Your Hairdresser Secretly Hates These 'Polite' Hair Salon Habits

We hope politeness is something we're striving for all day, every day. No matter where we are or what we're doing, it's never a bad idea to be as polite as you can. Or is it? Well, it turns out the hair salon may actually be the place to let social etiquette slip a little. Not to the extent of those crazy viral Karen videos we've all seen floating around social media, but it's possible we've been holding back too much when it comes to getting our hair done by a professional.


We've all been guilty of gritting our teeth and letting out a shy "Thank you," after getting a bad haircut (some of us more than once). But it's officially time to stop being so darn reserved while we're sitting in the hair salon chair. Why? Because in reality, our hairdresser probably hates some of the manners we've been sticking to all these years, especially when we think we're helping. You may already have answers to all your other hair appointment questions, but here are 10 "polite" salon habits to do away with once and for all. 

Trying to take discrete photos

We've all been there, trying to quietly sneak a picture of something (or someone) without them knowing. On the surface, it can seem like the most polite way of getting a snap for your socials, because you're not interrupting them, taking up their time, or making it all about you. But when it comes to your hairdresser, you may as well just ask for a picture rather than discreetly snapping away. "My pet peeve is those sneaky snaps. We know you're taking a video or picture...we're behind you. Just say, 'Hey, I'm gonna post to my socials,'" one hairdresser admitted to MamaMia.


There are a few reasons why just being upfront about taking a picture will probably work in your favor. Not only are you likely to get a better shot if it's actually set up properly (hello good angles and lighting!) but you also won't have to rush the process. Equally, your hairdresser may actually feel flattered that you want to get a shot of their impressive work and be able to help you set it up. They may even be so complimented they share your photo on their own socials, too!

Asking too many questions

Though it can be polite to show an interest in your hairdresser by asking lots of questions, if those queries are too fatalistic or accusatory, they're probably only going to put you on the outs with your hairdresser or stylist. Which is never a good idea right before trusting someone with your locks. 


"Questions like, 'How long have you been doing hair? What kind of hairstyles do you like? Does this suit my face shape and bone structure? Will you show me how to style my bangs?' [are okay]. Demoralizing questions can set the wrong tone and vibe," David D. Dennis, Milk + Honey stylist, explained to NBC News. "[These are] questions like, 'Are you going to cut all my hair off? Have you ever done this before? You're not going to make me look fat, are you? Positive?'"

Instead, keep your questions positive and to a minimum, particularly if it seems like your hairdresser isn't responding well to them. Instead of asking things that may come across as offensive, focus on having an optimistic conversation with your stylist or hairdresser. That is, if you even want to have a chat with them, of course.


Talking during a blow dry

Though many of us like a polite chat during a hair appointment, trying to explain your life story while the hairdryer is blasting away is a pretty safe no-no. That's because chances are, your hairdresser just won't be able to hear you — nor will you be able to hear them. And that'll make things pretty darn awkward. 


"You feel really bad when you can see your client's lips moving and you can't hear a thing they are saying," hairdresser Joey Scandizzo told MamaMia. He also pointed out that having a hairdresser and a client literally shouting to one another over the sound of a hairdryer also isn't the way to create an inviting atmosphere inside the salon. For anyone. "The worst is when a client is in the middle of a big story, yelling over the dryer, and all of a sudden I stop the blow-dryer and everyone hears them screaming," he said.

That doesn't mean all talk needs to be off the table, though. Unless you want it to be. You may be tempted to keep making small talk even if you don't want to (when the blow-dryer is off, of course), but just be honest if you don't fancy a chat. Don't try to be polite and force it. "It's all down to the client," George Northwood, founder of George Northwood, told British Vogue. "Personally I always take the client's lead, as it's their service."


Trying to guess where your hairdresser wants your head

Remember that your hairdresser or hairstylist will tell you where they want your head to be during each stage of your appointment. Trying to be helpful by moving it around just because you think they might want you to isn't going to make things any easier. In fact, you'll probably find it's more of a hindrance to them. 


One barber, with the handle TenebriRS, shared this salon pet peeve on Reddit, urging clients to keep their heads in the last position they were asked to hold until told otherwise. "We move for a reason. Don't move your head unless we tell you to. Angles are very important. If you move while we are doing something, that angle is now wrong," they explained.

Moving your head too much can not only annoy your hairdresser, it can actually end up keeping you in the chair much longer. "Sharp movements of the head mean the haircut takes twice as long as we're trying to be careful not to cut a chunk out," hairdresser Hannah Jafferji explained to Insider.

Not being blunt about what you want

No one wants to come across as demanding or over-opinionated, but when it comes to your hair, it pays to be explicit. Not communicating well only ends up making your hairdresser's job a lot harder. Joey Scandizzo recommended to MamaMia that customers be very vocal at the start of their appointment about exactly what they want, not being polite and shrinking down to let your hairdresser do a load of guesswork. 


"No service should start if both parties are not 100% on the same page with what the outcome will be, especially if you're having a big change," he said. "A client should speak up at any stage they are feeling nervous about an element of their service." As educator coach Silvia Ferdin told Reader's Digest, all too often, bad haircuts happen because the client isn't specific enough.

