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Your Guide to Salon Etiquette: Guest Blogger

You could say Melanie Allen knows a thing or two about good hair. As the Marketing Manager and Content Editor of My Best Friend’s Hair—which helps readers find awesome stylists, salons and products—Melanie is particularly knowledgeable about all things ‘do. That’s why this week she’s giving us the scoop on salon etiquette, growing out your bangs, and more. 


In our fast-paced, phone-addicted world, it can be easy to forget about our manners. But etiquette matters! Like most service providers, stylists see their fair share of rude customers. Keep your manners intact and your stylist happy by following these tips.

Timing is everything: Get your appointment off on the right foot by arriving on time. Better yet, plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early so you’re able to get situated and comfortable before getting down to business. If you are running late—hey, sometimes it happens—call your salon and let them know. Most salons offer a grace period. Learn the cancellation policy and respect it.

Communication is key: To get the most out of your appointment, be open with your stylist about what you want (and don’t want!). Give accurate and detailed descriptions. We live in a Pinterest world, which is full of hair inspiration, so show your stylist a photo when you can. When your stylists asks for clarification or shares an idea you aren’t crazy about, speak up! Stylists pride themselves on having clients who love their hair. Do your part to make the relationship mutually beneficial.

…but: Once you and your stylist are on the same page about what you want, it’s okay to keep quiet after that. If you want to keep chatting, go for it! But if you’re looking for a more relaxing experience, let your stylist know that you’d rather skip the small talk. It’s as easy as that! Also avoid using your cell phone while at the salon. Aside from being totally rude, it’s distracting to the staff and other clients.

Tipping: Often times, you’ll see several people throughout your appointment—your stylist, shampooing assistant, colorist, and so on. Who do you tip? And how much? Plan to tip your primary stylist between 15-20%. For assistants and other staff who work with you briefly throughout your appointment, plan to tip between 5-10%. Don’t be afraid to talk with the receptionist about the standard tipping procedure.

…but: With a cut and color, a trip to the salon can get expensive. We totally get it. However, haggling prices at a salon is a no-no. If you are worried about your wallet, review your salon’s prices ahead of time and choose a salon that fits your budget. Plus, saving up for your next appointment turns it into a special, well-deserved treat. 

Cut gone wrong: What happens if you hate your cut or color? Keep your cool and explain to your stylist that the results weren’t what you had in mind. The sooner you let your stylist know, the better. Don’t come back a month later and say, “Oh, by the way, I hate my highlights,” and expect something to be done about it. Let your stylist know within a couple days (or, ideally, while you’re still in the salon) how you feel. A happy client is a salon’s ultimate advertisement. Trust me, they want you to love your hair after they’re finished.

Admit if you’ve “cheated”… If you’ve “cheated” on your stylist by visiting another salon or having work done on your hair elsewhere, fess up! Though you’ve strayed, the fact that you’re ultimately back in your stylist’s chair reassures them that they are doing something right.  The best haircare is the result of a stylist who truly knows your hair and its history.  If you’ve had a treatment done elsewhere, (especially a chemical one) and your stylist is unaware, it could cause an adverse reaction. So rather than leave them guessing or wondering what they did wrong, be up front from the start.

When you mind your manners at the salon, you and your stylist will both have an enjoyable experience.

Here are even more great tips from Melanie Allen on how to gracefully grow out your bangs.

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