To tip, or not to tip? What about that awkward upsell? And – horror of horrors – how on earth do you get out of the small talk? Allow Vogue to present the thoroughly modern guide to spa and salon manners…

Ostensibly, going to the salon is a relaxing experience. A chance to switch off, leaf through a magazine, sip a herbal tea and emerge hours later, pampered and thoroughly unwound. In reality, it can be fraught with potential faux pas and toe-curling awkwardness. Should you say something if your new colour is more streaky than subtle? Are you expected to tip on top of a three-digit bill? And will you have to lie half-naked under a towel indefinitely..?

Wonder no longer. We’ve asked the cream of the crop of salons and spas to find out what your therapist is really thinking, and how to actually have a relaxing time…


Vogue grilled Natasha Humphreys, a senior stylist at Hershesons for some twenty years for her take on salon manners.

If you don’t want to make small talk: “A visual cue should be your first port of call. If I see a client come over with an armful of magazines or their laptop, I’m aware they might not be feeling chatty. If that doesn’t work, drop a hint about how much you’re excited to switch off. Failing that, one word answers should do the trick!”


If you’re feeling guilty about not being chatty: “Hairdressing is a service, and we want you to enjoy yourself. Besides, your stylist may also be feeling a bit tired and may enjoy having a quieter appointment! Don’t feel bad.”

On bringing visual references: “Some clients seem embarrassed to bring screenshots or pictures on their phone but we encourage it! Especially if it’s a new client or something different to your usual, they can be really helpful.”

Read more…