Etiquette concerning dying my own hair in between salon visits.
April 29, 2012 3:23 PM   Subscribe

How do I approach dying my own hair between visits to my stylist?

I'm planning on going bleach blond (read: near-white) at the end of next month under the guidance of a new stylist who cut my hair a few weeks ago for the first time and advised me to wait a while for the dye since I had recently stripped some dark dye from my hair.
I'd love to be able to go to him every 4-5 weeks to get my hair cut and colored (I do need a cut that often, having pixie-short hair) but I'm a college student -- not poor but certainly not swimming in cash such that I feel okay about dropping what looks like will be about $150-200 on a cut and color once a month or so.
Should I express this to him at the visit? Obviously if I'm still going to him for cuts (which I would like to) he's going to see that I've done my own hair in between since I like to avoid glaringly obvious roots. Is this considered some big no-no? Like I said, this is a new stylist for me so we're not super buddy-buddy yet, but he seems like a good guy and I want to do the right thing.
posted by jorlyfish to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My stylist grumbles but doesn't refuse to serve me.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 3:32 PM on April 29, 2012

Should I express this to him at the visit?

I would. But then again I like folk who help me DIY and who are generous with their knowlege, and would stop going to someone whose response was to smack me down over their perceived, not yet tangible, financial gain.

Also, not knowing your natural hair color, it's hard to know how gentle/harsh a formulation you will need to get your color to lift out at home. The best person to clue you in to what you will need is the person who has just worked with your hair and observed it's ins and outs.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 4:03 PM on April 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

ooops ... **its ins and outs*** strike the apostrophe!
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 4:04 PM on April 29, 2012

It would have to be a very highly sought after stylist who is fully booked all the time to turn down your business (for hair cuts) because you sometimes want to colour your hair at home...
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:06 PM on April 29, 2012

My hair is naturally med-dark blond/light brown but I am growing out some darker brown so this first round of color is going to be a bit more complicated than it normally would be if I had a head of virgin hair. I'm not worried about being capable of doing a decent job of keeping it lightened myself since it's not as much of a leap as it could be, though with bleach there's always a bit of risk I suppose.

I'm not concerned about him turning me down for appointments (but point taken), more that I don't know how/if to approach the topic with him. I've been chastised by stylists before (at a SuperCuts no less) by dying my hair at home, despite comments that my hair felt very healthy etc.
posted by jorlyfish at 4:24 PM on April 29, 2012

I would simply mention your cost concerns to him. It's entirely possible that there could be maintenance visits that would not cost as much as your initial cut and colour.

I worked as a receptionist at my friend's salon for about a year, and learned that to keep a customer and to keep the salon's good reputation, they would offer services that were anything from just touching up the root and hairline for a lower price, and bang trims were always free and such.

Other options included visits with juniors in-between; or what's often the cheapest option financially but takes more time: Free or reduced-priced cuts and colours by apprentices (which are usually finished by a senior).

His formula is his fortune, so he probably won't give it away - but if you're going to do it at home, ask him for what you could get from a beauty supply that would complement what he's using at the salon. If you're going to use drugstore products, let him know exactly what they are, because he'll have to work harder to match or correct what they're doing to your hair.

It's bad form to criticize a client's hair - after all, they're there to feel good about themselves. Remember, it's your hair and it's a luxury to do fun stuff with it, and as much as people get friendly with their stylists, it's a business relationship. So let him know very nicely just what you told us. Something like "I've got a budget for this. What can we do?"
posted by peagood at 4:32 PM on April 29, 2012 [7 favorites]

So yeah, I would just express it factually like you did here, what your budget and expectations are, instead of feeling like you should ask for permission.

Or, you could just ask about what he's using each step of the process, take good notes. If he thinks you're doing a crap job when he sees you later down the line, he'll let you know! In whatever way his personal business sense sees fit!

Please don't take the chastising Super Cuts folk to heart. Plus, that can happen anywhere depending on the stylists personality. Them, not you!

It's your dollar, you are completely in control of how and when you would like to spend it ... unless you are joining some hair cult or something ... which, I guess people do ...

By my metric, a good stylist will be happy to design a maintenance program with you, within your contstraints. And life is to short to waste time and money with those who won't!
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 4:36 PM on April 29, 2012

A good stylist will understand that not everyone can drop that kind of cash every 6 weeks and will have tips to keep your hair looking good between color appointments. Bring it up. If he reacts poorly, it's time to find a new stylist.
posted by asciident at 4:37 PM on April 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Thanks everyone. I guess I was too concerned that I would personally offend him with this information somehow and needed a little fear-assuaging.
posted by jorlyfish at 4:55 PM on April 29, 2012

My stylist does what she calls a "mini" which is my roots and hairline for $15--she puts the color on and sends me home in a shower cap to rinse it out myself. We do this about every two months, and then I come in for the full thing. You might ask him about something like this, because home hair color almost never looks good, to me, at least.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:26 PM on April 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

jorlyfish, as a former stylist, i just gotta say, if you are going to attempt to bleach your own hair in between visits to your stylist, then he's liking going to be doing color corrections each time you visit him. color corrections, regardless of length of hair, and especially when it involves bleaching/toning -trying to get that damn YELLOW out! - are a frikkin' pain - especially if he's setting himself up to do it every few months or so (if he "okays" an at-home plan). i'd be surprised if he gave you a regimen to do at home that includes bleach. we're talking major potential for scalp burns, yellow - not white- hair color results, and other issues if not done correctly. also, if he gives you a formula that ends up working perfectly, then that would likely take away the best way he actually makes money.

but, i could be wrong about your stylist. i know you are only asking advice about approaching him, but maybe if you had a bit more info from where he may be coming from if he doesn't respond to your liking. but sure, you could ask him; it doesn't hurt to ask!
posted by foxhat10 at 6:29 PM on April 29, 2012

I just got my hair tipped in blue last week, and my stylist openly told me that I could touch it up myself if I didn't want to return for touchups.
posted by IndigoRain at 9:22 PM on April 29, 2012

I've been platinum for many years (hence the name!) and my strategy is to get the color done every 7 weeks and a cut every other visit, so 14 weeks from cut to cut. It usually takes about 3 hours in the salon for just the color, so I've never even attempted to try it at home myself. Definitely talk to your stylist about a maintenance plan that works for both your pocketbook and your hair - being platinum blonde is awesome but definitely ongoing commitment!
posted by platinum at 12:23 AM on April 30, 2012

I've mentioned this a few times in other hair color related askmes. I have dark brown (almost black) hair, never made a lot of money, and started going gray in my 20s and didn't feel that it suited me. I can not afford to have my roots done professionally once a month. I have been upfront on my first visit with every new stylist, that while nothing would give me greater pleasure than turning over the tedious monthly task of root maintenance over to them, it simply wasn't going to happen. I've yet to have any one give me a hard time about it. Instead they've been very forthcoming with tips on how to do it properly such as stressing only apply color to the new growth; you don't need to pull it through the rest of the hair for the last 5 minutes as most home color instructions will lead you to believe, unless the color has faded. My current stylist even gave me a tube of the professional color that she uses on me so that I could find it online and get a perfect match. It is in their best interest for you to look good, lest someone think that they are responsible for your color.

I have found that going to the stylist for color 3 or 4 times a year (every 3rd or 4th month), depending upon how flush and/or lazy I'm feeling, works to keep my color even and doesn't break the bank. A major difference is that I am sticking pretty close to my natural color and it is a single process color. Things get a bit more complicated when you are going more than 2 or 3 shades lighter or darker.
posted by kaybdc at 7:18 AM on April 30, 2012

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