For the most part, Keratin Complex professionals love being a stylist. The joy of helping clients look beautiful, they say, makes it not seem like work at all most days.
But, like all professions, there are some downsides to the job. For one thing, salon etiquette can sometimes be, well, a little lacking. So, we asked our stylists to share their biggest gripes about working in a salon—whether it’s with customers, fellow stylists or even their bosses.
Read on for complaints of bad behavior that you might recognize in others or … gulp! ... even in yourself!
Cell phone cretins
It’s a gripe that you see across many areas of human life these days, and the salon setting is no different: cell phone addiction!
“I would love to place a note on my mirror: Please put down your cell phone!” proclaims a veteran New York-based stylist. “It is impossible for me to execute proper color placement when the clients are continuously looking down at their phones. It drives me mad! I bring their head back, and in a second it’s back down. Not to mention the added strain this head position has on my back.”
But salon guests aren’t the only ones guilty of constantly using their smartphones; some pros do it too, and that really gets the goat of a stylist and Keratin Complex educator from the South.
She points out the problem by asking a rhetorical question: “How many of you would be offended if I was constantly checking texts, emails, Facebook, calling family or talking to clients while I was doing your service? I think it’s rude, and I try my best to pay close attention to you all and only respond or talk in downtime between guests.”
Yes, things happen. The dog threw up; you ripped your pants; traffic was a nightmare. Sometimes you’re just late, and that’s understandable. But if it’s a chronic condition, then—Houston, we have a problem!
“A huge gripe of mine is when I have a client who is close to 15 minutes late for a 30-minute appointment and they think nothing of it. No call, nothing,” notes a 10-year hairstyling veteran from the Northeast. “My time is money, and even though I do in fact appreciate their business, they need to appreciate the fact that now because of them, my whole entire day may be messed up!”
And don’t even get us started on the customers who regularly blow off appointments.
“My doctor has a policy where, if you miss an appointment without 24-hour notification, they’re going to charge you $25,” sighs a West Coast cosmetologist. “Sometimes I wish I could do that too!”
If a proliferation of social media memes is any indication, stylists hate it when clients walk in with no idea of what it will take to get the hair they are asking for. For instance, making a one-hour hair appointment to go from dark brown to platinum blonde. Or, expecting the stylist to get their hair back to “normal” from years of over-styling, box color, or overall abuse.
“I know it seems like magic, but it’s a process (a looong process) that doesn’t happen in an hour or even in one visit,” notes a stylist and Keratin Complex educator from the Midwest.
A Northeast salon owner shares one such story: “I had a client with boxed black dye who expected to be walking out of the salon that day in a two-hour appointment looking like Khloe Kardashian. She even went as far as to say to me, ‘Don’t tell me it can’t be done—it’s clearly done right here in this picture.’ I then explained to her the year-long process Khloe took, plus very expensive extensions, to get that look.”
In that same vein are the guests who want a lot of service for very little money. “I hate when a client asks me how much a service is going to be, and when I tell them, they act like it’s outrageous,” says a stylist in the South. “I just want to say, ‘If you walked in a dentist office, would you ask for a discount for your teeth cleaning? No? Then you shouldn’t ask me for one either.’”
The opposite side of the spectrum in salon etiquette no-nos is the type of customer who always second-guesses their hairdresser’s recommendation, based on “something they read on the Internet” or what their friend told them.
“I am the expert here, and that’s why you’ve come to me,” reminds a California stylist who has been in the business for many years. “So, please listen to my advice and respect it!”
“It’s come to the point where I have had to ask the client, “Am I the professional stylist or are you?” agrees a stylist and Keratin Complex educator from the Northeast.
If you have a friend or relative who’s a hairdresser, yes you can feel pretty lucky—because you always have a go-to person to help you look your best! But that doesn’t mean you should expect their services for free, or even at a discount.
“Asking a hairdresser to do a service for you for free is equal to you going in and working a few hours for free,” notes a salon owner in the South. “Next time you expect someone you know to give you a free or discounted service, remember it’s our livelihood, it’s how we make a living—just like when you go to work.”
And then there are those pros who think nothing of helping themselves to their co-workers’ supplies, without ever getting around to buying replacements themselves!
“I don’t mind if it’s an emergency,” says a stylist who works in a large Midwest salon. “Go ahead and borrow a tube of styling gel if you truly run out. ... But then, remember me when it comes time to reorder your own supplies!”
Another pet peeve is stylists who always leave a big mess—yet never seem to be around during cleanup duty. Whether it’s dirty dishes in the sink, globs of pigment at the color station, piles of hair floating around their chair, or used towels tossed in the vicinity of the washing machine, these slovenly habits can really grate on others’ nerves.
“It’s usually only one or two who are guilty of this kind of thoughtless behavior,” notes a longtime salon manager from the Southwest. “But unfortunately, that’s all it takes!”
While few stylists would admit to working with an owner or manager they don’t like—at least not for long—there are a few behaviors or conditions that, they say, could be tweaked to make their professional lives easier. Here are a few examples of themes we detected:
· Sometimes I wish my boss listened to my ideas more.
· The salon is looking a little tired and needs some sprucing up.
· I’d like to have more opportunities to improve my skills.
· The reception desk can be slow to greet incoming guests.
· Our shelves aren’t stocked with enough great products.
If any of these issues resonate with you—as a stylist or as an owner—then you might want to check out Keratin Complex’s programs in education and salon support, available on our Pro website, which can provide solutions in many of these areas!