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So you messed up, now what?

This has happened to THE BEST OF US!

Hair is a very unpredictable and nuanced canvas.

Techniques are a dime a dozen and sometimes, what we think is going to happen VS what actually happens are two different things.

Chemicals and hair color can be quite unpredictable, especially if you’re not fully grounded in YOUR line.

And sometimes, we have OFF Days.

The point here is that even the best of us has, at one point or another, “messed up.”

Truth is, the only way to FULLY learn is through failure.

The main difference between successful colorists, though, is how that “failure” is perceived and how it is corrected.

Today I want to, in usual Araz fashion, offer some perspective on how to handle a “mess up” situation.

Before I get into the “what to do”, I want to very clearly articulate WHAT NOT TO DO.

If you mess up, in any way, shape or form, you have to understand that no matter WHAT, it is on you to correct it.

This is being a RESPONSIBLE colorist. EVEN IF the mess up wasn't directly “your fault” it is your duty to correct it AT NO COST to the client.

  1. DO NOT IGNORE IT. Sometimes, it could be something we deem as “small” and think “the client won’t notice it” and you’re right, they may not notice it, however, pointing it out to the client and offering to correct it will do WAY MORE for your integrity AND client retention than you could ever imagine.

  2. DO NOT BLAME the client. I’ve seen this happen, where the colorist gets a bleeder and then blames the client saying something like “well you kept moving, or talking on the phone and my foil slipped”. NO. It’s your job to tell the client to stop moving, or bring airpods to the appointment, whatever it takes, to ensure that your work is SOLID.

  3. DO NOT CHARGE TO FIX IT. If you used a toner and the tone was off, DO NOT charge the client a “small fee” to do a second toner. The mis-formulation was on YOU and the client should not have to pay for that.

  4. DO NOT BECOME A MASTER SALESMAN. Convincing your client that it will be fine after they wash it a couple of times, or convincing them it looks “just like the photo” when you know it doesn’t. This is a quick way to lose a client.

So, you messed up, NOW WHAT?

I want to share a few scenarios and WHAT TO DO about them


A technical mess up- Something like a bleed mark, your root melt didn't blend as well as you were hoping, you missed a spot, you over foiled and it looks too solid, or something that requires a technical skill to correct.


Acknowledge the issue with your client right away, you could say something like

“Hey, as I'm drying your hair, I see that (insert problem). I don't love the way it looks and I would like to adjust it. Do you have time today, or can we schedule a time in the next week to refine it? This would be at no cost to you.”

Then make all of the necessary adjustments so that you feel 100% with the final result.


Your formulation was off. Maybe your toner is too dark, the root melt is too sheer, the gray coverage didn’t quite cover or something that requires you to do another formulation + application.


Acknowledge the issue with your client right away, you could say something like

“Hey, this color didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted it to, it's too (insert problem). Do you have an extra few minutes so that I can adjust and correct it?”

Then, make all of the necessary adjustments so that you feel 100% with the final result.


Client says they love their hair when they leave and within a few days, you get a dreaded text There’s something they are not 100% loving about their hair. This can get a bit tricky but I will share with you what I do.

*It is important to note that I tell all of my clients they have 7 days to let me know about any issues, and as long as it’s within the scope of what we discussed and agreed upon during the consultation, I will correct it at no charge.


If it is a technical problem, let’s say they wanted more dimension and it’s still too solid, I would add some low lights.

Let’s say the color is off tone, too light or too warm ESPECIALLY based on what they originally wanted, I would correct it at no charge.

If they changed their mind and they don’t like the tone, placement, depth, dimension, I would def charge to change it.

This is why consultation is SO important. You’ve got to be 100% clear and on the same page with your client BEFORE any chemical is mixed, before any foil is placed. This way, there is no chance of miscommunication with the client.

IF a few days later they don’t love it on them, that, is not your problem to correct for FREE. You can change things around, but this is the only scenario where I WILL CHARGE for a re-do.

There’s a theme here on what to do when you mess up. And it’s very simple.

  1. Acknowledge the mess up

  2. Take full responsibility for it

  3. Correct and adjust the problem

  4. Do not charge the client

  5. Move on and know that your client WILL appreciate the honesty.

Hope this was helpful for you. Just know that oftentimes, IF the problem is with formulation going sideways, that's usually due to us not FULLY being grounded in the science and chemistry of what we do. And lucky for you, I can help with that! Click the link below to learn more about The FUNdamentals course shop!

Until next time,

Happy hair coloring!


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