Beyond Emily Post: Hair Salon Etiquette for Every Visit

The Ultimate Hair and Beauty Salon Etiquette Guide

This is the only hair and beauty salon etiquette guide you will ever need! We’ve looked into it, and unfortunately, Emily Post never wrote about the proper way to conduct oneself at the salon. That being said, we often hear questions regarding beauty etiquette that plague even the most seasoned of salon goers. So, we took it upon ourselves to create our own salon etiquette guide to minding your Ps & Qs. We modernized our comprehensive guide a bit, remembering that every rule has an exception and aiming to answer even the wildest of your what-ifs. We like to think Ms. Post would approve.

How late is too late to cancel an appointment, and what consequences should I expect?

The Rule: 24 hours notice is ideal. This gives the salon time to book another appointment for your stylist, ensuring that they’re able to have the most productive day possible.

The Exception: Life happens, and it doesn’t always give you 24 hours notice. If you need to cancel the day-of, just let the salon know as soon as possible. Often, for instance, we can fill an afternoon appointment that gets canceled that morning. That being said, if it happens three times, we’ll have to start asking for a credit card to charge for the service even if you are unable to experience it. We love our guests a lot, but we love our stylists, too. Every appointment is an important part of how they make a living!

How late is too late to arrive at your hair appointment?

The Rule: Like we said, things happen. We totally get it. You hit traffic, get stuck on a conference call, the babysitter’s late—maybe you’re just one of those people who’s perennially running two to five minutes behind. Just call us and let us know.

The Exception: If you’re going to be more than fifteen minutes late, do yourself and your stylist a favor and reschedule. Respecting your service provider’s time and schedule is important, but remember that by arriving late, you’re shortchanging yourself. Every service should include yummy Aveda rituals like head massages, comprehensive consultations on the service you’re receiving and lengthy and luxurious time at the shampoo bowl. (Wow, just talking about it makes us want to book an appointment right now.) Showing up on time gives your stylist the opportunity to show off their full array of skills and do their best work—and you the opportunity to fully enjoy the experience.

Should I wash my hair before dying it at the hair salon?

The Rule: It depends on the service you’re receiving, but most of the time, it doesn’t matter. People’s day-of look to run the gamut from squeaky clean to sopping wet to fresh from yoga class, and we can make any of those work. Pro Tip: Wearing your hair to the salon the way you usually style it can help your service provider create a look that works well for your everyday life.

The Exception: If you’re having an up-do or any other special occasion styling done, wash your hair the night before, and don’t use any products in it. Having a clean palette to work from ensures that your final look is just where you want it—and more importantly, that stays that way all night.

Am I allowed to bring outside food or beverages to my hair appointment?

The Rule: Sure! Our guests are loyal, fabulous, and a whole lot of fun, and we love to know that they feel comfortable. If that means jumping into your stylist’s chair with a Venti soy latte in hand or treating your bridal party to mimosas and bagels while you all have your hair and makeup done, then that’s more than fine by us.

The Exception: We can’t promise you won’t get a side-eye or two if you show up with, say, a rotisserie chicken. But hey, you do you.

Side Note:  And on a related note, if you find yourself at the salon and feeling a touch peckish or totally parched, our guest services team is always happy to play barista. Unlimited coffee, water, and Aveda Comforting Tea (spicy, sweet, and soothing with licorice root and peppermint), coming right up!

What’s your policy on cell phone usage during the salon appointment?

The Rule: We meant it when we said we want you to be comfortable, and if comfortable to you is scrolling through Instagram while your highlights are processing, go for it. We do ask that you keep chatty phone calls and volume to a minimum – remember, the people within earshot of you are here to relax, too.

The Exception: If your phone is more of a stressor than a fun way to connect with friends, we say toss it in your bag and forget it exists for an hour. Sometimes it’s best to relax and be present, and let’s be real—iPhones can seriously complicate that process. Oh, and if your phone makes you prone to fidgeting or is going to be permanently attached to your ear, we recommend making it persona non grata at your appointment.

Is it better to bring in photos of what I want, or just try to talk it through with the hairstylist?

IzabelGoulartThe Rule: Photos are amazing, particularly if you’re making a dramatic change. They help your stylist understand exactly what you’re looking for and figure out how to adapt that look for your hair type and lifestyle.

The Exception: If you bring in five photos of Izabel Goulart, there’s a good chance that what you really want is to look like Izabel Goulart. Try to find a photo of someone with the same coloring, face shape, and hair type as you.

This Izabel Goulart. Hair: Maybe, with the right products and extensive styling. Bone structure: Not replicable. If only.  (source)

Do I need to make a conversation with my stylist?

The Rule: Not unless you want to. The stereotype about hairstylists being like therapists exists for a reason—we are always happy to rehash the ups, downs, and dramas of life. At the end of the day, though, your time at the salon is about you. If you just left a bustling office or screaming baby and are desperate for an hour of silence, we’re more than happy to oblige. No hard feelings.

The Exception: Communication is still an important part of making sure you’re getting what you want from your appointment—we will, of course, need to talk about your needs and ask some questions along the way. The more honest answers you can give us, the better we can make you look. 

What’s the best way to let someone know I’m unhappy with my service?

The Rule: The sooner you have this conversation, the better. The general inclination is to smile, thank your stylist, and say you love it, even if your internal freakout is reaching Solange/Jay Z elevator smack-down levels. Here’s the thing: your service provider’s feelings won’t be hurt if you let them know you were looking for something different. Really! They would much prefer to have the opportunity to fix the problem while you’re still in the salon. And, if you’d rather have someone else fix it, that’s okay, too. Just let the front desk know!

The Exception: There isn’t one. Unless, you know, you asked to look like Izabel Goulart and you still don’t look like Izabel Goulart.

How much do you tip your hairstylist?

The Rule: This is one of the most common questions that professionals get that work in the hair industry. Many people are not sure whether they should leave their hairstylist a tip or if they are covered by the company. We like to encourage you to leave them a tip if you feel they did a great job and you are happy with the end result. The standard tip amount for services is usually 20%. This includes massages, haircuts, hairstyles, manicures, pedicures, lash, and brow, hair extensions, waxing, and much more. Gratuity is typically anywhere from $5 to $20 depending on the service you went in for. In the end, the decision is up to you.

For more information, please contact Paris Parker Salon & Spa.