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What is a Hairdressing Salon?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated Jan 25, 2024
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A hairdressing salon is a business that focuses on cutting, coloring and styling customers’ hair. Many hairdressing salons are located in shopping areas in towns and cities. Smaller salons may have several hairdressers, while a large salon may employ dozens of hair stylists. The services offered at a hairdressing salon may include nails, makeup and skin care as well as hair cutting, coloring and styling.

Most hairdressing salons have a reception desk and a waiting area near the front door. The more upscale, trendy and expensive salons tend to require customers to have an appointment, while the budget chain hair shops usually don’t. The décor also varies widely between an expensive and an inexpensive hair salon.

All hair salons have hairdressing stations. Typically, they’re in a row along a countertop and mirror attached to a wall. Each station has a chair that is usually padded for comfort. The hairdresser adjusts the chair to each customer and spends time discussing the cut, color and/or style the person wants. Each hairdressing station in a salon typically has a wheeled cart that holds hair supplies.

Hair stylists use tools such as shears, or scissors, curling irons and hair straightening devices. A hairdressing salon usually offers hair washing services and in smaller shops, there may be only one sink area reserved for this. Many quick cut chain salons that don’t require appointments, don’t wash hair, but rather expect clients to have their hair recently washed to save time.

It’s expected for customers of hair salons to leave a tip. Much like tipping a waiter or waitress, the client of a hairdressing salon can simply leave some cash on the hairdresser’s table before leaving the shop. The percentage of the average tip varies depending on the location, but customers very pleased with the cut or style the hair stylist did are likely to leave larger tips.

Most hairdressing salons offer a wide range of hair services from simple trims to elaborate hairstyles for special events such as weddings. If a customer is having a time-consuming hair procedure done such as color processing that has a waiting period, the hair stylist or salon owner may offer the client coffee and a magazine to read. A hairdressing salon often sells the particular line or lines of hair products they use on customers. Most salons attractively display these products on shelves near the waiting area.

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Discussion Comments
By candyquilt — On Dec 14, 2014

I like hairdressing salons that also offer other services. They go by different names. Sometimes they're just called "beauty salons," sometimes they're also called "spas" if they offer things like massage and waxing. My beauty salon does hair, as well as facials, manicures and pedicures. I make an appointment with them once a month and have everything taken care of in a few hours. I have my roots dyed, I get my facial and manicure and pedicure. I think of it as monthly maintenance.

By turquoise — On Dec 14, 2014

@bear78-- I think you made a good point in that very expensive hairdressing salons don't necessary provide something more and beyond a regular high end salon. What's most important is that the salon has a good idea of customer service and the hairdressers have lots of experience. If a hair salon isn't aspiring to please the customer and do their job well, it doesn't matter how high end or expensive they are.

This is why I always go to hairdressing salons after checking customer reviews. If I find one I like, I stick to it. I found my current hair salon through recommendations. I had two different people recommend them on different occasions. This is the best way to find a salon that's both within one's budget and that also provides a good service.

By bear78 — On Dec 13, 2014

Higher end salons have a section on the receipt where one can add the tip they want and estimate the total before leaving, much like in restaurants. I recently went to such a high end hairdressing salon. I didn't leave tip though because the hairdresser did an awful job, did not listen to me at all and the hair cut cost twice as much as most high end hairdressers. She just didn't deserve a tip and I was already very upset.

I don't care if hair dressers expect a tip. They need to do a good job to deserve it. I'm not stingy and I tip well everywhere where I get at least a standard good service. But I'm not going to tip people who work below standards.

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