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.