The dos and don’ts of going to the salon
Outside of family and friends, one of the most important relationships you can have is with your hairdresser. After all, with a few snips of their scissors, they have the power to make you look fantastic – or not. Once you find someone you love, you’ll probably stick with them for years.
In short, it’s essential to have a solid relationship with your stylist. “It’s almost like that saying, ‘Happy wife, happy life,’” says Jon Carlos De La Cruz, a hairstylist in Hollywood. “You want your stylist to be happy to see you and vice versa.” If you’re making a few accidental etiquette mistakes, despite your best efforts to be polite, you could run into trouble.
It boils down to this: some of the etiquette rules you’ve come to believe are the gold standard of being a good client are actually the opposite, and they drive hair pros nuts. Here are the seemingly polite habits to break – and what to do instead.
Showing up early
It goes without saying that being late is a no-no, but so is showing up super early. You may think arriving before your appointment time will allow you to sneak in a bit earlier and maybe get an extra-long conditioning treatment, but that’s unlikely. “Given a stylist’s schedule, there is a big chance a client will have to wait until it’s their time,” says De La Cruz. “Also, being too early can overwhelm a stylist because they may feel rushed during the current appointment.” Even if you don’t mind waiting, knowing that you’re sitting there can put the pressure on your hairdresser.
Do this instead: you can always call the salon the morning of your appointment to see if your stylist might be free a bit earlier than your appointment. Otherwise, don’t show up more than 10 minutes before your scheduled time.
Not being specific
One of the first things a stylist will say to you when you sit down in their chair is something along the lines of, “What would you like to do today?” This is your chance to tell them the type of cut or colour you’re looking for – and to be very specific. They’re the expert, yes, but it’s your hair. “Often, a bad cut happens when the client and stylist don’t have a clear line of communication,” explains Silvia Ferdin, an educator coach at Aveda Arts & Science. You may worry that you’ll come off as pushy or demanding by detailing your vision, but when a hairdresser doesn’t know what you are really looking for, it makes their job much harder.
Do this instead: bring photos of styles you like to your appointment (whether it’s celebrity pictures or photos of you from the past). This will give your hairdresser an idea of what you want. Tell them what you like about it, then ask if your stylist thinks it will work for your face shape and hair texture. They may recommend a few adjustments, but having a specific starting point that you both can see will help avoid miscommunication and mishaps.