Even with good intentions, these salon blunders are better avoided.
The salon is as much a professional establishment as it is a place of social gathering for anyone seeking out a hair refresh, whether it’s a color boost or new cut. While there’s certainly a list of dos and don’ts at the hair salon, having your best experience comes down to knowing how to interact with your stylist in a way that will make it enjoyable for both parties. It can be tempting to go above and beyond in politeness, but it’s not always necessary. Just let the stylist steer the appointment, and you’ll be set up for success.
Here are 9 “polite” habits that hairdressers would actually prefer you avoided.
Showing Up Early
While being late is perhaps the most important etiquette no-no to avoid, showing up too early rarely has the intended result. It’s not considered extra polite, as it might actually 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 intentionally very tight. 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, and the reception desk will be able to gauge if showing up early is worth your time.
Offering To Blow-Dry Your Own Hair
Before you wonder, it’s not considered helpful to offer to wash or blow-dry your hair instead of your stylist. Hair professionals follow a certain protocol when it comes to washing, cutting, and styling your hair for the best result overall, and it might affect the finished look if you’re overly adamant about helping do your hair at the salon. Yes, even if you like to blow-dry your hair a certain way at home.
Not Giving Any Guidance
While some people might feel uncomfortable or awkward asserting exactly what they want done to their hair, it’s not considered “trying to take your stylist’s job.” In fact, a stylist can do a better job when you’re able to communicate what cut or color you want, especially if you provide photo inspiration. Feel free to start with These Haircuts Are Going To Be Huge In 2023. Giving a clear direction is different than being bossy!
Grabbing What Products You Need
It’s good if you’re able to feel comfortable at the salon, as long as you remember it’s not your home. The hair products and tools that are displayed by your chair are for the stylist, and the products used can affect the overall result. Therefore, allow your stylist the opportunity to professionally choose how to proceed. If you’re really wanting an extra spritz of hairspray before heading out the door, simply ask.
Keeping Concerns Or Complaints Quiet
It might seem rude to voice concerns over your finished look directly to your stylist when you’re unhappy, but stylists often actually prefer being allowed the opportunity to try to alleviate the issue. It’s normal to not want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but it’s much better to communicate in the moment than to complain to the receptionist or call the salon the next day. Instead, speak up politely, noting the areas of concern that you think can be tweaked or improved before you leave.
Chatting Too Personally
The salon has long been considered a sacred place of lighthearted chatting and gossip, but it’s safe to say that some folks take that sentiment to the extreme. Stylists are not therapists or doctors, so make sure you keep the conversation on appropriate topics while confined to the salon chair—for both of your sakes!
Arriving With Dirty Hair
The myth that dirty hair takes hair color better is completely false, so no need to show up with fifth-day hair for the sake of fresh highlights. While second-day, or even third-day, hair can be totally acceptable, it’s best to arrive without a ton of built-up hairspray. It also goes without saying, but don’t head to the salon straight from the gym. Sweaty strands don’t make for an overly enthusiastic stylist, and rightfully so!
Don't let your desire to document your new 'do interrupt the process. Taking selfies is totally acceptable after the service is done, but avoid moving your arms and positioning during the cut or coloring in order to take photos. Additionally, if your stylist is going to be in the photo, make sure to ask their permission.
Avoiding Your Phone
While it is generally considered rude to be talking on the phone at the salon, it is fine to read or answer the occasional text during your service as long as you're not moving your arms and head too much. Stylists are understanding that many people are busy with responsibilities, so it does not hurt their feelings if you need to take a break from chatting to check your email or messages. As with all etiquette rules, just use your best judgement.
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article written by Kaitlyn Yarborough for southernliving.com