The right way to behave in a hair salon
Even though hair salons follow the adage, ‘the customer is always right’, there are some rules – stated and unstated – to follow to ensure you get the most out your visit. If you’ve ever wondered whether you should admit when you’re unhappy with your cut or just how much is too much when it comes to chatting with your stylist, then worry no more. We’ve gathered tips, tricks and expert knowledge for a happy visit – for you, your hair and your stylist.
#1 Avoid cancelling last minute
If you can’t make an appointment, let the salon know as soon as possible. It’s the polite thing to do. Most salons have a 24-hour cancellation policy, so try to respect that – and be prepared to hand over the cash and pay a cancellation fee if you don’t.
#2 Be on time
Even better: arrive 10 to 15 minutes before your appointment. This allows plenty of time to sit down and gown up, so you’re ready and prepped for your stylist. Of course, there are situations that are out of your control, so if you know you’re going to be late, call the salon. Again, it’s just common courtesy!
#3 Bring photos
It’s true: a picture says a thousand words. Your stylist will have a much better idea of the cut or style you want if you show them a photo, rather than trying to explain it. But be realistic – if you’re lusting after a celebrity’s ‘do, just remember she didn’t wake up looking flawless. Anthony Nader of RAW salon puts it this way: “Hair references are fine but, keep in mind, 9 times out of 10 the image you’re referencing is a celebrity on a red carpet. Celebrities have a whole styling team on board that calculate everything from their glamorous, polished hair down to their sparkling Jimmy Choo heels.”
#4 Keep chatter in check
Your stylist is just that – not a counsellor! He or she doesn’t want to hear about every personal problem you’ve ever had. Engage in conversation, but don’t use the time to vent about your problems. Sharing a little bit about yourself will help you to develop a good relationship with your stylist. That being said, don’t feel you need to talk the entire time. Quietly reading a magazine is perfectly acceptable – especially if yours is a "no chat treatment"!
#5 Speak up
If you don’t like your cut or colour, then SAY SOMETHING! It’s better to bring it up as it’s happening, rather than stay silent and brood (or cry) about it on your way home. Chances are, the stylist will be able to fix the problem on the spot. You’re paying for a service, so it’s only fair you leave happy.
#6 But know when to hold your tongue
When your stylist is running ten minutes late, don’t make a fuss. It happens. The client before you is probably just finishing up in the chair. Plus, kicking up a stink won’t make the stylist work faster. Pass the time by flipping through a magazine or ordering a drink.
#7 Make use of consultations
If you’re planning to make a drastic change (a la Jennifer Lawrence's platinum locks), book in for a consultation PRIOR to the day. This will give you – and your stylist – a clear-cut idea of what you want, how long it will take and how much it will cost.
#8 Dress up a little
Treat your first salon visit like a first date, and dress as such. That way, your hairdresser sees your everyday style, and can advise whether the cut or colour you’re after will work with it.
Nader explains: “I like for clients to come to the salon dressed how they normally would dress day-to-day. You want your new hairstyle to complement your image and how you would normally dress, and you want to feel like a million dollars when you’re walking out of the door with salon-worthy, TV commercial hair.”
#9 Talk via text
A hair salon is noisy at the best of times, so there’s no need to add to the chaos with a loud phone conversation. Of course you can answer a call, but if you want to have a deep or lengthy chat, do it over text.
#10 Understand your stylist knows what’s best
After all, he or she is the expert. Nader believes it’s best to be open-minded when it comes to your hair. He says, “New and innocent eyes can see a ‘different you’. Also, listen to the needs and requirements for your new hairstyle.”
#11 Don’t lie
If you’ve cheated on your stylist with another, fess up. Previous chemical treatments often determine what can and can’t be done to your hair, so it pays off to be honest.
Do you follow these rules when you visit the hair salon? What other tips do you have for proper hair salon etiquette?