The Consultation

As a young salon professional, I didn’t have a reason for the recommendations I made to my salon clients. I often recommended the latest haircut or color placement I had just learned in a class. But I didn’t do any particular assessment to determine if what I was offering was suited to that client. No face shape or skin tone analysis. I didn’t know about those things or how to do them. I'm pretty sure those doing my hair didn't have much understanding of those concepts either


As I continued to take classes I learned about the asymmetry of faces and how to create flattering hairstyles. I also learned about skin tones, although it was many years later before I started applying that knowledge to haircolor recommendations.

My experiences with haircolor development and the controlled lighting we used in the technical development salon helped me understand why lighting is so important. My continuing study and research helped me create educational materials that provided more insight in how and why consultations are so important.

It’s not just about the latest trend or what the client wants. It’s also about doing a professional assessment and offering insights about how each client can make the most of their looks. With a salon consultation many things influence our perception. By controlling and enhancing the consultation environment we get a clear picture of what is going on and how to meet the needs of our clients.

Our perception of colors is influenced by many things:

  • The amount and color of the light
  • The surrounding colors and environment
  • The reflectivity or texture of the surface
  • The cultural context of the color.



Light can produce dulling or brightening, or change the tone of a color. In order to see color clearly, it is important to choose lights that do not add their own tone to the colors you are viewing. The current best technology that is widely available for viewing color is “Daylight” LED bulbs around 5,000 Kelvin. This is the middle of the white light spectrum.

Having this type of light above or around your bathroom mirror or dressing table will help you clearly see how different colors look more or less flattering. While dressing, accessorizing or applying makeup use these lights to get an accurate picture of how you look.


Surrounding Colors and Environment

One of the other things to consider whether in the salon or your home is the principle that our eyes always include surrounding colors. This idea was illustrated brilliantly by Joseph Albers. He taught art in Germany and America from 1923 until 1949. He produced paintings and wrote a book called The Interaction of Color.

The piece below demonstrates an idea that Josef Albers called the subtraction of color where the surrounding color subtracts itself. The two small boxes appear similar. Actually the one in the beige rectangle matches the top bar and the one in the turquoise rectangle matches the bottom bar. The green tone in the turquoise subtracts the green tone in the smaller tan rectangle.



Because our eyes include the surrounding color, you will notice many salons will create a controlled area for consultation where the walls and lighting are carefully designed to support seeing clearly. Soft beige or light gray walls are best.



An additional means for controlling the consultation environment is the Jolie Personal Color Identity drapes. This patented tool has three metallic drapes in specific colors that work like a photographer’s reflector. Each one bounces a different color of light onto the face. Two will make strong shadows and an uneven complexion appear, one will create a smoothing and illuminated effect. This tool allows anyone to clearly see which natural pigment dominates your skin tone.



With this information you can choose hair, makeup and clothing colors within a framework that compliments your unique combination of skin tone, hair level and eye intensity. The resulting effect is beautiful and attention grabbing.


You can use the principle that the surrounding color subtracts itself to your advantage when composing your personal appearance. A reduction of unflattering skin tones can be accomplished by coloring the hair with a stronger version of the undesirable tone.

To reduce the strong pink tones in the skin, we changed the overall color from gold to a light red copper and added soft beige highlights and lowlights in a mocha brown. Her lip color is a deep sheer coral and clothing color is light turquoise. This palette harmonizes with her rosy skin and produces a very pretty effect.

Reflectivity or Texture

Texture makes a color appear darker than it is because it absorbs light. When deciding on a haircolor if your hair is very frizzy or curly, it is more flattering to stay closer to your natural level or slightly lighter. The level is the lightness or darkness of your hair at maturity, before your hair begins to gray.

If your hair is very straight and reflective, you could choose a darker color than your natural level. The shine of the smooth straight hair is enhanced by a deeper, more intense color.

If your skin is rough or has a lot of fine lines, you will want to choose a foundation color a bit lighter than your skin. This will soften and brighten your skin and help to reduce the textured appearance. 



Cultural Context

"More than 80 percent of the activity in the part of our brain that deals with language, movement, and problem solving comes via our eyes." This is according to authors Joanne and Arielle Eckstut in their amazing and comprehensive book – The Secret Language of Color. They go on to refer to a study where women were asked about their first impressions of photos of men. The women consistently reported that the men dressed in red or photographed against a red background were sexier. From Nancy Etcoff’s  book Survival of the Prettiest: "Red, the color of blood, of blushes and flushes, is visible from afar and emotionally arousing."

Colors have cycles of popularity and infamy. Some people associate different colors with personalities, moods, or gender. Culturally we are influenced to prefer certain colors that may evoke a sense of luxury or worth. Most people have some innate sense about what works for them and strong repulsion to a few colors they feel uncomfortable with. All of these factors “color” the way we see.

The Process


The steps we follow for doing a Jolie Color System Consultation are:

  • Light the face with a multi headed lamp both above and below to help eliminate shadows.
  • Place each Personal Color Identity drape across the shoulders, below the face.
  • Step back and observe the presence or absence of shadows and off tones. One of the drapes will create smoothness and illumination while the other two cause shadows below the lips and under the eyes.
  • The drape that produces the smoothing effect indicates which pigment is dominant.

Silver = Eumelanin dominant - Cool or Ash tones in the hair are best

Gold = Mixed melanin - Warm, Golden, or Copper tones in the hair are best

Rose= Pheomelanin dominant - Neutral, Mocha, or Red tones in the hair are best


By discovering the dominant pigment you can choose hair, makeup and clothing colors that create a flattering composition.


Color you truly

Light, surround, reflect, decide

Focus your beauty