What do I need for the ABCH exam?

Study Materials

ABCH Study Portfolio

ABCH Practice Mannequin*

ABCH Client Consultation Swatch Chart*

ABCH Performance Examination DVD*

*Denotes optional items.

Exam Prep Materials

ABCH Exam Mannequin

This is the official mannequin required for taking the certification examination. It is designed with 4 quadrants. Each of the quadrants requires a different task be completed. One of the quadrants is 75% gray. As instructed in the Study Portfolio, the mannequin must be prepared in advance of the examination and brought to the exam site.

Hair for Swatch Board

Large Thick Craft Board

You’ll need this to make your hair color swatch board. I used velcro squares to attach the swatches to the board and a label maker for identifying the swatches(it looks better than using a marker or printing and cutting out labels).

Duct Tape

This is for making the swatches. It doesn’t matter what color you use because you can cover that up.

The duct tape is just for securing the swatch hair(instructions are in the ABCH Study Portfolio).

Hair Color & Developer

You may choose your favorite brand of hair color and developer.

I suggest using cream developer because it is easier to mix than clear developer.

You’ll be on a time crunch, so faster is better!


You’re free to choose your favorite brand. Make sure you know how to properly mix your lightener as most people just mix to their desired consistency. This isn’t okay for the exam….the exam proctors will take note of how much your lightener “grows” out of the bowl after you’re done.

They spend several hours checking everyone’s work and you’ll be instructed to leave your station when the time is up. The proctors will take a point away for lightener that was not properly mixed.

Highlighting Board*

I know, anyone that’s a great haircolorist doesn’t own one of these. You’ll need it for when you prepare your mannequin for the exam. Using a highlighting board will ensure accuracy and perfection.

The instructions for preparing the mannequin tell you to do an all-over bleach on one section(1 inch from the scalp), and highlights in another section(1 inch from the scalp and 1.5 inches from the scalp). With a highlighting board you can mark the measurements so that your mannequin will be prepped to perfection!

You’ll get scored on your prep, so this is just as important as what you do the day of the exam!

*Denotes optional items.

Additional Necessities

Swatch Board Stand

Reusable Gloves


Not completely necessary, but they are neat and you’ll need them if you make a mess.

They’re also great for wiping off your reusable gloves in-between quadrants. You don’t want color to come off of your gloves on the wrong section of hair….definitely an automatic fail!

Bleach Safe Towels

New Bowls & Brushes*

Make sure that your bowls and brushes look good. Presentation is important…think of it as your “first impression”. You don’t want to have stained or scratched bowls and brushes at your station.

Trash Bags

You’ll need a few trash bags. I used black so it doesn’t look messy, and I had a smaller size(like 10 gallon or less). You may need to throw away dirty wubbies or gloves(if yours aren’t reusable) during your exam. The other trash bag is for easy clean up when it’s time to pack up your station.

Bring some tape to attach the trash bag to your station.

Rolling Cart/Suit Case

I got mine from Office Max(pictured). You may already have something like this for your hair supplies, but make sure the one you use for the exam looks professional and is easy to transport!



*Denotes optional items

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