Great Expectations

Clayde Baumann

Our Guest PAINTER for November, Clayde Baumann, is an award-winning colourist based at the exceedingly successful D&J Ambrose salon in Pinner. As a Wella Professionals Colour Creative, he knows that client expectations can be tricky to get a handle on – luckily, he has developed the perfect formula…

In my personal journey as a colourist, I am finding that managing customer expectation is becoming more and more the key to ensuring the success of an entire appointment. With the advent of information technology being available at our fingertips, clients are increasing their own in-salon knowledge at an exponential rate and now, more than ever, possess a strong idea of what’s trending and what they want.

To meet these expectations, I have been working on ways to always stay one step ahead of them, and I’m revisiting some fundamental and core thoughts during the colour process – I’m calling this the Intuitive Colouring Process.



Hairdressers see the word and think to themselves “yes that’s obvious” – but are you really doing enough during your consultation process to ensure the success of the entire appointment? One resounding element that seems to really make or break the consultation process is the hairdresser’s ability to listen carefully, and to then correctly interpret what the client is asking for. In this part of the appointment, I am generally formulating a prescription; that’s everything from what I’m going to use in the salon and why, to creating a full maintenance programme and home-care system for them. Once the consultation is complete, I feed back the information to the client so that they can choose what they do and do not want. I also find that clearing up the price before starting generally relieves the client of uncertainty, leaving them in a state to relax and enjoy the appointment.

Placement and product choice

This is where the colouring process becomes intuitive. Once I have completed the consultation, I will take a dedicated 5-10 minutes to formulate both the product selection with mixing ratios, as well as the placement and method of execution. What I would suggest is not only looking at the client’s history and notes, but also the history in the hair to see which existing elements can be used to enhance or change the final look. I will also look for ways to work with areas that need troubleshooting as opposed to against them.

This means I am really taking the time to figure out which colour range within my portfolio from Wella Professionals is best suited to her hair type and colour needs – here are some questions I will ask myself to establish which range I will use on which client:

How dense is my client’s hair? Colour with dense pigment can make the hair look thicker and conversely for more translucent pigment on thicker hair.

Can I create a multi-tonal effect with deeper pigment underneath to make fine hair look thicker, etc? Balayage in thick hair sometimes still needs foil to separate, which means more product, stronger peroxide or a more liquid mixing ratio for ease of application – these are all the things I am thinking about and planning for.

What is my client’s personality type and what is her personal maintenance plan for herself? Am I going to opt for bright colour that last short term? Does she like bright colour that lasts longer? Am I going to change her colour in six weeks and how do I ensure this is an easy process with minimal damage to her hair?

What is the haircut going to look like? How do I compliment the colour and work with it? Will it be layered? What can I do to the colour to make the shape look more cohesive?

Peroxide choice – what do I want to achieve? How much undertone do I need to eliminate? Sometimes using the same pigment but mixing two formulas (one with a stronger peroxide) can provide some seamlessly beautiful results with faceted colour.

Topcoat? Nail technicians do it, why can’t we? With products like Perfecton and Color Fresh from Wella Professionals, there are many opportunities to create the ultimate bespoke finish by layering one colour product on top of the other. Another way to make this intuitive is to use home-care products like the INVIGO Color Recharge range in the salon on the customers so that they can experience its efficacy first hand. To create a beautiful rose-blush, I could use the INVIGO Color Recharge Conditioner in Red on pre-lightened hair as a toner and then send the client home with a bottle. Simple, effective and noncommittal.

Ultimately, I feel it’s time to bring one single concept to the foreground: listen and connect to your customer. Try and find what it is that makes them tick and what they feel will make her feel beautiful. It’s then your job as the professional to create a look that not only incorporates your client’s vision but yours as well. Take your client on a creative journey and they’ll feel like a star – but keep them on that journey and you’ll organically perpetuate your working relationship with them for life.