You walk into the salon, breathe in the fresh scent of rosemary mint shampoo and chemically destroyed hair. You see your girl (or guy) smiling at you with an unmatched optimism you only find every four to eight weeks. There's nothing like the feeling of a scalp massage, unloading all the latest gossip onto your stylist, and walking away with silky smooth locks. It's the most blissful hour of your month, it seems. But in reality, you unknowingly did something to piss off your stylist and she spends the rest of the day complaining about your behavior. Didn't your mother teach you salon etiquette?
#1 Tipping Is Optional, Sort of.
If you don't tip a server at a restaurant, he or she collects a $2/hour paycheck. If you don't tip a hairstylist, he or she may be disheartened and wonder if you secretly hated that blunt bob she just gave you. But, she'll still have a livable paycheck at the end of the week.
It is by no means a requirement to give stylists tips, but it is encouraged. If your hairdresser greeted you with a smile, asked you if you want a cup of coffee or a magazine, and gave you gorgeous new highlights, you should tip her. As with any service that you are happy with, it's always a nice gesture. The standard tip should be 15 to 20 percent, but, it's at your discretion how much you think he or she deserves.
#2 Expecting the Impossible
If your current hair color is a shade of brown or black, don't go to the salon and show your colorist a picture of Gwen Stefani and pout about it when she tells you it can't happen. Achieving certain looks, like black to blonde, is a multi-step process that can only be achieved over several appointments. If your stylist tells you that she can't get you to the color you want in one day, thank her for caring about the health of your strands.
#3 Appointment Cancellations/Running Late
Typically, stylists only have a short window from the time your appointment ends to the start of their next one. If you're running late, it's always nice to call the salon and let them know. However, if you're showing up more than 20 minutes past your appointment time, it's probably best to cancel or your stylist will feel rushed and you might not get the best service.
#4 One-Sided Conversations
Some stylists could care less if you make it an effort to talk to them during your appointment. Some strongly believe it's their job to stir up a conversation and make the client feel important and well taken care of. However, too many clients are short with their responses and spend the whole time on their phones.
There's no real rule for how much you need to talk to your stylist, but just don't forget that person making you that perfect shade of buttery blonde is a human, too.
#5 Phones are Life
Phones are a perfect distraction when you're sitting alone, waiting for your color to develop. They're also the best barrier when you and your stylist don't have anything to talk about, or you're sick of hearing her talk about her Bachelor obsession because that's the only thing you two have in common.
Whatever the reason for being glued to your phone is, just be cognizant of it, and don't ignore your stylist if she's trying to make conversation with you.
#6 "I love it, thank you!"
You asked for a trim that turned into chopping four inches of your hair off. On the inside, you're somewhere between crying a river and throwing the People magazine across the salon. You know it's going to take weeks to get over this, but you convince yourself that it's just hair -- it'll grow back. And when she asked "What do you think?," you answer: "I love it! Thank you!"
Let's face it... there's no reason to lie between your teeth because:
A) She's going to notice you're lying, and that's just uncomfortable. Or,
B) She's not going to be able to fix it or know better for next time (if there is a next time).
It's best to just be honest and tell her how you feel, even if it is awkward. Chances are it's not the first time she has had an unhappy client.
#7 Airing All Your Dirty Laundry
Somehow hair appointments turn into vent sessions about your ex-boyfriend from Freshman year who is now dating your second cousin with a kid on the way. It's okay to share details about yourself, but when is it too far?
It's better to lean on the more conservative side of sharing when it comes to dishing all the deets to your stylist. For one, there are strangers all around you who probably don't need to know about your toe fungus. And two, it's your stylist's job to make you feel comfortable and be nice to you, but the intimate details of your life could make her feel uncomfortable.
Now that you know what not to do in the salon, let's open up the floodgates and start another debate: Which is Better: Salons or Barbershops?