Saturday, March 26, 2011

What Should You Expect When You Go to a Salon?

This post is based on generalizations of standards found in US salons. It is important to note that every salon and stylist are different. Thus, protocol might be different in a salon or hair cutting franchise that you choose to visit.

This is going to be a condensed text version of the video I posted last night. If you would like to see the video with full explanations of each discussion point and additional commentary, I will put it at the end of the post. And I would like to take a moment to send a special thank you to my very dear friend and beloved stylist, Angie. Without her professional insight, this post would not have been possible.

Disclaimer: The information found in this post is expressly from my conversation with my stylist and only reflect our views, knowledge and opinions.

  • If the salon generally looks unclean, leave. Immediately.
  • If you have questions about their cleanliness, ask your stylist what their sanitation procedures are. They should be able to confidently answer you. If they can't, leave. Immediately.
    • By law (in the US), everything that touches a client's head (like clips and combs) must be sterilized before it can be reused.
  • If your hair is not shampooed before your cut, that should be a big red flag.
    • The shampoo process is meant to sanitize the scalp and hair and prep the hair for cutting. A spray bottle with water is not the same as a shampoo.
  • If the salon or stylist wants to charge extra for a consultation, they are probably more interested in your money than anything else.
    • 15 minute consultations are the industry standard. Your hair stylist should discuss your hair type and everything that has been done to your hair with you along with your life style to see if you would benefit more from a low-maintenance or high-maintenance hair style.
  • Never be afraid or embarrassed to ask if you can see your stylist's portfolio.
    • If they don't have one, it shouldn't be a deal breaker, but it is always nice to see samples of their work.
  • Even if the salon accepts walk-ins, it's always better to have your appointment booked to guarantee your time is set aside.
  • Your stylist should initiate your pre-book at the end of your appointment. However, if they don't then you definitely should.
    • As a general rule, your appointments should be made:
      • Every 4-6 weeks for short hair.
      • Every 6-8 weeks for medium to long hair.
      • Every 6 weeks for color.
  • Consultation
  • Shampoo
  • Cut
    • Salons usually include a blow dry and style in the price of your cut. However, always double check just to make sure. Nationwide haircutting chains usually charge extra for these services.
  • There is no pre-wash necessary for color unless you arrive at the salon with a lot of product in your hair.
  • Try to go by friend referrals to find a colorist, if possible.
  • As far as chemical treatments go, perms always need a pre-wash first.
  • BE SURE if you think you want to go for a drastic change.
  • Be conservative with your length while getting your hair cut. 
    • Remember that hair shrinks once it's dry!
  • Bring pictures if you can! A picture is a much better description than words can ever be.
    • Bring them from several angles if at all possible so the stylist can see the cut or color from several angles.
  • If you're wanting to copy a celebrity's hair style, remember that they also have extensions, wigs and lots of other helpful tricks to get their hair that way.. most of what you see is an illusion!
  • Take into account your skin tone, face shape and body type when considering possible hair styles or colors.
  • Industry standard in the US is 20% on the total salon amount, but feel free to leave more if you were exceptionally pleased with your service or stylist.
    • Remember that service industries are tip-based industries, meaning this is how your stylist makes a majority of their money.
  • If your stylist has an assistant, their tip should also come out of that 20%.
  • If your stylist offers you a deal, you should still tip on the original amount of the service.
  • To divide your tip among several people, you can either physically hand each person cash after they have completed the service they are performing on you OR you can verbally explain how you want the tip split to the person who checks you out.
    • For example: If your salon services total $100, you would tip a minimum of $20. If you had 3 people work on your hair, you could tell the person checking you out that you wanted $10 to go to your stylist, $5 to the salon assistant who washed your hair and $5 to the stylist's assistant who blow dried and styled your hair.
And that's it! So now I'll link the video below in case you want to watch it to get some extra information, because as I said.. this is definitely the abridged version.


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