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What Should I Consider When Choosing a Beauty Salon?

Amy Pollick
Updated May 21, 2024
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The beauty salon has become an almost iconic figure in Western culture. It's where people go to have their hair and nails done, but is also a center for community news, confessions and general "hen parties." As such, choosing a salon is a process most women and men will undergo.

The first place to start in choosing a salon is to evaluate what needs to be done. A woman just wanting her hair trimmed may go to a different salon than one who wants a permanent, coloring, or other more extensive services. If she needs her hair cut quickly and that day, she might be better off going to a walk-in salon, rather than trying to get her regular stylist to work her in on short notice. For other services, a woman may want to think about a full-service, by-appointment-only salon. This means that she will have a stylist who is expecting her, knows what she wants done, and is not under pressure to squeeze in more clients.

Women should also choose a beauty salon based on their ethnic background. This may sound strange, but different ethnic groups have different hair needs. A salon that has a primarily African-American clientele, for instance, will be much better versed in working with the unique needs of black hair. A white stylist may not be as familiar with these needs. Salons also may carry different products, depending on the ethnicity of their clients. A full-service salon in a large city will probably have a multi-racial clientele, but smaller shops in smaller cities may not.

Referrals are often the next step in choosing a beauty salon. Women will usually readily share good and bad experiences with beauty salons and stylists. They will also share whether they feel a place charges too much for its services, and whether the work is worth the price.

Price does play a part in choosing a beauty salon. Some salons work off the famous name of their owner, and will usually charge more as a result. The local "beauty shop" probably will be a little cheaper.

Most states require that anyone who cuts hair and charges for it be a licensed cosmetologist. This means they have taken courses, passed written state exams and been certified by their cosmetology school and by the state. A woman should always make sure her stylist is a licensed cosmetologist, although most beauty salons would be in violation of the law for hiring anyone who is not.

Any beauty parlor should be clean, neat and brightly lit. Staff should be friendly and courteous, regardless of what they perceive as the customer's social status. Anyone who does not receive courteous treatment should report the incident to the owner or manager and go elsewhere. A customer should make sure the employees practice good hygiene, personally and with their customers.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Amy Pollick
By Amy Pollick , Former Writer
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at BeautyAnswered. With experience in various roles and numerous articles under her belt, she crafts compelling content that informs and engages readers across various platforms on topics of all levels of complexity.

Discussion Comments

By ddljohn — On Nov 05, 2012

@turkay1-- I chose my salon because they offer so many different services. I can have my hair, my nails, my waxing and my massage done all at the same place and on the same day. I love that.

By bluedolphin — On Nov 05, 2012

@turkay1-- I personality think that the quality and range of service is most important when choosing a hair and beauty salon. And if you like a particular salon and stick to it, you can make friends there and still enjoy yourself!

When I started going to my current salon, I didn't know anyone. Now I'm on a first name basis with all the hair stylists and most of the customers. We chat a lot, we talk about beauty, fashion and even relationships. But I go there because they're really good at what they do. So you can get the best of both worlds!

By candyquilt — On Nov 04, 2012

Should I go to the beauty salon that my friends go to so that I can chat and have a good time or should I go to one that will provide the better service but where I will be alone?

By julies — On Nov 04, 2012

I like going to a beauty salon where I can get everything done at once. I like to know I can get my hair cut and colored, my nails done and even tan if I want to. Some beauty salons also have a spa attached to them and offer massages as well. I love to be pampered and like a full-service salon that has all these services and is also on the cutting edge of style and technology.

By sunshined — On Nov 04, 2012
I have been going to the same stylist for years, and don't know what I would do if she were to quit or leave. I like going to a beauty salon where they know me. This means they know what I like and don't like, and what styles look the best on me. I like working one on one with the same person when it comes to my hair.

I don't mind paying extra money to make sure I get it done right. I have heard some bad stories of people getting their hair cut by someone different all the time. I also don't mind tipping someone for a job well done. It would be hard work standing on your feet all day styling hair, and I think my stylist deserves every dime in tips that she gets.

By bagley79 — On Nov 03, 2012

I like a good haircut and get my hair cut every 6-8 weeks. I have never been one who spends a lot of money on my hair though. When I talk to some of my friends who go to a full-service salon to get their hair cut and colored I can hardly believe what they pay for some of those services.

I keep thinking I would would rather spend that money on a lot of other things than to have my hair done like that every few weeks. I usually get my hair cut at a place where I don't need to make an appointment and can go when it truly is convenient for me.

While I like to get a good haircut I am not nearly as picky as some people are. If I get a cut that isn't that great, I figure I will be back again in a few weeks. Most of these salons stand behind their work anyway, and if you are unsatisfied with your cut they will make it right.

By LisaLou — On Nov 02, 2012

My aunt has had her own beauty salon for as long as I can remember. She lives in a small town and because of this she knows all of the local gossip around town. This may not be the way it is in larger cities, but in small towns I think this is very common.

Many women like to have their hair done at her beauty shop because it is the only one in town and they don't have to drive anywhere else. My mom always said she preferred to go to a beauty shop where they didn't know her because she didn't want everyone knowing her business!

By seag47 — On Sep 13, 2012

@wavy58 – I like it when a beauty salon website lists the prices for different services. I really want to know what I am getting into before I have the work done. I don't want to end up owing $200 for a perm when I could have paid $65 elsewhere.

Also, the more expensive salon stylists expect bigger tips. After shelling out that much money for a hairdo, who could afford to dole out a tip? That's just one more reason to visit moderately priced salons, where the stylists are happy with $5 tips.

By wavy58 — On Sep 13, 2012

@Sara007 – I feel the same way about styles for long hair. I have gone to beauty salons before and had stylists tell me that they had never worked on someone with hair as long as mine, and that made me a bit nervous.

Many beauty salon websites will have pictures of their stylists and short bios. I like to look for salons that have at least one stylist with long hair. If they don't have long hair but their bio at least mentions the fact that they have experience with long hair styles, then I feel good about going to them.

By StarJo — On Sep 12, 2012

@animegal – Every beauty salon and spa I have ever been to offered deep conditioning. I think that this is because so many people first try to do their own coloring and perming at home, and then they come to the salon to get them to repair the damage that they did to themselves.

By giddion — On Sep 11, 2012

One thing I always look for when searching for a good beauty and hair salon is attractive hair on the stylists. If they have nice hair, then I feel better about going there.

I went to one salon where several of the stylists had hair that was frizzed out and looked fried. Although I had walked in hoping to get a perm, I told them I just needed a trim, because there was no way I was letting them do that to my hair.

After that incident, I started looking through the front windows of beauty salons to see what the stylists' hair looked like before making an appointment. When I found one in which all of the stylists had healthy hair, I scheduled my perm.

By animegal — On May 05, 2011

Does anyone know if you have to go to special beauty salon to receive deep conditioning treatments for damaged hair? Or would any salon with good colourists on staff be able to help with this kind of process?

By Sara007 — On May 03, 2011

Word of mouth is definitely the best way to find a good beauty salon. I also recommend that when going to a salon you take some pictures of what styles you like or colours that you would like to see in your hair.

I find that a lot of the magazines offered in beauty salons don't have enough style options for medium length hair.

The internet is still the best place to get access to a great variety of photos and many of the hairstyling magazines post huge archives of ideas.

Plus, with all the cell phone technology and MP4s around, it is quite easy to download the pictures onto your drives, so you don't even have to print them out to take them with you.

Amy Pollick

Amy Pollick

Former Writer

Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at BeautyAnswered....
Learn more
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