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10 Hair Salon Etiquette Rules You Might Be Breaking

From timeliness to tipping, how to always be a gracious customer.

Beyond functional purposes, the salon is considered a gathering place for people—those seeking out not only a professional self-care service, but also the instant confidence boost that comes with a new look. Whether you’re in for bouncy blowout, new hair color, or fresh split-end-free haircut, the social aspect of the salon doesn’t change, including the etiquette rules to follow. No matter if you drop in for a weekly blow-dry or prefer a more casual quarterly visit, there are certain behaviors considered impolite that we can all agree make it less enjoyable for everyone involved.

Here, we’ve rounded up 10 hair salon etiquette guidelines that you should always follow, from timeliness to tipping.

Salon Etiquette for Timeliness

Showing Up on Time

Like with most social engagements and scheduled appointments, being late is perhaps the most important etiquette no-no to avoid. Stylists’ schedules are intentionally very tight, so arriving late can have a domino effect on the whole salon, which in turn is rude to other patrons. While many might assert that there is a 15-minute grace period, even that amount of time will cut significantly into your appointment time. In that case, make sure to offer solutions, such as skipping the blowout.  

Calling Ahead If You Are Late

If you are going to be more than five minutes late to your appointment, it is always considered polite to call and let the staff know beforehand, perhaps while you are on the way there. If you are going to be significantly late—15 minutes or more—it is imperative that you call ahead, in the case that you need to alter your services or reschedule your appointment.

Showing Up Too Early

While being late is always to be avoided, showing up too early isn’t quite the pro move you might think it is. In fact, it’s not considered extra polite, and it actually can put pressure on the stylist to finish their other client quicker. If your goal is to be able to sneak in earlier or add on an extra service, remember that typically stylists’ schedules are often closely stacked. Therefore, you are more likely to have to wait until your appointment time or even a few minutes after. You can always call beforehand to see if the stylist will be available before your appointment.

During Your Appointment

Talking on the Phone

This is perhaps the cardinal rule of the salon. Speaking on the phone is not only inconsiderate to the salon employees, but also to the other clients receiving services. There are always exceptions for emergencies and very quick exchanges, but try to avoid making calls unless it’s important.

Making Small Talk

It might seem obvious, but it’s considered impolite to completely ignore whoever is completing your salon service. Always greet salon professionals, respond when spoken to, make light conversation when appropriate, and say thank you at the end of the appointment. While you don’t have to hold a conversation the entire appointment time, it’s rude not to acknowledge someone’s presence.


It can be tempting to treat a neutral third party (your hair stylist) as a sounding board for your personal issues, and while a bit of lighthearted chat is never a bad thing, avoid talking through your problems or treating your stylist as a makeshift “therapist.” While, yes, a stylist is being paid for their time, it is for their skills, not their listening ears.

Voicing Concerns

While it might seem awkward or impolite to voice concerns over your finished look directly to your stylist when you’re unhappy, stylists actually prefer being allowed the opportunity to try to find a solution in real time. It can be instinct to want to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings, but it’s better to communicate in the moment than to complain to the receptionist later or call the salon days later. The correct path forward is to speak up politely, noting the areas of concern that you think can be tweaked or improved before you leave.

Being a Gossip

While salons are undeniably a popular space for lighthearted gossiping between friends and friendly strangers, it’s one thing to share amusing personal stories and another to turn a haircut into a full-on gossiping session. Imagine if anyone is listening! Moreover, it is not appropriate to speak badly about other salon employees to your stylist, such as a receptionist or a stylist you’ve seen in the past. That creates awkwardness all around.

Hair Salon Guide to Tipping

Tipping Appropriately

The proper tip for a hairstylist is 20% of the service fee. You can always tip more for excellent service, but 20% should be the starting point. Like many other service and commission-based industries, tipping is customary in the hair industry, and many stylists rely on tips as part of their income.

This Is How Much You Should Tip At The Hair Salon

Tipping Multiple People

You might think that a blanket tip on the overall bill is sufficient, but it’s important to tip stylists separately and appropriately according to the service they perform. For example, make sure to tip both your haircut stylist and colorist according to how much each individual service costs. (Hair color is typically more expensive.) This means tipping at least 20% of each stylist's regular service fee. Additionally, for assistants who might wash or blow-dry your hair during your appointment, around $5 or $10 is kindly appreciated.

We've get you ready for your new look The Shampoo Lounge has been attending to an international and Indonesian clientele since 2012 so check out our our website and our TripAdvisor reviews! We can’t wait to have you in.

Article written by Kaitlyn Yarborough for


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