Professional Hair Stylist Etiquette,
What happens in the salon,
does NOT stay in salon!



Not a day goes by that I don't scream inside my head, "That is NOT professional hair stylist Etiquette!" I do believe I could turn this particular subject into a book. 

What is Professional Hair Stylist Etiquette?

It is the professionalism of the hair stylists and salon employees set by the salon culture.

Basically these are the Do's & Don'ts within the 4 walls of a salon.

As I sit and write this page a very good example just presented itself.  I'm in a coffee house like so many other webbers.  One of the employees, who is off duty at the moment and in street clothes, just went on a rant to another employee.  She was dropping the F bomb and a few other ugly expletives about the boss! It was very awkward in here and I wanted immediately to leave. Did her actions affect the perception of the business? You bet it did.

My point is very simple.  

Everything that happens within the salon, good or bad, affects the cash register.

Professional hair stylists don't realize how their actions and words affect a clients' perception of the salon. 

You are just starting your beauty career. Take some sage advice and learn from the beginning how to become a TRUE professional hair stylist that can easily grow a sustainable beauty career.

All of the different personalities work together to set the salon culture.  Everyone has an affect on the feel of the salon and of client perception.

Professional Hair Stylist Etiquette
Little Things Mean a Lot

DON'T shout or talk loud enough for the entire salon to hear you. This isn't a nightclub, it's a business.

Do talk at a normal level so as not to interfere with other stylist's conversations with their clients.


DON'T wear bangle bracelets that make noise in a client's ear. It will drive them crazy and they won't come back to you.

DO wear tasteful jewelry to match your outfit. Bracelets are fine, just not noisy ones.


DON'T gossip about co-workers.  Drama runs rampant in a salon. Don't be the one that starts the storms or adds to them.  It makes for an uncomfortable work environment.  That is unpleasant for you and stressful to clients.

DO make a habit to walk away from gossip and not participate.  It can be done!


DON'T ever, ever, ever have your cell phone on the salon floor.  It is one of the most unprofessional things to do in the salon.  Keep it in the back so you aren't tempted to look at it.  I once saw a stylist talking on her cell while cutting a man's hair!  It was unbelievable to me. How would you feel if she was cutting your hair?

DO check your messages during your break.


DON'T discuss religion, politics or sex.  These are the 3 industry No-No's.

DO ask a client about their work or hobby.  This keeps the focus on them and is appropriate conversation.

Do you have a salon etiquette tip you would like to add?

Click here and I will add it for sure.


DON'T Stink. One of the most common complaints from clients is a stylist smelling like smoke!  It's very unpleasant for a non-smoker and they will not return to you. So not only are the cigarettes costing you money, they could cost you clients, which is money, too.


DO quit. But seriously, keep Febreeze and mouthwash in the break room. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and don't believe that a spritz of perfume will mask the smell. I'll give you a good hacker technique from an EX closet smoker! Wear an old smock and a disposable color glove to smoke! This keeps the smell off of your clothes.


DON'T poach clients from other stylists.

DO build your own clientele.


DON'T be a lazy professional hair stylist. The salon's cleanliness is the responsibility of every employee.  The condition of your equipment and your station is your responsibility.  A lazy hair stylist affects the entire team.  Someone always has to pick up the slack from the lazy ones!  Don't let that be you.  It damages your reputation to be seen as the lazy one and brings down the value of the salon.

DO your part, and then some.  Keep your station clean and sanitized. Always do it before you leave for the day.  Do your sanitation duties without being told. Make life easier on the manager and you increase your value to the salon.


DON'T leave your color bowls for others to clean, don't leave hair in the sink, and don't leave a mess in the break room.

DO clean up any mess you made.


DON'T use profanity ever, in front of clients.

DO communicate with clients and co-workers in a professional manner.


DON'T assume clients know how to speak our language.  They probably don't know what a 4R means.

DO communicate in terms clients understand.

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DON'T talk about your personal life! For one thing it's not cool for clients to know your personal details and second, they don't want to hear your problems.  Going to the salon is a break for many people.  Don't bring drama to them.

DO keep the focus on them.  This is their time.  They are paying for it.


DON'T keep clients waiting. You running behind shouldn't be their problem. How long do you think they will wait before deciding never to go to you again?

DO keep a tight schedule and be mindful of time management.  Your client's time is valuable. They will respect you if you respect them.


DON'T take your clients for granted.

DO thank them for their business.  Everyone likes to be appreciated.


DON'T call in sick when you aren't.  Not showing up for clients will derail your beauty career.  And when you are not in the salon, someone else will have to be.  You deciding to take the day off could make a co-worker have to come in on her day off.  That is no way to be a good team member.

DO treat your position as a professional hair stylist as valuable.  Be responsible.


DON'T run from clients you don't want to do.  It only means one of your co-workers will have to pick up your slack.

DO take the client and learn from it.  Ask for help if you need help.  We all do from time to time.

That's me behind the desk! Timone keeps getting stuck with fades because the other stylists are afraid of ethnic hair and Timone doesn't appreciate it.  I have to do all flat tops because I'm the only one who has learned how.

Moral of this story:  Don't be the runner.  Stand your ground and learn. You are a professional hair stylist!  You will be the better for it!


DON'T let "the girls" out too much. I realize you have a nice rack. But too much ta-ta takes from your professional image.

DO dress with respect for yourself and your clients. Your boobs are in the clients face often. Do you really think women want to see down your blouse? She may be thinking "hooker" instead of "professional." Every client counts.  Better to take the high road than to chance alienating anyone.


DON'T discuss tips on the salon floor or with clients.  This is so unprofessional. Don't keep tips visible on your station either.

DO keep tip conversation, bitching, bragging in the break room out of earshot of all clients.


DON'T repair flesh wounds at your station.  Your client doesn't need to see the blood. And don't make them feel like getting cut was their fault.

DO keep a cut kit in your locker; Nexcare waterproof bandages are the best for hair stylists, cut glue and sanitizer. Do excuse yourself to the client and tell them you will be right back, that you knicked yourself and need to clean it. Do smell like sanitizer when you return. Dispose of anything you were using on the client while in front of them. Get a clean comb, clean brush and clean scissors. You want the client to see that their health is a top priority to you.


DON'T overwhelm your clients with your perfume or cologne.  People have allergies and also, smells can trigger memories, good and bad. What if your cologne reminded them of an Ex? They probably won't come back to you again just because you smell like someone they hate!

DO use deodorant. 

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