Salon Etiquette: How Late Is Too Late, and What to Do If You Need to Cancel
Hair appointments are always something to look forward to, but often times, life happens, traffic gets in the way, you missed your exit on the freeway, and you end up running late. We spoke to colorist Kari Hill, who gave us the dos and don'ts of punctuality in the salon. Generally, the grace period is about 15 minutes, but you should always call the salon to let them know you'll be running late. "I book myself enough time so that the client can walk in the door, check in, and sit down, so when we miss that 15-minute window, you start cutting into the color," she tells us. "I think calling before your appointment time is key, and I would suggest a good half an hour. That way, if your stylist knows what you need, they can have it prepared." Of course, if you ask to get squeezed in at the last minute, you should be on time, but if your stylist is running behind due to a client being late, just sit back, relax, and read a magazine until they're ready. "I'll sometimes call my next client to let them know, or if they're already there, I go up to them and see if they need anything," Hill says.
Every salon has a different policy when it comes to cancellations, so make sure to check out the specifics for yours in particular. "I'm pretty forgiving about cancellations, unless they're repeat offenders. Some salons have policies where they put a credit card down, but I've never used that on a client because, generally, whether they're telling the truth or not, it's something they can't control," says Hill. "If it's a last-minute thing it was probably an emergency, and as a hairstylist, you have to roll with the punches." As a rule of thumb, if you know you'll have to cancel a day in advance, call as soon as you know, just as you would if you know you'll be late. The ultimate salon faux pas? Being the girl from your college class who walks in 30 minutes late, venti soy latte in hand. Says Hill with a laugh: "I always say, be gracious when you show up tardy, but do not show up with a Starbucks or salad, because that's why you were late."