Hair salons are a bit of a mystery, and finding a quality hair salon takes some real knowledge about what happens in the shadows of salon life. Never assume a high price tag, or "luxury" label, determines
quality service, or amazing results. There are millions of salons parading around as so called "high-end" when in reality they are just "wanna-be" luxury. There are secrets that are unknown to you, and it is time to get wise, and know the truths about inner workings of a hair salon. You be the judge of whether a salon is the "Real Deal" or a complete "Nightmare".
7 Secrets You Need to Know When Choosing a Hair Salon
1.) Booth Rental Model
Unknown to most, some salons function with a mixture of stylists who are "rentals" vs. "commissioned". This is extremely important and should be one of the first questions you ask when considering a new salon. With currently over 35% of U.S. Salons under the "booth rental model", it is imperative to understand how this effects you. If a salon contains rentals it does not mean it does not contain a handful of very talented stylists, but it does mean, the chances of you being directed to their chairs are slim to none. "Rentals" are independent, and function as a separate business from the salon. This type of "Rental Model" is beneficial to stylists who cannot afford to start up their own salon, and owners who cannot maintain clientele for their salon on their own.
The salon itself lacks credibility, and structure of brand indentity. It is a facade that speaks "luxury" but the reality contains no central leader and core beliefs of the salon as a whole.
2.) "Walk Ins"
Just as impulse buying is costly, impulse hair cuts are deadly. Finding a great salon/stylists takes work, and research. If it is absolutely necessary and unavoidable, at the very least do not bother going to a luxury salon and paying a hefty price. People are too trusting and usually end up walking into a salon and simply asking, "Who's good?". Assuming you will recieve an honest answer and will be directed to the best stylist for your needs is naive.
The truth is, there are many factors to that rather simple question. For example, if the salon contains rentals, they are directed to promote the "commissioned stylists" which are payed directly from the salon. These "comissioned" stylists are often less experienced, and have a limited clientele. This doesn't mean they are always bad, but it is definitely like playing Russian roulet with your hair. A "walk in" is considered as a client belonging to the salon, and "if" a rental decides to take such a client they will have 50% deducted from their regular fee, making it very unlikely they will make time for you. If you want to get in their chair you will have to call specifically requesting for them.
Hair salons functioning well, and that are reliable, will always be clean. If you see blobs of hair in the entry way, dusty tables, dusty products, hair in sinks, towels overflowing, fingerprints on glass or mirrors, do not waste your time.
How they maintain the places you can see, speaks volumes on the things you do NOT.
4.) Food and Drinks
If you see a pitcher of water, coffee, or food exposed as a "self service" option, do NOT touch it. This is a "lazy" way to appear as "high end" but it is not customer service, and speaks volumes of the management of the salon itself. Often times, the cleaning of these items are not done well and sometimes even cleaned with the same brushes used by stylists to clean the chemical hair dye out of their containers. Coffee is sometimes kept in the machine over weekends, and the filters unchanged. (I kid you not, this really happens!) It is completely un sanitary, and shows a lack of concern for the safety of their clients. Also recognize the size of the salon itself. If it is a rather small salon, chances are the kitchen is non existent, and the preparation of food and drink, will mix with the preparation of chemicals used by the stylist.
A quality salon will prepare a drink fresh, and bring it to you personally and have a proper kitchen separate from where stylists clean their hair products and mix chemicals. No food/drink items should be visible on the salon floor and should be served in real glass cups, not plastic or paper.These are all signs that the salon has a "real" kitchen. If they serve you with a paper cup, don't bother to drink it.
5.) False Reviews
Do not always believe what you read in magazines or reviews made by so-called happy clients on "yelp" or other public forums. The truth is, some pathetic establishments, personally write positive comments or pay for reviews and articles featured in popular local magazines. Some salons stoop as low as establishing themselves as the best of the their county, with abslotulely nothing to back it up besides paying for the ad to publish the false claim. If you want a true and honest recommendation, use the old fashion method of simply asking people with great hair what they are doing.
6.) Product Pushers
Unless a product is INCREDIBLE and you can easily see a difference between your drugstore product, verses the salon's product, do NOT fall victim to the stylists who are hidden "product pushers". The truth of the matter, all stylists in a salon are pushed to sell certain numbers of products as it is a huge money maker in itself. They are either rewarded with bonuses, free products, or partial commissions. It is their job to make you believe you HAVE to have something, but don't lose your head. If you cannot see a noticeable difference, there isn't one.
7.) Don't Pay for Friendly
Hair salons are infamous for the gossip and chatter that happens between a stylist and a client. However, keep in mind you are not paying for a social visit, and the level of the cut should always be placed first. Often times, a "popular" stylist is not necessarily the "best" but the most flirty or social. They pretend to care about your problems, and shower you with false praise, creating a false bond that makes you want to come back for more. Meanwhile, you forget to even glance at your haircut,and realize the quality of your cut and color is poor. Often times, it even leaves you unable to complain about your cut simply because you now consider yourself as 'friends'. These types of stylists lack substance or skill and survive solely, on "social" bonds. Always remember, it is okay to love your stylists, as long as your hair looks amazing.
Truly Amazing Hairstylist that I trust, are focused on your hair. It is their work that brings back the clients, not the socializing aspects. Yes, they are friendly, and professional, but the purpose of the visit is never lost. Always check to see the passion in their eyes. If they love hair, and take pride in their work, you can see it in their eyes.