Can a hair stylist match my hair color?

Whether you have years of experience or you’re just stepping into the hair extension game, a bad color match can make or break your clientele. Learn what celebrity extension specialist Drea Jaclyn (@andreahenty) from Line One Hair says are the biggest mistakes she sees when color matching extensions.

1. Choosing Hair Extensions Shades That Are Too Light

Spoiler alert—applying light-colored extensions will not make your client’s hair look lighter. Drea explains that clients (blondes especially) will request lighter extensions thinking it will lighten the overall appearance of their hair. While this can be true for specific scenarios, using extensions that are lighter than your client’s natural hair color will actually create contrast and do the opposite. “Color match extensions to the client’s natural color, not what they want their color to be,” says Drea.

Pro Tip: While color matching, pull just a few pieces out of the bundle of extensions to see what the color will truly look like. When the extensions are grouped in a large bundle, colors can be misleading. Lay just a couple of pieces against your client’s head to see how the extensions will actually look when distributed. 

Can a hair stylist match my hair color?

2. Only Applying One Shade Of Extensions

The goal when color-matching extensions is to mimic your client’s natural hair. Almost no one’s hair is the same tone from root to end on every strand—extensions should be the same. Choosing a couple of colors, one perfectly matched and one slightly lighter (or darker) to the client’s hair can create a dimensional, natural look. 

If your client is asking for a lighter or brighter color—applying more than one shade is the way to do it. Using a shade that matches your client’s natural color along with lighter tones will be able to disguise any lines of demarcation for enhanced color.

Check out this color correction from Drea—a great example of why you shouldn’t be using one shade of extensions to achieve a lighter color! 

Can a hair stylist match my hair color?

Can a hair stylist match my hair color?

3. Matching Extensions To The Root Color

Struggling to determine where to begin color matching, especially on a client with a rooty blend?

Here’s Drea’s trick: 

This will help the extensions to blend seamlessly through the ends, aka—where you’ll be seeing them the most! Color matching based on client’s root color can leave you with extensions that look heavy and obvious through the ends.

There’s nothing better than the joy and excitement you feel leaving the salon with freshly colored tresses, knowing the hours (and dollars) you spent in the process were all worth it. But not every color appointment has a happy ending. Sometimes, as your hair’s being dried, you catch a glimpse of your new color in the mirror, and (gasp!) what you feel is the opposite of joy.

Then the panic sets in—you’ve got a good 15 to 20 minutes until the blow-dryer stops, and you’ll be forced to speak. You know your colorist will be expecting gratitude and enthusiasm, but you hate what you’re looking at. What do you do? Celebrity colorists have the answer.

Meet the Expert

  • Rita Hazan is a celebrity colorist and the founder of Rita Hazan Salon in New York City.
  • Richy Kandasamy is a professional colorist and co-founder of Rokoko Beauty.

Keep reading for the best course of action when your dye job turns out all wrong.

Speak Up

Can a hair stylist match my hair color?
Can a hair stylist match my hair color?

Marnie Griffiths / Getty Images

Step one is to say something. Well, the real step one is probably more like "breathe," but after you’ve taken a deep breath, speak up.

Easier said than done? Sure, but the alternative of living with a hair color you hate isn’t much better. “Tell your colorist in a calm way that you are unhappy with how the look turned out, and he or she will be understanding,” Hazan says.

Try to explain exactly what you don’t like about the color. Is it too dark all over? Is the tone of the color too warm or too cool? Are the highlights too chunky? Is there not enough variation in the highlights? Be specific and be polite.

Go Back

Can a hair stylist match my hair color?
Can a hair stylist match my hair color?

sturti / Getty Images

Let’s say you couldn’t muster up the strength to express your disappointment while you were still in the chair. Don’t worry—you can still turn the situation around.

“If you end up leaving the salon unhappy with your color, but have been seeing the colorists for many years with only one upsetting experience, go back to get it fixed,” Hazan says. Your colorist wants you to be happy with the final result.