We get it, sometimes it can be hard to know exactly what you want — but having at least some idea will make things easier for everyone, whether it's a medium-length haircut or short summer locks. "I acknowledge I'm the professional, [and] you may be in a place that's just like 'I just need something new,' [but] I would say that's the moment that can go right or wrong," Yureesh Hooker, design director and master hair stylist, told Insider. Hooker even noted that your indecision will likely result in a rushed appointment while you decide, meaning you probably won't benefit from your hairdresser's best work.


Pretending to like your hair cut when you really don't

Though faking a smile after getting a bad haircut might seem like the thing to do, in reality, it's not making you or your hairdresser feel any better. Instead of buttoning your lips and pretending everything's okay, Togninis Premier colorist David Martin told MamaMia that it's much better to speak up. "The last thing a hairdresser wants is something going wrong or a client not happy," he admitted. "A client should never feel as though they can't raise a concern or talk to the hairdresser about the end result."


Hairstylist Andrew Carruthers also shared that he believes clients should also speak up during an appointment if what they see in the mirror doesn't seem to match what they asked for. After all, your hairdresser can probably sense you're holding something in, which might make tensions rise. 

"If you are getting nervous, ask a few questions in a calm and curious way. If a hairdresser senses that the person in the chair is panicking, things are bound to head in a bad direction," Carruthers told NBC News. "Like any artist, creativity and performance go downhill if the emotions start going up."

Trying to help with the cleanup

Hair salons are used to being covered in hair, so they'll have a protocol for cleaning up any cuttings that may end up on the floor, the chair, the counter, or even on you. That's why trying to help blow away or gather any loose cuttings just isn't necessary. You might think you're helping because it's one less job for those who work in the salon, but, in reality, you could end up moving hair into a place that's actually harder to reach during the clean-up process.


Not only that but if you try to move cut-off hair during your appointment, you could actually distract your hairdresser, potentially ruining all their work. "If hair is collecting on the cape at your shoulders or in your lap, we would rather you sit still," Molly Getz, Redken artist and stylist explained while speaking to Reader's Digest. If you're really struggling with prickly hairs on your neck or elsewhere, then let your hairdresser know and allow them to put the scissors down while you adjust.

Reddit user and stylist sukiepoekie clearly agreed, noting it's not even a good idea to start moving hair around even after your cut is finished. "Please don't 'help' with removing the hair. You're not removing it; you are actually making it worse by patting it into your clothes, sticking it to your skin, and letting it fall into your shoes," they shared.


Getting too dressy

We may have been conditioned to look presentable as a sign of politeness, but wearing your new cashmere sweater to the hair salon is a bad idea. That's because there are a lot of things that could damage it in a salon, from spilling hair color onto it to accidentally nicking it with the scissors. That equals a ruined sweater and an embarrassed stylist. Not what you want from your appointment. Plus, you could even leave them feeling a little underdressed while they race around in their dye-stained, hair-covered apron.


But it's not just about not wearing anything new or overly special. You'll also want to think about not wearing anything that could get in your hairdresser's way while they're trying to work. 

"Be mindful of what you wear to the salon. Turtlenecks, collars and hoods can be bulky, and they could potentially make it tougher to keep the color, hair and water at the shampoo bowl from getting on your clothes," Molly Getz explained to Reader's Digest. The same can be said for a skirt or dress that's too short that might stop you from being able to sit in the chair properly, or anything a little too tight that prevents you from being able to stay in a comfortable position for both of you during your appointment.


Being too early

We know. In so many cases, like a date or a business meeting, being early can be a sign of good etiquette and enthusiasm. But not so much in the salon. In fact, if you turn up too early (we're talking anything more than 10 minutes) to your hair appointment, the chances are you'll only end up putting too much pressure on your hairdresser or hair stylist. That could result in someone else getting a bad cut. 


"Being too early can overwhelm a stylist because they may feel rushed during the current appointment," hairstylist Jon Carlos De La Cruz admitted to Reader's Digest. There's equally a good chance you'll only end up waiting anyway while your hairdresser finishes up with someone else. And no one likes the idea of someone looking over their shoulder.

In order to keep your hairdresser on your side, we'd recommend arriving around five minutes before your scheduled appointment time. That is unless you need to be there earlier for any particular reason, such as needing to get changed or wanting to book your next appointment early. That way, you won't be late (which is even ruder than being early) and you'll have a little time to settle in without overwhelming your hairdresser. 


Keeping your eyes open during a hair wash

Closing your eyes for a good few minutes in most social situations is considered pretty darn rude. And, well, just downright weird. But not at the salon. At least, not when you're getting your hair washed, that is. While keeping your eyes open to show you're still present with your hairdresser and open to conversation or cues might seem polite, it can actually only end up making things super awkward. Think about it. Who really wants someone staring at them from such close range at an unusual angle? Not us!


"Always keep them shut. It's definitely awkward [if they're open]," the specialist team at Taylor Taylor London explained to Metro of the proper etiquette in this situation. David Martin clearly agreed with that notion, too. "Please feel free to close your eyes, relax and even have a snooze — this is actually a compliment," he told MamaMia. "Trust me, if you want to freak out a hairdresser drop your head back, open your eyes and stare at them. Awkward."