How To Consult and Troubleshoot With Your Hair Clients During COVID-19

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Of course, the way hair salons are conducting business is changing dramatically in light of the coronavirus outbreak—no more hugging, restrictions in services, and having to wear masks and PPE are just some of the many changes. What also needs to change during this time are the questions you're asking your guests when they come back into the salon. We reached out to Missy Peterson, Malibu C Director of Global Education & Artistry, for her take on what the new consultation should look like as salons begin to reopen and how you can use that information to best troubleshoot their hair concerns.

What sorts of questions should stylists be asking their clients during consultation? Should they be asking any different questions than they normally would? 
Starting immediately, every client walking into your door must be considered like a NEW CLIENT—because the structure of our industry has changed, our approach, procedures and techniques used must also be altered. We need to start fresh with any client returning to the salon just was we would if they were a new client. No assumptions should be made as in the past and the consultation needs to be, for most, more thorough. 

Some questions I would ask would be:


  • During isolation, were you or anyone you were in contact with diagnosed with coronavirus or have symptoms of the virus?
  • If yes for question 1, how long has it been?
  • Were you tested for the virus?
  • If yes, did you test positive or negative?
  • Have you been ill with any other condition during the pandemic?
  • Have you been a first responder or essential worker during the pandemic?


  • What has been your daily routine with products, i.e. dry shampoo, styling products and sprays? (This will tell me what level of product buildup they have on the hair). 
  • What shampoo and conditioners did you use while in isolation? 
  • How many times a week did you shampoo your hair while in isolation? (This will provide me an estimate of how much mineral buildup has been attaching to the hair. Every time water touches the hair there is mineral that is attaching.)
  • Have you chemically treated your hair at home, such as bleaching, coloring, relaxing, chemical straightening, etc.?
  • Has your diet changed while in isolation? How would you describe your diet? (If they have been eating healthier than normal or if their diet has been lacking, that could affect the hair, skin and scalp as well.)
  • What medications and/or supplements have you been taking while in isolation?

Stylists often take for granted that a returning client is always going to update them on information relevant to their hair. Most clients don’t even understand the connection between what happens at home and what happens in the salon. Lifestyle choices can seriously alter the results of what happens in the salon. This is a liability. Without proper preparation, the stylist and the client are both at risk for what can be unexpected horrors in the salon.    

It is time to stop making assumptions regarding our clients. Most professionals have forgotten why the consultation is even necessary. Now, more than ever, it is clear and a responsibility of every licensed professional and salon owner to have a thorough consultation. We all have to be more deliberate and know that we share a responsibility for health among all those coming into our salons.

Is there anything else stylists can do to prepare a client for returning to the salon?
We should be in contact with every client through digital or telephone communications prior to the first visit post-COVID-19 Isolation. We should be working with them to prepare. Malibu C has a POST-ISOLATION Three-Step-Prep that is ideal for every stylist to provide a client in preparation for service as they come into the salon. In three little packets: 1) Un-Do-Goo  shampoo to prep their hair; 2) Color Prepare to remove minerals and other elements built up on the hair; and 3) a single-use packet of CUR8 Hand Sanitizer that they should use immediately after they have entered the salon, removed their outer clothing and stowed their personal belongings to make them ready for you to touch them.

RELATED: Water and Sanitation: What You Need to Know When Reopening Your Salon 

Many clients, when they come back to the salon, will have hair that may have been neglected or even perhaps colored at home with box color. Which Malibu C products should stylists have on hand to help their clients deal specific hair and scalp issues?
Malibu C products will be beneficial to all clients. They have all used water while at home. I would recommend the following for each scenario. 

  • Mineral buildup: For mineral buildup, you could use many different products. To have full removal, start every client with a Crystal Gel treatment in the salon. The client could also use one of the remedy packets, such as Blondes Wellness, Hard Water Wellness, Scalp Wellness, Swimmers Wellness, Curl Partner or Color Prepare, at home to remove surface minerals. 
  • Scalp issues: The Malibu C Scalp Wellness Collection includes four Scalp Wellness Remedies at no additional charge when the client purchases the Scalp Wellness Shampoo and Conditioner in the Collection. This has been solving problems for salon clients for over 30 years.
  • Hard water buildup: The Hard Water Wellness collection is a great daily shampoo and conditioner. Included in the collection are four weekly Hard Water Wellness Remedies. The use of this system will help with any challenges resulting from minerals in the water. 
  • Home Box Dye: In dealing with box dye, my first recommendation is to not “color-shame” the client for taking their color into their own hands. I would have them start the process of getting back to what they want by using Un-Do-Goo shampoo and Color Prepare before they go into the salon, but I would not recommend them attempting to correct the situation at home. I recommend stylists have available Un-Do-Goo, Color Disruptor and CPR for every corrective color service. Un-Do-Goo will remove the surface resin buildup on the hair. The color disruptor will literally “disrupt” where the color molecule is in the hair shaft so CPR can do its job more effectively and efficiently. This is my in-salon power trio every time. 

Cover Photo by cottonbro

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