10 of your biggest salon etiquette questions answered by Dayton's beauty pros

Have you ever wondered what your stylist really thinks when you're a few minutes late?  And what's the normal amount of clothing to remove for a massage?

I asked for answers to these and many more of your biggest salon etiquette questions.  Read these and you'll be your stylist's favorite client in no time!

1.  Tipping:  This is a huge one so it's a 3-parter:

What's really the standard rate for tips? 

The answers for this question ranged from 15% - 25% but EVERYONE agreed that tipping is completely up to you, the client.

When you have multiple services done in a single visit with different service professionals (like for instance, if you buy a spa package with nails, massage, and hair services all included) how should the tip be handled?  Do we write the amounts on the receipt?  If we do nothing, will the tip be split evenly among the professionals

Everyone agreed that if nothing is stated on the receipt the tip will be split evenly, but that working with the salon front desk to split it up yourself is also welcome.

Is it true that you shouldn't tip the salon owner?

While the services you receive from the salon owner are likely more expensive, no one suggested not tipping them!

Amber Bromer of Salon Noir explains, "Honestly, I don't know where the misconception of not tipping salon owners came from.  Of course whether or not to tip anyone in the service industry is totally up to the client's discretion.  But I will say salon owners have more expenses, obligations, and frankly more blood, sweat, and tears shed for their businesses than the average employee."  

2.  For hair consultations do you prefer clients bring a photo of the look they are going for? 

Lauren Marquardt and Meagan Difrancesco love when clients bring photos:  "A client's idea of a specific hair color might differ from ours, so examples of tones/shades/levels is very helpful to ensure that the stylist and client are on the same page."

Amber Bromer points out that it gives the stylist a chance to inform the customer if their vision won't be possible in one session, for instance "if you want to go from dark brown to that gorgeous pastel pink you found on Pinterest, be prepared to spend some time and money in the salon.  And make sure you are ready for whatever maintenance said color requires."

3.  Oh no!  Traffic!  I'm going to be late to my appointment - what should I do?  Call?  Skip the trim and only do the color?  Reschedule?

Brent Johnson of Square One Salon and Spa assures that "this happens everyday.  Our policy is to do whatever we can in the time allotted and to use our team of professionals to come together to make it work for the client."

However, most of the responses suggest that there's a window of time around 15-25 minutes where they might need you to reschedule otherwise the rest of their clients will be impacted.

Everyone agreed that the most important thing to do is to call as soon as you know you'll be late to give them a heads up.

4.  It's still pretty much summer out there therefore people are dealing with some skin issues like sunburn, mosquito bites, poison ivy, etc.  What services should be avoided if you have one or more of these conditions?

Amber Bromer of Salon Noir says "we don't like to use hair color on anyone with a sunburn on their scalp.  That would definitely exacerbate the condition."  So definitely wear a hat when you're spending time outdoors a few days before your appointment.

Kelly Long of Eden Salon & Spa reminds us that "any of these conditions could interfere with a comfortable experience."

Brent Johnson of Square One suggests "sharing any issues or topical medications you are on before a waxing service or a hair color change.  They can greatly affect the end result.  It's chemistry."

5.  Am I annoying you with all my beauty questions?  Is it fair to lean so heavily on your hard-earned expertise?  Or is it totally ok to ask for tips and suggestions?

Joshua Ladner of Salon J Ladner says yes! "We are not doing our job if we aren't informing you of how to look and feel your best."

Michele Cremeans of Harmony Farm adds that "most massage therapists know a wealth of information on how the client can help themselves with continued self-care at home and will happily share tips and suggestions to benefit their clients."

The general consensus is that we should feel free to ask away!

6.  I've been sitting in the chair for 5 minutes and I haven't looked at my phone - I'm now obviously in the throws of full-on tech withdrawal!  What is acceptable phone use while in a hair appointment?

Joshua Ladner of Salon J Ladner says that talking on your phone during a hair service is a bad idea but that if you need to make a call "just let your stylist know and we can take a break."

Lauren & Maegan agree that most phone use is fine "as long as their head is in the position I need it to be" for the service.

Amber Bromer of Salon Noir understands that "for some clients this is the only time they have to themselves.  Spend it however you like!"

Speaking of using your phone - Joshua Ladner reminds us to tag the salon or spa you're visiting on social media!

7.  It seems like stylists ask a ton of questions during the consultation.  Why the third degree?

Joshua Ladner explains that the "questions are to help make your hair dreams come true.  Questions about your lifestyle will let us know if you feel comfortable styling your hair every day or if you are more low key and maybe can't style every day because of time constraints.  Like any relationship, communication is what makes it a great one."

Michele Cremeans explains that "massage therapists have an intake form, a medical history where we gather an overview and details of the person's health to determine an action plan."

8.  The service is done and I'm not happy with it - what should I do?

Everyone unanimously agrees that you should speak up and let them know ASAP!

Kelly Long of Eden Salon & Spa reminds us that clients are "our walking billboard" so making sure they look and feel their best is very important.

Brent Johnson said to "tell the stylist immediately.  Be honest. Be calm.  Be kind."

Amber Bromer assures us that "you and your stylist can regroup and start over if need be."  The most important thing is to say something as soon as possible to allow them to fix it.

9.  I'm sure that the product you're recommending is amazing, but I've busted my beauty budget on the service.  Is it ok to decline purchasing the recommended products?

Joshua Ladner says that it's totally fine to decline the products but "just know that with color it's best to pair it with salon products or the color may not last as long."

Kelly Long of Eden Salon & Spa agrees that when clients leave the salon and can't recreate the look at home, "product is usually the #1 reason."

The consensus of all of the salon professionals is that they would never want you to purchase something you can't afford or do not want but that the products really are worth the money if you have a little wiggle room in your beauty spending.

10. For massages, how much clothing should be removed?  What's normal?

"We suggest undressing to your level of comfort" said Brent Johnson of Square One. 

Michele Cremeans of Harmony Farm echoes this sentiment - "It depends on the person.  I personally have given fully clothed body massages because the client felt most comfortable fully clothed."  It's much more common to take everything off or to keep underwear on only - Michele points out that "clients are always between sheets and properly draped" during the massage so feel free to wear what you like.

Joshua Ladner says it best:  "There is no right or wrong way when it comes to what makes you comfortable."


Joshua Ladner - Owner, Salon J Ladner

Brent Johnson - Owner, Square One Salon and Spa

Amber Bromer - Owner, Salon Noir

Lauren Marquardt & Maegan Difrancesco - Salons @ The Greene

Kelly Long -  Owner, Eden Salon & Spa

Michele Cremeans - Assistant Manager of Operations, Harmony Farm