Beauty salons beckon with promises of relaxation, renewal and pampering, and for many the experience is a respite from day-to-day worries and problems. For some, however, salons loom large in their imagination as an intimidating chore, fraught with potential embarrassment and anxiety. Visiting a new salon can be especially stressful as you worry that you will say or do the wrong thing.

In reality, salons don't go out of their way to be an object of stress, and in fact most salons would like to think of themselves in the opposite manner. Knowing some simple salon etiquette rules can go a long way toward creating a calm and positive salon experience, so read on for these five reassuring tips for a successful salon visit.

1.  Ask up-front, when you make your appointment, for an estimate of costs. Salon prices vary greatly and knowing the amount ahead of time will also help you to be prepared for tipping.

2.  Dress like you normally dress. Going to a high end or super-trendy salon can trigger a desire to try to fit in with the salon's vibe, but your stylist needs to see you in your natural habitat. Dress as you would for a day at work. The stylist will be able to gauge quite a bit in regard to hair upkeep and lifestyle from your street clothes.

3.  Show up about 15 minutes early, but don't be put-out by a wait. You will want time to discuss what you want with the stylist, show her your photos and become comfortable with her. At the same time, hair-cutting is an art, not a science, so appointments can run long sometimes. It is actually a good sign that your stylist is taking the time to make her client happy, since you know she will do the same for you.

4.  Taking a photo in with you is absolutely okay, especially on your first visit or if you are trying a new cut. Your stylist should be able to evaluate the photo and tweak it as necessary to make it flattering for your face shape and hair texture. Expect this tweaking to be fully explained in advance.

5.  Tipping is most likely the single largest confusing issue in regard to salons. Here are the guidelines:

  • 15-20% of the bill for your stylist, colorist, manicurist or for any other major services rendered.
  • If you are fortunate enough to have the salon owner provide a service, tip 20% of the bill. The old rule of never tipping the salon owner has become out-dated.
  • $2.00-$5.00 for the shampoo person (if it's a different person). If she throws in a massage or brow tweezing, go for the $5.00.

As you can see from the above tips, salon etiquette can easily be learned and practiced. Salons are not nearly the intimidating place you may have feared; they really can be warm and friendly and welcome your business. Contact Matthew Thomas Salon for more information.