best results. They are usually very long days and keeping positive and upbeat always keeps the team and artist on a positive vibe.





Jay Birmingham brings us backstage at Fashion Week to share his advice for handling a packed calendar of clients.

Jay Birmingham at BRIT awards

Jay Birmingham backstage at the BRIT Awards with Maya Jama

“Fashion month is always a huge whirlwind. Going between London, Paris and Milan is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the buzzing atmosphere of each fashion capital.

As a hairstylist deeply entrenched in this world, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the magic that unfolds backstage, and now more regularly working with clients who are attending the shows. More than ever, all eyes are on those sitting front row, therefore it is so important to nail the look head to toe.

Managing your time effectively during Fashion Week, which is typically a fast-paced and hectic period, requires careful planning and organisation. I start by looking at the schedule well in advance and the timings of the bigger shows. This allows me to predict where the buzz will be. It’s also important to prioritise, as you can’t be in two places at once. This involves carefully planning my own schedule, as travel needs to be factored in, alongside extra ‘buffer’ time to account for unexpected delays or last minute changes. Doing so helps reduce stress and ensures that I arrive on time for each commitment.

Conversely, it’s vital to stay flexible for last minute bookings which can lead to great opportunities with new talent, some of which I might not have worked with if it wasn’t for Fashion Week. Behind all the glamour is a lot of prep and hours of travel, from prepping wigs to making sure my kit is stocked, so planning in advance is key.

This Fashion Week I worked with some incredible talent, including the wonderful Maya Jama for the Albert Ferretti show in Milan. Maya’s look featured a choppy cut with bangs and lots of movement throughout the hair.

I also had the privilege of styling Maya for the BRIT Awards, which fell during the Fashion Week craziness! Maya was one of the hosts for the night, and we decided on a style featuring the ‘butterfly effect’. This involved adding numerous layers to the hair to create a textured yet sleek look, which complimented her stunning black gown. I was on hand at the O2 Arena to help with final touch ups, both behind the scenes and on the red carpet.

Jay Birmingham backstage
Jay Birmingham's hair kit
Jay Birmingham doing wig prep

L-R: Jay with Blanca Soler and wig prep for Maya

London Fashion Week also saw me create one of my favourite looks for my client, Munroe Bergdorf. It was for the Self Portrait show and focused on crafting a playful style to showcase her new bold copper colour. I love to look at the client’s colour and shades and find ways to style the hair to complement the overall aesthetic. This season also saw me work with the amazing Blanca Soler for Burberry, Amina Muaddi for the Tiffany X British Vogue event, and Xenia Adonts for the Prada and Gucci shows. All were very different and contrasting looks to one another, but it’s great to experiment with different styles and get creative. After all, this is what Fashion Week is all about!

As a hairstylist, Fashion Week serves as both a showcase of our skills and a testament to the transformative power of hair in the world of fashion. Until next season, we’ll continue to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation, one hairstyle at a time.” 


The Revolutionary Rick-Rack Curl

The Revolutionary Rick-Rack Curl

Home-made jumbo setting pins, smooth moves, and a watchful eye – respect the technique, as Lauren Bell aces rick-rack texture for The Coterie: In Session crowd back in 2021.



Want to work with influencers? THIS is how you get the best out of them

Here’s the skinny on influencer etiquette so you don’t get burned, from Thomas Walters of influencer marketing agency Billion Dollar Boy.

Team Phillipart

George Pagan, Unsplash

Think local

You need to identify your objectives for an influencer marketing campaign. This will dictate the types of partnerships you should prioritise and how to execute them. Assuming it’s a campaign designed to grow awareness and drive consideration for SMEs working to a budget, you should explore collaborations with micro-influencers in a targeted, local campaign. This is cost-effective, generating on average $5.78 (£4.55) in earned media value (EMV) for every dollar (79p) spent. It can help to boost your content output, grow your audience, and increase credibility.

Focus on TikTok and Instagram

You’ll get best value for money on TikTok and Instagram, which are still the best-performing platforms when it comes to influencer partnerships because of the reach they can generate and the number of influencers available, especially in the beauty and personal care sectors. Knowing your core target audience will determine which platform is best suited for your influencer marketing campaign. For example, TikTok typically skews towards a younger demographic. Knowing the type of content you want to create – whether it’s long form or short form, or video or still imagery – is crucial. TikTok tends to generate better performance for short-form video content while Instagram is a more effective channel for still imagery.

Who are you targeting?

You need to identify your key target audience. Focus on demographic characteristics such as age, gender and location, which are key indicators of an individual’s interests and potential purchase motivations. This will help to whittle down the list of prospective influencer partners. You should also explore subcultures with an affinity to your brand and target audience. For example, participating with influencers active in the Hairtok conversation on TikTok in which consumers share hair related content.

Go micro

These subcultures are where you’re most likely to find ‘micro-influencers’, with smaller but often more loyal and more engaged audiences. It means that they often generate higher engagement rates, which means more impactful collaborations and better return-on- investment if you’re working to a budget.

To pay or to gift?

To further keep costs down, you might want to explore gifting instead of paid collaborations, offering free services and/or products in exchange for visibility on the influencer’s channel. This method may not work for influencers with large followings since their barrier to promotion can be much higher, but this approach can be highly effective for local micro- influencers who are effective in spreading positive word-of-mouth.

Take over a trend!

Consider ‘trend hijacking’ as an approach to influencer collaborations. TikTok has changed audience behaviours and the speed at which content is consumed, popularised and then dissipates. Businesses able to spot trends and react quickly to them can gain significant reach on a budget, using influencers to join the conversation more organically. Small businesses have the benefit of being agile, so can use this strategy to effect.

Trust is key

Effective influencer marketing relies on trust, which means authentic partnerships are crucial. This is built by creating genuine relationships with the influencer and the business and its services. You can do this through gifting so the influencer actually knows your offering well and genuinely endorses it as a user themselves. Longer-term partnerships, which are far more convincing than one-off collaborations, help too. Consider committing to more than one sponsored post with an influencer or within a niche community.

Team Phillipart

Thomas Walters

 Love their content?

It could be a match Choosing the right influencer can be a challenge. It’s important that the look and feel of their content is aligned to your aesthetic, especially if you plan to amplify the content beyond their audience. Ensuring alignment leads to improved performance and engagement. You’ll need to do your due diligence and thoroughly assess an influencer’s track record to ensure they align with your values and to ensure there aren’t any contentious historic posts.

Track it all – and track the right stuff

Careful monitoring of performance to gauge effectiveness can be hard. You’ll need to work with the influencer closely to secure their first party data insights. Be wary of assessing performance against the right metrics. Beyond vanity metrics, such as engagements, you should also consider comments, saves and shares. They show deeper consumer intent.


The Revolutionary Rick-Rack Curl

The Revolutionary Rick-Rack Curl

Home-made jumbo setting pins, smooth moves, and a watchful eye – respect the technique, as Lauren Bell aces rick-rack texture for The Coterie: In Session crowd back in 2021.