Salon Etiquette 101: 8 Best Practices To Get The Most Out Of Your Experience
At PRÊTE, we obviously live for trips to our favorite salon and treating ourselves to a fresh cut, color, or even a spontaneous blow out at lunch (you only live once, right?). Working so closely with these respected establishments has made us experts on how to, well, respect the establishments and the talented stylists who make magic happen with the right pair of scissors.
Still, the ‘dos and donts of salon etiquette can be confusing. For example, how much should you tip your stylist, and how late is too late before they move on to their next appointment? If you’re not a frequent salon-goer, here are a few things to keep in mind the next time your due for a new ‘do.
1. Always Bring A Photo for Reference
It’s not always easy to describe what, exactly, you’re looking for in a hairstyle, and that’s where visual aids come in. Head over to Google images, or Pinterest, and start with the basics like long bob, or layers, and get a feel for what kind of cuts you like. Having multiple examples of styles you’re into can get ideas flowing between you and your stylist to narrow down the best look for you.
2. Be Vocal About What You Don’t Want, Too
As important as it is to discuss what you want out of your salon experience, it’s equally as important to express your concerns, as well as styles you definitely do not like. One of the best ways to do this is to, in addition to photographs of styles you love, bring visuals of styles you hate, or just don’t think would work for your look. This ensures the stylist has an even better idea of what you’re looking for before you sit down.
At the same time, if you notice your hairstylist freestyling mid-treatment, be vocal. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or feel awkward discussing at any point what they’re taking your chop. The last thing you want is for your visions to clash, and end up stuck in a ‘do that’s not really “you.”
3. Always Call Ahead If You’re Running Late
A general rule of thumb: If you know you are unable to make an appointment well in advance, cancel your treatment 24 hours ahead of time, at the very least. But here at PRÊTE, we understand that things happen: work piles up, traffic accidents cause hours-long stand stills, and sometimes fate just isn’t on your side the day you’ve scheduled a cut and color.
If you’re running late to an appointment, it’s OK, but you should definitely call to let the salon know you’re on your way. Use your best judgement to determine how long it’s going to take you to make it in. Any more than 15 minutes tardy, and you should call, cancel, and reschedule.
4. If You Can Manage, Try To Be Fashionably Early
Even if you’ve scheduled a consultation prior to your appointment, it’s always a good idea to arrive at the salon a few minutes early so you and your stylist can review the cut, color, and/or treatment you’re expecting.
5. Wash your hair the night before, or two or three days before.
No one is perfect – case in point, most of us here at the PRÊTE offices are undoubtedly guilty of this major salon faux pas. We all know (and thoroughly enjoy the fact) that salons will give you a rigorous shampoo before even grazing a pair of scissors to strands, but that doesn’t mean you get a pass for skipping out on a wash if your hair is long overdue the night before an appointment.
Not only is this kind of gross, it also makes it harder for your stylist to envision the final product when your hair is healthy. Second- or third-day hair is OK, but don’t go over a week without a wash prior to popping into the salon.
6. Don’t Use Any Product On Your Hair The Day Of
You want your hair to be all natural when you step into the salon, so that your stylist is working on a legitimately clean slate. Wash a few days before, limit product use, and make sure you perform a thorough brush-through so your stylist doesn’t have to waste time tending to a wild mane before getting to the actual treatment.
7. Tip Anywhere from 15-20 Percent
Best practices for tipping ultimately depend on how satisfied you are with the service. If you feel your stylist made sure every snip was to your liking, and was able to accommodate if changes needed to be made, tipping anywhere from 15 to 20 percent is the norm.
On the other hand, if your experience wasn’t so great, or you are unhappy with the final look, remember: tipping is not mandatory. You should, however, express your concerns. The stylist will appreciate the feedback, and you could always make arrangements to correct the mistakes another time.
8. Make Sure You're Tipping Assistants, Too
Tipping your stylist is generally a give-in, but oftentimes people forget about the assistants that shampoo their hair or shadow the stylists to get them the appropriate dye, scissors, and the like.
How much you tip assistants really depends on what they do for you and the stylist throughout the experience. A shampoo treatment typically yields about $3 to $5, but just keep tabs on how involved they are and go from there.