Plus, the person who started the job will be better equipped to make the adjustments needed, compared to someone coming into the situation without any background. Usually, the problem that’s bothering you only requires a quick fix, and most salons won’t charge you for color correction.

Go Elsewhere

Can a hair stylist match my hair color?
Can a hair stylist match my hair color?

Westend61 / Getty Images

“However, if it’s your first time with someone and you really don’t like how it turned out, I would suggest doing some research and finding a new person,” Hazan says.

When you go elsewhere, be prepared to pay. A new stylist will treat the appointment as a new color, not a color correction. If it’s a complete redo, Hazan says it’ll be worth it to get the issue fixed properly. “Or, if you want to switch stylists at the same salon, that’s fine too—it’s your hair and your money,” Hazan says. “You should never feel bad about making that decision.”

Choose a Color That's Close to Your Own

Can a hair stylist match my hair color?
Can a hair stylist match my hair color?

yacobchuk / Getty Images

Whether you opt for a new colorist, or go back to the original colorist for a re-do, opt for a color that's not too far off from your own. "Using your roots as a guide, select a color shade that is as close as possible to your natural color," says Kandasamy.

Once your colorist nails that shade, you can go lighter (or darker, depending on preference), over the course of repeat visits to the salon.

Try Washing

Can a hair stylist match my hair color?
Can a hair stylist match my hair color?

FreshSplash / Getty Images

If you’re not ready to spend another afternoon in the salon, there are some other options to try. First, go home and wash your hair a few times. Most brunette and red shades will fade a bit right after washing.

A mix of dandruff shampoo and baking soda may help remove stubborn dye.

Style it Yourself

Can a hair stylist match my hair color?
Can a hair stylist match my hair color?

Westend61 / Getty Images

Next, try some DIY styling. Sometimes there may be a stray lowlight or too intense highlight that’s bothering you that can be taken care of just by switching your part.

Or maybe your highlights don’t look as naturally sun-kissed as you would want them to in the sleek, blown-out style you got at the salon, but once you style your hair into your usual beach waves, you’ll feel differently.

Try an At-Home Gloss

Can a hair stylist match my hair color?
Can a hair stylist match my hair color?

Fabrice LEROUGE / Getty Images

If you wish your red was just a little richer, your brunette a little deeper, or your blonde ever so slightly warmer, try an at-home gloss. The difference will be minor, but if you’re looking for a small tweak, a $10, three-minute, in-shower treatment may be all you need.

Do note, however, that an at-home DIY likely won't give you the results as a salon professional. "A professional colorist can match your color more precisely than home products," says Kandasamy.

Can hair stylists match your natural color?

You could try to dye your hair to match your roots, but it's not easy to get a good match that will last. To be most successful, you're going to need to exercise a lot of patience and have a solid game-plan with your stylist. It may not be easy, but it is possible to gracefully get back to your roots.

How can I match my original hair color?

The way to do this is to look at the roots of your hair. Check right at the base of your partings, at the top of your head and along the hairline in your root regrowth. Even if you're grey – you'll still see pieces of hair that are your natural pigmented hair in this area and this the colour we want to match to.

What should you not say to your hair stylist?

9 Things You Should Never Say To Your Hairstylist.
"We Can Skip The Consultation — I Trust You!" ... .
"I Love It!" (But Deep Down, You Don't) ... .
"Why Can't I Make It Look This Good At Home?" ... .
"I Want To Be Blonde, But Not Too Blonde — I Don't Have A Photo With Me." ... .
"I'm Fine!" (But You Actually Aren't).

How do I tell my hairdresser what color I want?

Follow these nine steps for talking to your stylist, and you're guaranteed to get the hair color of your dreams!.
Show AND Tell. ... .
Be Yourself. ... .
And Be Realistic. ... .
Understand the Skin in the Game. ... .
Be Aware of the Condition Your Hair Is In. ... .
Learn Some Language. ... .
Don't Keep Secrets. ... .
Be Clear About the Future..