10 Rules Hairstylists Have To Follow (+ 10 Things That Are Forbidden)

Full disclosure: we aren’t hairstylists. No matter how many times we cut our own bangs at 2 AM, we’re not going to be inducted into the sister and brotherhood of stylists.

Hairdressers and hairstylists go to school for years and practice endlessly in order to get to a level that allows them to trim hair professionally. It kept coming up time and time again in our research: various hairstylists talking about how their profession requires training, just like accounting, painting, or any other “serious” profession.

While some people think that hairdressers don’t have a rigorous training process, it’s certainly clear that in order to create hair magic, they need to know everything about the way it works. And that’s certainly not learned overnight!

On top of all the training, hairstylists also have a long list of rules to follow, as well as a list of things that they’re absolutely forbidden from doing. It’s way more hardcore than we might have thought.

We’ve got a newfound respect for hairstylists, and hope that everyone else will too! Rest assured that the next time we go to a salon, we’re getting years of training as well as total respect for the rules of hairstyling.

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20 Hairstylists (In A Salon) Are Actually On A Timed Schedule


While our budget only allows for those twenty dollar walk-in specials once every six months, the fancier places we’ve gone have often had a schedule book to give us an appointment time. According to Women’s Health Magazine, this is actually because salons do run on a really tight schedule.

Sure, sitting in the chair, it might seem like it takes quite a while. After all, getting our hair cut is the perfect time to zone out and chill. But stylists actually have to adhere to a very specific timeframe. And if one client is late, the rest of the day is going to run behind as well.

19 They Can’t Demand A Tip


Women’s Health Magazine goes on to discuss the etiquette of tipping in a salon. Most of us folks who have worked in the service industry before do believe that tipping is a necessary part of any service transaction. However, hairstylists actually aren’t allowed to demand a tip; just like servers, baristas, or other folks who accept tips.

This is especially true if the hairstylist has done something that we’re unhappy with. There’s never a need to tip on a bad or unsatisfying haircut, style, or coloring session, according to the professional stylists that they interviewed for the article in Women’s Health Magazine.

18 ...Or Send Us Away Unsatisfied


On that note, however, a stylist is often told to never let a client leave the salon unsatisfied. Ask Reddit revealed some stylists' opinions on the jobs that they’ve completed, and one idea that kept coming up again and again was the fact that a stylist wants to see us happy with our haircut, color, or style.

While this might not be in any of the rule books, some stylists say that they consider it an obligation or rule to ensure that their clients are happy. Those are the stylists that we personally love, as they’ve always done the best job with the messy mop of hair that we carry around.

17 Talking With Us Isn’t A Must, But Understanding Is


After a rough week, there’s nothing we dislike more than having to make polite small talk with a relative stranger who just so happens to have their hands in our hair. Maybe that’s just a personal preference, but us introverted folks would rather take our time in the chair to meditate and get some peace and quiet.

Hairstylists aren’t required to be chatty, but they are required to have at least a brief conversation about what you’ve come in for. Being sure about what we, the client, wants is a necessary first step in any stylist appointment; even if we’ve been to them many times before!

16 Yes, They Do Need To Disinfect Every Item


According to the Beauty Salon Regulations on the Small Business website, hairstylists are absolutely required to disinfect every item. Who knows what people have in their hair! Due to the fact that every tool is being used so many times a day, we really do want to be sure that nothing questionable will spread between clients.

Using an un-disinfected comb on a client is pretty much forbidden. Yes, for those that were wondering, that’s why there are the big jars of liquid on the hairstylist’s station. And, no, the disinfectant isn’t going to impact our hair or the chemical process we’re planning on doing to it.

15 And They Have To Ask About Prior Hair Treatments


Any time we’re wanting to change up our color is a fun, exciting time. Yes, we’re eager to get started. We want to jump on in and get that platinum blonde process started. However, it’s not always as easy as that.

