Proper Barber Etiquette

Like with most places in life, you are expected to behave in a certain way. You wouldn’t run around a library blasting air horns or cheer like you were at a basketball game during an opera, would you? When visiting your stylist you really want to keep in mind that there are certain behaviors that are not acceptable and will do you no favors when at the end of your visit. Here are the major ones that will cover most salons.

Arrive on Time
This one is a no-brainer. Making an appointment with your barber is making an obligation. They are clearing a specific slot of time to take of you. Always arrive up to five minutes early to account for checking in and taking any precautions they might need. If you think you might be late, give the shop courtesy call and let them know. If you are running late and they aren’t notified, they might give your slot to someone that was early or even a walk-in. If you need to reschedule, make sure you give your shop plenty of notice. They might not appreciate the last minute call to cancel.

Clean Hair
Something to keep in mind is that you want to go into your appointment with your hair as clean as possible. That doesn’t just mean washing your hair. Most hair is easier to cut if it hasn’t been washed close to the appointment and if it does need that shampoo, your stylist will take care of that for you. Avoid hair products and hats before the cut as they will alter the natural shape and texture of your hair. This will make getting the style you want to take a bit more time as the stylist will have to work around the unnatural shape.

Be Decisive
Don’t let those reference books on the waiting lobby tables throw you off. Know what you want as soon as you walk in. If you’re going for the same cut, you’re in good hands. If you want something new, do your research and make sure the style is manageable for you and your lifestyle. Be absolutely certain it is what you want. Bring in reference pictures if you need to. Barber’s cannot read your mind so make sure you have made up your mind before getting in the chair.

Do Not Dictate the Cut
One of the biggest faux pas is telling your barber how to do their job. If you’re going to a shop to have your hair professionally cut you are paying for your barbers years of study and experience. You’re supposed to sit back and they do the craft They have taken the time to learn. Also, bear in mind that directing what tools to use is also looked down on. Just because you might prefer electric clippers to be used, it doesn’t mean that manual shears won’t get the job done just as well, if not better. Your stylist is trained to know how to handle all types of situations so sit back, relax, and trust the professional.

Be Patient
Cutting hair is a work of art and it takes time. Getting the right look that suits your needs isn’t going to happen in ten minutes. When making your appointment, be prepared to carve out an hour or two of your to devote to getting your hair cut. Also, remember not to rush your stylist. You never want to sacrifice quality for convenience when it comes to a part of your appearance that takes a while to grow back out and fix.

Don’t Move
Moving while your stylist is working can be the biggest mistakes you make while in the chair. When you’re asked to sit still and hold your head in a certain position, there is a good reason for it. Doing things like nodding your head during in a conversation or even being on your phone can cause your stylist to take a miscut with their tools. When this happens you’re either left with a cut you hadn’t intended to get or, in best case scenarios, it’s an easy fix. You can’t always count on the former to be the case so always be careful with your head movements if they are unavoidable.

Get Personal
There is something to be said for those who build a relationship with their barbers and stylists. Building a working friendship can bring you some great benefits. Being friendly with your barber means they might be more willing to work you into their schedule last minute or hold you a spot if you are going to be overly late for an appointment. The better the relationship, the better your stylist will treat you and more care they will take with you and your hair. This being said, you want to converse with them while they are working, while avoiding moving your head if you can. Stay off of your phone. It’s rude in any group setting and especially when you are being worked on.

Speak Up
It was mentioned before not to dictate how your stylist is doing their job. This is true. However, if they are doing something you didn’t ask for or going away from the look you are trying to achieve, speak up. Make sure your desire is known and you aren’t being ignored on what you want. Be polite, ask questions. Don’t lose your temper over something that could be fixed with some polite words. Remember, being rude will do nothing good for you down the road.

TIP
This is universal for most service jobs but you really want to keep it in mind when your experience is over. Tipping your stylist shows them just how well they did their job and how much you appreciate their work. It’ll go a long way towards your next visit if you tip well, usually around 15-18%. If possible, hand your tip directly to the stylist. There’s no promise they will see the full amount if you hand it off to the receptionist or sign for it if you use a debit card.