Rude Things Your Hairdresser Wishes You'd Stop Doing At The Salon

You might think you've found the perfect hairstylist, but do they feel the same about you? You could be making hair salon etiquette mistakes without even realizing what you're doing is wrong — and you wouldn't be the first, nor the last, to do so.


A trip to your favorite hair salon can do wonders for your confidence because a good hair day will make you look and feel fabulous. While you have every reason to be excited, it's also essential to be aware of some of the most common mistakes your hairdresser might think are rude and inconsiderate. When armed with the knowledge of things your hairstylist isn't telling you, we can change our behaviors for the better. 

Some actions may seem self-explanatory, like not referring to your hairdresser by a pet name or unloading emotionally the second you hit the chair. Still, once you have established a bond with your stylist, it can be easy to overstep and become overly familiar with them. At the same time, other mistakes are subtle and easier to get wrong. If you want to be a dream client, then it's best you stop doing these things, and when you have, chances are good that your hairstylist will look forward to your appointments in the future!


Not knowing what you want (and changing your mind later)

When you've booked a specific treatment or color change, your stylist will allocate the appropriate time to complete this. You can't suddenly decide you want something completely different or ask for several extras. This needs to be planned and discussed beforehand, so your hairdresser has enough time and is not put under unnecessary pressure.


"There's nothing worse than a client booking in for only a regrowth tint and showing a photo of a balayage or something that requires a color correction, then not understanding why you can't fit it all in, in their allocated appointment," hairdresser Belinda told MamaMia. Remember, you are unlikely to be their only client that day, and the hairdresser needs to ensure everything keeps running smoothly. If you want more done than initially planned, discuss this with your hairdresser and devise a plan, which could include setting up future appointments.

Showing up sick is ruder than rescheduling

Do you have the sniffles or feel a cold coming on? Hairdressers work close to their clients, and if you are feeling sick or it is very obvious you're ill, it is best to reschedule. When your hairdresser misses work because of an illness, they lose time and money. "If anyone contracts the same sickness, they'll be forced to take a sick leave, and you'll have unintentionally taken them out of business for a couple of days," longtime professional barber Viktor Holas told HuffPost. "This also means canceling several days' worth of appointments, which will be more inconvenient for us, and the clients affected by the cancellations."


Some clients are reluctant to reschedule. You may have waited for this appointment for weeks and don't have the time to book again. Or are you attending a special event and need your hair to look fabulous? It may be annoying, but it's the right thing to do. If you feel unwell, stay home and make an appointment again when you're better.

Falling asleep can create bad vibes

If you've had a busy week before your hair appointment or had a terrible night's sleep, you may be tempted to use this time to catch up on some much-needed rest. Unfortunately, the hair salon is not the place for this, and while it may be challenging to keep your eyes open when you're enjoying a great head massage or the sound of the hairdryer is providing you with the comforting white noise you need to drift off, save nap time for later.


It can put your hairdresser in an awkward position when you fall asleep during the appointment. They may have to ask several hair-related questions to ensure you are getting everything you want and will need to wake you. Or, when you are asleep, you could be making sudden, jerking movements, resulting in a hair disaster (no one wants to move when the hairdresser is holding a pair of scissors).

Showing up late without notice is disrespectful

When you schedule your appointment at the hair salon, you likely have the best intentions to be on time. But sometimes, life gets in the way, and you can lose track of time. If you're on your way and find yourself suddenly stuck in a traffic jam, or if you spill that delicious smoothie breakfast all over your clothes on your way out the door, you may be delayed by a few minutes. Definitely do not come in late for frivolous reasons, like you just had to grab a latte or spotted a sale at the makeup store.


The best thing to do is to call the salon and explain that you are running late. But how late is too late? If it is only a few minutes, your hairdresser will likely still be able to accommodate you, and you can keep the original appointment. However, if you are going to arrive much later than planned or the stylist is fully booked and cannot possibly wait any longer, they probably can't squeeze you into your original time slot. Be honest about your estimated arrival, and respect the salon's time.

Asking them to create hair miracles will set you up for disappointment

It can be exciting heading to the hair salon, but remember that your stylist can't always work miracles. Some clients have an idea of how they want to change their hair, either with color or a cut, but it would be impossible to achieve this look or it would be a lengthy process the client is unwilling to accept.


For example, if you enter the salon looking to color your hair several shades lighter than your base color, it will take time before you can do this (darker hair will have to be gradually changed to prevent damage during the bleaching process). Or maybe you have seen a haircut that you love and think will look cute because of how it frames your face, but in reality, your hair is not the right texture, type, or length to pull it off.

"Clients [come in] with extremely dark hair [and] expect it platinum blonde or a fashionable pastel color because they've seen some video on YouTube or some backstreet salon did it to their friend," London hairdresser Hannah Jafferji told Insider. The good news is your hairdresser will work with you to accomplish your goals, but they may differ slightly from what is in your head. Flexibility is essential, and don't argue with the professional who is there to help you.


Not being honest about what you've done to your hair in the past

Hairstylists will do their best work when armed with knowledge about what you have done to your hair. When you book an appointment at your favorite salon, they may ask several questions about your hair to better understand what you need from the appointment and establish how your hair handles specific treatments. These could be simple questions about your preference for washing and styling your tresses, or they could include previous colors and dyes you've used.


If you are honest, this will have better results for both you and the professional working on your hair. "You can never hide your hair history with a hairdresser," Sophia Hilton from Not Another Salon told Metro. "Just five minutes with bleach on will tell us everything and anything you didn't. It's like lying to your doctor, but on this occasion it's only you that loses." Communicate effectively with your hairdresser to ensure you leave the salon feeling happy and looking great.