Ask Reddit mentions that hairstylists really do need an honest answer when it comes to color processes. The hair treatments that we’ve done in the past can still impact our current desires, even if we thought that box blonde job was more or less grown out enough to not matter. They have to ask, and lying to them doesn’t achieve anything except potentially some more damage to the hair.

14 They Can’t Keep Us Uncomfortable


Here’s something that the lovely hairstylists of Ask Reddit also discuss. One of the biggest things that they talked about was the fact that their job mandates them to keep us as comfortable as possible.

When dealing with something as special and personal as our hair, it’s necessary to ensure that we’re happy during the whole course of the cut or color. This means that, if the bleach is hurting our scalp or they snipped a part of our earlobe by accident (which, yes, does happen) we need to speak up. Keeping us uncomfortable for any length of time is not cool!

13 Health And Safety Actually Forbids Them From Working With Lice


Believe it or not, the regulations page and the helpful stylists on Ask Reddit all mentioned this as a very, very important aspect of their job. Having lice isn’t unheard of; it’s a common event in grade school, and often can transfer onto parents and siblings if it isn’t caught right away.

It also means that it can transfer onto unwilling salon visitors if things aren’t fully disinfected. This is why stylists are often forbidden from working on clients with lice, as it can jeopardize the whole salon! Don’t worry, though, as the treatment is easy to find in any pharmacy. It’s not the end of the world, and they’re happy to welcome you back after you've taken care of the issue.

12 They Cannot Allow Us To Touch Their Tools


Remember when our parents told us to never run with scissors? That’s the kind of seriousness that hairstylists have to give us as well when it comes to their tools. While they might be able to borrow a hairdryer from another stylist, we as clients aren’t allowed to share in that camaraderie of tools.

The tools are often expensive, and our hairdresser told us that it’s just a safety thing; like when firefighters don’t allow you to hold the firehose. Honestly, we totally get it. The one exception to this is the hand mirror, which is often easier for the client to hold, we’ve found.

11 Black To Blonde Is A Big Change, And Hairdressers Shouldn’t Do It In One Visit


We heard it time and time again when we were 16: “you can’t put a blonde box dye over black hair and just have it work out.” After making this sad realization ourselves (and having to live through a lot of damage control and teasing from our friends), the research finally backs that old adage up.

Ask Reddit shows that even hairstylists believe that a true blonde will take more than one session for the darkest hair shades, and oftentimes even then, it’s not going to necessarily happen as fast as we want it to. While some hairstylists will do it, generally the rule for them is to go blonde safely over a couple of sessions.

10 Going Rogue Is Unsurprisingly Forbidden


It goes without saying, but we’ll reiterate it here just for the sake of having it said: going rogue on a haircut is forbidden for them. Even when a client says “go wild,” most hairdressers will inquire as to maintenance standards, hair length preferences, and other considerations they have to take.

Ask Reddit mentions that, as much as a hairdresser might appreciate getting to flex their hair artistry skills, it’s almost never done without ample client discussion and check-ins as the cut is proceeding. Obviously this is a little different depending on our relationship with the hairdresser, but generally going rogue is not an option.

9 Getting Angry Or Losing Their Temper Is A No


Just like any service industry standard, losing their temper is definitely against the rules. Etiquette can be a touchy thing when it comes to personal style and appearance work, but hairstylists everywhere know what’s what when it comes down to good client interactions.

Polite conversation and a willingness to fix their mistakes is a must. Getting angry, frustrated, or losing their temper is not okay, just like it wouldn’t be okay in any other sort of service industry job. This can get tough when people who are in a bad mood try to take on the chair, or when folks are frustratingly obtuse when it comes to hair care.

8 As Well As ‘Revenge Cuts’


Those of us with a mischievous side are no doubt curious about this aspect. When someone we dislike is sitting in the chair, it can be tempting to just muck it all up a little. One of the stylists of Ask Reddit mentions, “every once in a while I have a tickle in the back of my head that says ‘just [mess] it up and maybe they won't come back’ but I have too much integrity for that.”

