Hair Salon Rules of Etiquette Every Southern Woman Knows

Truvy Jones and Emily Post have thoughts.

"I don't trust anyone that does their own hair. I don't think it's normal," Truvy says in Steel Magnolias. She's right. Southern women don't cut or color their hair at home. Southern women go to the salon. Simple as that.

Where else would they catch up on the town gossip? Where else would they talk about their problems? Have you ever seen how fast a hair stylist can make or break a budding romance? "Dump him." She's right. "Marry him." She's right.

And that's why Southern women go to the salon, beyond the undisputed fact that haircut and color should be left to professionals. Moreover, we know that hair salons have their own etiquette dos and don'ts. These rules are sacrosanct, should be respected at all times, and should really go without saying. Don't be a tardy Tracy or over-sharing Karen. Do be a tip-savvy, cellphone-ignoring, on-time Southern lady. Amen.

1950s Woman at Hair Salon
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Be Timely

But if you're sick, keep your germs at home.

Make polite conversation. That's how your mother raised you.

But don't get too personal, Patty. Over-sharing is not caring.

Try to keep off your cell phone while you're in the chair. Wait until your color is processing to get back to your texts.

Never speak on the phone while you're in the chair, but especially at the start of your appointment. (Your hair stylist needs to consult with you about what you want, unless you want to accidentally end up with a micro-bob.)

Be Prepared

Always bring tangible inspiration. As in, photos. It is the clearest way to communicate what you want. Hair stylists are visual people, after all, and a picture is worth a thousand words. (Plus, what apricot blonde looks like in your head might not be what it looks like in theirs.)

But be open to compromise. Your hair stylist knows best. (Baby bangs aren't for everyone, but wispy bangs totally are.)

Do not ever, ever say: "Surprise me!" This is every hair stylist's nightmare.

Be Considerate

Don't show up sweaty from the gym. The woman next to you won't appreciate the, er, stench. Neither will your stylist. (Also, sweaty hair? Gross.)

Try not to be accidentally bossy. (She doesn't tell you how to do your job, and no, that's not the best way to do a blowout.)

Avoid touching your hair during the appointment. And don't get grabby with the hair dryer!

Kids. Better to leave them at home unless they're getting their hair cut. (You're not exactly able to wrangle a toddler while sitting under the color processor.)

Be Generous

Don't forget to show your appreciation with a holiday tip. It can be a candle, bottle of wine, or the equivalent of a 20 percent tip on your usual treatment.

Know how much to tip. Typically, around 20 to 25 percent is correct.

Yes, you still tip the salon owner if he or she is your stylist.

Also, don't forget about the salon assistant. That head massage was so good you almost fell asleep. Give the hair washer $5 to $10, depending on your services.

Don't ghost your longtime stylist. Kindly let her know that you've clicked with another hair stylist, but that doesn't degrade all the good times you've had together. (Even if you've been unhappy. It's just good manners.)

No trash talking a former hair stylist to your new one. Mama wouldn't like that.

Do not negotiate price. Ever. That's gauche.

Be Honest

Speak up if you're not satisfied. (The hair stylist prefers it and can start figuring out a fix immediately.)

Or make sure to call within a week to schedule a touch-up appointment to fix the problem.

Be Appreciative

Say "Thank you!" Obviously.

If you had a great experience, help out the business with Word of Mouth. And leave a good online review if there's an option to do so.

Bonus: Leave a written thank you note. This one's for the overachievers, but it is always appreciated. Because when it comes to etiquette, you can never be too prepared. Or too polite.

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