hair salon etiquette

What To Do, What Not To Do: Hair Salon Etiquette 101

The Do’s and Don’t Of The Hair Salon

Rules For Clients

When I was young, I would always to wonder why my mother didn’t take more than one child to the hair salon with her. Every time she would go to the salon with one of us, she would say, “Now, you better behave while in here.” I, being the wild child I am, would not listen and act crazy in the salon and every time, I would get a spanking. I never knew why my mother treated the salon like a church until I spoke with some friends of mine that are hairstylists. Through my conversation with them, I learned that most of their clients forget to respect their workspace. I heard so many horror stories about “clients from hell” or clients that assumed because they knew the hairstylist that anything would be acceptable. Having excellent hair salon etiquette can help your hairstylist feel comfortable doing your hair. When you think of hair salon etiquette, you should of any form of etiquette that has unspoken rules. Nowadays, some salon businesses have explicit rules when it comes to what you can and cannot do in their lounge. They have these rules in place because of past experiences. If you go to a salon that doesn’t have rules, here are some simple tips you can use to ensure you’re the best client your hairdresser has.

Be On Time

If you’re early, you’re on time, and if you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re tardy, you’re most likely going to miss your appointment. Hairstylists are usually very strict about appointment times. Why? Hairstylists typically have hectic days filled with meetings. If you show up late or don’t show up at all, you’re throwing off your hairstylists schedule, and potentially ruining the rest of their scheduled day. If you think you’ll be running late for an appointment, it’s essential to make a courtesy call. A courtesy call won’t guarantee that it’ll be sorted out, but at least you’ll be providing a heads up. Try to call at least 20-30 minutes before your appointment. If you know you’ll be more than 15 minutes late, expect to reschedule your appointment. Your hairstylist just wants to give you the best style to fit your needs but being late cuts into everyone’s time, including yours.

When In The Chair

There are plenty of things to remember when in your stylist's chair. Most stylists don’t mind if you chat or start a conversation with them while in their chair but remember to be courteous and careful about what you’re sharing. A lot of people forget that their hairstylist isn’t their therapist and overshare. Oversharing your personal life can make your hairstylists and the people around you uncomfortable. Be mindful. Another thing to keep in mind is phone usage. Texting, for the most part, is okay. As long as it doesn’t get in the way of your hairstylist's ability to do your hair, you should be okay using your phone to text. Any time that your hairstylist is doing an extensive task such as cutting or washing, you should put your phone away. It helps prevent your hairstylist from making any mistakes. Trust me; you’ll be happier this way. It’s also important to not be talking on the phone while you are at your appointment. Speaking on the phone is different from texting. While you talk on the phone, you can move around and prevent your stylist from doing their best work. Also, talking on the phone is rude when you’re in an area with other clients and stylists. Unless using your phone is essential, it’s best just to avoid it.

Be Realistic

It’s important to be realistic when dealing with hairstyles. No matter what you’ve seen your stylist do, they are not magicians. Make sure that you know the reality of your hair. If you have thin, and damaged hair, don’t expect to leave with magically thick, and healthy hair. The process will take time. Ask your hairstylist their opinion on how you two can work together to achieve the look you desire. Also, it’s important to know your hairstylist's limits. If you see that your hairstylist is better at doing extensions, then make sure to use them for extensions. If you need to do your natural hair, ask them if they have any referrals for stylists that can assist you. Don’t ask them in a way that’s offensive. Make it clear that you just need a style that’s different from their niche. Ask them to be honest about what they can and cannot do for you, and move forward from there. Bring pictures to your appointment so that your stylist knows what you want. Make sure you tell your hair stylist how much time you have to take care of your hair. If you only have ten minutes to do your hair, then don’t ask for a style that will require more time than that.

Know The Costs

As a client, you should always know and discuss the cost of what you’re getting. It’s important to see the price of the work you want when you book the appointment so that you’re prepared and ready to pay. Knowing the amount of what you’re receiving can also help you accurately negotiate the price you’re willing to pay for the style you want. Be mindful when attempting to negotiate a price with a hairstylist. Don’t undermine the work that they do by lowballing them. Don’t bring up other salons when deciding your price either. If you want to pay that price, your hairstylist will most likely tell you to go to that salon instead. Be courteous, and honest about what you can afford, and I’m sure that your hairstylist will work with you.

Be Respectful

Some salons have unspoken regulations to keep their space positive, and well-kept. No matter what these rules are, it’s important always to follow them. Remember that you’re in someone else’s area, and if you don’t agree, you can just leave. Unless something illegal, or unethical is happening, then it is best not to protest. If they don’t allow food, don’t bring food. If they don’t want kids, don’t bring your child. Whatever it is that they would like, you must abide.