Not to mention the fact that part of the ethics of hairdressing mentions how they need to keep their clients happy. Even if those clients are difficult or unpleasant! Sadly, revenge cuts aren’t an option.

7 Using (And Upselling) Products Is Actually A Rule


Okay, this is a contentious one, but we’re including it anyway for the sake of conversation. Some stylists on Ask Reddit say that the reason they use products (and tell us what they’re using) is that they want to share with us how to get that professional look at home.

Others, however, say that their salon wants them to explain products as an act of up-selling; or, trying to get the sale higher. While this might not be a rule everywhere, it is worth mentioning that most of the products stylists used can usually be found on the salon’s sale shelves.

6 Hairdressing Is An Expensive Path, And They Have To Put Out Their Own Money


The fact that they often spend a decent chunk of money to go to school for it should be clear enough to those naysayers who are convinced anyone can become a hairdresser.

One hairdresser on Ask Reddit said, “The average booth rent in my town is $250 A WEEK. My clippers cost $90. My shears were $160. You also have to pay to get them sharpened. You pay for every single shampoo, and product used...we aren't charging an insane amount because we're [greedy]. It's really expensive to be a hairdresser, and it takes a lot of knowledge to do this.”

5 Cleaning Up Our Displeasing Cuts Is A Must


No matter how long it’s going to take, cleaning up a displeasing cut is all part of the job. The fact that we’re unhappy with a cut we got is problem enough. Maybe partially due to the fact that we spent money to get the hair cut in the first place, “a good stylist will offer some sort of service to fix any mistake free of charge,” according to the stylists of Ask Reddit.

Honestly, this rule makes us feel better about going and getting our haircut somewhere new. All we have to remember to do is to call back, go back to the salon, or keep sitting in the chair until it’s great.

4 Confidentiality Is Key With Celebrity Stylists


In the same way that celebrity trainers, personal assistants, and other professionals who work with celebrities need to keep quiet information on the down low, celebrity hairstylists also need to adhere to that rule. At least, that’s what we assume.

We’re guessing that this would be ten times as important for a relationship as close-knit as a stylist and their celebrity client. Just think of all the juicy details we tend to tell our hairstylists; if any of that kind of gossip got out from a celebrity client, the result might not be good! Celebrity stylists must have tea-keeping capabilities second to none.

3 They Can’t Do Their Own Hair During Work Hours


Yummy Mummy Club has a great tell-all that debunks some of the popular myths of hairstylists. One of the ones we were always surprised about? The fact that hairstylists are forbidden from doing their hair during hours when they’re on shift.

The site says, “a professional stylist will not get their hair done during scheduled work hours. In my salons, stylists made appointments and came in on their own time to have their hair done. Yes, they got the work for free or for a reduced rate, but they did it on their own time. Not the client's.” Honestly, fair! A dentist doesn’t get her dental work done between her own appointments either!

2 They Steer The Conversation Like A Ship


One of the most important things about a good stylist is being able to steer the conversation. One stylist on Ask Reddit mentions, “it's so much easier to spark a conversation with open ended questions. Generally you can find another line of conversation from that initial answer,” which is also true when it comes to the conversation about what kind of haircut a client is looking to get.

A great stylist can pull out pleasant conversation from the folks who want it, as well as some direction when faced with those “I want a big, dramatic change” kind of clients.

1 Admitting When A Mistake Has Been Made


Some stylists of Ask Reddit say, on the topic of making a mistake, “I'd own up right away. I'd tell them I made a small mistake, show them what it was. Give them the option of going shorter, or offer for them to come back in 4 weeks for a complimentary cut to fix the mistake.”

That being said, if the mistake can be hidden or isn’t necessarily going to be noticed by others, some stylists won’t own up; they’ll brush the hair out and remember that hair grows. Unfortunately, even the best haircuts aren’t permanent; but neither are the mistakes!

Sources: Reddit, Women's Health Mag, Yummy Mummy Club

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