An Essential Guide to Salon and Barbershop Etiquette

Updated 05/16/19

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Oh, the things hairstylists hear and experience on the daily. Like a good bartender, some are like confidantes, even therapists. But above all, they're responsible for something very important: making sure you have your best hair.

Knowing proper salon and barbershop etiquette not only keeps you on good terms with your stylist or barber, but it also gets you a better haircut. Here are some of the common things your hairstylist probably wants you to know.

Take a Shower

Going to a hair appointment right after the gym or any other activity where you get sweaty is not very cool. It's disrespectful, sometimes offensive, to your stylist or barber since they have to be very close to you. To make the most of your visit, shower before you come in.

Be On Time

A late client can often make the stylist run behind on subsequent clients. A stylist also might need to cut corners to get a late client finished quickly to avoid falling behind on the rest of their book. If you're running late, call to let them know so the shop can try to accommodate you.

Avoid Hat Head

It's always best to come in clean, dry, and free of products and hats. Often, a stylist wants to see how your hair behaves naturally so they can create a style that works with your hair's natural growth pattern. This is difficult if your hair is mashed down by hat head.

Have an Idea of What You Want

Part of the process of getting a haircut is the consultation in which you talk to your stylist and decide what style you're going for. Take the time to communicate very clearly, and then let them do their work.

If you notice that you need to give your stylist a little direction during the cut—say, to go shorter—speak up. Don't wait until after the blowout, or else they may have to start all over again; if this is the case, you'll most likely get a rush job.

You Should Sit Still

One of the biggest problems stylists have is fidgety clients, especially when doing shorter precision work. Being still is essential for avoiding mistakes. Moving even an inch at a critical time can make or break a haircut. Avoid reaching for your phone, sneezing, or shifting to get more comfortable without giving your stylist a fair warning.

Stay Off Your Phone

Communicating with your barber or stylist during a haircut might be necessary, and you can't do that if you're on the phone. Some stylists find it rude, but some don't mind. If you don't know, just ask. It's not a bad idea to silence your phone and take the opportunity to unplug and unwind.

Tip Well

Barbers and stylists depend on tips for a large portion of their income, so be sure to tip well. They definitely remember the great tippers and the bad ones and will serve you accordingly.

Be Nice

This should go without saying, but just be nice. Plain and simple. Remember that stylists and barbers are professionals who work hard. They're on their feet for several hours a day, they deal with many different types of personalities, and their skills are extremely valuable. They should always be treated with respect.

Your salon experience should be enjoyable for you and for them. A good relationship between you and your stylist or barber will leave you feeling renewed and looking awesome.

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