FROM THE LAB

Understanding your hair history

A brunette woman holding an iPad smiling at a blonde woman holding a SalonLab&Me SmartAnalyzer

In life, how we act is usually influenced by two things: the way we naturally are (our personality) and things that have happened to us in the past. Sometimes we act a certain way just because we’re us, whereas other times it’s as a result of our past experiences, relationships, and surroundings.

But did you know that the same is true of your hair? During a hair consultation, your hairdresser learns about your hair goals and makes an assessment about whether or not they are realistic. But to try and gauge how your hair may react to various treatments and colours, assessing it based on its current condition isn’t enough – your hairdresser also needs to understand your hair’s past!

Knowing your hair history is essential for a successful hair consultation

It’s vital that before any new hair treatment or colour, either in-salon or at home, you take a trip down memory lane to remind yourself of your hair history. This may include any colours, treatments, and services you’ve had previously.

Your hairdresser can then combine this information with their own expertise and, if you’re visiting a SalonLab&Me salon, an in-depth analysis of your hair structure using the SalonLab Smart Analyzer.  

The more information your hairdresser has, the easier it is for them to assess whether your Pinterest hair inspo is realistically achievable. In this article, we break down the most common hair consultation discussion points so you can gather all the information you need to have a successful visit to the salon.

A brunette woman with blonde highlights holding her hair in front of her face

What exactly is a hair history?

Your hair history refers to all the factors that influence your hair’s current condition. It includes your hair’s natural qualities along with any external elements such as treatments, colours, products, sun exposure and heat styling. This includes:

Hair Type

One of the most fundamental factors that affects the outcome of your in-salon service is your natural hair type. This refers to the natural pattern of your hair, which can be either:

Straight – defined by its lack of shape.

Wavy – usually thicker than straight hair with loose or clearly defined s-shaped waves.

Curly – clearly defined curls with a looser curl shape.

Coily – extremely curly with a tighter curl shape.

Did you know?

Your hair’s texture can change as you age, or with hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause. External factors such as stress, diet, excessive heat styling, and chemical treatments can also alter your hair’s natural texture.

Hair Thickness

Hair thickness is determined by the actual diameter of each individual fibre, not the number of hairs you have on your head. Thickness types include:

Fine – the smallest fibres, meaning they’re usually fragile and prone to breakage and generally get weighed down easily. Fine hair often struggles to hold a style.

Medium – the most common hair thickness, medium hair is less prone to breakage and better at holding a style.

Coarse – the thickest hair type, coarse hair holds styles well and is generally resilient, but is also sometimes harder to manage. 

Hair Density

Often confused with thickness, density refers to the actual number of hairs you have on your head. Density can be either high or low and is not dictated by your hair’s thickness. For example, it’s possible to have fine hair but a lot of it (high density) and coarse hair that’s more sparse (low density).

Hair Length

Likely the most obvious one, your hair length refers to how long your hair is and is one of the most important factors in your hair’s overall look and style. Hair length is generally differentiated by either short, medium, or long. 

Top Tip

It’s important to identify not just your current hair length, but your goal length, too! If you’re struggling to articulate your desired length, focus on the body part you’d like your hair to end at i.e., chin, shoulder, or armpit length.

Scalp Condition

When considering your hair’s history, don’t forget about your scalp! A healthy scalp provides the right environment for your hair to grow strong and beautiful, so its condition can make or break your hair’s overall look and feel. Scalp conditions include:

  • Dry
  • Oily
  • Dandruff prone
  • Itchy
  • Inflamed
     

When considering your scalp condition, don’t forget to mention any medical conditions that can affect the scalp. For example, skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema.

Colour 

When considering external factors that impact your hair history, colour is probably the most impactful element. Unless you have hair that’s never been colour-treated or chemically processed, colouring will have impacted your hair in some way. Before attending your hair consultation, consider questions such as:

  • Have you coloured your hair in the past?
  • What type of colour did you or your hairdresser use? For example, permanent, semi-permanent, demi-permanent or henna.
     

When considering colour, don’t forget lightening! If you’ve had your hair lifted in any way, for example by techniques such as highlights, balayage, or foilayage, it’s essential to let your hairdresser know. Bleach used to lighten hair is damaging, making your locks more dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. 

