How do you get started in the Color Takeover revolution? Stylists who have grown their business with extensions and hair color share their journeys, tips, and advice.
Manager and Stylist
Evolution Salon, Minot, ND
My love of extensions took root in cosmetology school, and it was one of the best things I could have done for my career. After graduating, I tried different brands until introduced to Donna Bella. I love the quality of the hair—and the support.
What Has Changed?
Extensions are no longer just about super-long hair and four-plus hours in the chair. Now I am adding extensions just for pops of color, for highlights, to add volume, to extend or brighten an ombre or balayage service.
For thinning clients, we use extensions to add thickness. For finer-haired clients, we add darker pieces to create lowlights and added dimension with minimal fading.
To colorists who are skeptical or to any stylists who are a bit intimidated by the idea of bringing hair color and extension services together, I always say “think back to your first time doing a full head of highlights.” It takes practice—and time—but once you learn and go through the process a few times, your speed and confidence improve rapidly.
It’s worth it. You can boost profits so quickly by adding color and extensions. As with anything new in our craft, success takes an open mind and practice.
When I first started at the salon seven years ago, I was the only one who did extensions. Within two years, I was so busy with extensions and consultations, I couldn’t keep up. I had no choice but to train a few other stylists in the salon. When another salon stylist sees the money you can make by being an extensions specialist, they are intrigued and want to learn, too. Who doesn’t want to make more money?
We have grown so much with extensions in our salon and town. When I talk to stylists at Donna Bella classes or shows, I often hear, “I’m from a small town, no one would want extensions.” Then I tell them about how much business I do at my North Dakota salon, and that I believe almost every client is an extensions candidate.
Something for Everyone
Not everyone has to have a full head application, in fact most of my clients don’t. Some just want to fill in around the front, ears forward. Maybe they’ve had breakage or find the hair doesn’t grow as fast. Others don’t want to over-compromise their hair, especially now that balayage is so popular. I can add one package of platinum blonde or silver extensions to add brightness and make them feel a lot lighter.
One of my best tips is to always keep product at your station. Show the client what adding just a few pieces might do for her. Start out with a type of extension that doesn’t have a commitment—Donna Bella offers four types—Tape-In, I-Link, Flat-Tip, and Kera-Link. Place a few and tell her, “If you decide within a week that you don’t like it, come back and I’ll take it out for free.” Nine times out of 10, she comes back—but because she wants more. For many, the extra thickness and volume are addictive.
As far as pricing extensions, the nationwide average for Donna Bella Hair ranges from $5-10 per strand for the application process, plus what you charge for the hair itself. So if you install 20 to 40 strands, you would charge from $140 to $280. With practice, installing 20-40 strands should take about a half-hour. Then, depending on the method and the service, the client comes back in 6 to 12 weeks to remove the extensions and move them back up to the root area. You charge for the total time the service requires, which varies depending on the method. Even a few fashion color strands can generate $20-30 for a quick 5-minute add-on service.
Making a Difference
It all comes back to a conversation with your client and building trust. Extensions are a huge money-maker for our salon, but extensions also change people’s lives, and that’s very gratifying.
I had a client who was struggling with the fact that her hair did not grow back with the same texture after successful treatment for cancer. We found a solution with extensions. She was in my chair, in tears, so happy. Hair is one of the most important accessories we have, and extensions—along with hair color and a great style—allow us to give clients the accessory they want.
Another fine-haired client just wants to be as platinum on her ends as can be. So I said, let’s add some Color #60 (Donna Bella’s lightest, most neutral shade) to your hair. I’ve had her rebooking for a solid year now because I can give her the look that no other stylist can with hair color alone. I simply retouch her regrowth and just push up her extensions.
And then there are clients who crave those really fun fashion colors that are so huge right now. I can create a custom color with extensions or place a few bright pops, no pre-lightening necessary.
Sky's the Limit
My main message to share with fellow salon professionals is simple: if you can specialize in extensions and the custom coloring of extensions, you will set yourself apart from other stylists and salons. The sky really is the limit. From mermaid hair to subtle lowlights, the opportunities are there, in your chair.
Don’t let hesitation hold you back. Try new things on fellow stylists and family. Take pics and post your transformations. One really good before-and-after on a professional Instagram page can get you 10 new clients, easily.
Visit the Color Takeover Portal today to learn more about combining the art of hair extensions with the science of color in your salon!