Spending the whole time on the phone is inconsiderate

We get it, a hairdressing appointment can be time-consuming, and you may want to catch up on work or use the time to connect with friends. It might seem like the perfect opportunity to use your phone to chat for the duration of the session, but this is often considered rude and disrespectful.


Of course, the use of a phone is not immediately offensive. Hairdressers understand that sometimes you will need to make or take a call. The problem is when you are chatting conversationally or the conversation is long-winded. This is distracting to the stylist but is also rude to other clients who are unlikely to have any interest in what has happened in your personal life.

If you must use your phone, send a few texts or reply to emails but remember to be present when the hairdresser is discussing hair-related matters with you (for example, what you want, how you like the cut, and if the water is too warm during the shampoo).

Not understanding how to address a professional (ditch the pet names)

Over-familiarity can make the relationship between the stylist and the client awkward. You want to respect your hairstylist and their time by using their chosen name when addressing them (unless they have previously told you it is okay to do something different).


You may dislike calling people by their first name or feel it is too formal, and referring to your friends by "sweetie" or "darling" might be fine if they have communicated they have no issues with this. Still, your hairdresser is a professional providing a service you are paying for. They are not there to become your best friend and treating them as such is considered poor etiquette.

What if you forgot your hairdresser's name or the pronunciation of it? These things happen and you may feel embarrassed, but the correct thing to do in this situation is to politely ask them again. Plus, you'll need to know who to book with in the future, so calling them by the right name will go a long way to setting up a relationship with mutual respect.


Touching their tools won't make you a favorite client

This point should be self-explanatory because your stylist's things belong to them. However, you may feel you are being helpful by passing them their tools, but unless they have asked this of you, they probably want you to keep your hands to yourself. Unfortunately, the biggest salon etiquette mistakes are sometimes made with the best intentions.


Remember, your hairdresser's equipment is theirs and theirs alone. You also should not be helping yourself to their products. Ask if you want them to add some serum to the hair to reduce frizz. Or do you want to change how they have styled your hair slightly? Again, communicate what it is you need to avoid being disrespectful.

"Let your stylist get you whatever it is that you need," Hollywood hairstylist Jon Carlos De La Cruz told Reader's Digest. "Don't go into their things to grab a comb or blow-dryer. Always ask first — it is just a level of respect and boundaries."

Not giving guidelines about what you want creates confusion

Having the creative freedom to create a look for someone has some perks, but if you don't give your hairstylist any guidelines about what you want or what you dislike, this can make their job so much harder.


"This may sound like a given, but I've had a ton of clients who give no direction on how they would like their hair cut or styled," Halli Bivona, who works at John Barrett Salon told Byrdie. "Or they say do whatever you want. Unfortunately, I'm not a mind reader."

Not giving your hairdresser some direction and attending your appointment without having a clear picture in mind of what you want can make the process more challenging for them. While they might nail it, and you leave the salon feeling extremely happy, there is also more opportunity for things to go wrong when you have not clearly communicated. This will negatively impact you and them, so don't be afraid to speak up! That is not to say you cannot ask for a professional opinion on your hair. 


Dumping your private life in their lap isn't bonding

We all know that great hair can make you feel amazing and give you a confidence boost, and while you may look forward to your appointment for this reason, others also use it as a time to unload emotionally.


Hairdressers are known to be social people and will likely make small talk with you about what's been happening in your life in an attempt to make you feel comfortable and get to know you better. If you have a longstanding relationship with your hairstylist, you may be inclined to share the ins and outs of your life. If you don't know them well or don't have that type of relationship, oversharing is considered a big no-no. It can also make things incredibly awkward for your hairdresser. They are there to discuss your concerns about your hair, not your recent breakup.

And what if you don't want to chat at all? This is also fine if you are polite and communicate what you want from the appointment.


Moving too much provides your hairdresser with an unnecessary challenge

It is much more challenging for the hairstylist to cut your hair if you move too much. We get it; after a long appointment, you might be antsy to leave and start to fidget. But sudden movements make your hairdresser's job much more difficult. One wrong move could result in a mistake, either in injury with the scissors catching the ear or another body part, or a haircut that looks nothing like you had envisioned.


"Sharp movements of the head mean the haircut takes twice as long as we're trying to be careful not to cut a chunk out," London hairdresser Hannah Jafferji told Insider. They don't expect you to be statue still for the entire appointment, and it's unlikely you'll get on your hairdresser's nerves if you move once or twice. The best approach would be to give them a heads-up that you need to change positions for your own comfort. 

Not tipping is a hair salon crime

Showing your appreciation for your hairdresser by tipping them is great! In some countries, it's expected, and not doing so is considered poor salon etiquette. Take into consideration the recommended percentage and come prepared to pay. If you are happy with how your hair turned out, a 20% tip is often the norm. Not only will this go a long way to encourage a great relationship between you and your hairdresser, but it will also show you are someone who values their time and expertise. 


While it may be common knowledge where you live to tip the leading stylist, the assistant might also be deserving of a tip — they may even depend on it. "When it comes to the assistants, know that these people are training to become better and more knowledgeable hairdressers. They're living on the tips that they're making," hairstylist Matthew Monzon told Brydie. "When someone knows how to rinse all that color out of your hair and gives you an amazing shampoo and scalp massage, all while keeping you dry, that's when you can decide how much it's worth." 

But what happens if you're not happy with the results? If you're honest with the stylist about why you dislike your new hairstyle, they can't reasonably expect a tip for the service.