12 Tips for Hair Salon Etiquette
Wondering if a 20 percent tip is still in fashion or if you can skimp by with 15? How about whether you need to engage in conversation or take the time in your stylist’s chair to Zen out?
Celebrity hair stylist Danny Jelaca of Danny Jelaca Salon in Miami Beach, tips off EDGE readers with valuable etiquette information so we are no longer stuck in "hairy" situations.
1. The appropriate tip for a stylist/colorist is 20 percent of the cost of the service.
2. The shampoo assistant should receive a $3 to $5 tip and a little more if he/she assisted in your color process.
3. For assistants who blow-dry your hair, 10 to 15 percent of the color/cut price is appropriate, and more towards 15 percent if your hair is long.
4. If you are not happy with your cut/color let the salon know ASAP. Generally it is the salon’s policy to redo your hair until you are happy with it.
5. A "fix" must be done right away. Ideally the next day is the appropriate time to come in and a week later at the most. After a week there will already be some re-growth.
6. It is an insult to tell your stylist how to cut your hair - you would never dream of telling your doctor/dentist what to do. It is okay to express a preference, for example if you prefer scissors to a razor cut or vice versa.
7. DO NOT cancel 10 minutes before an appointment.
8. Most salons confirm appointments the day before. Common courtesy is a 24-hour cancellation. Stylists (like most people in the service business) sell blocks of their time. Time lost is money lost.
9. Busy stylists/colorists have waiting lists. Don’t call on a "bad-hair day" or right before a vacation and expect an immediate appointment. Plan ahead.
10. Treat your stylist/colorist with respect. After all, they are the ones that make you look good.
11. Dress like your real self: It can be a little intimidating going to a fashion-forward hairstylist, especially if you’re not exactly on the cutting edge of fashion yourself. But it’s important to represent yourself honestly so that your stylist can give you a hairstyle that fits your personality. You don’t want to end up with someone else’s hair.
12. What should you do when the only thing your stylist wants to do is talk and gossip and you just want to chill out?
Reading a magazine or chatting on the cell phone to avoid your stylist can sometimes be a little distracting for them, so if you want to relax and trust your stylist, sit down in the chair and immediately tell him or her how you had such a long day and can’t wait for some rest and relaxation time at the salon. You can even close your eyes to indicate you just want to zone out.
What You Should Expect From Your Stylist
His or Her Full, Undivided Attention
You are paying for his/her time and expertise, so a stylist should never walk away from you in the middle of a cut. Similarly, both a stylist and a colorist should remain in the salon until all of your treatments are completed and your hair is dry.
Someone Who Listens Well and Never Bullies
Ultimately, you are the one who has to wear the hair, so a good stylist will never try to "talk you into" something you don’t really want.
No Inappropriate Conversation or Contact
It’s true that many client-stylist relationships do evolve into genuine friendships, but if you and your stylist are mere acquaintances, then it’s never OK for the stylist to initiate anything more intimate. If that is ever to happen, it must first come from the client.
Switching Hair Stylists
The trickiest situation is when you want to change hair stylists within the salon. If you think of your hair stylist as your friend and want to avoid hurt feelings, being clear about what you want in advance (and noting what you don’t like immediately) can save the day. Otherwise, you’ll have to decide if you want to swap hairdressers or switch hair salons.
If you really want to change hair stylists, tell your hair stylist that the next time, you’d like to try someone different, and that you hope he or she won’t be offended. Explain why and give your hairdresser a chance to right any wrong. You can also speak to the salon owner, asking him or her to smooth things over for you.
Don’t simply make an appointment with someone else - you’ll risk having your regular hairdresser greet you at the door (where you’ll both feel embarrassed) or see you in another hair stylist’s chair later, which creates bad feelings. Many hair salons encourage hair stylist swaps, and ones with different pricing levels give you an easy out. If you start out by trying different hairdressers with each visit, it’ll be a lot easier, and you’ll simply be appreciated as a loyal salon client.