The Rule On Kids

Kids are usually the topic of discussion when it comes to salons. Most salons don’t want kids in their lounge, not because they don’t like them but because it can be a safety hazard if they’re too young. Kids are prone to running around and causing a hassle, and if they do that, many things can go wrong. I remember being the salon one time with a few younger children. I was old enough to sit in one place, and not cause a fuss but the other kids weren’t. They ran around and knocked over a hot comb which ended up burning a child. After that incident, that salon didn’t tolerate any children under four years old in their salon. People know how difficult managing time with kids can be, so if you absolutely must bring your child to the salon, discuss it with your hairstylist first. Some salons can tolerate children that behave well, and won’t run around, but some salons don’t so always make sure you discuss. If it is possible, leave your kids at home. Your salon time should be a relaxing and fun time for you!

What If You Don’t Like Your Style?

Telling your hairstylist that you don’t like the result can be awkward. However, honesty is essential and letting them know, is more beneficial than not saying anything and being dissatisfied. Most salons will work with you until they achieve the style that you desire. Stylists don’t want you to have a traumatic experience so ensuring that you’re satisfied is their priority. Make sure that you have photo references that show what you want. Don't like your style? Make another appointment at your earliest convenience. Make sure you don’t freak out when realizing that you don’t like your style. The workers in the salon are there to help. It’s okay to withhold payment until you are happy. Be sure to have written confirmation that the cost to fix it is not your responsibility. For future appointments, be sure to discuss the faults of last time so that it doesn’t happen again.

How To Properly Tip

Finding a stylist that you like is arduous, but once you see one that you adore, you’ll never want to lose them. Just as you expect your hair stylist to keep you happy, you have to make an effort to keep them happy as well. Hairstylists make money from their tips mostly, so what they receive is essential to them. It doesn’t matter the who helped you, if they had their hands in your hair, they deserve a tip. The person that did the majority of the work should receive 10-20% of the total bill. Everyone else should at least receive five to ten dollars, especially if they helped in a significant way. When the holidays come around, try pitching in a little more. As mentioned before, hairstylists often rely on tips, and when the holidays come around, those tips can go a long way.

Are You a New Stylist?

Even though the majority of the rules are for clients, new and upcoming hair stylists need a small list of regulations to abide by as well. If you’re a new hairstylist, don’t worry too much. Most of the rules that stylists need to abide by aren’t as extensive. Here are some things to keep in mind as you embark on your new journey as a hairstylist.

Don’t Be Late

The same way that we expect clients to be on time, we hope hairstylists to be on time as well. If you’re overbooked, be honest about that. If you’re running late, make sure to let your front desk know so that they can give your clients know. Don’t leave your clients guessing what happened to you. If you're running more than 30 minutes late, have the front desk reschedule your appointment at a discounted rate. It is beneficial to both you and your client because they won’t be as disappointed with a discounted price for the next time.

Be Kind

Some people have had horrendous experiences with hairstylists and their behavior towards them. To ensure that your clients are comfortable and happy in your space, practice being kind towards them. Small gestures such as asking your clients about their day, or about how they’re feeling can make a huge difference in how the two of you engage. Be patient with your clients when they are choosing what style they want. Give them the encouragement that they need to pick something that’s right for them.

Be Honest

It’s important and essential, to be honest about what you’re capable of as a stylist. Different hair stylists have different mediums of work, and can only do so much. If you have a nice that you stick to, make sure your clients know about that niche. This way, when clients book you, they know what it is that you do. Another thing to be honest about is cost. When it comes to the value of styling hair, people like to know what to expect. So, be open about how much you’ll be charging them for your services.

Minimize Cellphone Usage

It’s typical that with any job, you’ll have to minimize cellphone usage. As a hair stylist, people are trusting you to take care of their hair and be attentive to their needs. You can’t be that attentive with a cellphone in your hand. Most salons expect clients to not be on their phones while getting their hair done, so the same most likely goes for those providing the service as well.

Be professional

As a hairstylist, you’ll have to remember that your clients are your clients, and can’t be too involved in your personal life. When talking with clients while doing their hair, keep the topics as professional as possible. Be open and fun, but don’t get too deep-rooted in issues that can show you in an unprofessional light. Be mindful not to gossip about other co-workers, or about friends. Don’t get your clients involved in your drama. It’s guaranteed to make your clients uncomfortable.

Don’t Expect a Great Tip For Poor Service

Unless your salon demands it, don’t expect your clients to leave a tip. It should be standard practice to leave a tip but if you give poor service, expect little to no tip at all. You earn through professionalism, capability, and desire to keep clients happy. The happier your clients are, the greater your tip is most likely to be.

Everything You Need To Know

Whether you’re a client or stylists, hair salon etiquette is essential. Being open, and honest will create a significant, and long-lasting relationship between clients and stylists. Make sure that you're mindful of a salon’s rules and regulations, and make sure that you’re respectful. As a stylist, make sure that you are kind, patient, and professional. Salon etiquette can go a long way! If you hold onto this salon etiquette bible, you should be just fine!
Back to blog

1 comment

Thank you for the suggestion that it is important to discuss the price of the services you are obtaining when visiting a salon. As you said, it’s crucial to understand the cost of the task so that you’re ready and willing to make a payment. I’ll definitely share this with my niece so she can keep it in mind because she plans to go to the hair salon for the first time to get her hair dyed. I appreciate you sharing!

Victoria Addington

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Featured product