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Are You Giving Clients The Wick Test? ‘Cause You Should Be.

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My greatest happiness is exceeding my clients’ expectations without damaging their hair. And if there was one tip that I could give to all hairstylists, it would be to do what’s best for the client. One way to achieve this is by ALWAYS doing the Wick Test.

As hairstylists, we need to stay up to date on new products that become available on the market, study their chemical composition and learn how they will react to all different types of hair. The Wick Test teaches us how our products will react on our clients.

This test is designed to give the hairdresser a direction for their service, as well as protect them and their client from damage during a color appointment. By not doing the Wick Test, stylists can run into disastrous results.

Unfortunately, we know clients can lie to us about their hair — or simply not know exactly what they used or are wearing. For example, if your client goes to another salon and receives a “deep treatment,” she may not be able to tell you what kind of treatment is on her hair when she returns.

If it’s just a reconstruction based on amino acids and keratin, this is great! However, if it is a straightening treatment, like “Brazilian Keratin,” the treatment contains formaldehyde, which is incompatible with bleaching.

For me, a Wick Test is essential no matter what a client says about their hair. Start in the consultation — a part of the service where you can convey confidence and credibility to the client in relation to your work and professionalism!

Explain to her that the Wick Test will determine how her hair reacts chemically to the process. It fundamentally shows her the result, as well as if it will weaken, sensitize or even break the hair. If the hair is healthy enough to pass, you will be able to make a safe dye process and achieve beautiful results! 

To start, divide the hair into two parts, front and back. Then, measure four fingers from the ear to the center of the head and take a thin thin wick in the center of the head, towards the top. Separate the wick from the rest of the hair before applying bleach, closing your foil and waiting for the hair to process (40 minutes, without heat). Open your foils frequently to see how the hair is reacting.

After the hair has fully processed, clean the wick to see how the hair is doing. Depending on the results, I will then follow up with a color service. However, if the result is a “damaged” wick, I show the client how the hair reacted.

From there, I have the opportunity to offer a specific treatment for her hair needs. By treating the hair first to prepare for the color, stylists can create an incredible, healthy blonde — the perfect combination!

Because hair is like a fingerprint, every client’s hair needs to be treated differently to provide a unique and safe experience. Without the Wick Test, stylists run the risk of damaging their client’s hair and even missing the desired color. By knowing the hair’s response ahead of time, professionals can work safely and showcase their commitment and responsibility to the health of their clients’ hair.

Priscila Cunha
Priscila Cunha
Priscila Cunha is an award winning hairstylist who specializes in color and extensions. She also acts as a pro ambassador for Kadus.