Salon Etiquette 101…….by Karen Gary

Karen GaryBlog Series Vol. 1, Karen Gary

Hair Salon Photo - 2There are a variety of things that go down in the hair salon on any given day. The hair salon is a safe space for women to come together – young or old, no matter their socio-economic status – and relax.

Friends chat, gossip and share. Stylists and clients bond over pop culture and hair that’s long, short, curly, straight – you name it. But even in safe spaces there are basic principles of etiquette that are often ignored when everyone gets a bit too… familiar.

If you want your stylist/client relationship to go smoothly, don’t commit these salon sins:

Calling. (All the time)

Stylists love their clients and definitely want to hear from them… just not all the time. Stylist don’t particularly care to receive multiple calls during business hours from clients who want to have extended conversations about their hair. Think of it this way – would you want your stylist giving a 20 minute phone consult when he/she should be working on your hair?

Expecting miracles.

Stylists can work wonders by taking dry brittle hair, giving it luster and making it feel like satin. We often do work “miracles,” but expecting one each time is stressful for both you and your stylist. Ten inches of hair growth in two months will not happen without working some weave magic, because it’s simply not going to spring out of your head at that rate. Wanting the latest rainbow hair color is great, but wanting it two days after you’ve dyed your hair jet black calls for magic wands that we just don’t have.

Chronic Tardiness.

In my blog post “Sitting in the Hair Salon…What in the “H” takes so damn long” I talked about why it can take a long time to receive services at your favorite salon. One of the reasons for delays stems from clients coming in late and throwing the rest of a stylist’s day off schedule. Life happens and your stylist totally gets it, but when life happens to you every time you have an appointment – come on, Sis.

Not tipping.

$5 goes a long way. Tipping your stylist and thinking of them during the holidays can really make them feel special and appreciated. If you like the service and like your stylist, show them some love — the kind that folds.

Not taking care of your hair.

Even if you are a weekly appointment kind of client, you still have to care for your tresses between appointments. Wash your hair. Remember to tie it up. Should that twist out get old, detangle it before you hit the salon. It’s tough on a stylist to see you fly out the door like a goddess and walk in a month later looking like a washed up goose.


We ask you if you’re on medication, have recently dyed your hair or cut your bangs at home because it’s important we know all of this information so we can adequately care for your hair. If you lie, you are not only hurting yourself but you are setting your stylist up for failure. Not disclosing chemicals before we add products or dyes can lead to catastrophic results. Don’t lie to your mom, your doctor or your stylist – we always find out.


If your stylist isn’t working out, talk to her/him. Be honest. If it still doesn’t come together, find a new stylist. Don’t make yourself, your stylist and the whole salon miserable every time you come in for an appointment. Some clients want to stay to be loyal, but if you’re not happy, it’s better to find somewhere else that can give you the service/look you want. It’s like staying married to someone you deeply loathe for the sake of the kids – it never works out.

The stylist/client relationship can be one of deep appreciation and friendship. Rarely is anyone allowed in your sacred hair space and a good stylist can see you through weddings, births, funerals, graduations and more. Following basic etiquette helps keep that relationship healthy and thriving – just like the curls on your beautiful head.


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