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NEED TO KNOW: Salon Etiquette 101

Most of us can agree that a Saturday spent lounging at the salon is one of the finer things in life. Getting primped and ready is a sure fire way to make sure we’re looking and feeling our best, but we also want to make sure it’s an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. Whether you’ve wondered about whether you can talk on your cell phone during an appointment or how much to tip, we’re here to tell you exactly what makes the perfect client.

Tim Duenas


“Punctuality: this is probably the most important,” says Sal Salcedo of Ramirez Tran Salon. “If you are late that makes us run late for our other clients,” he explains. “Please call and let’s us know so we can arrange our day accordingly. More than 15 minutes late is too late, so please just reschedule.”

Tim Duenas of Nine Zero One Salon agrees. “Arrive on time,” he says. “Tardiness is rough on both parties. If you are going to be late, it is important to call ahead. Please allow time to reschedule the appointment if you have to.”

Mischelle Navar of Andy Lecompte Salon takes it a step further stressing to “Show up at least a few minutes early for the appointment. If you’re running late or can’t make it always be sure to call. You never want to just not show up for your appointment.”



“Hair Goals, we all have them,” says Sal. “I love to listen to my clients idea of ‘perfect hair’ but it always helps to bring in pictures of what you have in mind. Images are more than welcome, but don’t be unrealistic. We are visual artists, we love images! If you don’t bring images, be ready to explain what you want done, and be open to take my advice. Let’s work together.” For more tips on what kind if images to bring in, check out our Pre-Hair Color 101.

“Bring in photos of hair styles that you like as well as what you don’t like,” says Mischelle. “This ensures your stylist and you are on the same page with your hair, and then we know what not to do as well as how to style.”

“A great tool for successful communication would be images,” agrees Tim “Bring images of your own hair, when you loved it or didn’t love it so much. In addition bring in an image of style inspiration to convey not only the desired outcome, but outcomes you would like to stay away from. This will get the client and stylist on the same page since there are different [descriptive] languages spoke by the stylist and the client.”

Silver Hair by Mischelle Navar


But pictures aren’t the only thing that can ensure a smooth appointment. The right mindset is key! Tim explains that “the ideal client is someone that is open minded, properly prepared, understanding, and overall fun to hang with… But being open minded doesn’t always mean that you have to leave with a weird haircut,” he explains. “It means that you are open to a conversation about your current and new image. I always say that the best consultations are conversations. Both the stylist and the client have the ability to control a services direction. But, the magic happens when they are able to dive deeper into the wills, wont’s, wants, and don’ts.

“This leads into being properly prepared. The perfect client would be able to answer questions about their styling routine. Do you style in the morning? Evening? How often? And what amount of time is spent on primping?

The next step is knowing what type of products they use: creams, whips, serums, sprays, pomades, etc. This will help the stylist gain a clearer understanding of what is actually desired without even getting to what the desired haircut is yet.”



Though we all want to chop off our hair after a big breakup, Mischelle advises against it. “If you want a big change, don’t do it in an emotional state. Discuss it and make sure it’s the right change for you.” If you are still up for the change a few months later, come back for an appointment and she’ll take you there.

Sal Salcedo


Feeling shy? That’s okay! Don’t feel pressured to entertain your stylist. Sal explains that some people just want to zone out and relax at their appointments. “How much you communicate with me about anything other than hair is totally up to you. I get that some clients are more reserved than others and that’s ok, you can be as chatty as you want or as quiet as you want because, in reality, I’m here to listen to you and make you beautiful. I just want my clients to feel comfortable while they’re with me.”



“One of my strongest criteria for the perfect client would be to be understanding,” explains Tim. “I cannot express this enough. If the client is understanding and realistic about the limitations of time spent to hair condition they can have all their hair dreams come true! Anything is possible with understanding and patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day and most of the time a complete [hair] overhaul isn’t either. It’s the greatest thing in the world when this happens.”

Textured Hair by Tim Duenas


“Talking to me and talking on your phone are much different,” says Sal. “Texting while getting your haircut is ok. We are all looking at our screens constantly, trust me, I get! Taking a personal or dramatic phone call on the other hand is a big NO THANK YOU! Getting on your phone is mostly bothersome because you have your phone to your ear and you’re moving your head all over the place. Sit still, please.”

Mischelle agrees stating that talking on your cell phone can be distracting and time consuming. Be sure to schedule your calls for before or after you appointments and never leave your stylist waiting while you take a call. This again, will throw off their schedule and means they’ll run late for the rest of their clients.



“Let’s talk about tips,” says Sal. “Do it. Tip your stylist at least 20%. I put everything into what I do for my clients and a tip is feedback so I know you’re satisfied… Always, ALWAYS, tip the assistants. They’re holding everything down so I can just focus on your hair.”

“Tipping the people who work on you is extremely important,” explains Mischelle. “We’re all here to serve you, so whether it’s the shampoo person, an assistant, or the person who brings you your drink and hangs up your coat, tipping lets us know we’re appreciated and happy with your service.”

Textured Shag Bangs by Sal Salcedo


So what do you do if you go home to find your haircut or color is not quite what you expected? “In the off chance that my client dislikes something about their hair, come see me right away,” says Sal. “Don’t wait more than a couple weeks. I’m here for you, so don’t be afraid to communicate with me.”



“Don’t touch your hair while getting it cut and arrive with clean hair,” says Mischelle. Arriving to your hair appointment with dirty hair is a myth. It will not style better, and your stylist will not be able to see your natural color or texture.

Other codes Tim suggests you live by: “bring limited baggage and leave the pets/babies at home. This is a relaxing time and should be enjoyed as such without too many distractions.”

Hair by Mischelle Navar


“The most important trait, in my opinion, is to have fun!” says Tim. “Let’s be honest we have to spend some time together and both the stylist and the client need to enjoy that time. Enjoy the process and the outcome will always be epic.”

For more tips for the salon and #manespiration, follow @mischelle_navar, @salsalhair, and @timduenashair.

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