Haircut Etiquette

 Getting your hair cut can be a smooth experience or a frizzy nightmare. Luckily, the choice is up to you. Follow Modern Manners Guy’s 3 easy tips to walk out of the salon happy.

Richie Frieman
4-minute read
Episode #235

Haircut Etiquette

 by Richie Frieman  

Just as I am writing this, I’m rocking a fresh new haircut. Well, it’s fresh and new in the fact that I just got it, but it’s nothing I’m not used to. However, while I was in the chair I started thinking back to all the bad experiences that I’ve had over the years getting my hair cut. Man, oh man, there were some doozies that I can’t believe I allowed to take place. Yeesh!

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So as I was roaming down haircut memory lane, I realized that all of these situations could have easily gone a million times better if I would have just used proper hair cutting etiquette. Why didn’t I tell them that I wasn’t going into the military and therefore don’t need a buzz cut? Why did I trust the stylist who admitted “This is my first time coloring hair”? Why was I adding blond highlights anyway? And lastly, why did I always try to beat the clock and get in and out as fast as possible?

Why did I not just think better about the whole hair cutting process?

Well, I’m older and wiser now, and I’ve had the time to think this stuff through. So with that, check out my top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for proper haircut etiquette:

Tip #1: Speak Up!

Last week, a friend of mine texted me the following: “Dude, she totally butchered me at the hair salon!” He then followed it with a bunch of expletives and a photo of said bad haircut. In reality, it wasn’t that bad…it just wasn’t great. I asked him why he didn’t tell her to stop when she started to cut way to close to his scalp? He replied, “Well, I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.”


Why do you owe the person cutting your hair, who you are paying, any spared feelings? Are they going to be walking around with you, holding a sign that says, “He looks bad because of me”? No, they won’t. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT saying you should be mean or rude, but you have to speak up.

When you go to get your hair cut, you have to remember to tell them exactly what you want. And if it looks like the stylist is going a bit off script, then always bring them back on track. Don’t snap at them, but be honest. Regardless of if it’s too short or too long, if you don’t speak up, you can’t complain afterwards. Trust me, they don’t want a disappointed customer and you don’t want to walk around looking like an extra in a Flock of Seagulls video. For all my younger readers, Flock of Seagulls was a popular British New Wave band in the 1980s (you know, back when velociraptors roamed the streets). Look them up online and prepare to be amazed at what was once considered cool.

Tip #2: Don’t Rush

I always stress the importance of properly planning for an event: show up on time, bring the right gift to the party, leave on time, don’t steal the host’s thunder, etc. However, when it comes to getting my hair cut, sometimes it’s a whim decision that I usually regret. Like one time I was in desperate need of a haircut and having no time that week to go to my usual stylist, I decided to squeeze it in between two meetings one day. Bad move. Bad move, indeed. You can imagine how this went down. I got there with no appointment so I had to wait. As the clock ticked away, they were just able to get me in…with the trainee. The whole time I sat white knuckled, clenching my fists and watching my watch as the inexperienced stylist fumbled with the scissors. I rushed the cut and left unhappy.

Haircuts are important – very important – so you should make proper time for yours. Call in advance, make an appointment with your preferred person, if you are running late – or the stylist is – then reschedule. If you have to wait another day, so be it. Rushing will make you aggravated, frustrated, and you’ll end up with a lousy cut and complain to your friends and significant other and annoy them. Then everybody loses.

Tip #3: Brand Loyalty

The phrase “brand loyalty” is defined as "The situation in which a consumer generally buys the same manufacturer-originated product or service repeatedly over time rather than buying from multiple suppliers within the category."

Brand loyalty explains why some people won’t get their coffee anywhere other than Starbucks, while others swear by Dunkin Donuts. It’s why people think certain clothing brands are superior to others. When you like a brand, it’s hard to sway your opinion. The same can be said with how people commit to one stylist over another. Is this a good practice? Should we really be so committed to only one hair stylist that we don’t dare stray? Well, that depends on how risky you want to be.

When you sit down in the stylist’s chair, you never want to hear, “This is my first time cutting hair on my own.” Because, let’s face it, most of us probably won’t get up and leave, we’d be too embarrassed. So we’ll sit there and get the Mohawk you never wanted. Even if you get a seasoned stylist, sometimes they may have a “vision” for your hair and you walk out with something totally opposite of what you planned for.

So when you go to get your hair cut and you want to guarantee perfection (or at least the best chance of it), you should stick with who you know. It’s OK to try someone new, but you can’t expect the same results. It may be better…but it may not. In the end, it’s up to you to choose how strong your brand loyalty is. Just remember one simple thing: It’s only hair. It grows back.

Man Getting Haircut and Woman Getting Haircut images from Shutterstock