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Stylists are deeply creative, taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. And like an artist with a blank canvas, you pick and choose the exact colors you want to use to create your masterpiece. The color formulations you create for your clients are unique and tailored to their hair color needs, so you can create a beautiful color your client is excited about.  

But the question is, who does the formula belong to? The artist or the commissioner? Is it right to share your formulas with your client, or should they stay with the stylist? Sharing formulas is a hot topic that has stylists talking.


Reasons Clients Ask

Your clients may have a variety of reasons to ask for their formula. Maybe they’re moving, and need to find a stylist closer to them (but are hoping to maintain the beautiful color you’ve created). Or they could be looking for an alternative for when you’re unavailable. 

Some clients even want to share their color success with friends and family and want to pass along their formulas to them. So, should you share your formulas or is it proprietary?


Formulas Are Unique

The ability to create the perfect color formula is an experience as well as skill. It requires expertise that is refined and curated over time, through education, training, and years of experience. Many stylists are reluctant to share formulas because of the time and effort spent perfecting them. It can feel like you’re giving away freebies and undervaluing your skills. This is frankly unheard of in other industries. Imagine an architect just giving away the blueprints for a house. The time, experience, and technology that goes into creating the blueprints is similar to the formula for a client. 

“Sometimes stylists don’t want to share formulas because they feel that it’s their trademark, in a sense,” says Jen Ford, owner of Hello Hair Co. 

“They came up with it and it’s their ‘secret sauce’. If they share their formulas, their clients could take that to a different stylist, and they would lose them as a client. The new stylist gets an ‘easy’ client because the formula is the hard part to come up with!”

Another reason stylists don’t like to share their personal formulas is just that – it’s personal. Even if you share the exact formula with a client, you can’t guarantee the same results from another stylist, and certainly not on a different person, so this could leave everyone disappointed. A house designed for flat foundations can’t be built on a hill, after all.

Or, is Sharing Caring?


On the other hand, many stylists are happy to share their formulas with clients, believing that formula sharing helps the stylist community as a whole by setting other stylists up for success.

“I am a firm believer that even though we represent different brands and styles and philosophies, we are all one big hairdressing community at the end of the day and I have no problem sharing my formulas with anyone who asks,” says Kacy Levy, a stylist with 17 years experience.

Many stylists also feel that sharing formulas also helps strengthen relationships with clients. Clients value transparency.

“I believe in setting up my fellow stylists and my clients (past or present) for success by sharing the formula that has been working for them,” says Kacy.

“After all, the client wouldn’t have asked for the formula if they weren’t happy with what I had been doing and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

To Share or Not to Share

Ultimately, the decision to share (or not share) a formula is a personal choice. There’s no right or wrong answer, it all comes down to what feels right to you, and your relationship with your client. Do you share your formulas with clients? We’d love to know!

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