12 July 2024

Color: all the basics with Michael Haase

Color services are BIG. There are so many products, so many choices, and the sky is the limit. Someone who knows all about color is Michael Haase – and here he offers his viewpoint.

Michael Haase is is both an educator and stylist. He is also the head stylist at his own Salon Platinum Black.

We at Estetica know him for his super-contemporary cuts and styles that are always head-turning. Over the years, we are proud to say, he has often been featured in our Best in USA album section of Estetica USA.

Haase also excels in experimentation, with visionary editorial collections resulting. Here we asked him about color services, new trends, new products, and how to keep your clients looking better than ever.

Let’s start with the consultation. Can you shed some light on the right approach?

The key to any successful service is obviously listening. Hairdressers today have a tendency to be super stars. In many cases watch a 30 second video on social media and consider themselves “masters”.  Not so! Years of practice does not compete with years of experience. Informing your clients that there is a small element of imperfection in the color that you would like to correct gives them an opening for conversation. Never discount the previous work or stylist just make sure your work outshines the previous. 

Also, taking the time to read the hair properly for tone is something you should share with your client. In this way she can understand your ability to make her hair look even better than it already does. Your expertise in seeing tonal value is key. Speak with them, hear them and listen to their concerns. Stand in front of them and just finish by saying, “I’m really good at what I do. I’m going to take really good care of your hair for you.” This is the most effective way to conclude the consultation. Then just have fun.

What kind of advice and info should you offer your clients?

Advising about trends, time, and maintenance, of course. Hair is an investment, especially color. They fade, they change, and can generally damage hair if not approached with knowledge. Your color service from chair to bowl should not take longer than an hour for color only, that’s if you know your stuff. Many will disagree. But when I see stylists doing baby lights with a thousand foils, well let’s leave that alone. Why not just make her blond and give her a “blending veil” on top? 

Today the trend seems to be to get your client as blonde as possible and forget about the haircut. But the cut actually improves the look of the color with design. To maintain quality, 4 to 6 weeks is normal for elite work. Fading and health are a big concern here in Los Angeles due to having the worst water and perhaps sun. Maintenance education from the professional can help, but most stylists are afraid to introduce retail. That’s another story! So they allow their clients to purchase products of a lesser quality. So, the color washes down the drain.

Remember, color is an investment like a quality garment, are you going to throw it in the wash or are you going to take it to a quality dry cleaner. You decide.

How are products changing?

There is always a new product on the market for covering grey: more intense, faster, less smell, more natural, etc.  Through the decades in this industry, I have learned to gain the skill to do color. You learn from a mentor to become a master because changes are not miraculous.

Miracle, organic, high end and other promises don’t compare with experience of learning about the hair and knowing your brand you are using inside-out.

Are clients still simply coloring grey, or do they always want a change?

Since our slowdown over the last 3 years due to the pandemic, many have tried to color their roots themselves. Today this is bringing increased color correction to the pro’s.  There is no better time to initiate conversation by improving the entire image and adding a secondary tone to the hair parting.  

I’m finding block coloring is on the move and if done properly can be amazing. We did it before and it took the industry by storm. But like with anything, you need to know the balance, design and shape of your cut to really show it off.

Never discount your work when you spend the time on a beautiful design. It’s not just your time! It’s also your training, experience and your passion you deserve to be paid for!

Tell us about Balayage and toning.

Balayage is a painting service usually followed by toning. However, I find in most cases today that unskilled colorists are lightening the hair so much that it can’t hold a toner for any length of time. Once again, the lack of training and experience. The advancement of Balayage techniques still stem from consistency with application. It’s important to search out someone who’s been doing hair for many years and knows their stuff. Referrals, asking friends, or even a stranger about who does their color is best. Yes! You may have to talk to a stranger! Try it and you may be surprised that they really appreciate their hair being noticed.

How about men? Are they coloring more often?

Men are a great add on! I usually don’t color the whole head and premix the product to let it begin oxidation. This and dampening the hair prevents too strong a formula. This also slows down the timing, giving me a more natural look to reduce the brightness of grey. We call it a grooming service, from chair to collection for service about an hour: cut, color, style, pre-book, maintenance products and “thank you”. The talk does get around town.

Unfortunately though, man have completely loss their sense of fashion. Continually shaving the head and deciding which guard to use…  Did you know girls like to run their fingers through men’s hair? It’s sexy when hair is flowing and windblown. I hope to see the quality of grooming return and not just blading. Let’s create some length for the female of the species to enjoy.

Are brights and pastels here to stay?

In most cases the pastels and what we might call mermaid colors take a lot of work and time. In my salon our prices begin at $300.00 for creative color. Sure, there is always someone who will do it for less, but I feel the quality suffers. Never discount your work when you spend the time on a beautiful design. It’s not just your time! It’s also your training, experience and love for your work that you deserve to be paid for. There are to many discount hairdressers today. Don’t be part of the crowd! It’s OK to stand out and celebrate it.

What’s all the buzz about blondes about?

There are so many blondes today, that with the right colorist you can find one that works. Variation is also fantastic, especially on the same head. Mono-color in any color to me is boring. All my clients get a custom color, perhaps a base, highs, lows and multi-tone. Once the whole look is created it’s a beautiful head of hair. They also become ONLY my client, always chemically creating my tone with three different colors.

What about all the new toning products?

Toners for me have always been about creating an effect: for fashion, for season, for beauty. They also add time and, in most cases, create a mood for the hair which I feel is extremely romantic. You have to decide: Are you toning for effect ? or toning for repair? 

If it’s the latter, I suggest you take some classes or find a color mentor. You can’t experiment until you know the basics. And if you don’t know the basics you shouldn’t be doing color!


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