Like women, men also want to be happy with what they see in the mirror. They come to a colorist for one of two reasons: to look younger, or to look avant-garde like their favorite singer or actor. Mature men see haircolor as a necessary evil; younger men see it as something fun. But unlike women, men aren't as familiar with the process, the results or the upkeep involved with haircolor. To be successful with men, I use different consultation language and questions than I use with my female clients. I've also created a more modest pricing structure and have learned to educate them on proper maintenance. Here's how it works for me.
CONSULTATION FOR HIMUnlike women, who are conditioned to go to the salon and take care of their hair on a more routine basis, men generally don't understand what upkeep involves. So it's important to tell them that the further they go from their natural color, the more upkeep they will need in three to four weeks. Men don't like surprises like roots. Do your homework and ask a lot of questions during the consultation: Are you going to be in the sun? When or how often can you get back to the salon? Can you come before work? And watch your descriptions. Guys don't want flowery adjectives such as, "We're going to give you a honey-caramel base." They just want to hear how much better they will look and how all their friends will want haircolor, too. If a man is really uncomfortable, give him your card, tell him to think about it and let him know you'll be there when he's ready. Never try to force it. When you do color him, start out subtle. You can always do more later.
GRAY MATTERSWhen older men want to cover the gray, they think they're going to get back the shade they had as a teenager. So I explain to them that the more permanent the color, the more roots. For most of my male clients, I use a semi- or demi-permanent color to blend the gray or stain it. It rinses out gradually, with no line of demarcation. When in doubt with mature men, keep the formula cool rather than warm; men don't want to see red or orange in their hair. Also, avoid going too dark, too ashy or too one-color. This last mistake can ruin a great haircut because it makes the hair look like a helmet.
THE BLANK CANVASMen tend to be more price sensitive than women, basically because they're not used to paying for beauty services. To keep them as clients, you need to charge the minimal amount that you can. If your client is a teenager or child, find out who's paying for the service, let them know what it entails, then have them decide with you what's appropriate.
Your male clients may not know when they should return for their next color service, so be sure to advise them or rebook their next appointment for them before they leave your salon. Men are good with at-home products such as styling gels and waxes. They can also take care of their color if you take the time to educate them on which shampoos and conditioners to use. It's up to you to teach them.
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