Header Photo Source: Sharon Garcia / Unsplash

There’s nothing so panic-inducing as a terrible dye job, especially when you were hoping for something special to celebrate an occasion or mark a right of passage.

As a colorist, you’ve doubtless seen all sorts of hair scenarios, from the heights of euphoria to the depths of despair. Bad dye jobs definitely land on the depths-of-despair end of the spectrum … which is where you come in. Here’s how to save the day.

Advise Your Client to Wait 24 Hours

As Beth Minardi explains, you can’t tell the true color of hair that’s been dyed until you wait until it’s fully dry. When clients call in a panic about their hair, counsel them to wait at least 24 hours. In that time, they should wash it once with their normal shampoo + a teaspoon of baking powder. Leave the shampoo in for 15 minutes, then rinse and dry the hair completely.

Most likely they will still need to come in to the salon, but at least you’ll have a much better idea of the actual color you’re working with when they do.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Lies / Unsplash

Consult at Length with the Client

Bad dye jobs often create a sense of urgency, because your client just hates them so much, but really, no one’s going to die (har har) if you wait another 48 hours. It’s important to fully discuss the problem, the goals and the approach for the fix. That way, you can avoid Unhappy Client Round Two. Whether they had a bad experience with a home job or another colorist, you want to ensure they have a good experience with you, so talk through:

  • Skin color
  • Eye color
  • Clothing
  • Existing hairstyle

… and anything else that might affect the choice of color.

SOURCE: Kevin Hellhake / Unsplash

Paint in Some Lowlights

If hair goes too light, it’s often tempting to slap all-over color on top to cover it up. That’s not always the best bet, though. Instead, start painting on lowlights a few pieces at a time. Often, caramel or light brown tones will play nicely with too-bleached hair. Plus, you can minimize the amount of new product you’re putting on the hair, and therefore mitigate damage. If you’ve discussed it thoroughly, of course, you might still opt for all-over color.

Ready to save the day? Next time your clients call in hysterics, you’ll know exactly what to do!