Basic Salon Etiquette for the Beginners

While the rule of thumb in the salon industry is that the customer is always right, keep in mind that there are stated and unstated rules of behavior that make every salon visit an enjoyable experience. You, as the customer, have rights and responsibilities that should ideally be respected and adopted, respectively, in the same manner that salon professionals have their own set of rights and responsibilities. You have to be aware of the proper etiquette before your first visit to a salon, as well as remember these rules of behavior on your subsequent visits.

Otherwise, you may as well say goodbye to being a regular client in your neighborhood salons. Even when salons appreciate the business, the staff from the receptionists to the stylists may shun your business because of your inconsiderate behavior – and we know how word gets around so fast in the industry!

Making and Cancelling an Appointment

Each salon has specific policies and practices about making and cancelling appointments so you have to ask the receptionist first, especially when you are inquiring over the phone. Most salons, however, have these general policies in place that customers are well-advised to remember:

  • Set an appointment before coming in to the salon, even if it’s just a few hours before your expected visit. Walk-in clients are obviously accepted in many salons but you may have to wait for a stylist to finish with prior appointments. Even when there was initially no available slots for your desired time frame, you will want to check again after an hour or so as they may be cancellations.
  • Cancel your appointment in the same way that you set it up – at least, a few hours in advance. But beware as your cancellation less than 24 hours before the set time can mean a service charge in many salons, thus, emphasizing the importance of asking about the cancellation policy.

Once you set an appointment, you should ideally come on time since your stylist’s time is just as valuable as yours, not to mention that there may be succeeding appointments. You want to avoid the ire of other customers who were kept waiting for their appointments because you were late.

If you are running late, you have to call the salon and tell them do so, perhaps with a short explanation. You will earn brownie points since stylist appreciate the courtesy, too.

Tipping the Staff

You are under no obligation to give the staff tips since the fees already cover the cost of the services, whether it is a manicure and pedicure or a haircut with a Brazilian blowout. You will become a valued customer, nonetheless, when you give tips to your hairstylist or nail technician for a job well done (i.e., satisfaction with the services rendered).

In the salon industry, a good tip can range from 10 to 30 percent for the stylist or nail technician who directly delivered the service. You may want to consider giving the salon owner, manager, and housekeeper tips although you can also skip on them since their services delivered are part of their jobs. You will benefit from being a generous tipper, too, such as when you have to make a last-minute appointment instead of the usual 24-hour time frame.

Bringing in Food and Beverage

Most salons, fortunately, allow their clients to bring in food and beverages especially when their appointments will stretch into their lunch and/or snack hours. Just make sure to bring food items that can be eaten without making too much of a mess, such as sandwiches, and that can be opened without offending the sensibilities of other clients. For example, food and beverages with strong smells, unconventional appearances, and complicated preparations should not be brought into a salon for obvious reasons.

Using Mobile Gadgets

As with all of these accepted rules of behavior, you may want to ask the salon about their policies regarding the use of mobile gadgets, such as smartphones, tablets, and headphones. The rules of thumb, however, include:

  • Limit your mobile calls to emergencies only. This is not because your stylist or nail technician wants to curtail your freedom of speech but because cellphone usage can interfere with his job. For example, calling on the phone one time too many will affect your stylist’s efficiency during a Brazilian blowout.
  • Keep your voice as low as possible during your phone conversation. You want to respect the other customers’ need to enjoy the relaxing vibe in the same way that you will be annoyed when another customer is talking in a loud voice while on a conference call.

Of course, you have to respect the unwritten rules of hygiene before coming in to the salon. You are well-advised to take a shower, at least, before coming in for your hair appointment and wash your hands for your nail appointment.  You should also demand a certain level of cleanliness and hygiene from the stylist or nail technician.

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