For a successful hair-coloring service, a thorough consultation is essential. It is very important for your hairdresser to evaluate your hair and scalp characteristics and to ask questions that will help your hairdresser choose the right coloring product, technique and placement. Whether you are a new client or existing client, all should be receiving a comprehensive color consultation. As your lifestyle and priorities change, so will your hair and scalp concerns. All clients should be treated with the same care and attention.

These are the pillars of great color consultation:

Assessment of hair and scalp

  • Assessment of color, which includes:
    • Lifestyle and budget assessment
    • Strand test and patch test

Your hairdresser will examine your scalp and hair when assessing your hair. This will help hairdresser determine the right color process. These conditions will affect the your product choice, application technique, processing speed, and final outcome. Assess the texture, porosity and elasticity of your hair to start.


Hairdresser should have all the knowledge in the differences of hair texture between fine, medium and coarse textures. This is especially important when considering hair color. The texture will determine the processing times and alkalinity of the product.

Fine hair may have a thinner cortex layer, and may not even have a medulla. Fine hair is more susceptible to damage because the cortex gives hair strength and elasticity. A fine hair with a previous color will have a higher or more extreme porosity.

The most predictable hair texture is medium textured. Because of its average porosity, balanced cortex-to-cuticle ratio and average porosity, medium textured hair is most likely to behave predictably while coloring.

The diameter of coarse hair is larger, meaning it has a higher cortex to cuticle ratio as well as a stronger medulla layer. Because it has a higher likelihood of having resistant porosity, coarse hair is less susceptible to damage and is therefore more resistant to coloring.

Texture can be assessed by looking and feeling.


The hair’s ability absorb water or chemicals is called porosity. A hair with an average porosity is predictable and can be treated with most colors. There are some considerations to be made in the case of hair with extreme or resistant porosity. 

Resistant porosity refers to hair that is not able to absorb color due to the tightness of its cuticle layers. Extreme porosity refers to hair with a damaged cuticle. This is when the cuticle scales have been removed or raised. A damaged cuticle can be caused by excessive chemical treatments or environmental damage such as sun exposure. Extra care is required for hair that is porous. Although it may absorb too much color, it can also lose color faster.

Uneven porosity occurs when the hair has more than one type of porosity. This can be found in the scalp or along the length of the hair. To achieve an even color result, multiple formulae will be required to correct uneven porosity.

Your hairdresser can determine the porosity of hair by running his thumb along the ends and forefinger toward the scalp. Higher porosity is indicated by hair that is rough and prone to tangles. Hair with high resistance porosity will feel smooth.

Your hairdresser will do a simple porosity test to determine if your hair porosity.

  • Put a single strand of your hair in a glass of room-temperature water.
  • Let the strand sit in the water for fifteen minutes.
    • Resistant porosity: Hair will not float to the surface of the water.
    • Normal porosity – hair will float in middle of water glass.
    • Extreme porosity: Hair will sink to bottom of glass.



Elasticity refers to the hair’s ability stretch and return to its original form without breaking. A weak cortex can cause poor elasticity.

The following tests can be performed by your hairdresser to determine the elasticity of your hair:

  • One strand should be removed from your head, preferably on the side.
  • Keep the hair in one hand. Your hairdressers will use the index and thumb to run the hair strands as if they were curling a ribbon. This will result in tight curls.
  • Gently pull your hair back.
  • Let the hair go for 10 seconds and then release it. It is considered to be weak elasticity if it returns less that 50%.

Poor elasticity can lead to hair breakage. This is why it is important to take care not cause additional swelling while coloring.

Scalp Considerations

Your hairdresser will also inspect the hair’s structure and alert you for any irregularities on the scalp. They not continue with hair coloring if they notice any abrasions and request that you return to the salon once it is healed. They may also find a simple bug bite or a scratch that was scratched too hard. Moreover, they cannot be applying any chemicals to open sores as it could spread infection and cause discomfort.

Head lice, ringworm and scabies are all conditions hairdresser will be aware of. They will refer you to a doctor if any of these conditions are present and discontinue the service.

If your scalp does not have any irregularities, they will have concern if you have any skin and scalp sensitivities. This includes any that may have been caused by previous coloring treatments, such as burning, itchiness, or discomfort. Your hairdresser will give you a few options, including one that is gentler on the scalp like one with low alkalinity. You may want to consider using a product that contains an alternative aniline derivative if you are sensitive to ammonia. A predisposition test or patch test can help determine if you are allergic or sensitive to ammonia.

Some medical conditions and treatments may also have an effect on the hair’s structure. They will ask you if you have noticed any recent or sudden changes in your hair is a good way to inquire about these conditions. These two situations could indicate underlying conditions, such as a weakened hair shaft or sudden hair loss.

After your hairdresser have gathered all the information necessary about your hair, scalp and hair, it’s time for the color assessment.