Aly gives us guidelines on polite behavior in a salon atmosphere.
Have you ever wondered if there is a Salon Etiquette? I get so many questions from friends, family and clients on the “norms” of a visit in the salon. Questions like, “Is 18-20% the going rate to tip a stylist?” or “Do I really need to buy the products my stylist is selling?”
So let’s talk “Salon Etiquette.” First and foremost, I want this to be more of a conversation and not me telling you the “rules” of your visit with a hairstylist. Every salon is going to have their own policies and guidelines. Each owner is going to have various expectations for his/her staff. I’ve had several conversations surrounding Salon Etiquette with colleagues in my industry and the below list of suggestions is what I have gleaned.
Etiquette Top 5
Here are the top practices that will help your stylist give you the best experience possible:
1) Timing is everything:
Arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. When it comes to hair, timing is EVERYTHING. Please be patient and respectful of your stylists’ time. Your hair may take color perfectly, but Suzy May’s hair (the client before you) might not. A good stylist will do what they can to manage their time and your time respectively. After all, this is their business – NOT their hobby. Stylist: Manage your time to the best of your ability. Always give yourself 15-20 extra minutes between your clients as a buffer. For cleaning, for accidents, for life in general. If you give your clients more time than the average stylist, learn to manage that time for your entire day.
Tipping is a tough one, although it shouldn’t be: Tipping is respected. Notice I didn’t say expected. What you should know is that the majority of your total service does NOT, I repeat DOES NOT go to your stylist. Your stylist pays for every product that goes on your hair and every minute you sit in our chair. Yes, even that extra bowl. It also depends on if they rent their space or on commission with the salon. A stylist starting out usually only gets 35-40% of the total bill; the rest goes to the salon. Tipping allows your stylist to fill in the gaps that other careers/companies typically provide. For example, health insurance, benefits…etc.
3) Taking non-emergency phone calls:
This goes for both stylists and clients. Because the chemistry behind hair is so time focused, taking a phone call while your stylist is trying to wash your color out in the sink is a BIG no-no. Not only is it nearly impossible for your stylist to wash your hair with a phone up to your ear, it’s a danger to your safety, their safety and the integrity of YOUR hair. Text away if you must, but we all know you could use 15 minutes to disconnect!
4) Product Sales:
From my experience, if a stylist is offering you products, it is not to benefit the stylist themselves. Stylists get close to nothing for the products that they sell, but it’s still something to them…it’s the integrity of your hair and the insurance on their 3-hour Balayage, that they created unique to you. Find a stylist and salon that you can trust, not only with your beauty budget, but also the integrity of your hair.
5) Salon Products vs Drug Store Products:
HERE IT IS FOLKS. You would never buy a brand new Ferrari and then put a bumper sticker on it… So why would you pay $200+ for a color service and then go buy Aussie shampoo and conditioner from Walmart? Your hair is an investment. Even “Sulfate-Free” shampoos are not created equal. Treat your hair like the crown you’ll truly never take off. Plus… what if you don’t look good in hats?
All jokes aside, I hope this conversation gives you some guidance and clarity on questions you’re hesitant to ask your stylist. I would like to encourage you to find a stylist who you can have this open conversation with, and ask them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like, what it means to be a Booth Renter or a Commission stylist. They’ll be able to fully guide you on their individual job structure.