Salon Etiquette

For all your beauty advice…

Most spas and salons have “rules”, or guidelines, posted in their lobby. These guidelines usually cover what to ask for when you book your service, suggestions on when to show up for your service, tipping guidelines and general courtesy tips. It’s great that salons and spas offer these guidelines…it would be even greater if clients followed them. In my days of working in salons and spas, I often wanted to keep a book that had two sections. “What we HAVE to say” and “What we WANT to say”. Years in this industry have taught me the fine art of biting my tongue. So, read on about what clients are supposed to do, what they don’t do, what they have the nerve to do, and how the other side of the desk deals with it all.

Most important thing of all…show up a few minutes before your service, if not right on time. We know you get frustrated sitting in the waiting area and watching the clock tick by, but I’ll be up front here and tell you that 9 times out of 10, your stylist is late because of a client being late, not because they’re slow. Stylists and technicians run behind, because you run behind. And understand that if you don’t have the courtesy of showing up on time, you don’t get the privilege of getting your full service. It doesn’t work that way.

Turn off your cell phone…seriously. High powered attorney you may be, but when you’re arriving for an appointment, the front desk needs to get your information to check you in, and that can’t happen if you’re on your phone. Don’t dominate the reception desk by placing your bag on the counter, holding up your finger to the receptionist signaling, “one minute” and finish your phone call. Most salons and spas like to promote a tranquil environment, and this can’t happen when you’re yappin’. Really, no one’s that important. I honestly think spas and salons should confiscate cell phones from people at the time of arrival. It would solve tons of problems.

Remember to tip the person performing your service, and anyone who contributes to your service. If you’re at a spa and you get served a lunch, a tip is greatly appreciated by the person serving you. No, they probably didn’t make your meal, but they did plate it nicely and they created a soothing atmosphere in the dining area for you. A stylist’s assistant also deserves a tip. Keep in mind that they work for peanuts and they’re doing most of the grunt work that the stylist is happy to pass on.

Be nice to your stylist, the assistant, or the technician performing your service. Just because you come from millions, or sleep on a $10,000 mattress (Yes, I knew a client like that) doesn’t mean you can talk down to salon/spa workers. Your wealth and status doesn’t put you on a pedestal. You are human, we are human, let’s treat each other kindly, with that in mind. Coming in to the salon or spa with an attitude is only going to result in conversations about you when you leave…and they won’t be nice conversations. What do you expect?

Know that emergencies happen. Stylists and technicians have lives and sometimes those lives get turned upside down with an emergency. If they have to leave and can’t do the service for you, it’s nothing personal. Please don’t get upset and cause a scene because you were scheduled with someone else. If you had answered that phone you’re always on, you would realize that a receptionist or manager was probably trying to call you to tell you something happened, and was giving you the option of rescheduling, or trying someone else.  The correct response to the emergency is not “What about my nails?!?!” It is, “Wow, I hope everything’s ok”. Remember, at a spa or salon, we are not curing disease or fighting for our country, we’re doing beauty services and the soldiers over in Iraq don’t give a you-know-what that you have to go to a different person for your manicure. It’s just that…a manicure.

When you are shown products to purchase at the end of your service, please keep in mind that these were set aside for you because your stylist or technician knows what’s best for your skin, or hair, and they only have your best interests in mind. Yes, they receive a commission on product sales, but the product is being suggested for your benefit. However, do not feel obligated to buy them. If you are not interested, or you just can’t afford them at the time, just say no thank you and the front desk will get the message. If they don’t, that’s bad service on their part.

Go ahead and reschedule your next appointment, please. This is perfect for both you and the front desk! You will get the best choices of appointment times if you book weeks in advance. By doing this, you won’t be calling at the last-minute begging someone to squeeze you in.

And, one final, very important piece of advice: Make the receptionist your best friend. She who holds the appointment book, rules the world. Enough said.

Well, there’s your insider’s view of Salon Etiquette…thoughts, comments? Email me your questions for Q&A Monday at

You’ve Been Beautified!

4 thoughts on “Salon Etiquette

  1. Julie

    Bravo!! Thank you Brooke!
    It is about time someone spoke up about this. I deal with this on a daily basis at the spa I work at. Hopefully there are some people who read this and hopefully “get the message”.
    I love most of the clients that come in, however there are that select few that make it bad for everyone involved.
    I want to add something as well:
    For the people who call to make an appointment…please have the day the time and an alternate time and day in case we cannot get you in. I don’t want to hear you clicking your tongue or hhhmming in my ear…it is frikkin’ irritating. My time is important too!

  2. Great information! Common Courtesy could go a long way. My daughter might friend you on Facebook. She says she has green hair. I said you wrote a post about that and could help her before she gets home next month.

    You and Sydney will get along fabulously!!

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