Without the necessary intel on your hair colour history, your hairdresser won’t be able to guarantee that any new colour is going to end up as expected. Trying to colour hair with a build-up of pre-existing colour can drastically alter the final results. Your hair may turn out lighter, darker, or brassier than you intended. Furthermore, you also put your hair at risk of unnecessary damage by further processing hair that’s already weakened from previous colour.

Top Tip

If you love to switch up your colour, consider scrolling back through your camera roll to remind yourself of your previous shades. Go a step further and add these photos to a specific album ready for your consultation appointment – your hairdresser will love you for it!

Treatments

Even if you use treatments in effort to improve the condition of your hair, it’s still important to mention them to your hairdresser during your consultation! Consider treatments such as:

Keratin Treatments
A chemical procedure to straighten hair, sometimes called a Brazilian Blow-dry. 

Protein Treatments
Given protein treatments are intended to strengthen the hair, you may not think they’re worth mentioning to your hairdresser. However, it’s possible to overuse protein treatments so make sure you let your hairdresser know if you’ve used them recently.

Scalp Treatments
Remember, hair health is dependent on scalp health, so don’t forget to mention scalp treatments alongside any pre-existing scalp conditions.

Clarifying Treatments
Too many clarifying treatments can lead to dull, dry hair. Some also aren’t suitable for coloured hair – they can strip colour – or certain scalp conditions.  

Relaxing Treatments
Relaxed hair needs special treatment, for example less processing time during colour services, and it can also be more fragile. 

Toners/Glosses/Glazes
Classed as treatments due to their caring nature, these colour depositing products are still worth mentioning to your hairdresser because they risk altering any future colour applications.

A woman with long hair rinsing her hair in a white-tiled shower

Your everyday haircare routine

The products you use in your daily haircare routine can have a huge impact on the overall appearance of your hair, so before heading to the salon make a list of the products you use to cleanse, condition, and care for your hair. This may include:

  • Shampoos
  • Conditioners
  • Hair Masks
  • Leave-ins (oils, serums, conditioning sprays)
     

Your Hair & Scalp Goals

Once you’re done looking back, it’s time to look forward and define your hair and scalp goals. Examples include:

Hair Goals

  • Colour protection
  • Smoothness / anti-frizz
  • Volume
  • Moisture
  • Repair / anti-split ends
     

Scalp Goals

  • Refresh and revitalize 
  • Remove dandruff
  • Reduce hair loss
  • Soothe and balance
     

Your hair and scalp goals are a vital part of the consultation process, as they’ll determine the products that your hairdresser recommends for you to use.

Top Tip

When deciding your hair goals, don’t be overly ambitious. Try and select one or two that are most important to you – this enables your hairdresser to recommend products more closely targeting to your individual needs.

What comes after the hair consultation?

If you’re undergoing a SalonLab&Me hair consultation, your hairdresser will combine your responses with your SalonLab Smart Analyzer hair analysis to determine your individual hair score. 

They will then be able to recommend you a personalised haircare routine tailored to your hair’s unique needs, along with a style and colour service that’s suited to your hair type and condition. Your SalonLab&Me haircare routine will include a mix of:

  • Shampoo 
  • Conditioner
  • Spray Conditioner
  • Colour Mask
  • Intense Care Mask
     

But the service doesn’t stop once you leave the salon! Your bespoke SalonLab&Me haircare routine will be delivered directly to your door. And if you need any more help or advice on getting the best out of your products and looking after your hair, our Haircare Guide is available 24/7 to support you. 

Knowing your hair history is the secret to beautiful, healthy-looking hair. It helps your hairdresser understand your hair’s unique qualities, making it easier for them to recommend the best colour, style, and haircare routine. You now have all the information you need to prepare for your next hair consultation, whether with your regular hairdresser or during your SalonLab&Me hair analysis. Put in the prep work, and your hairdresser and your hair will thank you for it!  

Haircare Guide

Check out our Haircare Guide – the ultimate guide to all things hair that’s packed full of expert knowledge to keep your hair looking and feeling its most beautiful.